Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunny Stir-Fry

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Kansas City, so I thought I'd share a recipe that's bright and sunny as well. This is a dish I've made several times, and it uses one of my favorite low-fat methods of cooking tofu. When I say "press the tofu", what I mean is to wrap the tofu in paper towels, and then place a cutting board with weights (big bottle of olive oil, a few cans of soup, etc.) on top. Many recipes will tell you that you need to press the tofu for half an hour, but if you cut the tofu in several smaller, equal-width slices and put them side-to-side with the weights on top, you can press the tofu in a very short time.

Sunny Stir Fry

Makes 2 servings

• 1/2 package tofu
• Pam cooking spray
• 1 medium yellow potato, diced in 1" pieces
• 1 yellow pepper, diced
• 1 cup canned pineapple chunks with liquid
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced at an angle
• 1 habaƱero pepper, minced
• 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use lite coconut milk, but you can use regular)
• 2 tbsp Thai chili sauce
• 2 tbsp soy sauce

Press the tofu to drain excess liquid and cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces.  Spray a nonstick pan with Pam and fry the tofu medium heat, spraying with more Pam if needed.Mix the coconut milk, Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, and minced habaƱero in a bowl.  Add the sauce mixture and potatoes to the tofu and let simmer, covered.  While letting the potatoes simmer, peel and cut the carrots, then add them to the pan to simmer.  Dice the pepper and add it to the pan as well.  Once the potatoes, carrots, and peppers are cooked, remove from heat and serve with brown rice or couscous.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Finally- A Veggie's Noodle Ramen!

I just got back from apartment hunting and Ashley's wedding in Houston last night. I leave tomorrow night to visit my parents for 5 nights. This month I'm out of town 19 out of 30 days- having class only 2 or 3 days a week gives me a lot of flexibility with my traveling.

Since I'm out of town so much this month, I've been trying to use up pantry food and whatever is left in my fridge rather than heading to the grocery store. I thought I'd share one of my go-to light meals that is ready in less than 10 minutes and is great when I'm having a carb craving! It's my vegetarian equivalent of Noodle Ramen. In college, there were always packages of Noodle Ramen in the dining area of the sorority house so that we could have a snack when the kitchen was closed. But, unfortunately, Noodel Ramen is not vegetarian so I was out of luck. Finally, I stumbled upon the vegetarian answer to Noodle Ramen at Whole Foods- Thai Kitchen noodle soup!

When I want to add a little protein I cook it according to the microwave package directions (careful, the Lemongrass & Chili noodle soup is not vegetarian). While the soup is in the microwave, I pan-fry a 1/4 package of extra-firm tofu, then add the tofu to the soup once both are ready. And that's it. This is a very cheap lunch- a package of tofu and 4 noodle soup packages will cost you less than $6 at Whole Foods!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bachelorette Parties

In the past month, I've attended two bachelorette parties. So here are a few ideas I've picked up when it comes to the food and beverages.

For my friend Ashley's party, Sarah (the host) had the great idea to label each dish in a funny- or obscene- way. Of course we had Mac-a-Weenie and Cheese (a bachelorette party essential), but there was also "Marry Me Brie" (Brie en Croute), "Tasty Testes" (Chocolate Chip Ball Surprise), and "Gettin' Loose Chocolate Mousse". I have no idea where the chocolate mousse recipe is from, but it's delicious, so check it out below.

If you make the Tasty Testes and end up with extra chocolate, or if you just want to make a chocolate something, use a spoon to "draw" on wax paper with the chocolate. I have a picture of my chocolate creation, but it would be inappropriate to post- I'm sure you can use your imagination.

Another Sarah (the host for Claire's 3-person bachelorette party) came up with the idea to make wine labels for the wine. I took care of making them, which was very easy to do on Word. I printed them out in 4x6 size on sticker paper. The size was larger than necessary, but I wanted to be sure that the entire original wine label was covered. The picture is above. I've blurred the faces on the labels to protect the 3 drunks' identities.

Gettin' Loose Chocolate Mousse

• One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed
• One cup cold water
• One 4-serving-size package of instant
chocolate pudding
• Cool whip
• Strawberries


1. Combine milk and water.

2. Add pudding mix and beat well.

3. Chill for 5 minutes.

4. Fold in half the container of cool whip.

5. Top with dollops of cool whip and strawberries.

Panko-Crusted Tofu with Sauteed Kale

I'm sitting in my con law class right now, paying no attention to my professor. I'm in the back of the room eating my lunch. What a perfect time to start blogging!

The other day I cooked (and ate) kale for the first time. I made Braised Seitan with Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Sun-dried Tomatoes from my favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. I had no idea how much kale I needed, so I bought two bunches, which was much more than necessary. Since I had so much left over, I made Kale and Sun-dried Tomato Hummus from the Vegan Yum Yum blog. DELICIOUS- and such a guilt-free way to eat hummus!

But after these two dishes, I still had leftover kale. I decided to experiment and created what might be one of my new favorite meals: Panko-Crusted Marinated Tofu with Sauteed Kale. Here's the recipe. I recommend serving it with rice or noodles. Otherwise, the marinade will be too strong for the kale. If not serving with the rice or noodles, saute the kale with vegetable broth and just a splash of the soy sauce and ginger instead.

Panko-Crusted Marinated Tofu with Sauteed Kale

Makes 2 servings

• 1/4 cup vegetable broth
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• Half package of extra-firm tofu
• 1/4 cup soymilk
• 1 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp peanut oil
• 1 small head of kale

Cut half of a block of tofu into four equal slices. You might want to cut each slice in half into triangles either before or after you marinate them.  Mix together the soy sauce, vegetable broth, and ginger. Place the tofu in a plastic bag and pour the mixture into the bag. Let sit to marinate for at least an hour in the refridgerator. 

When ready to fry the tofu, take the tofu out of the bag and reserve the marinade. Pat the tofu dry to remove excess liquid.  Mix together the soymilk and cornstarch in a bowl and allow the cornstarch to dissolve. Using one hand, dip a piece of tofu in the soymilk mixture. Using the other hand, cover the tofu in the panko breadcrumbs.  Pan-fry each piece of tofu in the peanut oil until both sides of each piece are a dark golden brown. 

Place the tofu on a paper towel while you break the kale into pieces, discarding the thick stalks.  Add the kale and marinade to the pan, cover the pan, and remove from heat once the kale has wilted.  Serve the tofu over the kale with a side of rice or noodles.