Saturday, June 30, 2012

Black Bean Soup

Recently, I've had not one, but two different black bean soups that were fantastic. This one is inspired by a young chef I met on our leadership retreat (where the food was just phenomenal the whole time)- He gave me the idea for cutting down on the cooking time and enhancing the aromatic flavors by making a roux!! Brilliant!!

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 small red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, split in halves
1 leek or shallot
Generous shake of chili powder
Generous shake ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup green or red salsa
salt & black pepper
Half a lime
Sour Cream
chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped avocado and radish
tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Turn down, add onion, leeks and garlic and cook slowly, stirring, until fragrant and translucent. Add in handful of cilantro and cook into the aromatics and oil, crushing until soft and fragrant. Sprinkle lightly with flour and stir to thicken into a roux.

Meanwhile, Mash half the black beans in a bowl and set aside.

Season with chili powder, salt and pepper, cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add stock, whole and mashed beans, salsa and lime.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer.

Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree or use a hand blender to puree slightly (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Stir the puree back into the pot. Serve garnished with sour cream, radish, avocado, tortilla chips, and cilantro, if desired.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce

I love, love, love peanut sauce. But since I quit eating chikinz, I need to get my own satay on! This recipe is so simple to throw together, and you can add in or leave out the spice- I made it for my one year old niece and nephew, sans heat, and it was a big hit with the grownups and toddlers, too!

3/4 cup water (It will look like more than you think you want, but trust me, it will quickly cook off) (I also sometimes used stock and water in combination)
1/2 cup 'natural' style peanut butter and 1/4 cup roasted nuts (creamy alone is great, but a handful of nuts or a chunky blend adds great texture)
2 Tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp dried cayenne, shake of red pepper flakes, or 1 small Thai chili pepper or 1-2 tsp red chili paste/sauce (Like Siracha)
Squeeze fresh lime
fresh cilantro, garnish
salt, to taste
tofu, patted dry and cut into cubes or rectangles

In a food processor, blend peanut butter, half the peanuts, garlic, tamari, chili, vinegar, lime and water. Blend together. Stir in the remaining peanuts and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Set the tofu in a baking dish, and pour the mixture on top. Turn and coat the tofu. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Garnish with an additional squeeze of fresh lime and sprinkle of cilantro leaves!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eggplant Romano

I have been wanting to try a non-breaded, non-fried eggplant dish that still captured the deliciousness of the parm, but without *some* of the calories.

1 medium eggplant, peeled, sliced into rounds, salted, rinsed, and patted dry
Romano and Parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
2-3 fresh romano tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil leaves
Panko or breadcrumbs
Olive oil
tomato sauce
fresh parsley
6 cloves garlic

Peel eggplants, toss with lemon, and salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees when you rinse the eggplants.
Coat bottom of baking dish with layer of tomato sauce.
Place eggplant in pan. Top with slices of tomato, basil and parsley leaves. Sprinkle shallot and garlic cloves around in the sauce.
Sprinkle on cheese, oregano, and breadcrumbs, and top with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are toasted.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Braised Tofu

After experimenting with several methods, this is by far one of the easiest- and most flavorful!

1 package firm or extra firm tofu
soy sauce
chicken or vegetable stock-
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/2 shallot (optional)
thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
salt and pepper


Preheat to 400 degrees.

Dry the tofu and slice or cube. Set in a baking dish. Sprinkle the garlic, ginger, and shallot around the tofu. Pour in water, stock, soy sauce, wine, and olive oil. The liquid should just be enough to create a shallow bath at the base of the tofu. Turn the cubes over several times to soak in the mixture.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pearled CousCous Salad with Braised Leeks

Let's start with braised leeks. They are a delicious staple in any kitchen. Keep some on hand to stir in with scrambled eggs, or mix with ricotta cheese and stuff into homemade ravioli, or spread the mix on a cracker. Use them in any recipe that calls for shallot or onion. Throw it into some soups. Use on sandwiches with a little mayo. It is an awesome base!! Thanks to Ronna Welsch of Purple Kale Kitchenworks for introducing me to this magical recipe, and the versatility of this delicious veggie!!

Braised Leeks

3-4 large leeks, or more, depending on how big of a batch you'd like
4 tblsp butter
3 tbsp water
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
herbs: as desired
10 coriander seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Trim leeks to the light green part, and split in half. Clean well to get out all sand and dirt.

Place in a baking dish and top with butter. Add liquid ingredients to dish, and seasoning. Cover with tinfoil, cook about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Pearled CousCous Salad:

1 box prepared pearled couscous
salt and pepper
red or yellow bell pepper
cherry tomato, cut in half
braised leeks
(All veggies optional, mix and match as you please or by what is in your fridge!)


1. Prepare the couscous as directed. Remove from heat, and stir in veggies and braised leeks. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds simple, tastes amazing!! The braised leeks act as a dressing, flavoring the whole thing!