Looking for inspiration this week I looked through several different books. I thought maybe I’d do barbecued ribs but the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t really feel like the right meal. I looked in one of my favourite cookbooks, “The Healthy Kitchen” by Andrew Weil, and Rosie Daley. Rosie used to cook for Oprah so you know she has to have some good ideas for making food delicious and healthy. I flipped through the pages and came across “Slow-Baked Tofu with Stir-Fry”. Tofu is something many people stay away from because they don’t know what to do with it, and they have pre-conceived ideas on what it tastes like. All my guests were carnivores so I took a bit of a risk hoping they would be adventurous. My goal was to serve a dinner that was out of the ordinary and give my guests something to think and talk about after the meal.
We had a full table this week; my niece and her boyfriend, Mom and Lynda who is a friend who often looks after Moxie when we go away. Lynda reads my blog each week so I thought it would be fun to have her participate in it this week. I’m hoping she enjoyed the adventure.
The evening started with us sitting outside on the patio enjoying appies and listening to stories about the trip Gillian and Chris took last week with their friends from Nova Scotia. They did the West Coast Trail from Port Renfrew to Bamfield on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The stories were very entertaining and the roasted egg plant dip was fantastic. Gillian brought a plate of sweet peppers cut into bite sized pieces and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped off with a bocconcini ball of mozzarella cheese. Of course the dip and the plate of peppers were gluten-free.
The Roasted Eggplant Dip was taken from the June 2009 “Food Every Day” magazine. (A Martha Stewart publication). On page 91 you’ll find the recipe but I’ll give it to you below:
- 1 large eggplant
- 4 garlic cloves (skin on )
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle on the dip before serving
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tabsp. Tahini
- 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
- Paprika for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place eggplant and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast until garlic is soft and golden, 20 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside. Continue to roast eggplant until soft and deflated, 20-25 minutes more. Let cool 20 minutes.
- Slice eggplant open and scrape flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Peel garlic and add to bowl, along with lemon juice, tahini, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Process until smooth. (Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days).
- Serve drizzled with more oil and sprinkle with paprika if desired. Serves 8
I chose to marinate and bake the tofu, and make the peanut sauce ahead of time so that when people arrived, I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen. You can find these recipes on pages 193, 126 and 52 (The Healthy Kitchen). This meal is great because you get your helping of vegetables and they are all tossed and cooked in a delicious marinade. The recipe suggested you serve the stir-fry over Spanish rice (page 136) with peanut sauce as a garnish (page 52 “The Healthy Kitchen”). However you can also serve the stir-fry over Brown Rice topped with sesame seeds.
Slow-Baked Tofu with Stir-Fry
- 1 tsp. toasted-sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼ cup of natural soy sauce (such as tamari)
- 2 tbsp. peeled, sliced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp Dijon-type mustard
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 16 oz. packaged firm tofu
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a baking dish.
- Drain the tofu and slice it vertically into nine ½ inch segments.
- Lay the tofu slices in the marinade and turn them gently, using a spoon, to completely coat each one. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Turn the tofu over and baste the tops with the marinade. Continue to bake for another 30 minutes, until the tofu slices puff up, turn light brown, and become slightly hard.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. When completely cooled, cut into cubes.
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. natural soy sauce (such as tamari)
- 1 tbsp. Thai chili sauce or 1 tbsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp. shopped chives
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the sesame oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Cook for 4 minutes, until the garlic turns golden brown.
- Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, chili sauce or flakes, paprika, and cumin and whisk until completely blended.
- Add the ginger, honey and peanut butter, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick.
- Remove from heat and add the parsley, chives, and mint.
- Pour 1 cup into a bowl and put the rest in the refrigerator to be used within the next week on vegetables, chicken or just plain rice. This recipe makes enough for a second meal. I can hardly wait to pour the peanut sauce over chicken on a bed of spinach.
Tonight – Wednesday we used up the leftover Peanut Sauce and poured it over barbecued chicken on a bed of spinach. It was delicious!
Now, back to Sunday…
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped white onion
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup shopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 ½ cups brown rice
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ tsp. salt
- Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot over low heat; add the onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and sauté, stirring for 3 minutes.
- Add the spices, rice stock, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
- ½ head broccoli
- 1 large onion, sliced and peeled
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut match-stick style
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ lb. snow peas strings removed
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 tbsp. natural soy sauce (such as tamari)
- ¼ cup water or vegetable stock.
Garnish – 1- 1/2 cups peanut dipping sauce or 2 tbsp. sesame seeds.
- Cut the florets off the head of the broccoli, slicing the large ones in half so they are all more or less the same size. You should have about 2 cups. Discard the stalks or save them for another stir-fry or for soups
- Sauté the onion, garlic, and carrots for 3 minutes in the olive oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat, being careful not to burn the oil. It should not smoke.
- Toss in the broccoli, show peas, and mushrooms. Stir with a wooden spoon to keep the vegetables moving for another 2 minutes.
- Stir the soy sauce into the vegetables, add the water or vegetable stock and continue cooking for a minute. Drop in the cubed tofu, toss a few times, cook for 2 more minutes, then turn off the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables steam for about 6 minutes.
- Place ½ cup prepared rice on each of 6 plates, cover with equal portions of the stir-fry, and top with some peanut sauce or 1 tsp. sesame seeds.
- Voila, another delicious vegetarian meal.
Dessert was my strawberry rhubarb and ginger crumble served with some vanilla coconut milk ice cream.
Our Empowered Health show is on reruns now so I won’t bore you with clips from the cooking segments.
I will however, remind you of our retreat on Bowen Island planed for October 4-6th this fall. We only have room for 20 people so if you are thinking about attending the earlier you sign up the better. There is a $100 saving for registering before September 6th 2013. Here is a link to our site that explains what the weekend is about. https://sites.google.com/a/nourish2flourish.ca/rejuvenate-me/sessions
The Healthy Kitchen – Recipes for a Better Body, Life and Spirit. Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley. ISBN 0-375-41306-5