This weekend’s recipe is a two-parter. You can prepare the two dishes to go together or make them separately. I personally love them together for dinner, but I’ll often save the leftover tofu to throw on a salad for the next day’s lunch. There’s a great candied flavor to the tofu while the veggies inject a bit of spice into the meal. I like to think of this meal as the healthy version of potato chips and honey baked ham. It feels like an indulgence, but in reality you’re really being quite healthy.
Ingredients for Miso-Glazed Tofu:
14-16oz Lite Firm Tofu
¼ Cup White Miso Paste
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Mirin
Ingredients for Spice Roasted Vegetables:
1 Lb. of whatever vegetables you chose (I used yellow squash and zucchini)
1 Tsp. Coriander
½ Tsp. Fennel Seeds
½ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp. Italian Seasoning
3 Tbsp. Macadamia Nut Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Slice your tofu block into three layers and place in a towel to soak up moisture.
Cover a small baking dish with tin foil
Slice veggies. You can choose the size; just make sure they’re all more or less uniform.
Mix oil and spices together with in a ramekin with a basting brush
Paint over veggies and mix up so each piece is well coated
Place veggies in oven, and then begin mixing together the miso glaze for your tofu.
Liberally paint the glaze onto either side of each tofu slice with your basting brush.
Place pieces into a larger baking dish
Place into the oven along with your veggies. You can stir up the veggies at this point.
After about 10 minutes flip tofu over and finish baking until glaze looks candied. You’ll want to take the veggies out once they just begin to brown.
Claudio’s, a small specialty shop nestled in Philadelphia’s Italian Market, is one of my all-time favorite spots. The shop has been open for over 50 years serving meats, cheese, olives, pasta, and other imported goods. It’s one of those places you go and feel the old world preserved. The employees who work there were born and raised right down the street. They can recount for you how their mothers used to send them down for a half pound of fresh mozzarella, and now they’re keeping the tradition alive by running the place themselves.
My favorite part about Claudio’s though is the cheese. They’re selection is out of this world. Gourmet cheeses of every kind – Italian, French…fresh, aged…sheep, goat….
It’s become my go-to place for cheese experimentation. I’ve tried everything from Bulgarian Feta to smoked cheddar – each inspiring me with a new recipe idea. After much sampling, here is some ingredient inspiration with my favorite, and some of the most novel cheeses, that I’ve discovered at Claudio’s.
(from left to right: Beemster, Vento D’Estate, Crucola, and Testun Occelli al Barolo)
Beemster is my absolute favorite cheese that’s I’ve discovered at Claudio’s. It’s a bright orange, 3-year aged cow’s milk cheese that originated in Holland. Its texture is delicate –its flavor sharp and nutty.
I love it on its own, or thrown into a gourmet grilled cheese – think pressed foccacia bread with thin apple slices and mixed greens.
This cheese is the most unique thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. In the aging process they actually cover it with hand-picked hay, and place it in wooden barrels. The idea came from a famer who, many years ago, was driving his cart filled with cheese down a country road when hay from the buggie in front of him started to blow off. He sniffed the air, and wondered why, if the scent was so pleasant in the air, couldn’t it be pleasant combined with his cheese. So he wrapped the cheese in the nicest hay he could find, and thus Vento D’Estate (literally meaning summer wind) was born. The hay gives it a pungent earthy flavor unlike any other cheese I’ve ever had.
I can see this cheese being great in a spanokopita-type dish because of its strong earthy flavor.
Crucola is a cow’s milk cheese originating from the Italian Alps. The flavor is mild with a slight hint of swiss. The swiss cheese flavor is ever so slight, so if you’re not a fan of swiss (like myself) you may still like it.
This is the perfect cheese to add into morning eggs for a twist on the old cheddar.
Testun Occelli al Barolo
You got it, this beer is bathed in wine – Barolo wine. For the last few months of its 7-month aging process the cheese is infused with it. The blend of cow and goat’s milk picks up the fine flavor, and the outside forms a funny flaky texture of dried wine bits.
I imagine this one crumbled up in a salad with some nuts and grapes, but then again, this guy might go best with some crackers and a glass of…Barolo.
If any of you love cheese as much as I do, and you’re interested in trying them for yourself, you can order off of their website. I highly suggest getting all four, slicing up an apple, putting out some crackers, pouring some wine, inviting over some friends, and having a cheese party. It’s one of the simplest, pleasure-filled ways to pass an evening.
What’s your favorite cheese? What’s your favorite way to eat it?
These days the word “granola” seems to be slightly vague. When you go to the grocery store there are so many versions. It can be made with oats. It can be made with nuts. There can be cinnamon, or vanilla – even chocolate. You get the point. Basically, to be granola it has to have crunch, and it has to be delicious. When you make it at home, however, there are even more versions to experiment with. The options are endless, so I wanted to share some of the interesting granola recipes that have been catching my eye lately. I love the idea of making your own granola, and really controlling what goes into it. I’m still deciding which I should throw together, but if any of you try one, let me know how it is!
Crunchy Quinoa Granola
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Preheat oven to 300F.
Combine all dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds) in a large bowl. Mix well.
In a small bowl stir together all wet ingredients (applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, agave, molasses).
Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until well coated.
Spread the granola on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Turn it over every 10 minutes or so to provide even toasting.
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350F
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth.
Add the oats, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, coconut, and pumpkin seeds, stirring until granola is evenly coated. It will be moist.
Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes and stir the granola around. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. Granola will crisp up once it has cooled down.
Most people do not eat many lentils, but they’re a great food to try and incorporate into your diet more often. Technically legumes, they are high in protein (especially great for vegetarians), and have a multitude of vitamins like magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin B. They’re also good to lower cholesterol, but perhaps the best part is that these little guys are extremely filling which isn’t always the case with healthy foods.
I’ve been trying to eat lentils more often, and this week’s recipe is my first stab at a chilled lentil salad. I used to think that lentils were hard to cook, and generally stayed away from them. After reading up a bit, I realized I was wrong – they’re just about as easy to cook as rice. Some might think lentils can get a bit bland, but that’s why I’ve added some kick with Serrano peppers for this recipe. The onions throughout help to add a bit of crunch, and the spinach is just plain tasty. This is a great to-go lunch or side dish for dinner.
photo incorporates tomatoes which aren’t in this recipe, but feel free to add them in! (via the grub daily)
2 Cups of Dried Green Lentils
6 Cups of Hot Water
5 Cups of Spinach
3 Serrano Peppers
1 Red Onion
½ Tbsp Cumin Seeds
½ Tbsp Minced Ginger
2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
Pour dried lentils into a strainer and pick over for any bad looking bits.
Rinse a few times, mixing around with your hand to be sure every piece gets rinsed well.
Throw into a pot, with 6 cups of hot water, and let cook for about 25-30 minutes.
Slice onion and peppers, mince ginger, and throw into a saucepan with grapeseed oil to sauté.
While that is sautéing mix cumin seeds into your lentils, and then begin to stir in spinach. You’ll have to stir it in bit by bit as bulky spinach moistens and wilts, creating space to add more.
Once onions begin to appear transparent, mix everything in the sauce pan into your lentils. Let sit until they reach room temperature, and then stick them in the fridge to chill overnight.
Okay, it’s not the prettiest food out there, but it sure is delicious – and good for you!
This week’s recipe is part 2 of my coverage on Julie Morris’s recipe book, Superfood Cuisine. This time around as a big sushi lover, I decided to replicate her Sushi Salad Bowl. I’d never thought of putting a salad like this together before, but with the first bite, I quickly fell in love. I think what makes it so delicious is a combination between the Nori sheets and ginger dressing (I’m a huge love of ginger dressing). These two ingredients combined, I just couldn’t get enough. Dare I say, I might even like it more than sushi. I paired the salad with a side of edamame, put my new Hong Kong-purchased chopsticks to use, and had a wonderful dinner. It was simple to throw together, and I can’t wait to share this guilt-free dinner with friends.
3 ½ Cups of cooked brown or wild rice (about 1 ¼ cups uncooked)
3 Cups of Sunflower Sprouts (or any other sprouts you’d like to use – I used an alfalfa blend)
1 Handful onion sprouts (or scallions)
4 Nori Sheets
Ginger or Shoyu dressing to taste
Throw sprouts into a large bowl. Grate carrot, (if you’re using scallions) chop scallions, and throw them into the bowl along with sprouts.
Cut 4 Nori sheets in half.
Make one pile, and cut in half again.
Make one pile, and now cut them going the other way to make lots of small strips.
Scatter the Nori sheets around. Once you add the dressing they will clump together if they’re all in one place.
Make sure rice is room temperature, and add it to the mixture.
One of our amazing readers, Julie Morris, is an employee for Navitas Naturals and just came out with her very own recipe book, Superfood Cuisine. She kindly sent me a copy of the recently published book, and I have to say, it’s amazing. The whole concept is cooking delicious cuisine with high-energy, nutrient-rich ingredients – superfoods. She defines superfoods as natural food with an exceptionally high nutrient density (nutrient:calories). They are ingredients that help to rejuvenate the body and keep the mind sharp. The funny thing is that most of these ingredients (mostly fruits, roots, seeds, plants, and berries) were discovered long ago by ancient cultures, but have since lost their popularity. The book is packed with info on superfoods. If you’re interested in learning more on why they’re so good to incorporate into your diet, I suggest picking up a copy.
I decided to recreate one of the many delicious looking recipes in Julie’s book for this week’s recipe. Watermelon Chia Fresca is made using the superfood chia seeds. These tiny seeds were originally used by the Aztec, Incas, and Mayans to increase stamina on a long journey. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber (1tbsp = ¼ daily fiber needs), and important minerals like calcium and iron. Another fun fact about Chia seeds is that they can absorb 9x their own weight in water which means that once in the stomach they will expand and increase your feeling of being full. Check out this delicious fresh beverage using the powerful superfood, and stay tuned next week for another of Julie’s recipes.
1 Cup of Water
2 Teaspoons of Chia Seeds
2 ½ Cups of Chopped Watermelon Flesh
1 ½ Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
Stevia or Agave Nectar to taste (I used Agave)
Combine water and chia seeds. Stir.
Place into the fridge for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, take out and stir. Then place back into the fridge for another 10 minutes. This allows the chia seeds to plump up.
Place chia mixture and remaining ingredients into a blender and blend.
As requested, a recipe for delicious, fresh, homemade tomato sauce.
If there’s one thing an Italian child is raised on, it’s tomatoes. Italians are obsessed with tomatoes. I’ve even seen it go as far as a dinner conversation centered around the different kinds of tomatoes and their individuals uses – for a whole hour! Anyways, their obsession led to tomato sauce, which is something I think many of us could not live without. They’ve perfected it into one of the world’s best comfort foods, and it’s also pretty easy to make. I’ve taken tips from various individuals and come up with my own personal recipe. There’s nothing like homemade tomato sauce, so enjoy :)
1 – 28oz Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 – 6oz Can of Tomato Paste
2 Extra Large Garlic Cloves (minced)
Approx 10 Basil Leaves (ripped into thirds)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
10 Cherry Tomatoes
½ Cup 2% Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place olive oil, garlic, and half of your basil into a sauce pan to sauté
Once your garlic is browned, lower the heat as low as it will go, add in tomato paste and whole peeled tomatoes (it’s important to lower the heat A LOT so that it doesn’t explode all over you when you pour in the peeled tomatoes). Sprinkle with oregano, add remaining basil, and stir.
Turn the heat up to about a medium flame. Once it starts boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir every 5-10minutes.
While the tomato sauce is thickening you’ll want to peel the skins off of your cherry tomatoes. After you’ve peeled them, quarter each one.
Once the sauce is almost to the desired consistency, put water on to boil for your pasta. As you do this, add the cherry tomatoes into the mixture so they have about 5-10 minutes of simmer time. Once you’re ready to throw in the pasta, turn off the sauce’s burner, and slowly stir in milk. Let sit until pasta is ready.
Hey guys! I’m not quite ready to share the results of my natural dye experimentation just yet… i need a little more time, so check back for that next week! To hold you over, here’s a lovely little idea from Liz of Late Afternoon:
Spice up ice water (or any beverage for that matter!) by putting berries and flowers in your ice cubes! Just drop them in the ice cube trays before freezing :) This would be such a sweet touch for a party!
I’ve been waking up really early, and rather than lay there tossing and turning trying to fall back asleep, I’ve decided to put my mornings to good use. Like a crazy person I’ve been getting up and putting in early morning workouts. It’s great to get it out of the way, but it definitely leaves you wanting a good recharge with breakfast. As a solution, I’ve put together a great post-workout morning meal that is full of healthy energy and protein. The combination of nuts, seeds, and fruit helps rebuild those muscles, and gets you set to conquer the day.
2 Slices of Flax Seed Bread
Spread almond butter on one slice of bread
Cut banana lengthwise into three slices and lay them on top of the almond butter.
Place both halves into a toaster oven (or regular oven) until both slices of bread are toasted.
Fp Naomi, our resident chef, is away in Hong Kong right now so for today’s recipe I thought I’d share this video I came across recently. The recipe is for a cake made with beets, and although yes that does sound interesting and potentially delicious, what I love about it is the beauty of this video – it’s magically done, focusing on the physical act of making something as an art form. I couldn’t take my eyes away!
In reference to our Venetian theme this month, this week’s recipe is another of my favorite Italian-inspired recipes. Growing up my family made traditional potato gnocchi. It was always a huge production. My father and I would spend hours, rolling out hundreds of little gnocchi, preparing three different sauces, and, in the end, having a gnocchi fest with family and friends. Every person had to try the gnocchi with each sauce, falling in love anew with every bite. In the end, everyone was stuffed and happy…or uncomfortable from overeating – but – still happy…
Now that I’ve grown older and expanded my cooking experimentations, I’ve started making gnocchi with sweet potatoes. They’re a variation on the traditional version – a little healthier, and a little spicier. I don’t make hundreds, so it’s a bit less time consuming, but it still takes a while to make them. The following recipe will yield enough for 4-5 people – depending on how much you can eat. I made a homemade tomato sauce to go with them (I’ll can give you all this recipe another week if you’re interested), but they’re also good with butter & sage or any tomato/diavolo sauce you have.
2 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 Baking Potato
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp Dried Oregano
Pinch of salt
All Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 375˚F
Peel and dice sweet potatoes, then mix with olive oil, red pepper, and oregano in a roasting dish.
Cover dish with tinfoil, and then place in the oven to cook until potatoes are extremely tender (approx. 1/2hr)
Place baking potato to boil until it is also extremely tender (approx. 1/2hr)
Let both potatoes cool. Once the baking potato is cool enough to handle, peel and dice it. Then throw both the sweet potatoes and the baking potato together into a large mixing bowl.
Using a hand blender or rice mill blend both together until fairly creamy
Using a wooden spoon, mix in egg & a pinch of salt.
Still using a wooden spoon and working quickly, mix in flour until mixture reaches a doughy consistency. Towards the end I usually ditch the spoon and work it with my hands. It should still stick to your fingers a bit, but be thick enough to roll out once you’ve reached the right texture. It’s important to work fast so that you don’t have to add too much flour which will result in heavy gnocchi.
You’re now ready to roll out the gnocchi. Set yourself up on a table, or with enough counter space. You’ll need flour and a fork. Pour some flour on the surface, and cover your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick.
To roll out the gnocchi you first toll the dough into little logs about ½” thick. Then, using the fork, cut them into approx. 1” segments. Once you’ve done so, press the fork lightly on top to make little ridges. This is a little trick passed down through my family to help them cook just right, and it also makes them pretty.
After you’ve rolled them out, you’ll want to place the finished pieces on a towel until you are ready to cook them.
To cook the gnocchi you’ll want to set a pot of water to boil. Once it has reached a boil, drop in about 8 gnocchi at a time. Once they are cooked they will start to float, and you can scoop them out with a spatula or something with holes to let the water through.
Each serving is about 15 pieces. Drizzle with your desired sauce, garnish, and serve!
With this month’s catalog shot in Venice, I thought I’d give you all a recipe for one of my favorite Italian foods – gelato. This is a recipe that my grandma or aunt will whip up almost every time I visit them in Italy. I never really make it at home, so it’s earned a spot in my heart as one of those special treats I get whenever I visit my favorite place in the whole world. It’s made with hazelnuts and chocolate, like the Italian candy, Baci, from which it gets its name. More familiarly, it has a nutella-like flavoring, but whatever you relate it to, it’s a dream that melts in your mouth. Now that I have a vat of it in my fridge, it’s been really hard to stay away.
Try it out for yourself if you dare =P
1 1/3 Cups Whole Milk
100 Grams of Dark Chocolate
¾ (generous) Cup of sugar
¾ Cups of ground hazelnuts
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Beat egg, 1 cup of milk, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
Place sugar, chocolate, 1/3 cup of milk, ¼ cup of hazelnuts into a pot, and place over a low flame. Keep stirring until chocolate is fully melted and sugar is dissolved.
Pour melted chocolate mixture into milk/egg mixture, add remaining hazelnuts, and stir vigorously until fully blended together.
Pour into a bread pan, and let cool for a bit. Once it has reached room temperature, stick the whole thing in the fridge over night.
After a night in the fridge to freeze, it should be ready to serve nde
Fuel your taste buds with new recipes and knowledgeable cooking tips. Healthy food makes for a good heart and great well being. We want to share our love and exploration of food with you in hopes that you pick up something new.