Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Portobello MMM-Mushroom

These portobello mushrooms complimented my asparagus recipe very well. Steve, my favorite guest chef, made the mushroom side and I made the asparagus side. (We stuck to the 30 minutes rule).

Required: Portobello mushrooms, Spinach, White onion, Cayenne pepper, Vegetarian oyster sauce, Canola oil, Salt, Corn starch

Optional: Asparagus (see asparagus recipe), Olive Oil, Garlic, Sea salt, Basmati rice

Slice 2 large portobello mushrooms into thin strips. Chop half of an onion into small pieces. After the basic preparation, place about 1-2 Tbsp of canola oil into a medium-sized skillet at high heat. Toss in all of the mushrooms first. Stir. Throw in the onions too. Stir. Add a pinch or two of cayenne and black pepper to taste. Also add in about 1 Tbsp of oyster sauce. Check consistency of sauté. If it's too watered down you'll want to add in some corn starch to absorb the liquid. Stir again. Save the spinach for last. Once you add the spinach you'll want to turn down to medium heat.

Be sure to keep moving and stirring the sauté.

If you get super ambitious, you can try cooking the asparagus while you make this mushroom dish. The two compliment each other very well. MMM!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Avocado Salad

Hot weather calls for salads. If you love avocado like I do, you'll love this yummy snack!

Required: Avocado, Baby Spring Mix (I got a pre-washed bag from Trader Joe's), Tomatoes, Almonds

Optional: Tofu, Spinach

Chop 1 tomato. Slice 1 avocado. Chop half of 1 packaged tofu into small cubes. Take the baby spring mix and throw some into a large bowl. If you have raw spinach you can mix it up by adding a little into the spring mix. Top the greens off with tomatoes, sliced avocados, and cubes of tofu. Throw in a few almonds (about 10-15).

For salad dressing, I used the Goddess Dressing from Trader Joe's. This dressing is tahini based... and it's vegan!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tantalizing Tempeh

A lot of people including vegetarians will ask me, what is tempeh and how do you cook it? Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans and comes in a cake-like form. Although made from the same ingredients as tofu, it has different nutritional properties. The texture is very different as well. Here's a picture of what it looks like in it's raw form:

I bought this block of regular flavored tempeh at Whole Foods and cut it in half lengthwise. Then I sliced it horizontally.

Required: Garlic powder, Soy sauce, Tempeh, Shiitake mushrooms, Chili oil, Canola oil or Sesame oil if you're feeling brave

Optional: Rice, Broccoli

Slice shiitake mushrooms and tempeh as shown above. Prepare pan by placing 3 Tbsp of canola oil and 1 Tbsp of chili oil. You may need to add more oil depending on the size of your pan and tempeh block. Tempeh can easily turn dry, so you want to make sure that you add enough oil.

Place pan on high heat with oil. Add tempeh and mushrooms. Add a few splashes of soy sauce for taste. Let the tempeh cook for a minute until it absorbs the soy sauce. Tempeh is good at absorbing soy sauce and will turn a brownish color (see top picture). Do not stir yet.
The other reason you don't want to stir too soon is that the tempeh will start to crumble. You want the tempeh to get brown! Have I made my point yet? Keep cooking. If it looks like you need more oil, put in more.

After you see the tempeh get a bit brown, you can then start to stir.
But please do it gently. Take a spatula and lift up and down. Add a dash of garlic powder. Stir again.

You can serve this over rice and/or with broccoli. (See broccoli recipe).

Tempeh is high in protein and yummy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spicy Italian Salad

Los Angeles was in the 80's yesterday (re: weather) and I couldn't bring myself to stand in front of my hot gas stove for the sake of cooked food. So the capers I bought at the store inspired me to make an Italian based salad.

Required: Spinach, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Capers, Black Pepper, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar

If your spinach is not pre-washed please wash before eating and mixing. Slice mushrooms. Cut tomatoes into triangular chunks (I used Roma tomatoes so they were easy to cut.) Take 2-4 Tbsp of capers and dice them. Throw the washed and dried spinach in a bowl. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Top off with capers, Parmesan cheese and spices. The black pepper and cayenne pepper make this salad spicy. Put in less than you think you can handle.

Mix olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Spoon dressing over salad. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yes, it's Asparagus!

To my surprise, I found out recently that one of my co-workers prefers asparagus over broccoli. I had just assumed that most people were iffy on asparagus. Boy, was I wrong! This really simple recipe goes out to the 'a' lovers out there in the world. For those of you who are skeptical, try this and report back to me.

Required: Asparagus, Olive Oil, Garlic, Sea Salt

Prepare asparagus by chopping the stems. I bought my asparagus from Trader Joe's so they were already cut, I simply had to cut them in half. Mince one garlic clove (or two if you love garlic). Oil the pan enough to cover the bottom. Saute the garlic under high heat for a few minutes. Throw in the asparagus. Throw in some salt for taste. Cover while keeping the heat high. You want the stems to get a little dark (see above picture). Stir. Uncover when you think they look about right.

Serve over rice. Yummy!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Huevos Rancheros

Another recipe with tofu and broccoli! I promise I'll insert some variety in here. This dish is inspired by Cafe 101 on Franklin. They have a No Huevos Rancheros (no eggs) entree which uses tofu that's pretty good.

Required: Onion, Corn, Black Beans, Tofu, Salsa, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Olive Oil

Optional: Corn Tortilla, Broccoli, Cumin

Chop the onion! Slice the firm tofu into cubes. Oil pan with 2 or 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute onion. If you're going to use broccoli, I would put it in at this point. Stir in tofu cubes. Sprinkle a little less than desired amount of cayenne pepper and a pinch of cumin. Add black beans then corn. Stir. Sprinkle more cayenne pepper to taste. Top off with sea salt and black pepper to taste and stir.

Prepare a piece of warm corn tortilla on a plate. Spoon the mix onto the tortilla and top with some salsa. Mmm, vegan mexican!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tofu Messy in Bed

I love making this tofu scramble because first, I love breakfast food, but also it's easy to make and yummy to boot.

Required: Tofu, Spinach, White/Yellow Onion, Sea Salt (or just salt), Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Garlic Powder

Optional: Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preparation: Take a block of tofu and place in a medium sized bowl. Take a fork and mash up the tofu. It's easier to use soft tofu, but I often wind up with firm. The firm kind is more clumpy whereas soft tofu tends to be softer (duh) and more watered down. Chop onion.

Ok now that you've got your mashed tofu and onion. Place 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Let it heat up. Then take the onion and saute until soft. Then take the mashed tofu and dump into pan. Stir. Add 4 tsp of garlic powder. Sprinkle with a little black pepper and salt to taste.

Add your pre-washed spinach! Remember spinach tends to shrink a lot, so you'll need to put more than it looks like you'll need. I placed two small handfuls in my pan then covered it so that the steam would shrink the spinach. Once the spinach shrank, I continued to stir.

In the above picture, I topped the scramble off with shredded cheddar and mozzarella soy cheese.