Monday, June 27, 2011

Mango-Cabbage Noodles with Tofu

I took this dish from a really tasty Mango Coleslaw recipe that makes a great side at any summer grill out. Sliced mangoes, carrots and onion are mixed with fresh basil, mint and cilantro and tossed with a tangy Asian vinaigrette; diced jalapeno adds some spice to the mix. Because this slaw is vinaigrette based rather than mayonnaise based, it fares on the lighter side.

I was craving the dish for dinner but knew it wouldn't fill me up, so I pan-seared some tofu in soy sauce, cut up a head of Chinese cabbage, tossed in some whole-wheat linguine, added a few crushed honey-roasted peanuts and voilà!  Mango-Cabbage Noodles with Tofu was born, a tangy Asian noodle bowl of pure deliciousness. I'll list both recipes below so you can choose to make this dish as a side or a main. Enjoy!

Mango Coleslaw
2 large mangoes, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small red onion or 3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp each chopped minced basil and mint
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp crushed garlic
¼ cup lime juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp minced Serrano pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl, and remaining 5 ingredients together in a small bowl for vinaigrette. Add the vinaigrette to the large bowl and stir together.

Mango-Cabbage Noodles with Tofu
Mango Coleslaw recipe (I would halve the veggies but keep the same amount of sauce, as you are adding more ingredients to the mix)
1 block firm tofu
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups loosely packed Chinese cabbage
1 cup whole wheat thin linguine
3 tbsp honey-roasted peanuts, crushed

To Cook Tofu:
Drain tofu by placing a double layer of paper towel around the block to press out excess water. Cut the tofu into bite sized squares. Heat 1 tbsp oil or spray a thin layer of olive oil spritzer in a pan on medium heat.  Make sure the tofu are arranged in a single layer with some room in between, and cook covered for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. Add the soy sauce and flip, cooking on the other side for 3-4 minutes.
To Assemble Noodle Bowl:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine Mango Coleslaw, Cabbage, Tofu, and Noodles in a large mixing bowl; sprinkle with honey-roasted peanuts for garnish.  For optimal noodle slurping, eat with chopsticks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sautéed Swiss Chard with Onions

The summer farmers markets are overflowing with bundles of leafy greens; one $2 -$4 bunch can usually fill up an entire plastic bag.  This also means that you'll have to use up the whole bunch within the week, but don't be daunted by the massive size! This Sautéed Swiss Chard and Onions recipe can be made with any leafy green, and is a great way to use up leftover veggies. Two ingredients that you might not think go with vegetables- honey and soy sauce- mix together to create a truly delicious subtle sweetness that compliments the greens and onions. Serve as a side to any protein.

Sautéed Swiss Chard and Onions
The leafy greens will shrink in volume when added to the heated pan, so you might have to add them in batches to the pan as the volume decreases.

1 bunch swiss chard (or kale, collard greens, spinach, etc.)
1/3 cup vidalia sweet onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet pan on medium heat. Dice onion and add to pan. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Chop or tear swiss chard into large chunks and add to skillet. Add soy sauce and honey and stir; cook covered for 5 more minutes or until greens are wilted. If a lot of liquid remains in the pan, cook uncovered for a few more minutes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper before serving.

Did You Know?
"Greens are the No.1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health," says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, author of The Veggie Queen. Leafy vegetables are chock full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and organic plant-derived substances that help protect you from heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These greens provide excellent sources of vitamins AC and K, folate, potassium, and antioxidants to name a few. Her top 5 highest for your health rankings- kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard and spinach- are all summer accessible!

To read about these leafy greens in more depth, click here.

Nierenberg, Cari. "Leafy Greens -- Ranked and Rated." Web MD. 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 18 June 2011.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

At the Farmer's Market Today, Red Jacket Orchards was having a special: all of the fresh ingredients needed to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie, complete with a multi-generation family recipe on how to make it.  I could literally smell the sweet aroma of the fresh local strawberries in front of me, how was I going to resist?

The equation turned out to be simple. Three local ingredients: strawberries + rhubarb +Red Jacket Orchards Fuji Apple Juice = the most mouthwatering, melt-in-your-mouth strawberry soaked deliciousness I've EVER had. I could actually kvell all day about this, but I'll cut to the chase so you can enjoy it yourself!

Of course, I changed the recipe around to move this crumble to the healthier end of the spectrum.  I've replaced the original crumb topping ingredients, which included shortening, with a healthy oat-based cobbler topping I've tried and loved in the past.  While the local strawberries in this recipe are such a treat, I think the natural fruit juice is what makes the pie shine: 100% simple pressed whole fruit, sans from concentrate, added sugar, water, color, or flavoring.

Red Jacket Orchards' Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Pie Filling Ingredients:
3 cups of diced rhubarb
3 cups of sliced strawberries
3 tablespoons of RJO Fuji Apple Juice (any 100% apple juice made from whole fruit can substitute)
1/3 cup sugar (the original recipe called 3/4, i lowered to 1/2 and it was still really sweet)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter (I skipped this)

Crumb Topping Ingredients: (my version)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate (or use extra apple juice from the filling)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Mix Red Jacket Rhubarb, Strawberries, Fuji Apple Juice, sugar, and cinnamon into your favorite pie crust.* Dot in butter pieces all over the filling. Mix Crumb Topping together and pour over filling. Bake 40 minutes @ 375 degrees.

*OK, I skipped the pie crust. Ready-made versions are usually loaded with bad fats, and the standout of this recipe is the crumble topping and filling, so I put my pie filling straight into a butter-lined pan.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nikki's Healthy Cookies

Butter-less, flour-less, egg-less, and potentially sugar-less cookies? When I first read the recipe for Nikki's Healthy Cookies in 101 Cookbooks, I shared Heidi's doubts about just how good this cookie could be. But as I read on to the ingredient list and ripe banana, ground nuts, oats, and chocolate chunks popped out, I put away my doubts and went for it. The ingredients in this cookie are so wonderfully rich in taste and texture on their own that it doesn't even need added fat or (much) sugar to taste good. Cut into irresistible bite-size chunks, the emphasis here on "healthy" does not disappoint.

Nikki's Healthy Cookies (original recipe link)
Yield: Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened (I actually didn't have coconut, and used ground flax seed instead for this portion. Use the former if you want a more macaroon-type taste, and latter for nutty.)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional). I added sugar because I was concerned the cookie wouldn't be sweet enough without the coconut, but I don't think its a must- a less sweet cookie takes on a more earthy taste.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.
In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

White Wine Sangria

A refreshing twist on a classic cocktail: white wine summer sangria! I've made sangria over a dozen times, combining different recipes and taking internal notes as I go. This batch came out particularly well, so I wanted to share the recipe with you- especially as summer rolls around. I also particularly like it because it doesn't use any added sugar, the pitfall in many restaurant versions (and the reason for your headache the next morning.).The wine & brandy soaked fruit is definitely the best part, so try to make this a few hours ahead of serving if you can for maximum flavor fusion.

White Wine Sangria

4.5 oz triple sec
4.5 oz brandy
1 bottle of white wine (any kind will do, I used Chardonnay)
10 oz seltzer water
1/4 cup grapes, halved
1 large or 2 small red apples, diced
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 tbsp orange juice concentrate (or 1/4 c orange juice)

Pour triple sec and brandy into a large pitcher. Add grapes, apple, orange and lemon, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add orange juice/concentrate and stir again, pushing the spoon into the citrus fruit to release some of the juice.  Pour in wine. This combination can sit refrigerated up to 24 hrs in advance in order to let the fruit soak up the alcohol. Immediately before serving, pour in seltzer and at a least one tray of ice cubes. Don't forget to taste-test before serving!