Spicy Basil Tofu

 

This hot little number is frequently requested in this household.

There’s no such thing as too much basil.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • cooked white rice
  • 1 package of medium tofu, diced and patted dry
  • oil for lightly frying
  • a lot of basil, washed and sliced

Stir fry

  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 sliced bird’s eye chili

Sauce

  • chili oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fermented black bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir the sauce ingredients well. Set it aside.
  2. Heat some oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly fry the tofu and set it aside.
  3. In a hot skillet or wok, fry the ginger, bird’s eye chili and garlic until they become fragrant. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  4. Add the diced onions.
  5. Once the onions become soft, add the bell peppers and mushrooms.
  6. Mix the sauce, stir fried vegetables and tofu together. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Let it continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Fold the basil into the mixture, and allow it to wilt for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Serve with white rice, topped with a little more chili oil.
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Inari sushi with mushroom rice

My sweet sister sent me a recipe via email with the subject line, “10/10 Mushroom Rice,” and only one sentence in the body: “If you make this with sticky rice and wrap it in shiso/sesame leaves, you can make little rice balls for lunch. I like to stuff mine with sautéed garlic-chili spinach or roasted carrots and toasted sesame seeds.”

The email also included this video:

Of course, I had my own ideas (obviously we need a replacement for Dashi).

Serves: 12 Inari sushi

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Inari sushi tofu pockets (can be had from your local Asian grocer, look in the Japanese section)
  • 1 cup of sushi rice, uncooked
  • cleaned and sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (add more to taste)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • shredded nori
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Make the rice. Two options:
    1. Use a rice cooker. Rinse the rice, dump the water, then add the vegetable broth. The cooker does all the work.
    2. [how I do it] Cook it over the stove top. Rinse the rice, dump the water, then add the vegetable broth. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. When the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat. The stove does all the work.
  2. Separately combine the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. While the rice is cooking, sautee the mushrooms in a pan with sesame oil.
  4. Once the rice is done cooking, fold the sugar mixture into the rice. Then add the mushrooms and sesame seeds.
  5. Fill each tofu pocket with the mushroom rice.
  6. Optional: add wasabi or pickled ginger and wash it down with some Kirin beer.

Oatmeal with Caramelized Pears à la Rote Grütze

Photo 04.06.18, 10 07 30 AM

The title of this post is misleading. To explain myself:

Ingredients

  • 4 pears, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 30 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • cooked oats
  • Greek yogurt (Mine is about 10% fat, and this is the best part about it. When I’m feeling daring, I might upgrade to Crème fraîche.)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 205 C.
  2. Put the butter in a large baking dish, and put this in the oven while it preheats. We want the butter to melt.
  3. Combine the sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter once it’s melted.
  5. Place the pears face down on the sugar, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 40-50 minutes. Poke a pear with a fork to test whether it’s soft enough – we want the fork to slide in and out easily.
  6. Uncover, and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Broil for 5 minutes.
  8. For each serving: place a halved pear on a bowl of cooked oats, and generously spoon some of the pan drippings over the bowl. Top with a dollop of yogurt.

Carrot bread

 

What do you get when you cross carrot cake with zucchini bread? Well, well, well… look no further. I was looking for something sweet with carrots, but not overpoweringly cake-y, and certainly no frosting (as is the norm with most carrot cakes). Not that I have anything against frosting, rather I wanted to let the natural carrot sweetness come through (although I was told this carrot bread is suspiciously tasty and tastes nothing like carrots). I added a handful of dried sour cherries on a whim (thinking they were actually raisins), and what a serendipitous surprise it was! The chewy tartness from the cherries perfectly offset the sweetness from the carrots and played well with the crunchy nuttiness from the walnuts.

By the way, every time I think of zucchinis, one of two thoughts come to me:

  1. Zucchinis are a great starter vegetable for the beginner gardener. I have enjoyed so many great zucchinis in my brief foray in community gardens.
  2. The French word for zucchini is courgette. I learned this from watching My Life as a Zucchini.

Yield: one bread loaf, as pictured.

Ingredients

Dry Bits

  • 1 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon (I think it’s sweeter than the Cassia variety, but honestly, I don’t think it makes much of a difference in this case)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Wet Bits

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 100 g melted butter

To be folded into the batter

  • a handful of dried sour cherries
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry bits well.
  3. In another vessel, mix the wet bits.
  4. Grease and flour the loaf pan.
  5. Gradually incorporate the dry mix into the wet mix in thirds, stirring well to prevent a lumpy batter.
  6. Fold the cherries, walnuts, and carrots in the batter.
  7. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and tamp it.
  8. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick/chopstick comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before attempting to unmold.

Vegetarian pasta carbonara

Photo 10.05.18, 9 31 07 PMPhoto 10.05.18, 9 31 40 PM

If this is the first time you are making pasta carbonara, save yourself the anxiety and resign to the reality that you will soon be enjoying pasta scrambled eggs. After comparing notes with a few other carbonara-enthusiasts, we reached a quorum, determining this must be fact: the soonest you can enjoy pasta carbonara is on the second attempt. It’s worth the trials and tribulations, though. It’s another great example of the versatility of the egg. Indeed, I, too, would choose the humble egg as my desert island ingredient. If you have 30 minutes, treat yourself: Essential Pépin: Egg-ceptional

Tip: Don’t make more than you can consume in one sitting. This dish doesn’t reheat well.

Fun fact: I have actually followed a number of the food bloggers featured in this video.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 250 g dry pasta (I used spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 – 100 g grated hard cheese (e.g. pecorino, parmesean, asiago, or some such blend thereof)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • freshly crushed black pepper
  • your choice of smoked tofu or mushrooms
  • olive oil or butter
  • chopped parsley, as garnish
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Fry the tofu in some oil, or sautee the mushrooms such that they brown slightly. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it becomes fragrant.
  2. Take the skillet off the heat, letting it cool with the tofu or mushrooms. This is the most important step if you would like to avoid the pasta scrambled eggs scenario.
  3. Beat the eggs, pepper, and cheese together (but not too much). Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water (it usually takes me about 10 minutes).
  5. Drain the pasta, setting aside a bit of water (about 1/4 cup).
  6. Mix the pasta with the tofu/mushrooms in the skillet.
  7. Pour the egg and cheese mixture in the skillet and turn the pasta so that the egg coats each noodle well. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to make it saucy.
  8. Turn the heat to medium low and continue to swirl the pasta around, watching carefully. You want the egg to thicken and become creamy, but not overcook.
  9. As soon as the consistency has changed to being creamy, take the pasta off of the heat and plate.
  10. Garnish with a bit of parsley and cheese.

 

Blueberry Honey Yogurt Cake

Photo 20.05.18, 11 32 30 AMPhoto 20.05.18, 12 50 57 PM

I’m noticing a trend with myself, blueberries and cake (Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake, Lemon Blueberry Bread). Is the perfect blueberry cake my white whale? Or do I simply have an unconscious affinity for blueberries? Anyway. I got to try out a couple new techniques with this recipe, and so it was deemed blog-worthy. Two thoughts:

  1. What’s it like to whip egg whites into soft peaks without the aid of a kitchen appliance? (Answer: Surprisingly, it’s not that much work to do manually; Amy gives this method an A+ and continues to espouse the viewpoint that most kitchen gadgets are a scam.)
  2. What does yogurt cake taste like, and would it imply sour cream cake (Smeteneh Küchen) is delicious? (Answer: Yogurt cake is unbelievably moist and Smeteneh Küchen cannot get in my belly fast enough.)

Yield: a 20 cm cake

Ingredients

Dry bits

  • 100 g rolled oats
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 80 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet bits

  • 100 g butter, cubed
  • 160 ml honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml plain unsweetened yogurt (I used 3.8% fat yogurt, but next time I’m going to spring for the 10% fat Greek yogurt, or skip directly to the sour cream.)
  • 300 g blueberries (I had a 50-50 split of fresh and frozen, separated)
  • optional: whipped cream as a topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Grease the springform (either with butter or a bit of olive oil).
  3. Using a food processor or a blender, blend the oats until the texture resembles coarse flour.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Separately combine the butter, honey, and lemon zest in another vessel. Mix until creamy.
  6. Add the yogurt and the egg yolks, mix, and don’t over stir.
  7. Combine the dry bits into the wet bits in thirds, and stir this until the lumps are gone.
  8. In another clean and dry bowl, whip the egg whites by hand until you get soft peaks. Take the opportunity to develop your non-dominant arm’s beating muscles.
  9. Fold the egg whites and the frozen blueberries in the dough, careful not to over-mix as this will result in a flat and compact cake, completely wasting all the lift you just whipped into the egg whites.
  10. Pour the cake batter in the springform and scatter the remaining blueberries over the top.
  11. Bake for 1 hour.
  12. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before attempting to liberate it (into your mouth).
  13. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish.

 

 

Turkish Eggs

I’m not sure if words can properly encapsulate precisely how delicious these eggs are – imagine creamy, garlicky, brown buttery, chili, egg yolky, soft, warm, crunchy toasty goodness? I guess, if you like Eggs Benedict, then you will like Turkish Eggs. Eat this with a thick slice of toast or on the lucky half of a Rye English Muffin.

One of my favorite parts of this recipe is how nearly everything is to taste – use as much or as little as you feel like.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, chilled in the refrigerator
  • a knob of butter
  • a spill of olive oil
  • a dash of chili (on my wish list is some Aleppo pepper, but sadly our resident Indian has issued a stop order on all new varieties of pepper in this household; apparently there are simply too many bottles in the cabinet…)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (my Boo, Jacques, is about to crack an egg of knowledge on you)
  • a bit of yogurt
  • a slice of bread
  • a sprinkle of salt

Directions

  1. Mix the yogurt, garlic, and salt together. Set it aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter until it starts hissing at you. Then add the olive oil and pepper, frying lightly until the pepper blooms. Then take this off the heat and set aside.
  3. Poach your egg. I’ve tried a variety of techniques (who hasn’t?), and this is the easiest way. My favorite part of the post is in the last paragraph, “Be warned: once you have this technique down, you may find that everything looks like a piece of toast.”
  4. Decide on the best way to consume the eggs – either as pictured above (toast + yogurt + egg + yogurt + butter) or more classically Turkish: spoon some yogurt into a bowl, place the egg in the middle, and create a butter moat around the egg. Use the toast as an edible shovel.