lotsa tomato! baked quinoa patties

I took a break from the blog but I didn’t stop cooking! I’ve been experimenting with this recipe from 101cookbooks.com. First I tried it straight but it came out too coarse. Then, on the second try,  I put in some blackbeans, salsa, and cheese, and it was moister but still coarse. On the third try I remembered that my aunt adds a tomato to her shrimp fritters to make them moist, so chopped up half a tomato and put it in with the original recipe. It did come out moist but still coarse. I finally realized what I should do is reduce the amount of whole wheat breadcrumbs in the recipe.  I served it with tomato salsa and arugula and plum tomatoes. Is lotsa tomato, like we say in Jamaica. But I love tomatoes. And this is the season for them.

Baked Quinoa Patties

2 1/2 cups / 12 oz /340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature (1 cup raw quinoa)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup/ .5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup /.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh dill
1 cup / 1.5 oz /45 g finely chopped kale
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (toasted) cumin
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup / 3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water or a bit of flour, if needed
1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g crumbled feta (optional)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, dill, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.

Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Gently stir in the feta. I’ve left out the feta cheese and it had no noticeable difference.

I used a one-third cup measure to make 11 patties. To make the patties moister, 101cookbooks recommends adding another beaten egg or water one tablespoon at a time to the quinoa mixture.  To make it dryer, add flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Generously spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip the patties over and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen patties. It tastes pretty good hot or cold.

pressed tofu with garlic mint sauce

After all my dietary sins this week, I atoned for it with this meal. I felt quite virtuous about it, too; a good Catholic enjoys doing penance. The tofu was quite tasty–slightly lemon-y, mint-y, and garlic-y.  It’s a tad redder than it should be because I got over-enthusiastic with the paprika. Nevertheless,  I enjoyed the garlic mint sauce, but I would ramp up the flavors, as I have noted in the recipe. I like to follow a recipe exactly the first time I try it, but I was a bit alarmed by the directions in the original. It said to press the tofu  while it was cooking by weighting it down with another skillet and a large can of tomatoes. My top skillet got hot and I worried about heating an unopened can of tomatoes. It’s far safer to press the tofu before cooking, so I’ve given directions how to do this.

Pressed Tofu with Garlic Mint Sauce

Ingredients:

2 packs firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch slices
4-6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 -2 teaspoons salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
lemon zest from 1 lemon
3 tbs lemon juice (half a lemon)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

1. In a large bowl or dish, make the marinade. First, mash garlic and salt together into a paste. Combine with mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, paprika, and 1/2 cup vegetable broth and mix. Set aside.

2. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels and place tofu in a single layer on top. Cover the tofu with more paper towels. Place another large rimmed baking sheet on top of the paper towels. Weight down the baking sheet with canned goods or books or both. Let sit for 20 minutes until tofu slices are flattened and the paper towels are soaked.

3. Place tofu slices into marinade, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet on medium.  Gently shake tofu slices to shake off excess marinade, and place them in the pan to brown, about 4 minutes per side. You may need to do this in batches. Save the marinade.

5. After you remove the last batch of tofu, add the reserved marinade and the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by one third. Pour garlic-mint sauce over the tofu slices. Serve with hot rice and eat Chinese-style with chopsticks!

coconut kale with filipino garlic fried rice

Taranee pointed out this recipe to me because it’s quick and easy to make for a weeknight supper. I jazzed it up by adding her coconut kale to it, not that it needed it, but I’m not cooking as much and I need to move some of those vegetables before they spoil! The kale added just the right color to complement the eggs, and were satisfyingly chewy, coconut-flavored, and spicy. I also used up some leftover rice. Fried rice is good for that. This recipe was lightly garlicky, chewy;  a nice contrast between the slightly bitter kale, the bland eggs, crunchy green onions,  and al dente rice.

Coconut Kale with Filipino Garlic Fried Rice (adapted from The Kitchn)

Serves 4

2 teaspoons butter (optional; can also use vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
12 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 whole head of garlic, depending on the size)
4 cups cooked long­ grain brown-and-white rice (ratio 2:1)
4 cups kale, trimmed and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon coconut oil
red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce or fish sauce, to taste
2 green onions, chopped

Heat 2 teaspoons of butter or oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Beat the eggs with a dash of salt and pepper. Pour them into the pan and cook until the center is set. Roll up the omelet with a spatula. Turn the omelet out onto a plate and set aside. When it is cool enough to handle, cut it into strips about 1/4­inch wide x 2­ or 3­inches long.

Using the same pan or a separate wok, if you prefer, heat a tablespoon of oil over moderate heat and add the minced garlic. Fry the garlic, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning. When the garlic is crispy and golden, remove it from the pan (leaving the garlicky oil in the pan) and set aside.

In the same wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil until it just becomes fragrant. Add the kale and stir fry until it becomes wilted and turns a bright green. Sprinkle a little red pepper flakes all over and toss.

Stir in the rice. Make sure all the rice is coated with oil and then spread it across the pan in an even layer. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir and repeat this process until the rice is heated through.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or fish sauce into the rice, toss and taste, adding more if needed. Remove from heat. Serve the rice garnished with egg strips, scallions, a little more red pepper flakes, if desired, and the fried garlic.

chicken sausage with kale and white beans

My cousin Karen sent me this recipe. With my busy schedule, is it ever quick and easy to put together! Dinner was ready in less than half an hour.

Ingredients
4-5 links of chicken sausage (I used Trade Joe’s red and green pepper chicken sausage)
2 cups canned Cannellini or white beans (can be dried and cooked instead of canned), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried and chopped (enough to fill one colander)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved) or 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

Directions

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chicken sausage.
2. Cook for two to three minutes per side and remove from pan; slice each link one-inch thick. Reduce heat to medium high and add the chicken sausage back to the pan with the remaining olive oil and kale. Cook for two to three minutes to wilt the kale.
3. Add garlic, chili flakes, white beans and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook two to three minutes until chicken sausage is cooked through and flavors incorporate.
5. Toss with fresh basil and serve.

Nutrition
Calories: 282 Protein: 24 g Carbohydrates: 15 g Total fat: 15 g Saturated fat: 4 g

baked kale chips

Baked Kale Chips

Ingredients
1 large bunch of kale
1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon seasoning salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper or Cajun seasoning

Cut the stems and spines off each kale leaf and discard. Wash the leaves and make sure they are thoroughly dry. One way to dry them is to lay them out in a single layer on paper towels

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, put the washed and dried kale leaves. Add the oil and seasonings and toss gently. Spread the seasoned leaves in a single layer on the prepared baking tray. You may need to do this in two batches. Bake 10-15 minutes until the leaves turn dark green and become paper thin and dry.

Remove from the oven and let the kale chips cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Repeat the process with the second batch of leaves. Eat when cool. If there are any chips left over store them in an air-tight canister. Delicious! They are like eating roasted Japanese nori seaweed leaves.

Variation

  • Instead of Cajun seasoning, sprinkle red pepper flakes to taste on the kale leaves.

Taranee’s golden tofu and stir-fried kale in coconut oil

One warm night in Jamaica when I was a little girl, my Dad and I couldn’t sleep. So we went quietly to the kitchen. He didn’t turn on the kitchen light. Instead, he turned on the gas burner. In the blue light, I watched him  pour two inches of coconut oil into a heavy skillet and when it was hot, he tossed in a handful of colorful plastic-like disks that immediately puffed up into pale pink, white, and green chips that smelled vaguely of shrimp. They were warm and crunchy and salty. When I was growing up in Jamaica, coconut oil was not marketed for its health benefits. It was cheap and we bought it in huge cans.  Coconut oil eventually fell into disrepute but it is now enjoying an expensive comeback as a healthy fat. At Whole Foods in New York City it is sold by the jar, the cheapest being  $7.99. Instead of the oil that I remembered,  it is a solid resembling Crisco all vegetable shortening, and has a light coconut aroma.

Taranee’s Golden Tofu and Stir-Fried Kale in Coconut Oil

INGREDIENTS           

1 package (14 1/2 ounces) firm tofu, drained, cut crosswise into 6 slabs 3/4 inch wide), each slab halved horizontally and cut into triangles
1 1/2 pounds kale
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2-4 teaspoons canola oil
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (optional)

Preparation

1. To prepare the kale, fold each leaf in half and using a sharp knife, remove the main rib and stem and discard. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels. Top with more paper towels and another baking sheet; weight with canned goods. Let tofu drain, about 20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a skillet. Fry tofu triangles in a single layer. You may need to do this in batches. Fry until golden brown on one side; flip and fry. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, add 2 remaining teaspoons canola oil in a large skillet. Toss kale in oil until just wilted and bright green. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Spoon on the coconut oil and heat through until melted.

4. Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar (if using) and wasabi paste (if using); set aside.

5. Serve tofu and kale with hot cooked brown rice and the dipping sauce on the side.

Indonesian Pork Tenderloin

This pork tenderloin recipe has a sweet glaze with the tang of chili pepper. It is very easy to make and only takes 40 minutes in the oven. The next time I make this I will increase the chili pepper to two teaspoons to give it more bite to play against the sweetness in the peanut butter and mango chutney.

1 one-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver
2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons crushed chili pepper (to taste)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
Cooking spray
1/4 cup mango chutney

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Prepare a baking tray by spraying it with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili pepper and garlic. Use a teaspoon to spread all over the tenderloin. Place in the prepared baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up the mango chutney to get a chunky appearance without any large pieces of mango. Spoon on the top and sides of the tenderloin and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F.

Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. I served it with barley,  sautéed kale, and pan-roasted asparagus with tomatoes, ripe olives, and garlic. If you wish, serve with mango chutney on the side.