De Ma Cuisine

Thursday

29

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

Red Choi Stir Fry with Tofu and Almonds

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Lunch, Main Dishes, Nuts, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Quinoa, Rice, Sauces, Vegetables

RedChoiStirFry-8

It makes me super happy when I’ve made something that’s loaded with veggies, and Tim, unprompted, tells me how much he likes it. What a guy! Good thing he liked it so much (even the tofu!), because I am sold.

RedChoiStirFry-1

First of all, tofu is a cheap way to get some protein into a dish. I know, I know, not everyone is crazy about soy. So, if you’re not a tofu fanatic, that’s awesome too! Be who you are, right?! If you’d like, add some chicken instead, Tempeh is great too (but also a soybean product), beef and pork would also be super yum. Or, go totally vegetarian and add some more nuts (even a scoop of peanut or almond butter mixed into the sauce would be great).

See how easy that was?! Substitution central over here. This is one where there’s something for everyone.

Oh yeah, and if you’re vegan, omit the fish sauce. (No duh, Rachel. You knew that… We taught our 2 year old niece to say, “No duh, Uncle Tim” over the holidays. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Especially when she started saying it to Oma too.) I’d planned to make this a vegan dish. I was going to add some honey, then remembered that some vegans don’t eat honey. I finished cooking and realized that fish sauce is obviously not vegan. Eye roll and shrug of the shoulders. I can’t expect my brain to work perfectly all the time. ;)

RedChoiStirFry-2

This is my go-to stir fry sauce. It’s simple. Soy sauce (or a gluten-free version, which tastes remarkably similar), fish sauce, and rice vinegar. Sometimes I use cornstarch and water, to act as a thickener. Either way, we think it tastes great.

RedChoiStirFry-3

Stir Fry is one of those awesome meals for using up whatever veggies are hanging out in the fridge. It’s also a way to pack in many many veggies, but can also be great if you’ve just got broccoli and an onion left at the end of the week. My goal, this time, was to find a way to use the red choi. The rest of the veggies are kinda just a bonus. Plus, it’s a great dish for cabbage using up. And, tastes great with an Asian slaw on the side. Yep, do it, get your cabbage on!

RedChoiStirFry-4

Anoooooother reason I love Stir Fry, it’s so incredibly quick to prepare. Veggies cook over higher heat, so they cook fast and retain their bright color. A friend gave me a wok, so now I don’t throw veggies all over the stove.

Don’t forget, keep those veggies moving. High heat means they’re gonna burn if you leave them unattended.

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Once the veggies are cooked (see how greeeeeeeen they are still!?), sauce goes in, cooks for like 2 minutes more, and then you’re done!

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You could stand there and eat it out of the wok. Totally fine with me.

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But, maybe a better option is to scoop some rice onto a plate, slide some tofu next to it, and pile on those veggies.

If you’ve already eaten 5 pieces of the crispy tofu, I understand. I may have done the same.

May have.

Happy Eating!

Red Choi Stir Fry with Tofu and Almonds

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 21 minutes

Total Time: 31 minutes

Yield: 2-4

Red Choi Stir Fry with Tofu and Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 C brown rice (rice noodles, quinoa, or bulgur wheat would also be great)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 block firm tofu, sliced about 1/8" to 1/4" thick
  • to taste salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch ginger
  • 2 t olive oil, divided
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • pinch ginger
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 C carrots or celery, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 C broccoli or cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2-4 T radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 C cabbage (or collard greens or kale), chopped
  • 1 head red choi stems, chopped
  • (could also add: snap peas, bean sprouts, green beans, summer squash, butternut squash)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head red choi leaves, chopped
  • 2 T almonds, chopped, for serving

Instructions

  1. Cook rice.
  2. While rice cooks, sprinkle both sides of the tofu with salt, cayenne, and ginger. Heat skillet over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 t olive oil, when it's hot add tofu, working in batches so the pan isn't overcrowded, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side (or until sides are browned and crispy), adding more oil as needed. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Whisk together soy sauce through ginger. Set aside.
  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 T olive oil. When oil is hot, add carrots through salt. Cook, stirring constantly (picking veggies up with tongs and moving them around works best for me), for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red choi leaves and cook for about 2 minutes more.
  5. Stir in sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes (or until sauce has thickened).
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Serve over rice, topped with chopped almonds.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/red-choi-stir-fry-with-tofu-and-almonds/

P.S. Those leftovers, plomp it all together in a pan and heat it up. The rice will love the sauce, and get a little bit crispy and extra yummy.

Monday

26

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

Bulgur Wheat with Sausage and Apples

Written by , Posted in Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Grains, Main Dishes, Meat, Pork, Quick and Easy, Rice, Sausage, Vegetables

BulgurRisotto-6

I am a big fan of quick weeknight dinners. I’m all for slow-cooked, braised, take the whole afternoon to cook kinda meals. But, most weekdays I’m tired, there are dirty dishes in the sink, and I just want to eat something. Now.

This dish kinda has it all. It’s simple, but satisfying. Especially if you have some crusty bread with butter to go alongside. We did not, but maybe if I plan ahead for eating the leftovers we will. ;)

BulgurRisotto-2

Bulgur wheat is one of my go-tos. It’s similar tasting to brown rice, but cooks quicker. Also, bulgur is a fun word to say. The dog is staring at my while I repeat it to myself right now.

BulgurRisotto-1

I made this over the summer for the first time. I used zucchini. Since it’s winter and I had a bunch of carrots in my garden, that’s what I used this time. They went nicely with the apple-sausage combination I had going on. I think butternut squash or sweet potatoes would also taste great, if that’s what you have on hand.

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While the bulgur cooks, the rest of the meal comes together. It’s a really quick and easy dinner to prepare. A little chopping, two pots, and you’re ready to go.

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I added a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt and a splash of whole milk for creaminess. And the first time I made it, I added some parmesan cheese. I didn’t have any this time, but if I did, I’d definitely add it, so I left it in the recipe.

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We will probably have the leftovers for dinner tonight, even though I haven’t figured out the bread situation.

Happy Eating!

Bulgur Wheat with Sausage and Apples

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 3 or so.

Bulgur Wheat with Sausage and Apples

Ingredients

  • 1 C bulgur wheat (I used coarse) (could use brown rice or quinoa to make it gluten-free - adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C carrots* (or zucchini in the summer), chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2 C apple, chopped
  • 2 fully cooked sausage links (I used Argentine inspired), removed from casing (could substitute lentils to make it vegetarian)
  • 2-3 T Greek or plain yogurt
  • splash whole milk (any kind you like - cow, almond, coconut...)
  • 1/2 C parmesan, grated (optional)
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • *butternut squash, pumpkin, mushrooms, corn, cabbage, onion, celery, leeks, spinach, or tomatoes would also be yummy additions. Cooking time may vary depending on the type of veggies used.

Instructions

  1. Bring the bulgur and water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for about 15-20 min or so (or until tender).
  2. Heat a pan, add the olive oil, and when it's hot, add the carrots, some salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the apple and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the sausage is heated through.
  3. Stir in the yogurt, milk, and parmesan. Cook for 1-2 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  4. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/bulgur-wheat-with-sausage-and-apples/

Thursday

22

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

How to Use it Best – Winter Edition

Written by , Posted in How To, Storage/Prep

HoneyRoastedCarrotsParsnips2

It’s no secret that I love to roast veggies. I’ve been known to roast anything from beets, to peas, to cabbage. But, not all veggies are alike. And not all veggies act the same when they’re thrown into a pot of boiling water, sautéed in a skillet, or roasted in the oven.

Here’s some of what I’ve found to work (and sometimes not work), in my experience as a home cook.

In Soups

CannelliniBeetGreenSoup-2

I use potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, and rutabagas interchangeably in soups. They respond similarly, and, unless I know that one or the other might not pair well with another of the soup’s components, if I have one, but not the other, I’m going to use what I have. Same thing with broccoli and cauliflower – I find them similar enough. And when it comes to soups, I’ll usually add as many veggies as I can. Starting with the harder veggies (think roots like carrots and beets), then adding slightly softer guys (hello broccoli and cauliflower, maybe even cabbage, and herbs like rosemary and thyme), and adding more delicate greens and herbs at the end (kale, chard, dill, parsley).

Cooking 101 – One of the keys to adding things at the same time is to make sure they’re chopped/diced/cubed the same size as all the other components. This will ensure that someone doesn’t burn, while someone else is still raw. This goes for any method of cooking.

In Salads

RoastedRadishes1

I love lots of different textures in a salad. I will often combine a nice butter lettuce with tuna, a hard boiled egg, some chopped nuts, croutons, dried fruit, and grated or chopped veggies.

I prefer to grate hard root veggies like carrots and radishes. If you’re ok with raw beets, grate them too. But, you can also roast for salads. Roasted beet chips and crispy potatoes are some of my favorite salad toppers.

Cooking 101 – If you want to tame a spicy radish a bit, grate it. You won’t bite into a big chunk of burning, if that’s not what you were hoping to get from your salad.

In the Oven

RoastedButternutSquashSoupVegan-5

As Fries

I love to cut potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and winter squash into sticks to make fries. Mostly, because I want to dip them in yummy sauce.

In Smaller Pieces

A head of broccoli or cauliflower cut into bite sized chunks, some cubes of potato, winter squash, or sweet potato; wheels of carrot, one inch pieces of beet all make a great side when roasted. Just toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper before they head into the oven, and you’re good to go.

Cooking 101 - The stem of the broccoli doesn’t need to be discarded. Simply peel the tough outer layer, then slice the inner portion and use as you would the florets.

Roasting Whole

Beets are my favorite to roast whole. Recently, I’ve discovered that it’s best to put them in a pan, with about a cup of water, then tightly cover with foil. They will take about an hour (for small-ish beets) at around 425F, and maybe 10 to 20 minutes more if they’re larger.

Obviously, potatoes are kinda famous for being roasted whole. Sweet potatoes are the same story. You can leave them as they are, or wrap them in foil if you want. If you’re gonna do the foil method, before you wrap them up, drizzle them with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, so the skin is extra tasty. I like things extra tasty, so I’m all over the oliveoilsaltextrayummyskin.

And there’s the winter squash, which technically I don’t roast whole, I cut them in half, but they’re so huge that I think they count. Sometimes, when I have a whole bunch on the counter I will roast them all, then scrape the roasted flesh out of the skin and freeze it. It makes soup prep incredibly easy. (And, save this tip for summer: I do the same thing when I have loads and loads of eggplant.)

Cooking 101 – You don’t have to peel beets before you roast them. Once they’re soft, leave them to cool slightly (covered or uncovered, I haven’t noticed much of a difference either way), then using gloves, a paper towel, a paring knife, or your fingers, peel the skin off – it should be pretty easy (and oddly satisfying).

On the Stove Top

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Steaming

I find that most veggies respond pretty well to steam. By this, of course, I mean veggies that are meant to be eaten cooked. I probably wouldn’t steam lettuce… although at the moment, that’s the only one coming to mind that I wouldn’t… But, you know, use your judgement on this one.

Some of my favorites to steam are: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans.

I prefer steaming over boiling, because I think the veggies retain more of their nutrients.

Cooking 101 – Save leftover steaming or boiling water to cook pasta, or to make veggie stock with the scraps that would have gone in the compost.

Boiling

My Oma always boiled the potatoes for special dinners. They tasted great. I know that boiling is the way people often cook potatoes when they’re going to be mashed. When I took that cooking class in Paris, that’s how we boiled the potatoes. It’s a tried and true method. And you can really pop quite a few veggies in a bunch of really hot water and get good results. Just beware that if you leave them too long, they can become water-logged and mushy, and may just fall apart in the pot (and then you adapt and pretend that you’d always planned to make soup).

Cooking 101 – So that you can save the boiling water for pasta cooking or stock, use a slotted spoon to pull out the veggies, rather than just dumping the water out. Or, if you don’t have anything else to cook, let the water cool completely, then take it outside to water your plants.

Sautéeing

Aren’t veggies just so versatile?! I mean, we’ve gone from roasting, to steaming, and now sautéeing, and there are some veggie-friends that are good with any option. So, I’d say, that things like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, are an easy yes. If you want to do potatoes, carrots, parsnips… you know, the harder roots, that’s awesome too, just smaller pieces, and plenty of time. And then, if you want to go with the more delicate greens, like kale, chard, mizuna, mustard greens, and spinach, you’ll start with what feels like way too much, and end up with the perfect amount. If you’re starting with some harder veggies, once they’re a few minutes from being done, add the greens. They won’t take long and add a lot to a dish.

Cooking 101 – Don’t throw away those beet greens! They’re delicious sautéed, in salads, and in soups.

However you prepare them, have fun with your veggies!

Thursday

15

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

Hearty Winter Salad with Dill Dressing

Written by , Posted in Beans, Eggs, Gluten Free, Herbs, Legumes, Lunch, Main Dishes, Potatoes, Quick and Easy, Salads, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

WinterSalad-7

Very rarely do I want a break from soup when the weather is cold. But, every once in a while it’s ok to take a breather from a steaming bowl of goodness. And I really do love the crunch of raw veggies. I also like how different a salad looks in the winter, compared to summer.

WinterSalad-2

This simple meal starts with some hardboiled eggs. If you’re not in the mood for eggs, you could use tuna as an alternative.

WinterSalad-4

When I was cooking these eggs, I thought I’d try to do them a different way from the way that I always do it, the way that works every time. I’d seen it done differently on TV, or read about it on a blog, or someone said something at some point in life about a different way to hard boil an egg.

Always a sure sign that something will turn out splendidly.

I ended up with soft boiled (aka goopy not fully cooked) eggs. Not at all what I was hoping for. So I returned them to the pot and re-boiled them the way I’d always done it. The way my mom taught me.

They turned out perfectly.

Lesson learned.

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Veggies that I had on hand to go with the eggs: broccoli and radish. You could also use beets, crispy potatoes, peas, carrots, cauliflower, or cabbage.

WinterSalad-1

Since I’m still obsessed with dill, I made a creamy dill dressing. It’s mostly Greek yogurt, because I was almost out of mayo. But, I’m happy with how it turned out, so I wouldn’t change the recipe. But, if you like a little less tang, switch up the proportions to suit your tastes.

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This salad was seriously filling, with chickpeas and eggs on there. I made it to go along with the Spaghetti Squash au Gratin that I’d made for lunch the same day, but didn’t end up eating it until dinner, since the Gratin was more filling than I’d expected. As a light dinner, it was perfect (for me anyways). (I keep hitting the caps lock key so it looks like I’m screaming half of each word at you. I must have a rogue pinky finger.) A small portion of each would go nicely together.

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So that’s that. Now I can go back to eating soup. ;)

Happy Eating!

Winter Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 2-4

Winter Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped (or you could use tuna)
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 2 T mayo
  • to taste salt
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, chard), torn
  • 1/2 C broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 C radish, very thinly sliced
  • (could also add: grated carrots, chopped cauliflower, shredded cabbage, peas, crispy potatoes, beet chips)
  • 1/4 C chick peas

Instructions

  1. Cook eggs.
  2. Whisk yogurt through dill. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Top greens with veggies, chick peas, hard boiled eggs, and dressing.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/hearty-winter-salad-with-dill-dressing/

Monday

12

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

What’s the Deal with Quinoa?!

Written by , Posted in How To, Quinoa

MediterraneanQuinoaSalad-10

Have you hopped on the quinoa bandwagon? Maybe you’ve been on it for a while. I got on years ago, before it was super trendy. I can’t remember how I discovered it, or even why. I know that I didn’t know how to pronounce it. I called it ki-no-wah, instead of keen-wah.

What a great discovery!

One cup of quinoa has: 22 g protein, 10 g fiber, 83 mcg folic acid, 4.98 mg niacin (vitamin B3) (“important for blood circulation and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood”) (1), 357 mg magnesium, 697 mg phosphorus, and 1258 mg potassium. (1)

I didn’t realize this when we first tried it, but quinoa “has the highest protein content of any grain” (1) (even though technically “it’s the fruit of an herb, not a grain” (2)). If you would compare the amount of protein in one cup of quinoa (22g) to the amount in one cup of brown rice (14.8g), pearled barley (20g), bulgur (19g), and whole wheat pasta (8.4g) (1), quinoa wins. (That’s not to take away from the other options, which I think are great, and are all a regular part of our menu.)

TomatoCornQuinoaSalad3

I think that quinoa has a great texture hot or cold, so it’s a perfect fit. I used it this past summer in a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. The year before, the salad was a similar idea, using tomato and corn. The year before that, it had a bit of a southwestern feel when I added black and pinto beans. I took these salads to potlucks and they were a hit!

Quinoa is super versatile. I use it as I would rice or bulgur, and sometimes even in place of pasta. You could use quinoa in this End of the Week Pasta, instead of the whole wheat penne. You could substitute it for rice and make Spanish rice to go with some Vegetarian Soft Tacos. You could bump up the protein content of some Cannellini and Beet Green Soup with Feta by adding a handful of quinoa to the broth, or adding a generous spoonful of cooked quinoa to a Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad. Why not, right?!

ChardWraps-1

It’s great all wrapped up too. I think it would be fabulous in place of the bulgur wheat in the Cabbage Rolls with Italian Sausage that I made a few weeks ago (even though bulgur has a good amount of protein too – 19g/1 cup (1)). It makes for a great stuffing agent for things like tomatoes and bell peppers. And, it’s practically the star of the Heart Healthy Chard Wraps with Quinoa and Walnuts.

Of course, it’s also great when it’s not being substituted for anything. I love it hot in this Mediterranean Quinoa dish with kale, olives, beans, and tomato, or with lentils and plenty of veggies.

Granola2

And last, but not least, I really enjoy it in granola. Oats have lots of protein (26g/1 cup) (1). So I don’t add the quinoa for a protein boost. I just kinda like the extra crunch and kinda nutty flavor it brings.

If you want to come up with your own quinoa dish, some suggestions for what to pair it with are: Nuts, tomatoes, greens, salads, onions, black beans, olive oil, feta cheese, corn, and citrus (2)… to name just a few.

So there you have it, friends. All sorts of reasons to start (or continue) enjoying quinoa. I mean, how many foods can boast that they’re a great source of protein as well as being a delicious option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner?!

Happy Eating!

(1) Nutrition Almanac, Mc Graw-Hill 2001, Fifth Edition, Lavon J. Dunne

(2) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, Little, Brown and Company 2014, First Edition, Karen Page