Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tofu with Spicy Sauce

Once again a very simple, delicious, and healthy meal.  It is nice to not eat meat...sometimes and luckily I really do enjoy tofu.  Tofu is such a versatile food because it tastes like almost nothing and it soaks up a lot of flavor from whatever you are cooking it with, versatility is awesome.  Last night I didn't have a lot of time to cook and I LOVE Asian inspired recipes so I adapted this recipe from Week of Menus blog and it was as tasty as it looks.  So here is another recipe for all my lovely vegetarian friends, eat up!

Serves 2

The Ingredients
1 block firm tofu, cut in half length-wise and then into 1-inch thick pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic chili paste
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

The Process
1.  In small bowl mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, chives, garlic chili paste, and black sesame seeds and set aside.  Note the longer the sauce sits the better it tastes.

2.  Turn stove to medium-high heat.  In large skillet arrange tofu chunks in one single layer and then put 1/2 cup water in the pan.

3.  Then place pan on stove and let steam for about 4 minutes.

4.  Take tofu out of pan and put on a plate, then pour the sauce over the top of the tofu.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

As part of an awesome Sunday night feast I roasted a spaghetti squash and made a simple homemade marinara sauce to put on the squash.  I love this time of year for produce because Fall has some of the best goods for sure!  Apparently the Portland weather has changed it's mind once again though because today it is super sunny and warm outside which is not common Fall weather, not that I'm complaining.  I am ready for the leaves to change color and the harvest moon.  On to the recipe.

Serves 6 (as side dish)

The Ingredients
1 large spaghetti squash
2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar

The Process
1.  Turn oven to 375 degrees and poke squash all over with fork (otherwise it can explode).  Put squash in oven when hot enough and cook for an hour.

2.  In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat and then add garlic and make sure not to burn, cook and stir for 1 minute.

3.  Then add to saucepan tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, vinegar, cayenne, pepper, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.

4.  After the sauce boils turn down to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.

5.  Serve marinara sauce over scooped out squash. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

Beef Jerky (round #1)

That is right, I have begun preserving foods which really only feels natural in the Fall of the year...not to mention I love beef so yes I want to eat jerky all day every day.  Recently my father got two electric smokers from a friend and I was determined to have us make jerky.  I learned how to make jerky and smoke fish one summer when I worked at a camp on Mt. Hood and have been wanting to get my own smoker since.  So this was the 1st round in several years and it turned out pretty darn good.  I will say that in the future we will cut the pieces of meat smaller because they took FOREVER to smoke and they still aren't fully jerky-ized.  The brine we made was a secret recipe from one of my father's friends so this post can't reveal the secret process.  But here are some pictures:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Polenta and Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This dish was so incredibly satisfying!  If you are a current follower of my blog you definitely know how much I love meat, and how much my body actually craves/needs meat.  So when I come across a meal that can fill that need without using meat...I am amazed.  Not only was this meal very fresh and tasty but once again SUPER healthy!  I will say that when cooking this dish you are doing many things at once and it is a little hard to keep everything warm, but it's totally worth the effort put forth!  I adapted this recipe only slightly from SELF.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 cup uncooked instant grits (it is what I had instead of polenta)
2/3 Parmesan, grated
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Cooking oil spray
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick
1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 12ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

The Process
1.  In medium saucepan bring 3 cups water to boil.  In a steady stream add the instant grits while whisking constantly (about 30 seconds).  Then turn heat down to medium-low heat and continue to whisk about 3-5 minutes or until grits thicken.

2.  Take grits off heat and whisk in cayenne, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and salt to taste.  Then in a 9inch glass pie pan, spray cooking spray and pour the grits mixture into the pan and let cool for 15 minutes (at least).

3.  In the mean time turn oven to broil and cut up all the vegetables.

4.  In a small bowl whisk together 3 cloves of garlic (pressed), thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, green onion, and season with salt and pepper.  This is the dressing for the veggies. Next toss asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes with the dressing you just made and make sure all are coated well.

5.  On a cookie sheet (greased with spray oil) spread all the veggies out in a single layer to roast.

6.  Roast veggies in oven 3-5 minutes each side or until starting to brown.

7.  While veggies are roasting sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over the top of the grits in pie pan.  Then prepare to make the red pepper sauce.

8.  In a food processor add vegetable broth, roasted red peppers, garlic, chives, basil, and balsamic and combine until smooth.

9.  When veggies are done roasting, put the pie pan of grits and cheese into the oven (still on broil) and bake for 2-3 minutes (until top starts browning).

10.  To serve cut up grits pie into 8 pieces and give each plate two pieces.  Then stack roasted veggies in an appealing way and pour sauce over the top and enjoy! So damn good!

Nutritional Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 280; Fat 7.2g; Sat. Fat 2.3g; Fiber 6.1g; Protein 9.8g

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cucumber Salad

and so much more! Cucumbers are merely just part of this lovely fresh and simple summer salad.  While doing some end of the summer SERIOUS cleaning and purging of things I found this old recipe that I had printed and I sat there and read all the ingredients and at first I thought to myself this is so simple why did I feel the need to print it?  Then I decided to not question my reasoning and just make it as part of a light and healthy dinner on a 99 degree day.  So from the endless stacks of printed recipes in my life here is an old but new recipe, not even sure where it came from.

Serves 3

The Ingredients
2 small cucumbers, pealed and sliced into half moons
1 large avocado, diced
1 large cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 generous tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

The Process
1.  In medium bowl combine everything and toss well.  Keep in fridge if not serving immediately.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pork au Poivre other words amazing.  I turn to cooking for many reasons, creativity, outlet, satisfaction, and because I love to cook for others.  Lately this whole job search has been weighing on my spirit, while yes I only graduated with my master's 2 days shy of a month ago I do need to start expanding my horizons.  I need to be investing more time searching for jobs in other fields as well...with all of this in mind and uncertain change on the forefront I had a very reflective weekend.  So I turned to cooking, to comfort, sooth, and maintain something I know so well.  As part of a goal to keep things positive and feel good I am once again creating and eating very healthy meals, with less and less "fat kid recipes" and the dreaded baking.  This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light and is absolutely delightful.

Serves 3

The Ingredients
3 3-ounce pork chops, or pork loin
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth, (better than bouillon)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray for skillet

The Process
1.  Turn on Grill to medium heat (or you can do this part in the oven, follow the original linked recipe for those instructions.

2.  Put a medium pan over medium high heat on the stove top and spray generous about of cooking spray in pan.  While this is heating pepper the pork chops.

3.  When pan is hot add pork chops and cook each side for 2 minutes.  When done put pan aside and put the pork chops on the grill for a total of 12 minutes, flipping after 6 minutes.

4.  While chops are grilling take the pan with pork juice remnants and put over high heat and add wine, broth, Dijon, tomato paste, and salt.

5.  Bring to boil while whisking continuously and boil for about 1 minute.  Then reduce heat to medium and keep whisking for about 4 minutes until sauce is smooth and thickens (should be about a 1/2 cup reduced).

6.  Serve pork with sauce over the top and enjoy the tangy sensation!

Nutritional Facts: (per serving)
Cal:162; Fat 5.7g; Sat Fat1.3g; Protein 24.5g; Fiber.5g

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Now watch this and listen carefully to why she doesn't like is the same reason I don't. Enjoy!
Drunk Cooking