Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spiralized Zucchini Pasta with Tomato-Walnut Pesto

The day after Passover is always a good reason to eat something light, and by "light" I don't mean anything that includes matzot (which, with their dryness and sharp edges, land Jews worldwide in hospitals during the holiday.) If you are of the kosher-for-Pesach persuasion (I'm not, but by all means, enjoy), of if you're gluten free or paleo (I'm not, but whatever makes you happy) this recipe includes no grains or beans, only vegetables and nuts. If you're of the raw persuasion (I'm not, but by all means, you do you), everything here is raw. And if you just like tasty food (I do, and so do you), this here thing is delicious. Think about it as a weird and unusual way to eat your salad.

This one calls for two pieces of special equipment: a food processor and a spiralizer. Even if the latter appears a frivolous appliance, it's not an expensive one, and it's not enormous, which means you can easily stash it in your kitchen cabinet until your cuisine takes an architectural turn. I use this one.

Two servings:

4 medium-to-large zucchini
4 roma tomatoes
two big handfuls of walnuts
6 garlic cloves
10 basil leaves
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 date
a sprinkle of salt or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
a generous splash of olive oil

Chop of ends of zucchini and attach them to the spiralizer, using the blade that produces the narrowest spirals. Carefully spiral all four. Discard zucchini centers (they will be left over) or save for soup.

Place all other ingredients, except for the salt/Bragg's and the olive oil, in the food processor, and pulse until it almost reaches desired consistency. Add salt/Bragg's and oil and pulse twice more. Generously spoon atop noodles and eat to your heart's content.

P.S. Zucchini noodles can also be stir-fried with whatever cooked sauce you have for a warm dish.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Soy Ice Green Tea

There's a newish joint in town: Boba Guys, on 19th near Valencia. It has become one of my favorite treats, because its list of ingredients is so different from the usual awful ingredients in boba tea. They don't use awful powders--they have high-quality milks--and they use high-quality teas. Moreover, you can order your tea unsweetened, which is a refreshing and excellent change!

The tapioca balls I could take or leave, so I decided to make myself a homemade version of the tea. It's very simple: put high-quality green tea (jasmine green is particularly tasty) in a bag or steeper, steep in a small amount of water until you get very concentrated tea, then mix with cold soymilk. Delicious.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Leftover Reincarnation: Chinese Takeout with Kale, Mushrooms, and Kelp Noodles

Cooking at home is usually cheaper, tastier, and more satisfying than ordering in, but we're all human, and sometimes after a tiring week the last thing you want to do is make something from scratch. Yesterday we tucked into some Chinese takeout that included braised tofu in a light sauce. This morning's brunch made use of the leftover tofu with some fresh ingredients, and it was delicious! Do this with whatever Chinese takeout leftovers you have, though tofu dishes work really well.

1/3-1/2 container leftover braised tofu, málà dòufu, or other Chinese takeout dish
1 tsp sesame oil
1 package fresh red kale
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
5 white mushrooms, sliced
1-inch cube of ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 splash Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tsp Sriracha
1/2 tsp Ultimate Umami Spice
1 package kelp noodles

Take kelp noodles out of the package and soak in some warm water with the shiitakes. Meanwhile, heat up the sesame oil in a pan or wok and add chopped garlic, ginger, and sliced white mushrooms. Sprinkle umami spice on top. After a couple of minutes, retrieve shiitakes from broth, slice, and add to pan. Let that sautee a minute, and then add your leftovers. After the leftovers are heated through and mixed with the aromatics, add the kale, Bragg's, and sriracha. Cook until kale wilts, then drain kelp noodles (reserve a bit of the liquid) and add them to the pan. Stir-fry with the noodles until the kelp reaches the desired consistency (some folks like it with a bit of crunch, some folks like it thoroughly softened). Use some of the shiitake soaking broth if you need a bit more moisture in the pan. Serve hot.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Quince Galore!

One of the happy consequences of a recent business trip was that I got to meet Nan Stefanik, a friend from an online community, in person. We had a delightful visit together, and toward its end Nan very generously regaled me with several products from her fantastic business, Vermont Quince.

For those of you unfamiliar with quince, it is a fruit that grows similarly to apples and pears. It is tough and spongy and cannot be eaten raw, but when cooked it is fragrant and delicious. My grandma used to make quince compote, but I haven't seen it anywhere else, so this was a delightful discovery.

Among the creative products Nan gifted me were quince vinegar, quince mustard, quince salsa, quince paste, and two types of preserves - jelly and quince-rose preserves. All of those are delicious. I've used the vinegar on salads, the salsa to marinate baked tofu (mixed with Bragg's Liquid Aminos), and the preserves on oatmeal.

On the left is a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal topped with strawberries, nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, and little slivers of quince paste. It's absolutely delicious.

Thank you, Nan!