Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vegan Tofu Stir-Fry with Cashews & Zucchini

My husband likes to eat vegetarian a lot, but he's also an athlete so he's not willing to skimp on protein. This dish goes the extra step to vegan (meaning there are no animal products in it at all) but the tofu keeps the protein count up. Many people avoid dishes with tofu, but unless you're allergic to soy, give this one a try. The trick to making good tofu is to marinate it first so it takes on flavor.

You will need:

One 18oz block of firm tofu (found in the produce or refrigerated sections of the grocery store), cubed
1/2 cup of soy sauce
Lemon juice from one whole lemon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups of white long grain jasmine rice
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
3/4 cup of roasted, salted cashews, chopped coarsely
2 zucchinis, sliced
3/4 cup of frozen green peas
4 green onions, chopped (I cut them with scissors)

small bowl with a flat bottom for marinating the tofu
chef's knife
cutting board
citrus juicer
rice cooker
measuring cups
measuring spoons
wooden spoon

Put the cubed tofu in the small bowl. Pour the soy and lemon juice over the cubes, then sprinkle the ginger, garlic, and pepper on top. It's okay if the marinade doesn't cover all of the tofu. Set aside for at least ten minutes before starting the rest.

Cook the rice in the rice cooker. I use a ratio of about 1 part rice to 1.25 parts water when I cook white rice, but your rice cooker may not work the same as mine, so go by your own experience.

Put the chopped garlic, celery, cashews, and zucchini in the wok with the olive oil. Cook on high heat until the bits of garlic are translucent (2-3 minutes), then lower to medium. Stir frequently. Add the tofu and half the marinade (discarding the rest).

When the zucchini's seeds are more visible, somewhat translucent, but the skins are still dark green, add the peas and the green onions. Continue stirring frequently until the peas have warmed, about 3-4 minutes.

Plate the rice first and then the stir fry on top. Enjoy!

If you try one of my recipes, please comment and let me know how it turned out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Feta & Turkey Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa

The best part of the recipe is the tomato sauce for the quinoa! Although all of it is great. And you can pat yourself on the back for eating something healthy, too, since tomatoes are really good for you, as are turkey and quinoa (did you know that quinoa may help prevent migraines?). If you've never tried quinoa, I highly recommend it. It has a lovely nutty flavor but it's very mild. You can, of course, substitute rice or pasta if you're not sure about trying it--but I encourage you to take the leap!

You will need:

6 medium to large tomatoes
1 lb ground turkey breast
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
3 tsp whole leaf thyme (dried or fresh)
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup quinoa

baking dish
nonstick cooking spray
mixing bowl
chef's knife
cutting board
3 quart saucepan
wooden mixing spoon
rice cooker
2 large serving spoons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and scoop out he insides just like you would a Halloween pumpkin. If the insides are still in large chunks, cut them into smaller ones and put them in the saucepan.

Mix the turkey, feta, sundried tomatoes, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, half the garlic, and 2 tsps of thyme in the mixing bowl. I use two forks to do this. Spoon the turkey mixture into the empty tomatoes, packing it in with just a bit over the top. Put the tops of the tomatoes back on like lids. Bake for 40 minutes or until the tops of the tomatoes and visible edges of the meat are dark brown--ovens can vary so it's important that you check that the tomatoes look done.

In the mean time, cook the insides of the tomatoes with the rest of the garlic and thyme, and a pinch of salt. I tend to start the heat a bit higher, get it cooking, and then turn it down to a low simmer. Near the end of the 40 minutes add the half and half to the tomato sauce and stir well, breaking down any clumps remaining with your wooden spoon.

At about 10 minutes in to the bake time, start the quinoa in the rice cooker. I always use a bit more than twice the water as quinoa--better that quinoa be a little over cooked than under, unless you like it crunchy.

At the end of the 40 or when tomatoes are well browned, use two serving spoons to carefully scoop a tomato out and plate it. The tomatoes will be easy to damage as the baking softens them. Serve quinoa with a generous helping of tomato sauce on top. Enjoy!

If you try one of my recipes, please comment on it and tell me how it turned out!