Monday, October 2, 2017

Black Pepper Tofu Stir-Fry

I've had this tofu recipe saved on Pinterest for a while and we were feeling in the mood for a good tofu stir-fry. With all of the pepper in this dish, it has a kick, so if you do not enjoy spicy it's not for you. Overall we liked it a lot, I wished that I had made a little bit of extra sauce to pour over the rice as well, but that is such a small detail compared to the overall dish.

The black pepper sauce gives the tofu so much flavor and this dish was so easy to make it really did take no time at all in the wok. 

Recipe slightly adapted from The Little Spice Jar

Stir Fry
-1 (12-14 ounce) block extra firm tofu
-1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3 tablespoons oil, divided

Black Pepper Sauce
-2 large shallots or 4 small, thinly sliced
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-2 red fresno chilis, sliced
-1 tablespoon ginger paste
-2 tablespoons EACH light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce and hoisin
-1 tablespoon pepper medley
-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
-1 tablespoon rice vinegar
-1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
-6 scallions, cut into 1 inch strips

Press the excess moisture out of the tofu for about 15-20 minutes. Then slice into cubes and toss in the cornstarch and salt to coat.

While pressing the tofu prepare the black pepper sauce. Combine all of the ingredients and stir until combined together.

In a large wok heated over medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat. Add the tofu into the wok and let fry for 5-6 minutes, flipping as needed to ensure that each side is evenly browned. Once the tofu is cooked, remove and set aside. Add one more tablespoon of oil and then add the shallots and saute until they are cooked down. Add the garlic and chilis and saute for 3-4 more minutes. Add the ginger paste and then the tofu. Now finish with the black pepper sauce and stir to coat all of the ingredients in the black pepper sauce. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, then remove from the heat and serve over your grain of choice (we used brown rice).


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

In an effort to use even more tomatoes we made this fresh marinara sauce one evening. It takes less than 30 minutes and although it's certainly not the slow cooked, thickened tomato sauce that you're used to eating, we both thought it was pretty good. I didn't want to find a recipe that made massive amounts of tomato sauce that needed to be canned, that was much more work than I wanted to put in on a weeknight for dinner.

Recipe from Five Heart Home

-4 pounds ripe tomatoes
-1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
-4 large cloves garlic, minced
-1 bunch fresh herbs (such as basil, or a combo of basil, parsley, oregano, and/or thyme)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-Freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
-Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
-Additional fresh chopped herbs, to taste (optional)

Cut tomatoes into chunks and pulse a few times in a food processor. Set aside.

In a large pot set over low heat, saute the minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and juices to pot, place the fresh herb bunch on top, raise heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When sauce has thickened and reduced, remove the herb stems. Stir in salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper --  taste and adjust any seasonings as needed. The original recipe called for sugar, but we chose to leave it out. Once the sauce is seasoned use an immersion blender to give it a few pulses -- you want there to be some texture left, so don't overly process the sauce.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Green Tomato Tartines

The abundance of tomatoes continues, but with green tomatoes this time. I had a green tomato soup recipe I wanted to make, but I just made roasted tomato soup with ripe tomatoes, so I decided to skip that idea. This recipe looked like it was easy to put together which is always appealing for a week night dinner.

I loved the tart combination from the green tomatoes and olives. This dish is probably not for everyone, the green tomatoes are tart, the olives are briny, and some people just hate raw shallots/onions. This is the kind of dish I love to eat, and the combination of warm/raw ingredients created a nice juxtaposition. I happily ate mine!  

Recipe from a Couple Cooks

-2 large green tomatoes
-1 shallot
-¼ cup Kalamata olives
-1 handful fresh herbs (for example, dill, basil, and chives)
-4 slices crusty bread, we used ciabatta 
-4 ounces goat cheese
-Olive oil
-Kosher salt

Toast the bread slices and while the bread is toasting -- slice the green tomatoes and thinly slice the shallot. Coarsely chop the olives and the herbs.

In a skillet, heat a few drizzles of olive oil. Place the tomato slices in the skillet and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Heat until softened and just golden, about 3 minutes per side. Taste and add additional salt as necessary.

On each slice of bread, spread the goat cheese and then top with the warm tomatoes, shallots, olives, and herbs. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

6 Ingredient Roasted Tomato Soup


I made this the night we made the Red Wine Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini. The weather was really chilly and rainy, so it seemed like a nice fall-like dinner to make. It also used eight of our tomatoes!

Unfortunately this soup received mixed reviews. Dave enjoyed it, I wasn't a fan of it. I'm not sure if it was the texture (maybe I should have thinned out the soup), or something else. I ended up eating it with crushed smoked gouda crackers in it which helped. I thought adding pesto to the soup as opposed to fresh herbs was a really smart idea and not something I would have thought of doing.

The grilled cheese we made was pretty standard, except for the cheese was a mustard seed cheese I picked up at the grocery store. I love to add mustard to my grilled cheese, so the tangy cheese was a nice addition to the grilled cheese and paired well with the soup.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest

-6-8 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
-1 small sweet onion, quartered
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
-kosher salt and pepper
-1 cup whole milk, plus more to thin
-1/3 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

In a large baking pan, combine the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes just begin to char and release their juices. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the roasted tomatoes and onions and their juices to a medium soup pot and and add the milk. Puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Place over medium heat on the stove. Stir in the pesto and season the soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more milk if desired, we did not do this step, but if you like your soup not as thick it's worth it. 

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a grilled cheese on the side. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Red Wine Cherry Tomato & Goat Cheese Crostini

The quest to use all of our tomato crop continues. I made these this past weekend when it was considerably chilly out and a peak into cozy fall weather. These were incredibly easy to put together and tasted delicious. The red wine from the tomatoes soaked into the bread just enough to make it easy to eat, but not enough to make it soggy. Goat cheese and tomatoes are a classic pairing, but taking the extra time to brush the crostini with garlic butter is worth it. 

Recipe from Wry Toast.

-2 cups cherry tomatoes (~one pint)
-a few pinches of Salt & Pepper
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp basil
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1/3 cup dry red wine (we used Cabernet Sauvignon)
-10 oz. french baguette
-1 tbsp salted butter, softened
-1/2 tsp minced garlic
-4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 450F.

Slice cherry tomatoes in half, then transfer to large mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil, tossing well. Next add in EVOO, and red wine, and toss. Transfer tomatoes to oven-safe baking dish, a  glass pie pan worked nicely for me, then roast for 25 – 30 minutes until the tomatoes just begin to char.

While the tomatoes are roasting. Combine butter and garlic in small dish and stir well until mixed. Slice the baguette and evenly spread a thin layer of butter onto each slice, then toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes until golden. We did this in our toaster oven to keep things simple.

Once the tomatoes are done, spread the softened goat cheese onto each baguette slice, top with cherry tomatoes and serve immediately.