zesty peanut & ginger sauce tofu wraps


Weekends spent working in our Spring garden call for easy and satisfying meals that can be made ahead and create popular leftovers for another meal too. For some, planning to serve dinner as a wrap with a cold beer is a recipe for success. That concept inspired me to revisit my baked tofu with bhutanese brown rice recipe, and this is what I came up with:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb block firm tofu, rinsed
  • peanut sauce (recipe follows)
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain or whole wheat tortillas
  • lacinato kale, chopped
  • red onion, chopped
  • celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375. Rinse tofu, cut block into 3 slices horizontally, then each slice into half to make 6 servings each about 1/4 inch thick and providing 12 g of protein. Place in square 9×9 baking pan. Prepare peanut sauce. Pour enough peanut sauce over tofu to fully cover, reserving some for serving later. Baked tofu will keep in refrigerator for 5 days, but does not freeze very well as the texture changes upon thawing.

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black bean & quinoa with basil baked veggie burger- revisited


Delicious Bajiya patties made by the Horn of Africa restaurant that we ate recently were my inspiration for this recipe. I saw from their menu that theirs were made of ground garbanzos and split peas, lightly fried. I had some things I wanted to use up in my refrigerator, also some good cold beer, and a friend coming over… and came up with this oven-baked delicious veggie burger.

ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, mostly mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 8-10 large leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • scant 1/4 c parmesan cheese, or to make vegan roughly ground walnuts
  • 1 egg, or to make vegan 1T ground flax seed mixed with water to egg consistency
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 t salt and black pepper to taste

instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F, and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse canned beans very well, drain, then mostly lightly mash in a large mixing bowl: leave just enough partial bean chunks to provide for an interesting texture, but not so large chunks as to cause the patties to fall apart when baked. Chop and dice and mix all veggies, then add to the mashed beans with the cooked quinoa, parmesan, and spices. Stir the beaten egg (or in lieu of egg the ground flax seed) into the bean mixture. Batter will be sticky and heavy. Use a 1/4 c scoop, then your palm to form lightly flattened round patties. Bake about 12 minutes, then check the bottoms; flip carefully and bake for another 8-12 minutes or so, until lightly browned both bottom and top, and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 8 patties. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. These store well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple days, also freeze well when separated by wax paper.

 

celery root, turnip & black bean salad over kale


Some know it as celeriac, others call it celery root, and some have no idea what it is or what to do with it. Whether it’s seen as funny looking, ugly, or intimidating, it’s a delicious vitamin packed tuber. Some claim it was cultivated in Italy during the 1600’s, and it’s common in Europe today if not in all parts of the USA. It’s high in fiber and vitamins B, C, and K. It’s also a good source of phosphorus and potassium. Best of all, it’s a crunchy and tasty winter vegetable available in the Pacific Northwest that can be paired with many yummy companion flavors.

I wanted to make a winter salad with lightly steamed winter white celery root and turnip paired with black beans and black Forbidden Rice to serve over fresh Italian kale. My celery root was good sized so I made quite a bit– and it disappeared fast! so I’ll make it again before the season for it passes.

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In case you’re uncertain about how to best cut into a large celery root: chop off the bottom and then the top to make flat edges. Then with the celery root placed securely on its flat base, using a sharp knife cut/pare away the rough and knoty outer surface working at an angle from the top, cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down the root. When you get about half way to the bottom, flip it so the bottom becomes the top, and keep cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down. It cuts easily. Once you’ve cut away the outer surface, slice it into 1/4 inch or so rounds, then chop to your desired shape and size.

ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 4 or so good sized shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 t sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c dry Forbidden Black rice
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 bunch Italian kale

instructions:

Bring scant 1 cup water to a boil with a pinch of salt, add well-rinsed black rice, then simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until water absorbed and rice has nice texture. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, set aside.

Saute diced shallots in 1 T olive oil until translucent and just beginning to turn brown. Set aside in large casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same skillet and a little more olive oil if necessary, saute chopped celery root and turnip over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/8 c fresh water, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes until celery root and turnip are fragrant and softened a bit, but not mushy. Drain off any residual water, then add shallots and well rinsed black beans, stir all together well. Transfer to your large casserole dish with airtight lid, and dress with 1 T fresh lemon juice. When ready to serve, rip kale into bite sized pieces (discard the thick center spine), then place some cooked black rice and celery root mixture on top. This microwaves nicely for leftovers, or for the first serving if you like the texture of lightly cooked kale, as I do.

 

black-eyed peas with kale, dijon mustard & thoughts on traditions


My mother was raised in Texas, and her parents were from Oklahoma and Louisiana, so  in keeping Southern traditions every New Years dinner my mother served black-eyed peas and ham. Black-eyed peas in the South are traditionally eaten at the start of the year to bring good luck in wealth; adding greens doubles down on wealth (and nutrients too.) I’ve adapted this recipe to include fresh kale (collard greens are the classic Southern side), and also some heat from the lemon drop pepper and texture from the fresh celery.

Throughout my childhood each holiday included food traditions– some which I enjoyed (especially the boxes of Van Duyn’s dark chocolates each December when we put up the Christmas tree!) and some not so much (the gamey lamb with sugary green mint jelly at Easter.)  Beneath this New Year’s tradition though the messaging I remember learning from my young mother includes “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” and “There’s never enough.” She was widowed at a very young age which fairly shook her confidence when she had two small children and no career plans other than being a wife and at-home mother. Yet we certainly never went hungry or lacked for anything we needed.

As an adult I’ve reflected on what I learned from my mother’s actions and words, incuding how food traditions are “baked in” to most of our lives, how we celebrate with food and alcohol, and soothe ourselves and others with food and alcohol “treats”. I think about how our core values are messaged through our choices of what and how we eat, both intentionally through holiday rituals and unintentionally in our daily routines.

I want to keep what’s good from my life experiences, and discard what is not supportive of my living mindfully, well, and feeling good in the years to come. So I’ve retained my mother’s black-eyed peas New Years good luck in wealth tradition– I’ve taken her recipe, and made it mine by deleting the ham, deleting the fear of loss and not having enough. I’ve added kale and hot pepper, self-reliance with a career to support myself and my daughter, also study of nutrition and exercise for physical well being, and thus confidence. Here’s to a healthy and wealthy, purposeful and productive, and happy New Year for all!

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, well rinsed
  • 1 T plus 1 t whole-grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used hot lemon drop)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped into thin ribbons
  • scant 1/4 c olive oil
  • scant 1/8 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed juice with pulp
  • scant 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground green or black pepper to taste

instructions:
Carefully inspect dried black eyed peas, discard any stones or misfits, then rinse well. Place dried peas in a large pot, cover with water and let soak to soften for 4-8  hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cover generously with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until soft but not mushy, about 30 min-1 hour. Drain. Rinse to cool and drain again.

Place the chopped kale in a large bowl, drizzle with a little of the olive oil and salt, then massage until just softened. Add in the diced vegetables. Stir together well, then add the drained cooked black-eyed peas and mix those in gently. Whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  This can be made a day or even two ahead– refrigerated in a covered casserole dish, the flavors will meld. Serve hot over rice as Hoppin’ John, a traditional black-eyed pea dish, enhanced with veggies.

yam & black bean enchiladas with cilantro & sunflower seed pesto


Making my grocery list I was thinking about my adult daughter coming home soon for Christmas– Hallelujah! Her favorite childhood meal was always my tofu enchiladas, and long past her graduation from college “tofu enchiladas” was still her answer when I’d ask what she’d like me to make for her first meal at home. She’s had her own kitchen now for many years, and she texts or calls me sometimes when that’s what she’s cooking.

So that’s how I came to be thinking about making enchiladas. I was also thinking I craved a good pesto, but not a basil pesto, not on classic Italian pasta. I wanted cilantro, and black beans, maybe salmon? Then the thoughts blended together and I contemplated making a New Enchilada recipe. Would she think that sacrilege? I considered new growth…  Having “tested” it, I can say I think they’re tasty! When my daughter arrives home in time for dinner tonight I have New Enchilada left overs for us.  (And, while grocery shopping I also bought beer, tofu and Ezekiel tortillas, so if she answers “tofu enchiladas”  I will smile knowing “mom’s enchiladas are best”. I’ll hand her a cold beer and enjoy her updates while I easily put those together, knowing the recipe by heart.

 

enchilada ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1/4 t sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2-2 c cooked black beans, or 1 can, well rinsed
  • 1-2 T fresh lime juice
  • 6 organic corn tortillas, softened

enchilada instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Saute chopped yam in 1-2 T olive oil  in large skillet, adding cumin after a minute or two. Continue stirring until yam is just starting to brown, then add a couple T fresh water, reduce heat and simmer covered for 3-4 minutes, until yam just beginning to soften. Add chopped red pepper and continue to steam for 2 minutes. Test for doneness, cooking until yam and red pepper are just soft but still bright, not mushy. Add black beans, salt and black pepper to taste, and mix all together well. Prepare 9×9 baking dish with a little olive oil. Soften corn tortillas (in fry pan or pre-heating oven), spoon yam and bean mixture into tortillas, roll and place into baking pan. Top with pesto (recipe follows.) Pour lime juice over top, then bake covered for about 20 minutes. Serve garnished with reserved toasted sunflower seeds.

pesto ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 2 cups
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon drop hot pepper
  • 1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c pecorino or parmesan grated cheese
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 -1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lime juice

pesto instructions:

Using dry cast iron or ceramic skillet, toast raw sunflower seeds over medium heat stirring constantly. Set aside. Place garlic in food processor, mince finely, then add hot pepper to running food processor. Add 1/4 cup of toasted sunflower seeds, the cilantro, grated cheese, salt and pepper, process until all chopped finely and well mixed. With food processor running, add lime juice then olive oil slowly– until mixture reaches your desired consistency. Store in a glass jar with tight lid in refrigerator for 3-5 days, or place large “dollops” into center of squares cut of plastic wrap, twist wrap tightly around each dollop of pesto, then place dollops into tightly sealed plastic bag in freezer. Will store in freezer for several months.

 

 

cauliflower & turnip soup with caraway & black mustard seeds


I don’t much like Facebook engagement gimmick challenges and games, but when I saw the “Seven days, seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation.” challenge, I knew one of my family or friends would tag me. And I didn’t dread it, as I enjoy taking my camera out several times a day, most days. There are so many interesting and beautiful things to really look at and engage with through a lens. Naturally one of the first photos I took as a black and white composition had to do with cooking. I was thinking about the cauliflower soup I wanted to make that day…

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ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red potato, chopped
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, including stems, chopped into small flowerettes
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1 t caraway seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups fresh water

instructions:

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, using large soup pot heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium heat then add black mustard seeds. Stir until seeds start to pop, then add caraway seeds and chopped onions and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Add red potato and minced garlic and continue to stir for about 2 minutes, until onions and red potatoes have started to brown. Add chopped turnip, cauliflower, celery, and carrot, then about 6 cups of water just prior or post boiling. Add salt and reduce heat to simmer covered for about 10 minutes; simmer until all veggies are soft, then remove from heat to cool. After cooled, puree soup in batches carefully in a half-full blender, then return to soup pot. Add fresh ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Serve hot.

This soup is both savory with a hint of natural sweetness, the caraway a pleasing and comforting following flavor. I thought initially I’d serve this garnished with pomegranate seeds, but decided against that. I chose to garnish my soup with fresh cranberries and my partner had his “straight up”– delicious with a salad of romaine and radicchio, daikon radish, roasted pumpkin seeds and feta.

 

yellow squash and kale salad with figs, pumpkin seeds, ginger & lime


Indian Summer hot days and quickly cooling evenings, plentiful summer squash and ripe figs were my inspiration for this turn of season main dish salad. Bright yellow and deep green, the sweet figs and tart lime, the crunch of the seeds– yum! This is a full and satisfying healthy meal, with good protein from the tempeh and pumpkin seeds, lots of vitamin C, A, and K from the yellow peppers and kale, minerals potassium and calcium from the figs, magnesium and zinc from the seeds.

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ingredients:

  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • about 6 black mission figs, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1/2 cup raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 lime, juice and pulp
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Pour 2 T olive oil into skillet and heat over medium flame. Stir black mustard seeds until they begin to pop, then add cubed tempeh and saute until lightly browned. Set the tempeh aside in a casserole dish with lid. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and saute the coarsely chopped yellow squash and minced ginger root for 3 minutes or so, then add the chopped yellow pepper, a splash of white wine or water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 minutes until squash and yellow peppers are bright and softened, but not mushy. Add this to the tempeh.

Cut the thick stems from the kale, then cut the leaves lengthwise in half, roll and slice into thin ribbons. Place kale in large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a scant 1/8 t salt, then massage the kale with your hands for about 3 minutes to soften it.

Mix the tempeh with squash and yellow peppers into the softened kale, adding in your chopped red onion and pumpkin seeds. Lastly gently add the sliced figs. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. Refrigerate in covered casserole dish. Serve chilled or warmed.