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Archive for February, 2010

This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks. I made a few changes, of course (I guess I just can’t leave well enough alone, ever) — not the least of which is the addition to meat to a version of this recipe.

The original recipe uses tempeh as the protein, but I created a pork version for Mason (even though he, the committed ominvore, liked the tempeh). While the flavor of the glaze is perfect, I found the tempeh to be really dry, especially when reheated. I like this served over a nice whole grain (the last time I made it, I put it over black lentils mixed with chopped kale — mmm), and I wanted more sauce to soak into the lentils, rice, etc.

So, I doubled the sauce ingredients, lengthened the cooking time slightly, and voila! Delicious pork/tempeh with enough sauce to coat the grains. Even with the slightly longer cooking time, this is still a great weeknight meal, as it comes together quickly. Both versions are below.

Maple-Orange Tempeh

2 cups orange juice
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
3 tablespoons mirin
4 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground coriander
4 small garlic cloves, crushed
8-10 ounces of tempeh
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
1 cup cilantro, chopped

Put the orange juice in a bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, maple syrup, coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

Cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced somewhat to a glaze. It will have the consistency of slightly runny maple syrup. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.

Serve the tempeh over your favorite whole grain, drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Maple-Orange Pork

2 cups orange juice
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
3 tablespoons mirin
4 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground coriander
4 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb boneless lean pork, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used cutlets from Richardson Farms)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
1 cup cilantro, chopped

Put the orange juice in a bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, maple syrup, coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and most of the juices have evaporated.

Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has reduced somewhat to a glaze. It will have the consistency of slightly runny maple syrup.

Serve over your favorite whole grain, drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

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Just as I thought I was done with cabbage after last week’s huge one, another large Napa cabbage showed up in my Greenling box this week. This one was a runt compared to last week’s, weighing in at only 4 lbs, 7 oz. But that’s still a big veggie.

So, I started an Internet hunt for recipes that use a LOT of cabbage. This scalloped cabbage casserole looked promising so I gave it a shot. After making several tweaks to adjust the flavor (1 tsp of marjoram is a lot) and healthiness (so is 5 tbsp of butter), we had a winner.

Even if you don’t like cabbage, this casserole could win you over. It involves cabbage and carrots parboiled until crisp-tender, combined with a light bechamel sauce, and covered with cheese and breadcrumbs. I promise, at the end, it doesn’t taste anything like that boiled cabbage your parents made you eat on New Year’s Day.

Scalloped Cabbage Casserole

8 cups thinly sliced cabbage (Napa or green)
2 large carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp Smart Balance (or other trans-fat-free butter substitute)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese (or cheddar cheese blend)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage and carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tbsp of Smart Balance in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and milk in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Add to onion and cook 2-3 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat.

Place half of cabbage mixture in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Top with half of the sauce; sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. In a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add crumbs, marjoram and thyme; cook and stir until lightly browned. Sprinkle over casserole.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is browned. Makes 8 servings.

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This recipe started out as the Szechuan-Style Tofu with Peanuts recipe in this month’s Cooking Light. I made several tweaks to use ingredients I had on hand, including my giant cabbage, and to make this vegetarian. The quinoa adds protein, a nutrient I’m always keeping track of because I don’t eat meat. I also loved the method of broiling the tofu, which gave it a great texture.

By the time I was finished with it, it didn’t look much like the original. But it had a bright, Thai-style flavor and a nice crunch from the peanuts. It has a nice punch of heat, too, so if you’re one of those people who thinks ketchup is spicy you’re going to have to cut back a lot on the chili-garlic sauce.

Spicy Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanuts and Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz sliced mushrooms
6 oz Napa cabbage, chopped (it’ll look like a lot, but it cooks down quite a bit)
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
juice from two limes (about 3 tbsp)
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes, place on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and broil 15 minutes or so until it’s golden brown.

Combine broth and next four ingredients (through black bean sauce).  Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Add salt, mushrooms, and cabbage and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to wilt.

Stir in carrots and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add broth mixture and cook 30 seconds or until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat; stir in onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve over quinoa.

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Does anyone else remember the book The Celery Stalks at Midnight from when they were a kid? About a vampire bunny who sucked the juices from vegetables, turning them into zombies? I swear I am not making this up.

Anyway, I got a Napa cabbage in my Greenling box this week, and it’s one of the most ginormous vegetables I’ve ever come across. If it were a zombie cabbage, it would be dangerous. Ryan seemed to feel this way too, because he said “no!” every time I tried to get him to hold it so I could take a picture. This was the closest I got:

See the size of that thing? Out of curiosity, I weighed it on my trusty food scale. It weighed 6 lbs, 7 oz. Ryan weighed 6 lbs, 6 oz when he was born. This cabbage weighs as much as a newborn. Think about it.

Here’s another comparison shot, with the paper towel holder:

I should also mention that these pics were taken after we used a few leaves in an Asian noodle salad recipe that turned out not so good. So it used to be even bigger!

Anyway, I now have more than six pounds of Napa cabbage that I have to do something with. Any suggestions?

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This isn’t my recipe, so I wasn’t going to talk about kale chips on the blog until I came across a bag of them for $7 at Whole Foods yesterday. No one should have to pay $7 for kale chips. I found this recipe on Kath’s blog, and folks, they are addicting. I know it sounds weird to bake kale and eat it like potato chips, but it’s so good! It’s my favorite way to eat kale. It is also Ryan’s favorite way to eat kale. Observe:

Digging in…

Nom nom nom…

Finger-lickin’ good.

When a 20-month-old shovels in a vegetable in the manner you see above, you know you have a keeper.

Here is Kath’s recipe. I like to add plenty of salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese, and then coat the kale pieces with cooking spray before baking. It’s much easier to coat them evenly this way (as opposed to drizzling with olive oil). Below is how I make them.

Kale Chips

1 large bunch of kale
1 tsp salt (I like them really salty, like potato chips)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces, removing the tough stems. Put kale on baking sheets, trying not to overlap the pieces, and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Bake 13-15 minutes, until pieces are browned and crisp. Yum!

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I know I’m a Southern girl, but I have never liked sauteed greens. Collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, yadda yadda yadda — I’ve always found them to be too mushy. But ’tis the season for nice, hearty greens, and while I’ve enjoyed adding them to soups and stews all winter, it does get old.

I’ve been staring at a large bunch of chard in my fridge for a few days and decided to attempt my own version of sauteed greens. I also had some beets with their greens¬† still attached, and while I’d never tried beet greens, I’d heard that they cook up much like chard or kale so I thought I’d toss them into the pile.

The result? Delicious, even for a long-time sauteed-green hater like myself! The secret is to not cook them too long (I still don’t think I’m ever going to eat plain braised greens) and serve them atop a bed of a hearty whole grain, like quinoa or brown rice, which adds texture. To make this a main meal, I added a link of sliced homemade vegan sausage, but it would still make a tasty side without it. You could also add regular Italian sausage for a non-veggie version.

Italian-style greens with vegan sausage

1 lb hearty greens, such as chard, beet greens, or collards
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1 tsp fennel seed
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 link vegan sausage, thinly sliced

Rinse greens really, really well (they hide a lot of dirt) and remove tough stalks. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for five minutes, until almost translucent. Add fennel, red pepper, and garlic, and sautee for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. You want the garlic to just begin to brown.

Add greens, salt, and pepper and sautee 2-3 minutes, just until greens begin to soften. Add broth and sausage, stir well, and cook for 5-7 more minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off and the greens are tender but not mushy.

Makes about 2 servings.

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I want to talk about tempeh for a minute. As meat substitutes go, I place it far above tofu. Don’t get me wrong, tofu is fine, but it takes some work to prepare and it’s difficult to get the texture right. Tempeh has a nutty, slightly soft texture, cooks up quickly, and absorbs flavors readily. I’ve also found that people who are hesitant about meat substitutes like it better than tofu. It’s best if you marinate tempeh for about 20-30 minutes before you cook with it, but besides cutting it into pieces, that’s it for prep work.

I had some mushrooms in the fridge from last week’s Greenling box, and when I spotted carrots, green onions, and broccoli in this week’s box I knew I wanted to combine them all in a stir-fry. This one is salty and slightly sweet, and coated with a rich sauce that doesn’t need cornstarch to thicken. In fact, it’s really salty, so if you want to temper the sodium a bit, use low-sodium soy sauce instead of the tamari in the marinade. I served over quinoa.

Tempeh stir-fry with mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli

8-oz package tempeh (I like this brand)
1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. peanut or canola oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (1/8 in.)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/4 cup sliced green onions (1 in.)
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup black bean sauce
1 in. piece ginger, minced

Dice tempeh into 1/2 in. squares or small, thin triangles. Combine tempeh with tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce in a zip-lock bag and marinate in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Combine soy sauce, black bean sauce, and minced ginger. Have this sauce and your veggies ready to go, as stir-fries cook quickly.

Heat peanut or canola oil over high heat. When oil starts to sizzle, swirl pan to coat evenly. Add carrots and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broccoli, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 2 minutes. Add tempeh (including marinade) and soy sauce mixture. Reduce heat to medium high and cook 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until tempeh is heated through and sauce is thick.

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