Wednesday, February 10, 2010

new recipe experimentation!

Cosmos at Green Gulch Zen Center Organic Farm
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I've been continuing my recipe experimentation, which I'm loving though it can take up a lot of time if I'm not careful. Plus I have tons of leftovers that I love, but the kids aren't so fond of everything. And Doug is like, you're becoming vegetarian? What the heck?! Anyway... everyone's fave so far is the chickpea croquettes with Greek topping. That was a big hit with me, Doug, and the kids (well Savi) when I made them plus two vegetarian "wraps" the other night. I LOVED the spicy tofu lettuce wrap, but the kids and Doug preferred the ginger-miso yam wraps. Here are the recipes if you want to try some easy-to-cook and healthy Asian recipes! I halved both recipes since I only had one chunk of tofu.

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
• 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
• 1 Tbs. minced lemongrass
• 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
• 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, crumbled
• 1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
• 4 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
• 4 Tbs. hoisin sauce
• 1 to 2 tsp. vegetarian chile sauce, such as vegetarian sriracha
• 16 butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce leaves

1. To make Filling: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add tofu and water chestnuts, breaking tofu into small crumbles; cook 4 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile sauce. Transfer to serving bowl.
2. Place lettuce leaves on platter, and set out garnishes in small serving bowls. Let guests wrap tofu mixture in lettuce leaves, and top with their choice of garnishes.

My prep notes: I accidentally used, um, slightly too much oil. 1 Tbsp instead of 1 tsp (halved). Oops. But so instead of halving the onion I used the whole thing. The taste was fantastic, so I think it was a success. I also used Bragg's Liquid Aminos, instead of soy sauce. It tastes the same and I think it's healthier! Instead of fresh lemongrass, I have this "Gourmet Gardens" squeezy bottle of lemongrass. If you don't have miso, it's probably not going to matter, but it is a probiotic and healthy for the gut. It is often found by the Asian food section where they make fresh sushi, if your store has one of those. I didn't use any garnishes (supposed to be carrot, green onion, chopped fresh mint and/or chopped peanuts). Though actually come to think of it, I did have some chopped fresh cilantro but I put that on the other wrap. I used both Hoisin sauce and Thai Sweet chili sauce to dip the wraps in, yum!!

Ginger-Miso Yam Wraps
• 2 small yams or sweet potatoes (1 lb.)
• 2 Tbs. white miso paste
• 1 Tbs. smooth peanut butter
• 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
• 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
• 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 6 oz. firm silken tofu, crumbled (1 cup)
• 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
• 8 collard green leaves, stems removed

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut thin slice off both ends of yams, and poke skins with knife in several places. Bake 50 minutes, or until soft, turning once. Halve yams, and scoop flesh into bowl. Mash in miso and peanut butter.

2. Meanwhile, coat skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Sauté shallot, ginger, and garlic 3 minutes, or until soft. Add edamame, 1/4 cup water, and cayenne; cook 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and stir in tofu,cilantro, and yam mixture. Cool.

3. Place 1 collard green leaf on work surface. Spoon 1/3 cup yam mixture in center of leaf. Roll bottom edge over mixture; tuck in sides. Roll up to top edge. Place, seam-side down, and repeat with remaining ingredients.

My prep notes: I didnt use collard greens but rather romaine lettuce leaves, because I had a 3-pack package and I wanted to use what I had in the fridge. I have some leftover wrap innards (that doesn't sound too appetizing now does it? ha), and just bought collards for this coleslaw recipe so I'm going to try the wrap next with the collards and I'll report back! I used sweet potatoes rather than yams. I always thought they were the same thing, but I learned a couple years ago, they're not! This tasted good, but I thought the chunks of tofu seemed odd, since the recipe doesn't call for them to be cooked just crumbled into the cooked sweet potato mix. I thought maybe if it was blended, so the chunks of tofu weren't visible, it would have been more appealing. I went ahead and briefly pan-fried (in a tiny bit of olive oil that had previously sauteed the onion for the other recipe) the tofu crumbles. I used this sweet chili sauce for dipping, and it was also used in the spicy tofu lettuce wrap recipe.

Here's the other recipe I made yesterday (just had some for lunch). Super healthy and very tasty!

Collard Green Coleslaw
• ½ lb. collard greens, tough stems removed (8 leaves)
• 3 medium carrots, grated (2 cups)
• 1 medium onion, grated (1 cup)
• 1 medium red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
• ½ cup rice or cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup sugar
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 1 tsp. powdered mustard
• 1 tsp. celery seed
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1. Stack 3 or 4 collard leaves flat on work surface. Roll tightly into a cylinder, hold together, and thinly slice to make narrow strips. Coarsely chop strips once sliced. Repeat with remaining collard leaves, and transfer to large bowl. Stir in carrots, onion, and bell pepper.
2. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, celery seed, salt, and pepper in small saucepan, and bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and pour hot vinegar mixture over collard and vegetable mixture. Stir to coat vegetables with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and chill 4hours or overnight.

PS The key to yummy tasting morning millet breakfast cereal - use a smidge of butter. It really makes the taste come together that all the chopped dried fruit in the world, and even brown sugar or maple syrup doesn't.

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