Category Archives: Easy

Red Thai Tofu


Red Thai Tofu_text

Serve this tofu dish over your favorite rice.  The cookbook this came from suggests a pineapple rice.

 

Red Thai Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4

1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces), cubed
1 teaspoon oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
15 leaves fresh Thai basil

Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little cooking spray. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it with a thin spatula once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. The thin spatula is important because you should be able to slip it underneat the tofu and flip it easily, keeping the tofu intact. About midway through, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and toss to coat.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Saute the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil, using a little cooking spray if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, remaining soy sauce, agave. Add the tofu back the pan along with the curry paste mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and toss to wilt. Serve! 

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos

Black Bean Zucchini Olive Tacos

This is one of those vegetarian (and vegan) dishes you can easily adapt to what you have.  This time of year, it would be fun to use squash, or pumpkin chunks, or sweet potatoes in place of the zucchini.

You can use any bean, of course.  

The corn tortillas make it special.  Love the grain texture and taste.

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 

1
teaspoon olive oil
2 zucchini, diced small (about 1lb)
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olive, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6 ounce) can salsa verde (I used Frontero Tomatilla Sauce)
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained &
rinsed
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion

Garlic-Lemon Yogurt
1 cup unsweetened plain soy yogurt (Wildwood
is suggested)
2 -3 garlic cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon (3 Tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon light agave nectar

Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet over
medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and add the zucchini and jalapeno, sprinkle
with the salt. Saute for about 7 minutes, or until the zucchini is lightly
browned.

Add the garlic, olives, cumin, and coriander,
and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the salsa verde and black beans and cook
for 5 minutes. The salsa should reduce a bit so its not soupy.

Mix the ingredients for the Garlic-Lemon
Yogurt if you are using.

Warm the tortillas in a skillet or wrap in a
moist towel and microwave for one minute. Serve with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt and chopped scallions. 

 

The Plant-Based Bowl: Quinoa, Black Beans, Tomatoes, and Caesar Chavez Dressing

Quinoa Bean Bowl with Caesar Chavez Dressing
Well, our 6-Week Vegan Challenge is up, but we are still trying to keep the habit of eating a mainly plant-based diet.

This is a "bowl."  It is very adaptable.

You simply choose a grain or healthy pasta (quinoa, rice, barley, soba noodles), a veggie or two, a bean, and a dressing or sauce.

I tried quinoa, black beans, tomatoes and Caesar Chavez Dressing.

The taste is great!  Not photogenic, but very tastogenic.  There.  I made up a word.

 

Caesar Chavez Dressing
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Serves 4 (or 2 if you're having a bowl of plain quinoa, which needs more sauce)

I found the cashews difficult to chop in the blender/food processor fully, so soaking them first would help, or even chopping, then mashing with a mortar and pestle. However, even without the prep, you'll have 4-5 teeny pieces of cashew chunks. Not a huge deal.

2 Tablespoons chopped shallot
2 Tablespoons cashew pieces
1 Tablespoon tahini
1 Tablespoon miso
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon capers with brine
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend it all in a blender or food processor until well blended, 2-5 minutes.

Crispy Kale Chips

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Crispy Kale Chips
Kale Chips

I've never had kale chips.  But these were awesome!  I was cramming these crispy, salty, flakes in my mouth like a mad woman.

And Alyssa loved them so much, she made 2 batches the next night.

Salty Kale Chips
BIG TIP:  1 teaspoon of kosher salt per bunch of kale was WAY too much for me.  See the oiled, crispy salt flakes piled on the kale above?

When Alyssa made her batches, I requested less salt, so she just lightly sprinkled some.  

So much better.   

 

CRISPY KALE CHIPS
Compliments of JennaDish

1 bunch kale, trimmed of center rib, washed and dried, cut into 1-2" pieces
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or big pinch
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 275o F.

Place cut pieces of kale evenly across a large cookie sheet.  Drizzle oil and sprinkle salt over the kale and toss well to distribute oil and salt evenly over the pieces.

Bake 10 minutes, turn and toss kale, then bake another 10 minutes.

Eat right away or let cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Vegan: How to Make Sauteed Vegetables with Italian Herbs

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Considering that I'm trying to be at least 90% vegan (well, no dairy/no meat) to support my daughter, Alyssa, for the next 6 weeks or so, I need to eat veggies, plus it doesn't hurt to use things up in the fridge…

Over the last few weeks, I've made sauteed vegetables and potatoes three times.  Here are three versions of a dish that seems like they are all the same, but depending on the amount of veggies and potatoes, the spices, and the cooking method, can taste quite different.

Sauteed Potatoes Veggies
Sauteed Potatoes and Veggies
The above (2 photos, same dish) was made with the following ingredients and method, enough for 3 people:

Olive oil, as needed
1 large zucchini, diced small
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1/2 – 1 red pepper, chopped small
1/2 onion, chopped small
oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme sprig (optional)
9 new potatoes, boiled until tender, mostly peeled, cut in large chunks
Non-Dairy Basil pesto (1 cup basil leaves, 1-2 Tbsp pine nuts, olive oil, ground)
(feta cheese for your dairy eating loved ones)

In oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, throw in the first 4 veggies & the 6 spices/herb. 
Cover and let the veggies cook without stirring, about 10 minutes, then turn and toss until tender.
Dump the veggies in a bowl and set aside.
Using more oil, throw in the pre-cooked potatoes, turn up the heat to medium high, and do the same – let cook while still, then flip and toss until mostly browned.  When about done, throw in pesto and toss to coat evenly. Quickly remove pan from heat.

Place potatoes in bowls, throw earlier veggies back in the pan to quickly stir and reheat.
Spoon the soft veggies over the potatoes.
Sprinkle feta on the dish of anyone who prefers their cheese, please.

Potato Onion Pepper Saute

The saute above is made up of new potatoes, red onions, tomatoes from my porch plant, green beans, poblano peppers, herbs de provence, and some fresh ground pepper.

 

Potato Zucchini Tomato Onion Saute
This one had quite a different taste.  Better I would say.  Even Alyssa nearly raved about it and she's not a big veggie eater.  The ingredients for this one in order of the cooking process:  olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, zucchini coins, chopped poblano pepper, onion sliced thin to cook faster, a previously baked potato cubed, tomatoes cut about 1" pieces.

 

HOW TO MAKE A POTATO VEGGIE SAUTE
Compliments of JennaDish

Look in your fridge and see what veggies you have, and decide how much you want to make and how big of a pan you have to accommodate the stinkers.

Let's say you are cooking for yourself but you may as well make enough for leftovers tomorrow.  For two people I cooked the following:

olive oil
big pinch red pepper flakes
1 big clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/8" to 1/4" coins
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1 whole baked potato, cubed to 1" pieces
1/2 to 1 poblano (or green or red) pepper, cut into small 1/2" pieces 
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or a whole tomato or two cut to 1" pieces
fresh basil, optional

That would defintely feed two, expecially if you are having something else like bread.  But you could throw in a little more just to make sure.  Use a 10" or 12" pan for this much so you have tossing room.

Have everything chopped and ready to go.  The French call this Mise en Place (pronounced miz on plas) which basically means put in place.

Layer flavors.

Start with a non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium heat.  

Add olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons to start.  Let it get warmed up about 2-3 minutes.

Throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes.  If it sizzles and seems it will burn, turn the heat down a bit and lift the skillet to quickly reduce the heat and stop the food from burning.  You don't need to cook red pepper flakes, you just want to heat it enough to bring out the flavor of the spice and to meld it with the oil.  So 20 seconds or so.  

Make sure your heat is under control now.  Not so low that it does nothing, and not too hot.  Then, immediately put in the minced garlic.  Same general idea – pieces are very small and delicate so it will burn quickly.  Stir around until it seems it's starting to become golden but before it burns, for Pete's sake.  Add a little more olive oil if you need it.  That will also help it to cool down briefly.

Now toss in the zucchini and stir around for 4 minutes or so until they are really softening up and starting to brown.  Now add small-cut peppers, stir a minute or two, then throw in the onion and keep tossing every minute or so.  Let things start to caramelize.  Once you get all the veggies about 2 minutes away from being the way you like them, throw in the potatoes which just need to heat through another 2-4 minutes.  Then add your tomatoes and heat through a couple minutes.

The whole idea here is to start with aromatics, meld and layer flavors, then start adding vegetables starting with those that will take the longest.  You also decide what to put in next based on how much you want something cooked.  For example, I only want the tomatoes heated up, so I put those in last.

Remove from heat and divvy up some veggies on your plate.  You can add fresh, torn basil if you like.

Yer done.

 

 

 

 

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Prosciutto

  Pizza Arugula Cherry Tomatoes Prosciutto

OK fine.  That's not prosciutto.  We had leftover salami so we used it. Use either one, or even strips of smoked ham.  There's such a small amount of meat on each, it's not likely to matter that much.

If you're not familiar with arugula, it's not your basic lettuce.  A basic lettuce, like iceberg, would be lame on pizza.  Don't do that.  People will cry for you.  Arugula has a peppery bite.  Makes things interesting. 

My English teacher hated that word.  Interesting.  So I feel self-conscious every time I use it.  Like I'm being pathetic and unimaginative.  

Anyway, if you add fresh basil leaves also, and even just a teeny amount of red chili flakes, it's just enough exhilaration without the bother of climbing on a roller coaster.  

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Salami
Above is the pizza before the greenery.  See – not much meat.

Here's an overview of the method to get this extremely thin and crispy-crusted pizza, using the grill.

Get some really thin store-bought crusts.  We used something we've never seen before – Golden Home Ultra Thin Pizza Crust – purchased at the former Bigg's, now Remke's, in Hyde Park Square (Cincinnati).

Preheat your grill on a low setting.

Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then distribute tomatoes, cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, then check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, remove the pizza and place it pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.  

Pizza with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, and Prosciutto
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Cook this Not That: 350-Calorie Meals by Zinczenko & Goulding 

MAKES TWO 12" PIZZAS

2 thin crust, 12" prepared crusts (I used Golden Home Ultra Thin crusts from Bigg's/Remke)
1 cup your favorite healthy pizza sauce 
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 cups cherry tomatoes (we cut them in half)
2 cups arugula
Basil leaves, torn (optional)
6 slices prosciutto, cut or torn into thin strips (substitute ham – less salt and lower cost)
Shaved Parmesan 
Red chili flakes, optional

For the grill:
Preheat your grill on a low setting.

For each pizza, use 1/2 the listed amount of each ingredient.  Put a thin coating of pizza sauce on the crust, cover with cheese, then tomatoes cut in half (so they won't squirt hot tomato juice in your mouth when you bite into it).  

Place on the grill for a couple of minutes, check the bottom of the crust.  If it's starting to crisp and burn before the cheese melts, place a heat-safe pan or ceramic tile under the pizza and close the cover until the cheese melts.  Or if you don't have anything to place under the pizza, place the pizza under your oven broiler to finish it.

Remove from grill (or oven) when finished cooking, and place on a cutting board.  Add arugula, meat, parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes, if using.

For the oven:  
Preheat oven to 425oF (or according to your crust instructions). For each pizza, distribute 1/2 the sauce (should be thin layer), sprinkle evenly with 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and cover with 1/2 the cherry tomatoes.

Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Placing directly on rack will yield a crisper crust, but be careful about dripping cheese on the bottom of the stove.  Otherwise, use a baking sheet. 

Remove pizza to a cutting board and immediately top with 1/2 the arugula (will wilt from heat), and 1/2 the prosciutto (or meat) and parmesan cheese to taste.  If you have a block of parmesan, shave it thinly with a vegetable peeler right onto the pizza.

Baked Fish in Foil: Sea Bass, Mushrooms and Asparagus

Chilean Sea Bass in Foil Packet

This dish is amazingly simple and memorably tasty.  It's from one of my favorite little cookbooks, Cook This, Not That: Easy and Awesome 350-calorie Meals by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding.

It's not one of the cheapest meals in the book.  I paid $20 for about 10oz. of Chilean Sea Bass, which gave me 4 oz. and Allen 6 oz.  Plenty for both of us, since we had a salad with it.  You can save money by using halibut or any white fish, even tilapia or catfish, the authors suggest.

TIPS:  use skinny asparagus – it's more tender; to peel ginger root before grating, use the back of a spoon and scrape it off rather than use a sharp knife; after grating the ginger, it tends to stick to the grater – to release, hold the grater over the fish and bang the grater against something solid like the side of a pan or dull side of a large chef's knife, and it will spatter haphazardly over the fish, which is what you want.  

Sea Bass Fish in Foil Packet

Rather than give the recipe for 4 people, and then having to halve it or or even quarter it for one person, I'll present the recipe per packet.

250 calories, 4.5 g fat, 540 mg sodium

$5.85 per serving for sea bass (Chilean is more expensive than this), or less for other white fish 

Somewhat Interesting Family Factoid: 

Every time someone mentions Chilean Sea Bass, my better half, Allen, blurts out PATAGONIAN TOOTHFISH!

That's because he read Four Fishes: The Future of the Last Wild Food, by Paul Greenberg.  It explains that for marketing purposes, someone decided to rename the Patagonian Toothfish to Chilean Seabass. 

Sea Bass Packet
Compliments of JennaDish 

MAKES 1 PACKET

6 oz. Sea Bass fillet (or halibut or other white fish)
2-8 spears of asparagus, preferably skinny spears, ends removed and chopped in half (I used about 6)
1 oz. shitake mushrooms, stems removed (equal to about 2-3 mushrooms, sliced)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons mirin (sweetened sake) or sweet white wine
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven the 400o F.

Lay 4 large (18" x 12") piece aluminum foil for each fish packet.  Fold into thirds and open back up.  Lay fish fillet in the middle third of each piece, then scatter the asparagus, mushrooms, and ginger over each.  Drizzle with the soy sauce and mirin and season with a small pinch of salt (actually I forgot this part and didn't miss it), and black pepper.  Fold the sides over the fish, then roll up the ends to secure into a fully sealed packet.

Arrange the packets on a large baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes (if 1/2" thick or less, bake for 15 min; if closer to a full 1", bake for 20 min).  When baked, place each packet directly on a plate and serve.  Be careful of the hot steam when opening the foil packet.

 

Raspberry Trifle with Toasted Coconut and Slivered Almonds

 

Raspberries and Cream TrifleRaspberry_Cream_Trifle

 

Had an office luncheon today with Indian food.  

Thought the berries and cream would work well well to cleanse the palate.

Here's a summary of the steps…

 

Lightly Toasted Coconut

 

Toast sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.

Set aside to cool.

Raspberries_Lemon Zest_Sherry

 

Placed thawed raspberries in a bowl with sherry and lemon zest.  Set aside.

Store Bought Pound Cake

 

Cut store-bought pound cake or angel food cake in 3/4" slices.

Toasted Coconut_Almonds

 

Coarsely chop slivered almonds.

IMG_3848
You can serve immediately but it will take on more of a tiramisu texture if it sits, covered, overnight in the fridge.

Don't put the coconut and almond topping on until ready to serve.

 

Raspberry Trifle
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Martha Stewart.com

1/3-1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 packages frozen raspberries (12 ounces each), thawed
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 store-bought pound cake (12 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350o. Spread coconut on a baking sheet; toast until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside. In a bowl, combine sherry, berries, and lemon zest; set aside. In another bowl, with a whisk or an electric mixer, beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a 4-quart glass serving bowl with a layer of cake slices, packing them tightly. Spreading evenly, top with half the raspberry mixture, then half the cream.

Add a second layer of cake slices, raspberry mixture, and cream; sprinkle with coconut and almonds if serving immediately.  However, for best texture, refrigerate, covered, overnight without toppings.  Add toppings just before serving.

 

Crustless Veggie Quiche

Crustless Veggie Quiche
Individual quiches fix many problems.  Hunger. Leftovers. 4 Different People with 4 Different Tastes.

Overeating. Plenty of cheese and eggs in the fridge but not much else for dinner.

Asparagus in which you've used the tips for another recipe. 

World peace.

IMG_3603

IMG_3613
From the base recipe, add man stuff for a heartier meal, like ham and hot sauce on the right.

Individual Asparagus Quiche

Crustless Veggie Cheddar Quiche
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart

SERVES 4

Butter, for ramekins
Coarse salt
1 bunch fresh asparagus (or a 10 ounce package frozen broccoli florets)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
Ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-ounce ramekins (or a 9-inch pie dish); set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain well; transfer to a cutting board, and blot dry with paper towels. Chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli and cheese.

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

 

Martha Stewart’s Earl Grey Tea Cookies

  Martha Stewart Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Earl Grey Tea Cookies!  How Pride & Prejudice sounding!  

I wonder if they actually taste like Earl Grey tea?

Basket of Cookies
Nope!  Not really.  But they are good, basic shortbread-type cookies.  Next to the Chocolate Anise

Biscotti on the left and the Iced Ginger Hermits on the right, they faded into the background.

Earl Grey Tea Ground
But with hot tea, sliced oranges, other delicate tea cookies, they'd be much more at home.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies Dough

 IMG_3344

IMG_3347
IMG_3350

 

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart's Cookies

MAKES 3 DOZEN SMALL COOKIES

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Put butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.