asian grilled tofu triangles with thai cabbage salad

asian grilled tofu triangles

This recipe was inspired by the South Beach Diet Cookbook. That recipe originally called for tempeh but as I’m not a tempeh fan I decided to use its first cousin, extra firm tofu. This recipe takes longer to make because you need to press out the excess water from the tofu and then marinate it for at least 4 hours. After it was grilled, I was a bit disappointed in the taste–the ginger and garlic flavors were overshadowed by the sesame oil. Next time I make this I will increase the garlic and ginger by one tablespoon each.

Asian Grilled Tofu Triangles

Prep time: 40 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

1 pound extra firm tofu drained and cut into triangles
1 tablespoon canola oil (can use peanut oil)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons scallions sliced thinly on the diagonal for garnish (optional)

Press the tofu. Spread two layers of paper towels on a medium rimmed baking tray. Spread the tofu on top of the paper towels. Put another layer of paper towels on top. Cover the paper towels with a small rimmed baking tray. Place canned goods and or books on top to weight down the small baking tray. This will press out the water and flatten the triangles to about half the size when they were sliced. It takes about 20 minutes to remove the excess water.

Cook’s Note: The tofu may need a change of paper towels and an additional 20 minutes if the triangles have not reduced in size significantly.

Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the oils, ginger, garlic and soy sauce until they emulsify. Put the pressed tofu in an 8” square pan and pour the marinade on top. With a pair of tongs, gently turn the tofu several times to coat. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours. I let them sit overnight in the marinade.

Grill the tofu triangles. The next day, I heated up the George Foreman grill and grilled the tofu 4 minutes. That was enough time to cook them and also get that wonderful burnt grill lines. If desired, sprinkle sliced scallions on top. Serve at once.

Cook’s Note: Save the marinade as a dressing for the grilled tofu. The tofu turned out slightly sweet and with a delicate flavor.

To accompany the grilled tofu, I made my favorite coconut kale recipe (kale, coconut oil, pepper flakes and Maldon’s sea salt. Yum!) and tried a new recipe for Thai Cabbage Salad from epicurious. I adapted the measurements because there was enough to feed everybody at a pot luck supper and then some. I think I could even halve the recipe one more time.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

1/4 head each red & green cabbage (sliced thinly)
3 carrots grated
1 medium cucumber diced small
1 large red pepper diced small)
1/2 cup scallions (sliced thinly)
1/2 cup cilantro (chopped coarsely)

Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar or mirin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 Thai chilies (minced)
4-6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts

Do ahead: make salad dressing in a large jar and store in the refrigerator up to one week

Toss all salad ingredients together. Twenty minutes before serving, add dressing to salad and toss. Let sit 20 minutes to let flavors develop. Sprinkle peanuts on top.

thai cabbage salad

black and white bean chili

black and white chili with low fat scallion chili cornbread

I’m so sad. Winter is hanging on stubbornly, refusing to go. I can’t believe it’s March and I’m making chili. This recipe is surprisingly hearty and filling with just the right amount of herbs and seasonings. I did not have to add extra salt to this recipe. And I strongly recommend using fresh oregano as it made all the difference in the flavors of this chili. I chopped up two scallions and put them in the cornbread, for after all, what is a chili cornbread without a little green in it? Next time, I will chop up a couple of chilies or maybe add some corn niblets to the cornbread.

Black and White Bean Chili (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bell pepper, minced fine (use green pepper for contrast)
1x28oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
2×15.5 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
1×15.5 oz can white beans or cannellini, rinsed and drained
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 cup veggie broth or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Preparation:
In a large Dutch pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers add the onions and cook, covered, until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and broth or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 45 minutes to develop flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings. The mixture should thicken after 45 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture if a thicker chili is desired. Serve with low fat chili-scallion cornbread.

Low Fat Scallion Chili Cornbread (adapted from a recipe by Fiona Haynes)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 16 squares

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup clabbered nonfat milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 scallions, chopped fine

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To clabber milk, put 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a glass one-cup measure. Top up with non-fat milk and let rest for about 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, clabbered milk, yogurt, and oil. Add wet mixture to dry and stir with a fork until just moistened. Do not over mix.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to displace any air bubbles. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly golden or until the top springs back slightly when pressed. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, slice, then serve while still warm.

another variation on Pasta With Half the Carbs

quinoa pasta in spinach pesto with meatballs, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes

Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta in Spinach Pesto with Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, and Turkey Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 cup Mexican shredded cheese
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
8 oz quinoa pasta
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup zucchini, julienned
1/2 cup summer squash, julienned
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, slivered
10 grape tomatoes, halved
2 large cloves garlic pressed through a garlic press
1/3 cup spinach pesto
salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:
Chopped cilantro, chopped scallion, chili-garlic sauce, Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Prepare a baking tray covered with heavy duty aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, cheese, granulated garlic and onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop up the seasoned meat and place it on the prepared baking tray. It makes about 12-16 2 inch meatballs. Bake 10-15 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and drain meatballs on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a large pot, boil water with canola oil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 6-7 minutes for al dente. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot, add the chicken broth. When it sizzles, add the cut-up vegetables and pesto. Season to taste. Cook until the veggies are heated through and slightly wilted. Add the meatballs and the cooked pasta. Toss ingredients to combine thoroughly. Serve at once.If desired, sprinkle optional toppings on top of the pasta, vegetables, and meatballs.

Variation:
1 pound firm tofu cut into strips
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Instead of the turkey meatballs, make a vegan version with tofu. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and brown the tofu. Season with salt and pepper, and add to the pasta dish.

humpday supper, gluten free too

gluten free chicken tenders with cabbage salad with miso-ginger dressing

What’s not to like about humpday? The temperature went up to a very spring-like 54 degrees today! So of course (why not?) I tried these two new recipes. The chicken was juicy and tender. I loved the taste of the Parmesan cheese with the almond flour.  But the coating unfortunately, was soggy. Hmm. I need to work on that one. Anyway, this meal is also delicious with roasted vegetables: zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and baby bellas tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I always do the veggies first, because I never want to forget chicken breast tenders in the oven.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing
(Adapted from a recipe by Weird & Ravenous via Food52)
The miso-ginger dressing was full of flavor, but I couldn’t taste the ginger very much. So, if you love ginger as I do,  ramp up the flavor.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: –

Serves 4

Ingredients
1-2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
2 tablespoons miso paste  (I used 1 tablespoon Chinese soy bean paste)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar, your preference)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
3 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1/2 a small cabbage)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted (I used white—the black would have made a pretty contrast with the white cabbage and the orange carrot)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon scallion, sliced thin on the diagonal

Preparation
In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and water. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds together with the dressing. Serve immediately if you like it very crunchy or let it sit covered in the refrigerator for up to a few hours if you prefer it more slaw-like.

Garnish with cilantro and scallion.

Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Tenders in Almond Flour (adapted from allrecipes.com)
For this recipe I swapped 1/2 cup of butter for the egg dip. To save even more calories, I recommend using 2 egg whites. To solve the problem of a soggy coating, I read somewhere that if you let the breaded chicken dry for a few minutes on a wire rack before baking, it will bake up crispy. I haven’t tried this at all so I don’t know how well it works.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon water

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F (200˚ C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Mix almond flour, Parmesan cheese, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the egg and water.

3. Dip chicken strips in the egg mixture; press strips into almond flour mixture until completely coated. Transfer coated strips to the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack until strips are golden brown and no longer pink in the center, at least 20 minutes or until the tenders reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.

tonkatsu made with hazelnut flour

I like making tonkatsu because it’s so simple and easy: rice, meat, and vegetables all in one bowl. Make the rice first–in a rice cooker you push a button and forget it. Next, make the sauce. While it’s simmering on the stove,  prep the meat. That’s it! This is my gluten-free version. I used ground hazelnut meal/flour instead of Panko bread crumbs. What was sacrificed in the crunchiness of the crumb coating was made up for by the nutty flavor of the hazelnuts.

Oven-Fried Tonkatsu

Ingredients


  • 8 pork tenderloin medallions, pounded thin  (1 pound trimmed of fat and silver)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups ground hazelnut meal/flour (can use any nut flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to  400˚F for pork tenderloin medallions
  • Flatten each medallion to about ¼ inch thick.
  • Prepare a baking tray; spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a pie plate, combine the hazelnut meal, salt and pepper.
  • In another pie plate, pour the egg whites. Dip meat in egg whites
  • Roll meat lightly in flour mixture until coated.
  • Place each cutlet on the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake cutlets 10-15 minutes.
  • Slice meat into slivers about ½ inch wide.
  • Serve meat with warm rice, steamed broccoli, and tonkatsu sauce for dipping (see my recipe for homemade tonkatsu sauce below)

Tonkatsu Sauce (from grouprecipes.com)

Ingredients


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake or rice wine (substitute rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic or 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mirin (substitute ¼ teaspoon sugar to ¼ cup white wine)

How to make it


  • Put all the above ingredients in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes skimming any foam that rises to the top.
  • Refrigerate extra sauce.
  • Makes about 3 cups.

thai beef soup with buckwheat noodles

I was walking through the courtyard earlier this week, taking a shortcut through the basement, when I smelled star anise and cinnamon. I thought instantly of Thai beef soup or kao lao. I knew I had to make it this week, even though it’s been years since I last tried. From my years living in Thailand, I know that when it is served with noodles then it’s called kway tieow. I decided to cook it, kway tieow style with Japanese soba or buckwheat noodles, which are higher in fiber and protein, iron and calcium than the traditional rice noodles. Soba like rice noodles is gluten free.  There is  a nutrition comparison of soba and rice noodles on skipthepie.org. If you’re simply watching the calories, as I am, then it’s important to consider that a half cup soba has twice as many calories as rice noodles.

Thai Beef Soup (Kao Lao) with Buckwheat Noodles (Soba)

Makes 4 servings

For Cooking

7 cups water
1 lb stewing beef, boneless, trimmed of visible fat, and cut into chunks
1 whole star anise or 4 cloves star anise
2 whole sticks cinnamon
3-4 whole peeled large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons molasses or thick dark soy sauce

For Serving

1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and picked over
2 cups buckwheat noodles, cooked al dente
Fish sauce
Sugar
Sambal or chili paste
1 lime, quartered
2 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
1/3-1/2 cup cilantro, minced

Combine the beef, star anise, cinnamon, and garlic in 7 cups water. Cover loosely. Put two wooden chopsticks across the top of the pot and rest the lid on top of the chopsticks. Bring to a simmer on the stove. After 1 hour, stir the soup and skim the broth of large floating particles. You want a clear broth with tiny particles suspended in the soup when it is stirred. Remove the chopsticks and cover the pot. Once covered, the pot will boil vigorously and some water will boil out. Continue cooking on low heat for 1/2 hour.

Add the fish sauce, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and molasses. Taste. It should be slightly salty and sweet. Adjust seasonings, if you wish. Continue cooking on low heat to develop the flavors, until beef is tender and falls apart easily with a fork, about 2 hours. Discard the cinnamon sticks, garlic, and star anise.  Serve.

To serve, divide bean sprouts and noodles among 4 large bowls. Ladle beef soup over. Serve with little saucers of fish sauce, sugar, sambal, lime, scallions, and cilantro at the table, to season each individual bowl according to taste.

green onion cornbread

Never trust an internet recipe that doesn’t have pictures.

That’s what I learned after I searched the internet this weekend for a low carb cornbread recipe. What I discovered were two recipes (among many) that proved to me that a cornbread can be made without cornmeal. It was important to me to find a low carb recipe to go with my White Chicken Chili recipe. After all, what is  chili without cornbread.

The first recipe for “cornbread” required both almond and hazelnut flours, which were $11.00 each at Whole Foods. But I should have been wary. There were no photographs to show that the recipe was indeed kitchen tested. This “cornbread” was inedible; it was oily and tasteless. So, tonight–I am nothing it not determined– I tried the second recipe, this one from lowcarbist.com, called Green Onion Cornbread. This website had great pictures of the cornbread.

Though it also has not one bit of cornmeal in it, it turned out light and moist in texture, a great low carb accompaniment to my White Chicken Chili. I tweaked the recipe a bit. I thought it would be easier to mix if I melted the butter. Like all quick breads, this one shouldn’t be over mixed either. In fact, my cornbread came out exactly like the pictured one!

Green Onion Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted then cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease one 8” square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together wet ingredients and green onions, then add dry ingredients and mix again.
Pour into greased baking dish then bake for 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown.