Sunday, June 28, 2009

Broccoli Red Bell Pepper Tofu Asian Stir Fry

I was in the mood for something spicy, loaded with ginger, garlic and all round nutritious to help me kick this horrible lingering cold.

This recipe uses pan-fried pressed tofu. I took the cake and sliced it length wise into 5-10mm thick rectangles. I pressed out the water by placing the sliced tofu cakes on a cutting board covered with a folded tea towel. I covered the cakes with another tea towel, a second cutting board and placed a heavy weight on top. For the weight, it can be a heavy cookbook, or in my case, I used my blender. I let the tofu press for 30 minutes on the counter. I then pan fried it in a non-stick skillet in roasted sesame oil until golden brown.

One little tip for our vegetarian/vegan friends out there, if you rely on tofu for your calcium intake, please read the ingredient label. Many of the more popular organic Quebec tofu brands are made with magnesium. Pick one that's made with calcium and you'll benefit from a huge amount of that all important mineral. Your bones will thank you. The vitamin C in the Red Bell Peppers will help you use that calcium efficiently too.

For this recipe, you'll need:

  • One block tofu, pressed and pan-fried in roasted sesame oil cut into half cm by 5 to 6cm thick strips
  • One red bell pepper - seeded and julienned.
  • One broccoli, cut into florets and the stem, peeled and julienned.
  • 12 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 inch diameter dry whole wheat spaghetti, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 inch gingerroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil - I used corn oil
  • 2 tablespoon gomashio (sesame seed and seaweed - Eden makes a great one)
  • Drizzle to taste spicy chili oil
  • 1/4 tamari or soy sauce
In a hot wok, heat the cooking oil and roasted sesame oil. Add in the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute. Add in the mushroom, and half of the tamari. Stir quickly for one minute and add in the broccoli and red bell pepper. Stir for another minute. Add in the cooked pasta, tofu, remainder of the tamari, scallions, gomashio and drizzle with spicy chili oil to taste. Stir another minute until heated through. Serves 4.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Cooking - Keeping it Outdoors!

Wow, one whole month between this and my last blog post. I've been cooking quite a bit lately, but it really revolves around salads and bbq fare. My home is really warm with this high humidity, high heat Montreal weather.

Some of my favorite items to grill on the barbecue this summer?
  • Tofurkey's vegan Italian sausages - amazingly tasty, almost like the real thing. It's got the caloric value to compete with traditional sausages, a mind blowing 270 calories PER link.

  • Fresh shitake mushrooms - although hard to find in Montreal, the Jean-Talon market has several sellers of wild mushrooms. Lightly brushed with red wine vinegar, olive oil and zappata seasonings, its meaty texture and taste satisfies.

  • Fresh oyster mushrooms - again, easily found at the Jean-Talon market, it absorbs marinate very quickly, so be sparce and brush the marinade on them instead of soaking them in the juice.

  • Asparagus. Grilled asparagus is just amazing!

  • Onions. Naked or marinated, always awesome.

  • Zucchini. see above.
Some things I've tried and am not so impressed with:
  • Baby turnips - it sounded like a good idea at the time, but it never cooked fully and the taste was awful.

  • Yves' Bavarian Bratwursts - the skin chars bizarrely and the taste is dry. Save those for your indoor cooking.
So what if you don't have a bbq but would still enjoy grilled veggies? Try a panini press or raclette griddle. It works.