Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tofu Steaks with Baby Oyster Mushrooms + Carrots

Oysters. Chanterelles. Enoki. Portabellos. Shiitake. I love all types of mushrooms, and with their varying tastes and textures it can be fun to experiment with different recipes. Yesterday, I came upon these lovely baby oyster mushrooms and I couldn't resist taking them home. I stir fried these babies with some flavorful carrots and served them with lightly pan-fried tofu steaks. 

  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 2 cups baby oyster mushrooms, bottoms trimmed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated 
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper, minced (cerrano or jalapeno)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Prepare Tofu:
Tofu "Steaks"
Slice tofu so you have four "steaks" approximately 3" x 3"in size. Place on paper towel-lined plate to drain and pat dry. Season each side with salt and pepper. In large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tbs olive oil. Place the four tofu steaks in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until lightly crispy and browned. (To check, lift edge gently with a fork.) When done, carefully flip them over and cook the other side until equally crisp.  

Stir Fry:
Heat 2 tbs olive oil in large non-stick pan. Add garlic, ginger, chili pepper and carrots and cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring with wooden spoon to prevent from burning. Rinse mushrooms* and add them to pan. Add soy sauce and 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper. Optional: sprinkle salt to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes on high heat, stirring occasionally. Serve over tofu steaks.

*There has been much debate over the years on whether or not to wash mushrooms, but I say go ahead and rinse away.
Serve as a starter or a main course. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Crazy for Kalamatas

Sorry, sorry, sorry dear blog of mine. I know I've neglected you all summer, but I promise to try and be better! Happy to be back to my beloved farmer's market, I've been creating some cool and refreshing salads to beat the crazy heat these days. For me, the key to the perfect salad is using fresh ingredients with contrasting colors and full flavors, pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. A craving for kalamata olives inspired this medley -the olives' rich and briny taste go perfectly with the subtle flavor of the beets. It's easy to make and is perfect for a midday lunch or al fresco dinner.

Golden beets add a splash of sunshine to this salad.

One cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Two medium golden beets, roasted* and diced
10-12 kalamata olives, halved
2 tbs crumbled feta

balsamic vinegar
olive oil
sea salt
cracked black pepper

Combine cherry tomatoes, golden beets, and kalamata olives in medium size bowl. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper and 1 tbs balsamic vinegar. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and toss lightly. Top with crumbled feta and serve. Perfect accompaniment to a main dish, or enjoy on its own with a piece of crusty french bread.

*The beets can be roasted a day before and kept in the refrigerator to chill until needed.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Brussel Sprouts Madeira

I'm a huge fan of brussel sprouts. I could probably eat them several times a week and not get tired of them -which is a bit surprising considering that just up until a few years ago, I had a strong aversion to these funny little vegetables.

If you follow my blog, you've heard my dismay at being sheltered from many "all-American" vegetables while growing up in a traditional Indian home. I discovered asparagus and artichokes in college and was instantly in love. Brussel sprouts, on the other hand, took a while before entering my food repertoire. I blame it on the media (who else?). The kids in the various tv shows I used to watch seemed to always complain whenever they found brussel sprouts on their plate. "Mom, do I have to eat these? I hate brussel sprouts." And to be honest, they didn't look that appetizing to my ten-year-old self. They looked like miniature cabbages and when I asked my best friend what they tasted like, all she had to say was, "they're kind of mushy." Yum.  

Fast forward to today and I'm obsessed with creating delicious variations with these lovely green gems. It seems like every menu you look at these days features brussel sprouts. They've seemed to join the likes of kale and burrata in the restaurant scene. They really are an easy vegetable to work with so I can see why they've jumped in popularity. You can blanch them, sauté them, roast them. You can cook them whole, halved or shaved. And in just a few minutes you can have an easy and tasty side dish, like this brussel sprouts with madeira wine.

Brussel Sprouts Madeira
  • 10-12 large brussel sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbs (1/4 cup) Madeira wine
  • 3 tbs fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • olive oil

Wash and trim stems of sprouts. Then using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Mince garlic cloves. Heat 3 tbs olive oil in medium saute pan. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add shaved brussel sprouts and parsley; toss lightly to evenly coat with the oil and garlic. Allow them to cook on medium to high heat for a minute, then add Madeira and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add salt and pepper and toss lightly. Bon appetit!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Easy Burrata Bruschetta

Perfect appetizer, or pair with your favorite glass of wine and enjoy as a light dinner.

Burrata. It's on every trendy menu in town. If there is a dish with burrata in it, on it, or near it - I want it. I still remember the first time I tried it. It was several years ago when a friend had ordered it as an appetizer, and my first reaction as I watched him scoop up the gooey looking cheese was, "that does not look very appetizing." I didn't say it, of course, but I clearly remember thinking it. He offered me a bite and I was hooked. How had I never tried this deliciousness before? I had had all sorts of cheeses in my life but somehow had sidestepped this delectable dish. 

Trader Joe's: Basil, Artisan Sourdough Bread
and Organic Whole Wheat Pain Pascal 
Yesterday in the midst of a food-based conversation with a friend, I began having an intense burrata craving. (He tells me I have an unnatural obsession with this cheese. I'm starting to wonder if he's right.) My plan was to get some groceries at Trader Joe's, then hop over to Whole Foods for the burrata, but turns out TJ's carried it! I was hesitant to try it, but this quick fix would have to do. And it did. 

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 large basil leaves, chopped
  • burrata
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • your favorite crusty bread/baguette, sliced (I tried the two breads pictured here, and they were both great.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium size glass bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic and basil. Drizzle 3-4 tbs of olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste. Stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes. On baking sheet or sheet of foil, arrange slices of bread in a single layer. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until slightly browned and remove from oven. On each slice, spread some of the burrata and top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top and serve.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Red Magic

a gingery red concoction

Just getting over a cold and I'm trying my best to get enough natural vitamins in me. Earlier in the week I made a kale citrus juice, and this morning instead of my regular chai fix, I decided to whip up another tasty concoction.

In your favorite juicer, combine the following:
  • 2 red apples
  • 1 large pomegranate 
  • 2 large red beets
  • 8 tangerines
  • 2 large oranges
  • 3 inches of ginger root (Warning: this may be too much ginger for most people. I wanted that extra kick so I doubled my usual amount.)
Serves 2-4.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Ginger + Garlic Kale

ginger + garlic kale
This dish is for all the ginger lovers out there. I actually used more than the 1/2 inch of ginger listed here, but I know not everyone loves ginger the way I do. If it's a flavor you prefer to do without, the dish is still pretty good on its own. 
  • 1 medium bunch kale (chopped yield: approx. 2 cups)
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tbs water
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
Wash kale thoroughly and pat dry. Holding leaves tightly together, finely chop stems and leaves and set aside. In sauté pan, heat olive oil (medium to high heat). Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Once they've begun to soften a bit, add kale and water. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook for five minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring it so it doesn't stick to the pan.

Transfer to plate. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top and serve! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sweet Potato + Feta Crostini

sweet potato + feta crostini

Over the holidays, I experimented with sweet potatoes and tried a couple of variations of these crostini. I personally love the combination of sweet and savory, how the honey offsets the powerful feta and smoky cumin.

  • 5 sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 2 tsp ground dry roasted cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • feta
  • honey
  • baguette (or other favorite loaf)

In a bowl, mash cooled sweet potatoes with a fork. Add in cumin, salt and pepper. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange on serving dish. Top each slice with about 1 tbs of the sweet potato and a few crumbles of feta. Drizzle honey on top and serve. Bon Appetit!

Note: this appetizer can be served room temperature or warm. If you prefer the latter, toast the slices of baguette lightly and mash sweet potatoes while still warm.