Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Tofu

I believe cashews improve all stir fries so it's no surprise that I love this sweet and spicy cashew tofu stir fry with 1 1/2 cups cashews! My mom probably started making this recipe around 10 years ago and I'm still enjoying it - though I have now replaced the chicken with tofu.

I hope all you Canadians have a great long weekend! I'll be working on some reports to finish my training and certification. Hopefully I can finish them in time to enjoy some of the nice weather we've finally been having!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry
Salt & Pepper Tofu
Szechuan Tofu Triangles in Triple Pepper Sauce
Kung Pao Noodles with Peanuts and Wok Fried Vegetables

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Tofu
Adapted from The Best of The Best and More

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth

The Rest
1 pkg extra firm tofu (~350 g)
1 tbsp oil
2 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, cut in strips
2 carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal
2 cups snow peas, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cashews
Sprinkling of sesame seeds

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside in a bowl. Heat wok or frying pan to highest heat. Add oil. Heat to hot, not smoking. Add tofu, ginger, garlic, and onion. Stir about 1 minute. Add peppers and carrots. Stir 2-3 minutes. Add peas and sauce. Cook until sauce comes to a boil. Add cashews and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Japanese Salad with Ginger Magic Dressing

Please excuse the messy looking salad as it was really delicious! The photo doesn't fully showcase all the ingredients - greens, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, and edamame dressed with "ginger magic". I love the salad dressing they use at Japanese restaurants so was hoping that this one would be similar. It wasn't exactly the same (I think it usually has carrot and not much if any oil) but was still good! The ingredient list for the dressing is long and a bit fussy, but you'll have lots extra for the week.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Last Minute Sesame Noodles
Spiced Squash, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad
Potato Salad Niçoise
Meditteranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

Japanese Salad with Ginger Magic Dressing
Adapted from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth

Serves 4

Ginger Magic Dressing
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp diced celery
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Sucanat
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp nutritional yeast powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

8 cups baby greens
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup very thinly sliced cucumber
4 tbsp shelled edamame, thawed if frozen

Combine all Ginger Magic ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Place all of the salad ingredients in a big bowl and toss with dressing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rustic Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Cake

We always have bananas in our house - one for everyday of the week for each of us. But rarely do they get brown enough to bake with, and rarely do I want to bake with them. But such an occasion occurred and I was inspired to make this rustic chocolate chip banana oat cake. Oats and oat flour are the base (I love oats!), with the addition of both mashed banana and diced banana. And chocolate chips (E was very happy about this). The cake was really moist and delicious. The only improvement would be to add walnuts next time, so I've included them in the recipe though I didn't add them to my cake.

Miss Abbyton

PS I am currently obsessed with jigsaw puzzles!! Growing up I used to do puzzles when visiting my grandma, or at Christmas time with my mom. Costco had puzzles a couple of weeks ago so I bought 2 and now have been searching on Amazon for my next puzzles. Anyone else a puzzle geek like me?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Apple Cinnamon Bread
Coconut Banana Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
Mom's Banana Apple Bread

Rustic Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Cake
Adapted from Oh She Glows

2 cups rolled oats, processed into a flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp safflower oil
2 medium very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Fold in: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips; 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped; 1 ripe banana, cut into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 8 inch (4 cup) casserole dish or 8” cake pan. Take 2 cups of regular oats and process them in a food processor until flour like in consistency.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (processed rolled oats, rolled oats, sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt).

3. In another bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, soy milk, and vanilla. Add in the two peeled bananas and smash into the wet ingredients until smooth.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the chips, walnuts, and chopped banana.

5. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake must be cooled for at least 15-20 minutes before attempting to remove.

6. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pureed Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas

The first time I made this soup, I was very silly and added the full amount of lime juice. Have I not learned to only add a little bit of the required citrus, taste, then add more if necessary?! Adding too much citrus can really ruin a soup, and then you have lots of sour soup to eat. So the next time I made it, I added half the amount and extra peanut butter, and it was perfect. And I love that it's a nice thick soup. Try the soup before adding the lime, it's really good like that too.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot & Red Lentil Soup with Ginger
Curried Chickpea Soup
Cocoa-Coconut Chili
Curried Split Pea Soup

Pureed Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas
Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

1 tbsp olive oil
6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
2 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
5 tbsp grated ginger
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (optional)

In a large pot on medium heat, add oil, sweet potatoes, onion, celery, garlic, salt, cumin seeds, ground coriander, and paprika, and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add stock, water, and 2 1/2 tbsp ginger. Stir to combine and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-18 minutes or longer, until sweet potatoes have completely softened. Stir in remaining ginger and peanut butter. With a blender, puree soup until it is smooth. Stir in chickpeas, and lime juice (if using).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red and White Tortellini

This baked tortellini dish is a favourite in our family. You spread homemade tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish, top it with tortellini in a mushroom parmesan sauce, then sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese and bake. What's not to love about that! This is a great dish if you're having people over, or need something to take to a potluck. Though we made it on a weeknight and enjoyed leftovers the rest of the week!

I know I said I'd post wedding photos ages ago but it's been hard for me to pick which ones to post! For now I'll share one of my favourites.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Chuck's Favourite Mac and Cheese
Portabello Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese
Asparagus and Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon
Spaghetti All'Arrabbiata with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

Red and White Tortellini
Adapted from The Best of The Best and More

Serves 4-6

Tomato Sauce
1 tsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
14 oz. (398 ml) can tomato sauce

12 oz. (340 g.) tortellini, fresh or frozen

Mushroom Parmesan Sauce
1 tbsp butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan cheese

To make tomato sauce: Heat oil on medium and saute garlic and onion until tender. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

To make mushroom sauce: Melt butter and saute mushrooms and green onion until tender. Sprinkle with flour and gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens to consistency of mushroom soup. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Add mushroom parmesan sauce to cooked, drained tortellini.

To Serve: Preheat oven to 400F. Spread tomato sauce over bottom of a large shallow casserole. Spoon tortellini mushroom mixture on top leaving a red border of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and additional parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

I love any sort of pull apart bread. So when I saw this savoury version of pull apart bread (!!!) I made immediate plans to bake it. Onion is cooked in lots of butter. A quick bread dough (no yeast involved) is rolled out and cut into rectangles. Each rectangle is topped with an onion/poppy seed/Gruyere cheese mixture. Next the rectangles are ever so carefully stacked (there are 10 of them! It's a topsy turvy tower), then squished into a loaf pan and baked.

The end result is good, though honestly not as magical as I'd hoped. There's so much "stuff" (onions and cheese), that it doesn't quite stick to the dough and is more like slices of cheese/onion bread (nothing wrong with that!) So I was thinking it might be even more delicious if some of the onions (or most?) are mixed into the dough.

If this sounds good, you might like:
Yorkshire Pudding
Light Brioche Burger Buns
Cheddar & Dill Beer Bread Rolls
Peppered Pear and Goat Cheese Scones

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread
Adapted from Food & Wine, found on Dana Treat

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1 stick cubed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup coarsely shredded Gruyère cheese (3 ounces)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter a 9"x5" loaf pan. In a large pan, melt the 1/2 stick of uncubed butter; pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the poppy seeds and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly. Stir in the Gruyère.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2-by-24-inch rectangle. Spread the onion mixture evenly on top. Cut the dough crosswise into 10 pieces. Stack 9 pieces onion side up, then top with the final piece, onion-side down. It's difficult to move the whole stack to the pan, so I'd recommend doing half at a time. Carefully lay the stack in the prepared loaf pan and brush with the reserved 2 tbsp of butter.

Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kung Pao Noodles with Peanuts and Wok Fried Vegetables

This kung pao sauce is extremely delicious and flavourful, which is no surprise as it comes from my most favourite Rebar cookbook. As you can see in the photo, I used spaghetti for the noodles. Such a silly idea it was. You really need to use fresh Shanghai noodles (or really any fresh Asian noodles would be good) - or even rice. Also, I found there wasn't enough sauce to coat the vegetables and the noodles, so either double the sauce, or start with less noodles than the recipe suggests. I'm a sauce fiend so I'll definitely be making extra next time. Some pan fried tofu would also be a nice addition.

This photo is kind of dark but look at how Abby is holding onto the stick with her little paws!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry
Thai Chick-Un Pizza
Pad Thai
Tofu and Broccolini in Peanut Sauce

Kung Pao Noodles with Peanuts and Wok Fried Vegetables
Adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

Kung Pao Sauce
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp wine
2 tsp sesame oil
1 pod star anise
2 tsp sriracha (hot sauce)
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch

Noodles and Vegetables
1 lb (450 g) fresh Shanghai noodles
2 tbsp oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch broccoli (3 stalks), in florets
6 oz (180 g) snow peas, string and leave whole
5 carrots, 1/2" thick half moon slices
1 small can water chestnuts, drained
1 can baby corn, drained and sliced in half
1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1" lengths
4 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. Begin by making the sauce, which can be done several days in advance. Combine all of the ingredients, except cornstarch, in a pot and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tbsp water and whisk the slurry into the simmering sauce. Cook until mixture thickens slightly (10 minutes). Remove the star anise and set the sauce aside, or refrigerate, until ready to use.

2. Before beginning preparation of the vegetables, put a large pot of water on to boil the noodles.

3. Just before starting the stir-fry, begin cooking the noodles and have a colander ready in the sink for draining them. Heat the wok over high heat, swirl in the oil and add the onion. Fry, stirring constantly, until golden. Add the carrots and broccoli; stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add the peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, green onions and the sauce. Stir well and cover until the vegetables are cooked but still crisp (about 5 minutes). Serve immediately over hot noodles and garnish with roasted nuts.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Black Forest Mousse Cake

Looking back over my archives, I haven't posted a cake recipe since last October! I don't make cakes very often, as you can see. I seem to be leaning more towards making healthier baked goods now. But birthdays are another thing, so for E's birthday I made this black forest mousse cake, which combine two of his favourite things - black forest cake and mousse. I was happy that he really loved it and so did everyone else.

The cake is really moist and soft, and it's not your typical black forest cake that I always find to be sickly sweet and have too much cherry. The cherry flavour wasn't too strong as I used a smaller jar of cherries than called for (due to what my grocery store had) and omitted the kirsch. While we enjoyed it this way, I'd like to try it with the recommended cherry amount and kirsch too. Another thing I'd try is doing a whipped cream middle layer, instead of 3 layers of mousse.

Usually I don't ever use icing tips/bags for decorating cakes - I like to keep things simple. But this time I decided to try. It doesn't look fancy (the cherry I drew on top is kind of silly) but I had a lot of fun! Trying to get the chocolate shavings on the side of the cake was also a challenge. Methods I tried included pressing it in with my hand, throwing it at the cake, and putting the shavings on parchment and then pressing them onto the cake. (I found the last method the best.)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
Apple Walnut Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Strawberry Cream Cake

Black Forest Mousse Cake
Adapted from The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book

I used a 500 mL jar of sour cherries since that's what the grocery store had but would recommend using the full 796 mL for more cherry goodness. I also didn't use any kirsch, but if you have it I would use it. (Add 1 tbsp to cherry syrup, 2 tbsp to chocolate mousse.)

1 jar (28 oz/796 mL) sour cherries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 4oz oz(113 g) (113 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Mousse
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups whipping cream

Chocolate Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Grease sides of two 8-inch (2 L) springform pans or two 8-inch (1.2 L) round metal cake pans; line bottoms with waxed paper. Set aside.

Chocolate Cake:
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With wooden spoon, stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of buttermilk. Spoon into prepared pans, smoothing tops.

Bake in 350°F oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans; let cool completely on rack. (Make-ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or overwrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

Meanwhile, in sieve over bowl, drain cherries, pressing lightly; reserve 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the juice. In small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the sugar and reserved juice to boil; boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

In heatproof bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate. Pour into foil-lined 5-3/4- x 3-1/4-inch (625 mL) loaf pan. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Unmould; let stand until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Holding chocolate with foil, slowly draw vegetable peeler across narrow side of block to make curls; with toothpick, transfer to waxed paper–lined baking sheet. (Make-ahead: Lightly cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)

Chocolate Mousse
Place chocolate in large heatproof bowl. In saucepan, bring cream just to boil; pour over chocolate, whisking until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Beat until soft peaks form. Cover and set aside.

Slice each cake layer in half horizontally. Brush each cut side with 2 tbsp of the cherry syrup; let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, whip cream with remaining sugar and vanilla.

Place 1 cake layer on cake plate; spread with 1 cup of the mousse. Arrange 3/4 cup of the cherries over top. Repeat for second and third layers; top with remaining layer. Spread reserved whipped cream over top and side. Decorate with remaining cherries. Gently press chocolate curls onto side. (Make-ahead: Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)