Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TLT: Tofu, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Ah, the BLT. I was never a fan of bacon even back in the day when I ate a lot of meat. But, I am a fan of the smoky flavor. So, when I came across this recipe, I thought... sheer brilliance!

Beefsteak or vine Tomato
Green leaf lettuce
Tofu: patted dry and sliced very thin.
Barbecue Sauce or Adobo Sauce
Mayonnaise (Chipotle/Adobo and garlic mayo)
salt & pepper
Avocado (Optional)
French Bread

Mix the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce together. Place the sliced tofu in a baking dish and coat top and bottom generously with mixture. Bake about 25 minutes. Assemble sandwiches, using a generous amount of mayo, the tofu, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and salt and pepper on the white bread.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tomato Provencal

   Tomato is my favorite thing. Therefore, stuffing tomatoes with other delicious ingredients, is a very good thing. So, tonight's quick and easy dinner went like this...

3-6 Medium tomatoes
salt and pepper
gruyere, parmesan, or other good melting cheese
1-2 small garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
herbs- Chives, green onion, parsley, oregano or basil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the top off each tomato and set aside. Scoop out the insides and the seeds into a bowl. Set the tomato shells into a baking dish.
In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the garlic and herbs and sauté. Melt the cheese into the mixture.
Pour the hot mixture into the tomato shell, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, the salt and pepper, and a bit of olive oil. Set the tops into the dish with a little olive oil and cook those too, for about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes

Ryan and I have been in a bit of a cooking rut- not that we haven't been cooking, but we haven't really been making anything new. So, in an attempt to spark the fire, I went searching for ideas. And twice baked potatoes got us up, out to the store, and cooking, lickety split. I mean, duuuuuuude.

1 medium russet or idaho per person (or halve for a daintier portion or if a side)
olive oil
irish cheddar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 stick- 3/4 stick butter (Look, I eat mashed potatoes maybe 4 times a year. I'm doing it right.)
1 tbsp cream (optional)
salt and pepper
(bacon, if you like that sort of thing... or fakin'.. if you prefer....)

1. Clean the potatoes, stab all over with a fork, and rub olive oil on with your hands. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until tender.

2. Allow to cool. Cut the top third off, and scoop out the inner flesh.

3. Mix into a bowl with the milk, sour cream, butter, cheese, and chives. Mash, or blend with a hand blender if desired.

4. Pour mixture back into potatoes and top with an additional flourish of cheese, chive, and salt and pepper.

5. Bake an additional 15- 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thai Curry

We've been making different versions of this recipe for just about 8 years with mixed results. I finally took a thai cooking class just this past week, and made some curry I can write home about! Thank you Jam and Thai Fresh of South Austin for showing me the way :) Check out her blog at : Thai Cooking with Jam. There's some recipes on there that I am hitting up any day now....

I learned a few really helpful tips- one, thai soy sauce is nothing like the japanese soy sauce, and they cannot be substituted for each other without effecting the recipe. Thai curry is a process- like risotto, and not a reference to the spices, and so you can follow the same recipe and swap out the paste to make yellow, green, and massaman curry, too. Finally, unless you want to have the experience, flavor-wise, it is not worth it to make the paste from scratch. And if you choose to, be prepared to pound the ingredients with a mortar and pestle for a solid 15-20 minutes.

I was amazed at how simple the recipes and methods are. It's all about the ingredients. I will post more- I also learned how to make coconut soup, pad thai, and sticky rice- and maybe I'll eventually learn how to even make pad khee mao and pad see ew!! You might have to do some specialty shopping, but at an Asian grocer, it shouldn't be too hard to find most of the ingredients.

1 can red curry paste- Mae Sri brand (If you prefer less heat, use 1/2 a can for mild or 3/4 for medium)
1 and 1/3 cans coconut milk (Chao Kho, Aroy-D, Mae Ploy brand)
Water or stock (about 3/4 of the coconut milk can)
2 cups cubed tofu or pan sauteed chicken in oil and cilantro (this is how Ryan likes it!)
3-4 cups yellow squash or zucchini
green beans or snap peas
red or yellow bell pepper
THAI soy sauce, 2 tbsp (If still too spicy at the end, add more of this to curb the heat)
1-2 tsp sugar
1 cup/ a large branch of thai basil (can sub regular basil...but should be easy to find thai basil)
4 kaffir lime leaves (just leave them out if you can't find them)
2 handfuls fresh cilantro

1. Scoop in the 'cream' of one can of coconut milk. (Only the thick white part, let the clearer milk remain in the can for now.) Scoop in the red curry paste, stir in, and turn to medium/low. Allow the curry paste to fry in the coconut milk (don't stir), for about 3-5 minutes, until red cracks form in the coconut milk.

2. Add in the remaining coconut milk and water and bring it to a boil. Add in the meat/tofu and the vegetables and simmer until the veggies are tender.

3. Add fish sauce or thai soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, and the basil and kaffir leaves. Turn off the heat and serve over rice.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rice Krispy Treats

Classics: Rice Krispy Treats

Some things in the kitchen never go out of style, and Rice Krispy Treats are at the top of that list for me. Brilliantly compatible with the cooking skill level of the average 8-year old, this gem of a recipe makes a quick and tasty treat. And all things considered, not that bad for you either. Snap, crackle pop!

3 tbsp butter
1 bag marshmallows- 10 oz of the big ones
6 cups of rice krispies cereal

1. Melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and add in the cereal. Stir.
3. Press mixture into a greased pan and cool.

Now, there are a couple of variations out there that I'm dying to make. Check these out:

Though they look crazy fancy, they use the same recipe- but you drop them on greased cookie sheets and shape them into balls with your hands, and then decorate as desired. Happy birthday to me.....