Dinner


This month’s Recipe Redux theme couldn’t come at a better time. With temperatures dropping to the teens and snow still on the ground, a nice, hot batch of savory homemade soup is perfect to ward off the bitter chill. The challenge is to use a ‘new’ food trend in a soup or one-dish meal, so after looking at a few lists online, I decided to include a couple ingredients from the 2013 food trends from Bon Appetit and Fox News.

Spice is Nice
Soup is good food, but soup with some red hot chili peppers will warm you up a lot quicker! Adding gochujang, a Korean red chili paste to soups not only turns up the heat but adds a rich and savory flavor thanks to fermented soybeans. Use this paste sparingly in place of tabasco or Sriracha, and you’ll find the flavors of your dishes have taken on a whole new level.

Vegged Out
Kale is one of my favorite veggies for its neutral taste, high nutrition and low calories. From smoothies to soups, add kale to your dishes for extra helpings of fiber, vitamins and minerals (see the quick-reference nutrient chart at The World’s Healthiest Foods.) Serve water-sauteed kale with your bacon and eggs, add a handful to your favorite protein smoothie, or massage it with some salt and serve it as a raw side dish. Any way you serve it up, you’ll benefit from this nutritious powerhouse.

Soup’s On!
I have to admit, this soup changed directions as I was making it, and it was mostly influenced by my recent cravings for Vietnamese pho (rice noodle soup.) Fresh parsley and lime help balance the savory saltiness from the gochujang and a little bit of fish sauce. (My husband says it reminds him of Tom Yum Goong, a spicy Thai soup.)

This soup will take less than 30 minutes from prep time to meal time. If you can’t find the Japanese radish daikon, you can use thinly-sliced jicama, which is fairly neutral-tasting. If you don’t have Napa cabbage use all kale.

Spicy Rice Noodle Soup_1

Vietnamese-Style Rice Noodle Soup with Fish, serves 2
If you like pho or tom yum goong, you’ll enjoy making this quick soup at home.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (I used Saigon cinnamon—potent stuff!)
1″ ginger, peeled and sliced
6 ounces white fish cut into chunks
32 oz. chicken broth
2 servings (4 oz.) dry rice noodles (feel free to use either thin rice vermicelli or thicker pad thai noodles)
1 cup sliced daikon
1 ½ cups chopped kale
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1/3 – 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, stems and all
2 teaspoons Gochujang (NOTE: use 1 teaspoon if you’re not into spice, more if you are!)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)

Garnish:

Fresh parsley leaves
Fresh tofu, cut into ½” cubes
Lime wedges

Directions:

Over medium heat in a large stock pot, stir sesame oil, 5 spice and ginger, heat for 1 minute. Add  fish, stirring to help cook evenly, about 4-5 minutes. Add half of chicken broth, increase heat and bring to a boil. Add remaining broth and dry rice noodles. Add daikon, kale, Napa cabbage and parsley. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in gochujang and fish sauce, heat for 1 more minute.

Divide soup between two large bowls. Top with thinly sliced onion, parsley, tofu and lime wedge. Serve immediately.

Some of these “new” food trends may already be familiar in your kitchen, but it’s also a good way to learn more about foods you may not have tried before, or even heard of.

Speaking of which, check out what other Reduxers have made with their own food trend choices.

Do you have a favorite trendy (or just popular) food at a restaurant? Have you ever tried making it at home? How’d it turn out?



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Happy New Year, and Happy WIAW!

It’s the first WIAW of the new year, be sure to check out what Jenn at Peas and Crayons and other bloggers are featuring today, you just might find some inspiration in their delicious foodie features!

I’m not really great at making New Year’s resolutions. I do like to make short-term goals (particularly with exercising) which seem to be more attainable for me. If I had to make one for the whole year, I’d say my resolution will be what I strive to do most days of the week: eat healthy and exercise!

My daily meals have been a bit mediocre and sporadic, but I finally have a couple of recipes that I felt were a change from the norm and a great way to share a couple of Hawaii-style comfort foods. But before we get to that, here’s what I’ve been ingesting for breakfast and lunch the past few days:

Yogurt_Smoothie_Strawberry_Orange_Banana

Yep, yogurt smoothies! My digestion has been a bit off, so I needed something that would be easy on the stomach but still be nutritious. This morning’s concoction consisted of frozen OJ, fresh strawberries, half a frozen banana, unsweetened almond milk and protein powder. I get about 20-25 grams of protein, half of my calcium requirements, and a fair amount of fiber from the fruits. Plus, it tastes like a strawberry-orange bang!

Now, on to New Year’s Eve dinner!

We went over to my brother-in-law’s parents’ house and brought some Hawaii-style food with us. My sister made somen salad (cold Japanese noodles topped with shredded lettuce, kamaboko (fishcake) thin slices of egg, and sauce),  shu mai (pork dumplings), sushi rice (sushi ingredients in a layered casserole form), potato-macaroni salad, manapua (char siu bao or meat buns), and suman or bud-bud, a Filipino sticky rice dessert cooked with coconut milk and palm sugar. My brother-in-law made a HUGE venison neck roast that was incredibly tender and just fell of the bone like nobody’s business! I made egg rolls, kal bi (Korean bbq short ribs), and potato macaroni salad (this plus rice is a staple in Hawaii plate lunches).

Me, grilling in the New Year!

Me, grilling in the New Year!

Somen Salad Sushi Rice

Front to back: somen salad, sushi rice, potato mac salads, egg rolls.

Manapua

Manapua (char siu bao or meat buns). Tastes pretty close to the ones you can get in downtown Honolulu!

Venison neck roast

Super tender venison neck roast.

Kal Bi

Kal Bi short ribs!

I don’t know how familiar you guys are with beef short ribs, but here is the cut that you want to use to make the kal bi:

Wegman’s didn’t have them, but Sam’s Club did here in Upstate New York. Other places might have a chunk of short rib meat the size of your fist, but that’s better for braising, not barbecuing! Be sure to get this cut. If you can’t find it, that’s okay. The marinade will work for whatever cut of meat you have for grilling, even for seasoning and basting burgers!

Kal Bi (Korean style barbecue)
Marinade great for bone-in chicken thighs, too

3 lbs short ribs, 1/2″ thick, thinner if you can get ’em
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

Directions:

In a large pan, soak ribs in water for 15 minutes. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, onion, sesame oil and chili pepper flakes.

Rinse ribs and place in a clean baking dish, no more than 2 layers high. Stir marinade and pour over ribs. Refrigerate overnight, flipping ribs around so all pieces get their fair share of marinade.

Cook ribs over a grill until medium, about 3-4 minutes each side for 1/2″ thick slices. Top with chopped green onion, serve with steamed white rice and potato mac salad.

This recipe is for the one in the back (w/out olives).

This recipe is for the one in the back (w/out olives) but you can top it however you like.

Potato Mac Salad
this version has a tangy flavor thanks to mustard, dill, and vinegar

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon salt
2 lbs white or red potatoes
1/2 cup elbow macaroni or pasta shells
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup frozen peas
3 hard-boiled eggs*

Directions:

Boil potatoes in salted water, skin-on, for 30 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Add macaroni to water and boil according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside. When potatoes have cooled down, remove skins and dice into 1/2″ chunks.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, celery salt, vinegar, and dill. Add potatoes and macaroni, stirring well to coat. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Add frozen peas and stir to combine. Top with sliced egg and serve. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

*To get nice, yellow yolks for hard-boiled eggs: put eggs in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat immediately, cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Rinse in cool water, remove shells and slice.

So…what are you New Year’s resolutions? Did you stick to the ones you made last year?

Be sure to check out what other foodies are featuring on Jen’s WIAW right here!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Happy WIAW, and HAPPY HALLOWE’EN! Wish I could share some of my Hallowe’en decorating and planned festivities, but I have none! It’ll be a pretty quiet evening with pizza, wine, and whatever scary flick’s on the tube. ;)

My featured recipe is a side dish that’s great to accompany roasted meats, a main veggie course, and tastes great hot or cold. But before we get to that, here are some dishes from the past few week, in no particular order:

Sunday brunch was a pretty nice spread. Maura at My Healthy ‘Ohana had a great idea for 100 calorie egg cups, which came out fantastic:

Bacon and onion quiche and turkey egg cup with fresh fruit (egg cup recipe from Maura at My Healthy ‘Ohana.)

Lunch on Tuesday was quick and easy. I was baking gluten-free versions of  pumpkin brownies and chocolate brownies in the morning and sampled enough pieces to make me say, “Enough!” For lunch I craved veggies:

I love celery, and I love peanut butter!

No salad, just some celery sticks followed by salty potato chips and an apple. :)

Dinner last Monday was rosemary chicken with red cabbage and apples:

Mix plate: rosemary chicken, apfel rotkohl and steak fries. Where else can you get this eclectic mix of flavors but at home?

I recently experimented with red cabbage to make a German dish called Apfel Rotkohl (red cabbage and apples.) After looking at a few recipes I saw one from epicurious.com that sounded pretty good. I did make a few changes, like increasing the vinegar and sugar and adding apples and currants, and the end result was pretty good! Feel free to start with less sugar or vinegar, depending on whether you like it sweet, vinegary, or nice and mild.

Braised Red Cabbage and Apples, makes 6 servings
modified from original recipe at epicurious.com

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (do NOT substitute cumin, totally different taste!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple juice (or shred 2 med apples with box grater, squeeze juice & save apple pulp for baking)
2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup amber agave nectar or white sugar
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
2 large Granny Smith apples, chopped into 1″ chunks
1/4 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I like a strong vinegar taste, so start with 1/4 cup if you prefer it mild)
1/3 cup currants or raisins

Directions;
In a heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for 1 minute. Add allspice, caraway seeds, salt, apple juice, and cabbage. Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 10 minutes add apples, raisins, and agave or sugar. Stir then cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until apples are tender.

Uncover pot, stir in half of apple cider vinegar. Cook until liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. If you want a definite vinegar taste, add remaining apple cider vinegar, stir. Serves 6.

Are you having a quiet Hallowe’en? What was your favorite Hallowe’en costume? This can be your own costume, or your dog’s, your children’s, something you saw on the street…here’s what I was last year:

For Hallowe’en last year I was super buff!

Have a great Hallowe’en, everybody!

On Wednesday I posted a picture of pannekoeken I made for dinner. Pannekoek is a Dutch pancake, kind of like a thick crepe and is served flat rather than rolled. It uses more milk and less eggs than crepes and can be topped with sweet or savory foods.

Pannekoek restaurant in The Netherlands.

My husband’s grandma, Hermine (or Omi), and her husband, Lodewijk. Omi ate the entire pannekoek, and drank all her milk!

I like making it for weekend breakfasts, which gives me some time to experiment with ingredients to see how to make the perfect pannekoek. This recipe below is simple and satisfying, and I think that’s what makes it perfect!

Weights and Measures. This is probably the only repeat recipe where I use a kitchen scale to measure the flour. This should be the ideal way to measure any dry ingredient in baking (which I don’t always do) but even with a simple recipe like this, it’s good to be consistent.

Hey, batter, batter! I can tell you that spelt flour, or a combination of spelt and all-purpose flour, does not make a good pannekoek. Neither does substituting soy or almond milk, but you can certainly get away with using 1% lowfat milk.  Also, be sure to not over mix the batter. By pouring the egg and milk mixture into the middle of the flour “well”, you can stir and grab flour from the sides (see photo below). If you feel the urge to give that batter a good beating, just stir with your opposite hand to slow it down. :)

Take five…or fifteen…or thirty. The recipes I come across doesn’t instruct you to let the batter rest, but one day while my husband was fixing the car (or lawn mower, or something mechanical), I let the batter rest for a good half hour until he was ready for breakfast. This waiting period allowed the flour to absorb the liquids, the gluten to develop, and air bubbles to escape to freedom. The result: tender-er pannekoeken!

There’s a pouring technique?  There is also a technique to pouring the batter into the pan that I like: instead of pouring a pool of batter and letting it spread out in all directions, I pour the batter in a spiral pattern. Does it make the pannekoek cook more evenly? I think so!

That’s about it for my way of making a simple comfort dish. Hope you give it a try!

Pannekoeken

Pannekoeken met Appel en Krenten (Dutch Pancakes with Apples and Currants)
2 servings, makes four 10-inch pannekoeken

150 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
300 mL 1% lowfat milk (2% and whole milk is fine, too)
2 large eggs, beaten, less 2 teaspoons
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (for cooking apples and oiling the pan)
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4″ thin (Fuji apples are good, as well as Comice pears)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2-1/3 cup currants or chopped raisins, divided
cinnamon
stroop (Dutch syrup), maple syrup, or amber agave syrup

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt with a whisk. Make well in center. Add egg to milk & combine. Pour into center of flour mixture, gradually mix wet ingredients into dry, do not over mix. Let batter sit for 15 minutes (you’ll see air bubbles forming on the surface.) Transfer the mixture back into your measuring cup, you should have two cups of batter. (Add more milk, if needed.)

Apples are caramelized with butter and brown sugar.

While batter rests, in a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When butter starts to bubble and begins to brown (about a minute) add sliced apples and cook for 3-5 minutes until the undersides begin to brown. Turn over pieces, sprinkle in brown sugar, 1/4 cup currants and another tablespoon butter, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes more or until tender and apples are nicely caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer to plate and scrape pan of any remaining sauce with rubber spatula. Set apples aside while you make pannekoeken.

These cook fast so add the currants as soon as the batter is poured.

In same pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and immediately sprinkle on about 1 teaspoon currants. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute or until underside of pannekoek begins to brown and top begins to firm up. Turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Top with 1/4 of cooked apples and currants, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and lightly drizzle with syrup of your choice. Transfer to plate and make second pannekoek. (NOTE: since these cook really fast, my husband and I ate the first two, then I finished making the other two and then we eat those.)

I hope you give this recipe a try for your weekend brunch. It’s a nice alternative to regular pancakes, and grown ups and kids will love ’em. Eet smakelijk!

Since the pan wasn’t hot enough when I made the first pannekoek the texture was “doughier” and more pliable. I filled it with apples and currants, rolled it and re-fried it. Still delicious!

Our theme for October’s Recipe Redux has to do with one of my favorite colors: orange! “Orange You Glad It’s Fall?” I certainly am!

Markets are plentiful with the colors of autumn including pumpkin, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and even golden beets. Not only are these produce bursting with fall flavors but they are also chocked full of carotenoid antioxidants.

No matter how they look, pumpkins are loaded with carotenoids!

What’s a car…carrot…caroten…that thing you said? ker-ROT-n-oids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. Fruits and veggies in red, orange, and yellow (hey, fall colors!) have various concentrations of this. Even leafy greens like kale and spinach contain the yellow carotenoid hidden beneath a healthy concentration of chlorophyll. Vitamin A helps protect your cells against damaging free radicals, improves your immune system…and you know the old saying about how carrots are good for your eyesight? Well with all that beta-carotene,  there just might be some truth to what mom used to say at dinner time!

After making the Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding for the “How to Tofu” challenge sponsored by the National Soyfoods Council, not only have I been eating a lot of tofu (and scrapping several failed recipes), I’ve been craving the delicious taste of pumpkin. So much so that I’d like to share two pumpkin recipes with you today!

Recipe 1: Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
I love baking with spelt flour. It’s more substantial than regular white flour but can still result in tender cakes with the addition of fats, such as coconut oil. Plus, if you’re sensitive to wheat products but not allergic, spelt flour is easier on your stomach. Here I’m using several coconut ingredients: coconut extract, coconut milk, coconut oil, and dried coconut. Am I coo coo for coconut? You bet!

I asked my husband what he thought of these and he said, “It tastes like windmill cookies (spekulaas)…in cake form!”

mini pumpkin coconut muffins

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
These tender muffins are filled with warm spices and delicate coconut flavor. 

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon allspice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic (or non-organic) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted (or cooking oil)
1/2 cup organic coconut milk, such as Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (or almond milk, soy moo or moo juice)
unsweetened coconut flakes

*alternatively, use 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients until well blended. Add to dry ingredients (mixture will be thick).

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular sized muffins, bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Makes  approximately 20 regular muffins, 40 mini muffins.


Recipe 2: Pumpkin Risotto:
After buying a few pumpkins at Frog Pond Produce Stand to decorate our front door I had pumpkins on my mind…again. I wanted a cozy, comforting pumpkin dish for dinner. What could be cozier than a creamy risotto?

Warm up a chilly evening with this creamy pumpkin risotto.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto, serves 2
Sage, nutmeg and allspice makes this dish warm and savory with a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

1/2 pie pumpkin, seeded (about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon dried sage, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an 8″x8″ pan, add 1/2″ water. Place pumpkin cut side down in pan, carefully score with a knife. Spray outside with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft. Let cool for a few minutes, drain any remaining water from baking dish. Peel off pumpkin skin (I actually like to eat it!) and mash the filling in the baking dish with a fork. Set aside.

After the roast.

Pumpkin is very tender, removing skin and mashing with fork will be a cinch.

In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook for 1 minute. Add sage and salt, cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add onions, cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

In the same frying pan over medium heat, add risotto and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed, adding 1/2 cup more each time but don’t let the pan dry out. Stir frequently and keep adding broth and cook for 20 minutes. Risotto should be chewy, almost done.

If you like, replace 1/2 cup of the broth with a wheat beer or white wine.

After 20 minutes add half of roasted pumpkin (about 1 cup) to risotto, stirring well. Add rest of pumpkin, remaining sage and salt, and red pepper flakes and nutmeg, stirring well for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and onions and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Add more salt to taste.

Serve on a bed of spinach or lightly steamed kale, topped with roasted pumpkin pieces. Enjoy!

Check out other nutritious fall favorites from fellow Recipe Redux members:


In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

If you’ve been following my post for the last week, you’re already familiar with my Creamy Tofu Alfredo and Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding recipes I made in an attempt to add more tofu to my (and my husband’s) diet(s). You also may have checked out other Recipe Reduxers and their tofu-riffic recipes here, but if you haven’t, take a look and you’ll see some soy-licious recipes!

My third experiment: cauliflower pizza crust meets tofu patty

Background: I made a cauliflower pizza crust recipe for dinner and was very happy with the flavor, but not so happy with all the cheese. I came across some recipes that used tofu in place of cheese, which seemed like a very good idea to cut calories and fat. By using some lite tofu I was able to reduce the amount of cheese, but this would give the pizza crust an entirely different texture. Rather than making a limp crust, I decided to make a batch of patties…skinny tofu patties!

The verdict: The success is in the seasoning. Oregano, basil, and a little bit of red pepper flakes made this a very flavorful dish. The tofu and egg create a  chewy, slightly spongy texture, sort of like a thin omelette. I had a few patties left over from dinner and they were great for a light lunch. Matter of fact, I think I prefer them cold.

Skinny tofu patties

Skinny Tofu Patties
They’re great hot or cold, with a salad or by themselves. Perfect for an on-the-go meal.

Ingredients:

1/4 block firm light tofu
1 cup cauliflower florets with stems on, steamed (I used pretty orange cauliflower here)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 mushrooms, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
2 eggs, beaten

optional toppings:
mushrooms, thinly sliced
chopped tomato
asparagus

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silpat or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, add tofu, oregano, basil, salt, and dried pepper flakes and mash with a fork. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and mushrooms, stir to combine.

grating orange cauliflower (white and purple work equally good!)

Using a box grater, grate steamed cauliflower florets, holding by the stem end. Eat stems! Mix everything together, add eggs and mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread until thin and 4″-5″ in diameter. Top with mushrooms, tomatoes or asparagus. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until top starts to brown. Makes about 10 skinny patties.

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.


Last week I posted a Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding recipe as part of a Recipe Redux Challenge brought on by the National Soyfoods Council in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

Since tofu tasted so good as a dairy substitute in the pudding I made, I decided to experiment with main dish meals that could also benefit from this stand-in without sacrificing taste or texture.

The experiment: alfredo sauce

Alfredo sauce. image source: http://www.buzzle.com

Background: The original alfredo recipe uses cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese cooked and served over noodles, sometimes with additional seasonings like parsley and garlic. My version uses tofu and almond or soy milk for the creamy base, and with the addition of a few seasonings, it tastes luxuriant and flavorful enough to rival the original, fat-filled version.

The verdict: I served the alfredo sauce on Ancient Grains Quinoa Spaghetti and Sea Tangle brand kelp noodles. My husband liked it (though adding some shredded Parmesan cheese on top made it closer to the real thing!) Adding lemon juice helped to sharpen up the flavor of the sauce, adding a much needed acidity to cut through the creaminess.

Creamy tofu alfredo with peas and kelp noodles–sample size!

Creamy Tofu Alfredo, serves 4
This versatile sauce–which comes out to less than 100 calories per serving–can be kept vegan or served with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, cooked chicken, or both! Pairing the sauce with 1 1/2 cups of zucchini noodles adds 45 calories, kelp noodles just 6! Got room for dessert?

Ingredients:

1 box Mori Nu Silken Lite Tofu, firm
1 cup soy milk or almond milk (plus extra if you want sauce less thick)
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
add-ins:
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup broccoli florets
4 mushrooms, sliced
juice from half a lemon

Noodles of your choice (raw zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, cooked pasta noodles, etc.)
fresh spinach

Directions:

In a blender on low speed, combine tofu and milk until smooth, stopping blender and scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add yeast flakes, salt, and red pepper flakes. Blend on low speed until combined, about 20 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sautee until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, add garlic to tofu mixture and blend on low for 10-20 seconds or until combined. Pour tofu mixture into sauce pan, bring to simmer over medium heat. Add frozen peas, broccoli florets, and mushroom slices. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to simmer. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

Serve over your choice of noodles and fresh spinach.

Creamy tofu alfredo with quinoa pasta.

Creamy tofu alfredo on kelp noodles.

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.



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