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Archive for August, 2008

Ok, I admit it. I’m hooked on Martha Stewart. I can’t help myself – her recipes refuse to disappoint me. Take this escarole pizza I made today. On second thought, don’t take it. We ate the whole thing already. Boy was that good. I used my new pizza stone, and it made the crust perfect. I highly recommend investing in one – it makes all the difference. The original recipe called for gruyere cheese, which, as we all know, is dairy and not a good choice for me. So instead I used soy mozzarella, and it came out fabulous. Enjoy!

Escarole pizza (another Martha Stewart adaptation)

yellow cornmeal for dusting

pizza dough

2 tablespoons currants

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 head escarole, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup coarsely grated soy mozzarella

sprinkling of nutmeg

2 tablespoons grated soy parmesan

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Place a pizza stone (if using) in the oven on the lowest shelf, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Dust a baking sheet or wooden peel with cornmeal; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dought into a 12″ circle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet or peel; cover with plastic wrap. 

Place the currants and raisins in a small bowl, and cover with 1/4 cup warm water; set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the escarole and vinegar, and cook until the escarole has wilted. Drain the currants and raisins, and add to the escarole mixture. Remove from the heat.

Remove the plastic wrap from the dough, and sprinkle the soy mozzarella over the dough, leaving a 1″ border. Sprinkle nutmeg over the cheese, and cover with the escarole mixture. Top with the soy parmesan and the almonds.

Transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven, or onto a rack if using a baking sheet. Cook until the crust is golden and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Makes a twelve inch pizza.

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A healthy and light dinner for tonight. Tofu, when done right, can be a great source of protein and the ideal vehicle for the sauce or flavoring that you introduce to it. The best tofu to use for pan-frying is extra-firm. Before cooking your tofu, always drain it first, then press it for at least 15-20 minutes, to get all the water that is still trapped within it out. I like to slice mine in half, place the halves between two paper towels, then place in a rimmed pan. Place another pan on top, and load it with heavy cans. This is the weight you need to press out all of the tofu liquid. It works!

Anyway, this recipe is courtesy of your girlfriend and mine, Martha Stewart. She has some really great recipes. Enjoy!

Sesame tofu with vegetables (modified from The New Classics)

for the tofu

16 ounces extra-firm tofu

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

for the vegetables

3 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

10-12 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered

1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips

12 ounces Chinese broccoli, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces

2 scallions, slices crosswise into 2″ pieces

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

freshly ground pepper

Press the tofu, then slice into 1″ strips. 

In a large shallow dish, combine the mustard, sesame seeds, garlic, and soy sauce. Place the tofu in the dish and coat all the pieces by turning gently. Set aside to marinate.

Heat a large skillet or wok and add 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil. Add the tofu and cook until golden. Transfer to a plate. 

In the same pan, heat the rest of the canola oil (2 teaspoons), then add the ginger and garlic. Cook and stir constantly, about 1 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, Chinese broccoli, and scallions. Cook and stir continuously until the veggies are crisp-tender – about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil; stir to combine. Season with pepper and plate the vegetables. Lay the tofu gently across the top and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Another scrumptious edition, #78, is up and at ’em at Once Upon A Feast. Not one but two of my recipes are featured there. I feel honored to be amongst such great looking entries. Stop by and be prepared to get hungry!

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I’ve always been a big fan of Vietnamese cooking, and when I saw this recipe, well, I had to give it a try. Talk about instant gratification! The combination of flavors of the fresh vegetables with the seasoned pasta and the chicken in spicy peanut sauce worked sooo well together. This dish really rocked. And another easy put-together recipe. Enjoy, and be ready for some compliments!

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad (modified from Martha Stewart)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 4 lime wedges for garnish

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, diced

1 pound capellini pasta, or rice vermicelli

1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 3″ long matchsticks

1 red bell pepper (I only had yellow), seeded and cut into 3″ long matchsticks

2 carrots cut into 3″ long matchsticks

Place peanut butter, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, and ginger in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Pour over the diced chicken and toss together.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar, remaining tablespoon lime juice, peanut oil, and mint in a small bowl, and set aside.

Boil a large pot of water, and cook the pasta according to box instructions, until al dente. Drain, then toss with the reserved vinaigrette.

Divide the noodles, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, and chicken among four bowls, and garnish with the mint sprigs and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

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I have always equated succotash with lima beans, which is one vegetable that I have no fondness for in my heart. So when I found this recipe, my interest was piqued. I tweaked it into a main dish instead of a side, as it was originally presented. For some reason, I could find no okra in the markets, so I did without. Instead of medium tomatoes, I subbed halved grape tomatoes. And I used a whole package of turkey bacon for this dish, to help turn it into a full and South Beach-friendly meal. I used frozen veggies instead of fresh ones – this was so easy and quick to make, high on flavor. Enjoy!

Holy sufferin’ succotash

1 package of sliced turkey bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved

1 package of frozen peas, thawed

1 package of frozen corn, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s roasted corn)

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup slivered basil leaves

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Remove from pan and crumble into bite-sized pieces. Add the oil to the skillet and cook the onion until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the peas and corn, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring, for about another 2 minutes. Add the bacon back into the pan, along with the margarine and basil. Stir to fully incorporate all the ingredients and the margarine has melted and blended with everything. Makes 4 servings.

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I’ve been waiting. Waiting for figs. They have just begun showing up in the markets around here. I couldn’t be happier, as I’ve been waiting to try this recipe from Baroness Tapuzina. I used calimyrna figs, and it came out heavenly. It makes a beautiful presentation, and an even more delicious dessert. Enjoy!

Fig Galette

For the dough:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons cold margarine, cut into cubes

3 tablespoons very cold orange juice or water

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ripe figs, stemmed and quartered lengthwise

1/3 up firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

egg wash

1/4 cup sliced almonds

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the shortening and pulse until reduced to pea-sized pieces. Add the water a little at a time and pulse until the dough just begins to come together in a rough mass. Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough into a round circle, slightly larger than 13 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Lift and turn the dough several times as you roll to prevent sticking, and dust the surface and rolling pin with additional flour as needed. Trim off any ragged edges to make an even 13″ round. Cover with plastic and set aside.

To make the filling, gently toss the figs together with the brown sugar, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl until all the ingredients are nicely mingled.

Uncover the dough and transfer to a baking sheet. The edges of the dough hang over the pan edges. Arrange the figs in a pile in the center of the dough, leaving a 2″ border uncovered. Fold the dough up and over the filling, pleating loosely all around the circle and leaving the galette open in the center.

Brush the pleated dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle almonds on top of the dough and press on them lightly to make them stick.

Bake until the crust is golden and the figs are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40 minutes. Transfer the galette to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Many thanks to 101 Cookbooks blog for this winning recipe. It sounded really good when I read it, looked even better when I saw it and tasted amazing when I made it. This one’s a keeper. Enjoy!

Caramelized Tofu

8 ounces any baked savory tofu, or just extra-firm tofu will do, cut into thin strips

a couple pinches coarse salt

a couples splashes olive oil or peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 pound brussel sprouts, cut into 1/8″ wide ribbons

Cook the tofu strips in a large hot skillet with a little salt and splash of oil. Saute until lightly golden, then add the garlic and pecans and cook for another minute. Stir in the sugar and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Scrape the mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussel sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt and heat up the pan over medium high heat. Add the shredded brussel sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring infrequently, until it starts to get bright and little bits golden up.

Combine everything together and serve. Makes 3 servings.

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