Monthly Archives: February 2015

Soba Noodles with Tofu and Coconut Chili Sauce

sobanoodles_Thai1

Recently I have been trying different one pot dishes.  Rice and curry does feel good.  But the problem – When it comes to rice, I always end up making three different curries for dinner.  So to save some extra time, I thought of making this dish which is quite healthy and filling.  I wouldn’t call this a quick quick dish, but compared to making 3 curries, this is pretty quick.  While I was chopping the vegetables, I was thinking about making a sauce that is totally different and not so common for noodle dishes.  Initially I was a bit hesitant of making this sauce with coconut milk.  But once I made the sauce, it came out really good – the taste of coconut milk combined with the Thai red chili paste.  The color of the sauce also gives this dish a nice reddish color even though you don’t see it much since the noodle itself is brown.

sobanoodles_Thai

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz soba noodles
  • 7 oz water packed extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 head small broccoli
  • cooking spray
  • salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon Thai red chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons thick coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil

Method:

  • Cook soba noodles according to package directions, or bring a saucepan water to a rolling boil.  Add noodles and cook for 3 minutes and drain.  Wash noodles under running cold water.  This is to prevent noodles cooking and becoming soft.
  • Drain tofu by wrapping it in paper towel and place a heavy saucepan on the top for about 15 minutes.  Cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray oil o a cookie sheet.
  • Cut bell pepper into half lengthwise and remove seeds and mid rib.  Slice them thinly and cut into diagonally to 2 pieces
  • Wash and remove thick stems of broccoli.  Break them into small florets.
  • Add bell pepper and broccoli to the cookie sheet and roast for about 25 minutes.
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil to a skillet and add tofu and saute until it is browned.  Drain on paper towel
  • To make the sauce add 1 teaspoon cooking oil to skillet and add garlic and saute until garlic is lightly golden.  Mix chili paste, water, coconut milk, and lemon juice.  Add to the skillet and cook until sauce thickens – about 1 minute.  If needed add extra water while cooking.  It is better to cook at least one minute so the chili gets cooked.  Otherwise it might give a burning taste.
  • Mix in cooked noodles, roasted vegetables, and tofu and mix well.  Cook on very low flame for about 2 minutes stirring constantly to incorporate the sauce into noodles.  If it gets dry sprinkle with little water at times.  Season with salt
  • Yields: 2 main dish
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Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta.

Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

mushroomBruschetta

I have been wanting to make this dish for a while.  Finally I got the dried porcini mushroom which gives a great flavor to the bruschetta.  If you are in a hurry, this is one of those dishes that can be done within 10 minutes.  To save time, you can buy the sliced porabella mushroom.  This can be served as an appetizer or an accompaniment with soup.

Ingredients:

  • French bread
  • 1/4 cup dried mushroom (porcini, oyster, shitake etc.)
  • 8 oz portabella mushroom sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • salt
  • red chili flakes
  • parsley sprig
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil + extra olive oil for french bread

Method:

  • Add dried mushrooms to a bowl and cover with warm water and let stand for about 10 minutes
  • Wash thoroughly to remove any grits and soil particles and squeeze out the water.  Chop them into very small pieces.
  • Add oil to a skillet and when hot add dried mushrooms, sliced portabella mushroom, and garlic and saute until all water that was released my mushroom is absorbed and mushroom are dry and browned
  • Add salt and crushed red chili flakes.
  • Meanwhile cut french bread into thick slices and brush with extra virgin olive oil.  Toast until crisp
  • Spoon sauteed mushroom over each bread slice and top with chopped parsley.
  • Note: Instead of parsley, top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Yields: 8 bruschetta

Couscous with Black Beans and Zucchini Ribbons

blackbeancouscous1

After coming home from work, I will be so tired and some times I don’t even want to step into the kitchen.  Today is one of those days and once I walked in, I was thinking whether to get some frozen food from the refrigerator or cook some thing that is quick and simple.  I browsed through my cabinets and found a small can of black beans and of course couscous.  So immediately I decided what I wanted for dinner, some thing simple, flavorful and spicy.  For this dish I used canned black beans and whole wheat couscous.  I am not a fan of canned goods.  But once in a while I go for it – well I always have at least one can of black bean, kidney bean and chick pea in my kitchen cabinet for any emergency situation.  This vegetarian dish is simple to cook, but packed with a lot of nutrients.

blackbeancouscous

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cups couscous
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed coriander
  • 3/4 cups cooked black beans (or canned black beans)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • half of one small zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • cooking spray
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons parsley finely chopped

Method:

  • Add water and olive oil to a covered saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat.   Add couscous, crushed coriander, and salt and cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut sweet potatoes into half-an inch cubes.  Thinly slice bell pepper.  Spray a little bit oil to a cookie sheet and spread bell pepper, and sweet potato and roast for about half an hour.
  • Thinly slice onion and garlic.  Add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil to a small skillet.  Once hot add onion and garlic and saute until golden brown.  Remove from the skillet.  Now thinly slice zucchini into ribbons.  Add the ribbons to the skillet and fry on both sides until lightly browned.
  • Add sauteed onion, roasted vegetables, black beans, zucchini, and crushed red pepper to couscous and mix well.  Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Garnish with additional zucchini strips.
  • Yields: 2-3 main dish

Apple Raisin Crepe Pouches in Strawberry Orange Sauce

AppleCrepPouches

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 4 oz strawberries chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon castor sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 4 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground almond (almond meal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crepes:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • pinch of salt
  • extra ground almond for garnish
  • oil or butter for skillet

Method:

  • To make the sauce, add chopped strawberries, orange juice, and castor sugar to a saucepan and cook on medium flame for about 4-5 minutes.  Let cool and puree
  • To make the filling, add butter to a skillet and when it start to sizzle, add apples and brown sugar and cook apples are lightly soft.  Add raisins and cook further one minute.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in cinnamon, and ground almonds.
  • To make the crepes, beat egg white lightly.  Beat in oil and milk.  Add salt to the flour.  Slowly add milk mixture to the flour and mix well until batter is smooth.  It is OK to have a little bit of small lumps.
  • Add a little butter to a 9 inch skillet and once it starts sizzling, swirl the pan to coat pan with butter.
  • Add a spoon full of batter and swirl to cover pan.  Cook until edges are lightly golden.  Flip over and cook until done
  • Divide filling into four portions.
  • To serve, place a portion of apple-raisin filling in the middle of a crepe and fold the edges to form a pouch.  Tie the ends with a string.
  • Place the pouch on a plate and add sauce.  Sprinkle with ground almonds.

Almond Coated Jam Cookies

meltingcookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz butter
  • 3 oz castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz self rising flour
  • Almond meal for coating
  • Raspberry preserves

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet with butter and set aside
  • In a bowl beat sugar and butter together.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  • Sift flour over the butter mixture and with a spatula mix into a soft dough
  • Divide the dough into about 16-20 pieces and roll into small balls.  If the dough is too sticky to roll, leave it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes
  • Roll the balls in ground almond and place on the cookie sheet.  Slightly press with thumb to flatten.
  • Then make a small depression in the middle with your finger and spoon a drop of raspberry preserve in the middle.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown
  • Allow cookies to cool in the cookie sheet and then transfer to wire rack.

Eggs and Tomatoes on Olive Toast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us ignore this.  Most of the time we finish our breakfast with a cup of coffee or cereal.  Here is a healthy one you can make in just a couple of minutes.  Eggs are nutrient dense food with an excellent source of protein and other essential vitamins.  Juicy ripe tomatoes gives this sandwich an extra flavor especially with a sprinkle of ground black pepper.  I made this sandwich for 2 people.  You can double  the number of bread and egg or make as many as you want.

eggsandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 medium size eggs
  • 1 small tomato
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Scallion/spring onion
  • Parsley
  • Ground black pepper
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Method:

  • Brush olive oil on one side of the bread
  • Place the bread in a toaster face down (olive oil brushed side) and toast until lightly browned.  Keep aside warm
  • In a small skillet brush a little olive oil and break the egg add to the skillet  making sure not to break the yolk
  • Cook about a minute and turn over and cook for another minute
  • Slice tomatoes thinly.  Chop spring onion and parsley into small pieces
  • To assemble, place toast olive oil brushed side up on a plate and place the cooked egg on the bread.  Now place sliced tomato slice and sprinkle with black pepper
  • Garnish with chopped spring onion and parsley