Saturday, November 19, 2011

1973 Apple Cake

The following went through my head while baking this cake:
This cake is going to be so good I should totally blog about it and about how I never really used to like baking...
Whenever I bake I remember my mother-in-law and I making cupcakes for my wedding.  She asked me to take over mixing with the hand mixer.  Thoughts of sunken, deformed cupcakes flashed through my head and I advised her that I should probably just stick with separating the baking cups.  She was very supportive of this decision.
Fortunately, I'm no longer afraid of baking--I'm pretty good at it in fact.  Shoot, I've even got a food blog now.  My apprehensions about baking have a few different causes, but mainly stem from a failed muffin project in my high school Foods class (think home ec, minus the sewing and ironing).  To make a long story short, my muffins 'peaked' and I failed.  Nevermind the fact that no high school senior in the 21st century should ever get an F for peaked muffins...I'm not sure what kind of world that woman was living in...
Shit I forgot the eggs.  [Calling my husband]  I've already added the flour, do you think it's ok to go back and mix the eggs? that won't work then the flour will get over-mixed.   [Travis] "Well I've never heard of over-mixing flour."  [Me]  You also didn't know how to properly measure flour, you thought you were supposed to scoop it with the measuring cup.  [Travis]  "I guess you'll just have to throw it out and start over."
Here's where you should imagine the sound of batter hitting the trash bag.  Then, I started again from the top and reentered the world of my thoughts once more...
The Muffin Mishap of 2004 left me scarred and ruined all potential for building baking self esteem.  Plus, baking is all about measuring correctly and mixing for a specified's chemistry and my pyromaniac lab partner and I did not do so hot in that class either.  I'm not the follow-a-recipe type....
How long do I mix this for?  Oh no...wait, that looks ok.  It's gotta be ok because I'm out of applesauce.
Approximately two thirds of all my baking experiences follow this pattern.  I start to get cocky and then I get distracted and the next thing you know the eggs are omitted and the shortbread biscuits are soupy.  Second time is always a charm though, as was the case with this apple cake (so named because the recipe is from 1973).

1973 Apple Cake 
Adapted from The New York Times Magazine

Butter or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the pan
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 1/2 cups applesauce (no sugar added)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups peeled, cored, thickly sliced tart apples
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease & flour 9" bundt pan.  Beat applesauce & sugar together in mixer fitted with paddle attachment while assembling remaining ingredients.  After about 5 min, add the eggs & beat until mixture is creamy.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda.  Stir into batter.  Add vanilla, apples, walnuts, raisins & stir until well-combined.

Transfer to pan.  Bake 1 hr & 15 min.  Cool in pan before turning out. 

I made this cake to take to The Glowing Body's Customer Appreciation Party tonight.  We'll start the evening with kirtan by Sangita Devi and end up around the fire pit with dessert and wine.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gargantuan Grain Junket: Part Trois

The junket presses on!  About a month ago, I found a "What else can you do with couscous?" blurb in BHG.  That is the inspiration for today's station...except scratch the couscous and sub millet.  Like many grains, millet is versatile--it can apparently be popped (like popcorn), porridge-ized (think oatmeal or even risotto), or just plain cooked.  The whole popped millet thing is still blowing my mind (I have not tried it as I am still in a state of disbelief).  Hey readers, have you ever popped millet?  I wanna know!

So I cooked up this millet all regular-like and then went crazy from there.  I bring you:

Millet Patties with Roasted Tomato Salad
A real breeze and a great use of a cast iron skillet.

10 oz grape tomatoes
1 small red onion, chunked and separated
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup millet, rinsed
2 eggs
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
3 handfuls of baby spinach

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat tomatoes and onion with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 30 min, stirring half way through.

Boil 2 cups of water.  Add millet, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 min or until all liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to a large bowl. 

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large skillet.

Beat eggs.  Combine eggs, Italian seasoning, and millet until millet is well coated.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Form the mixture into thick patties using 1/4 cup measuring scoop (careful it's hot).  Pan fry the patties until golden brown, about 3-5 min on each side.  Drain on paper towels.

When tomatoes and onion are done, transfer to a bowl and add in the spinach.  Toss so the spinach is evenly coated with oil, adding more oil as necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the Roasted Tomato Salad on top of the Millet Patties with your favorite glass of wine and some good tunes in the background.

Sounds Om Om Good.

In other news, our friends came over the other day and handed us a bean adorned with googly eyes.  "Wow, that's a cute bean," I said.  "Yes, a kidney bean," my friend said.  "Neat," I thought to myself, "you came all the way over here to hand me a dried bean."  "It's the size of Baby Stout," my friend said.  I proceeded to squeal, clap, and jump up and down.  Leggo my eggo, she's preggo!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Wonders of Beanwah

Chaos.  That is work right now.  If I were Charlie Brown, there would be no black raincloud above my head, rather a swirling vortex.  I know you're all wondering how that detox went--it made the vortex bigger.  After dabbling in some self-reflection on day three, I realized that I am my best self when not confined to mung beans three times daily; so I quit.  I became aware of two things:  (1) I spend a lot of time cooking and preparing food.  (2) I thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Sometimes, just the thought of creating and savoring a delicious and healthful meal is enough to get me through the work day.  Other things that get me through:
  • kind, encouraging, healing words from my Mom (thanks Mom)
  • my yoga practice
  • opening the doors and windows to let in the sound of the rain (tonight)
  • my husband's stupid jokes & lunchbox notes (thanks boo)
  • things that start with the letters 'co' (i.e. co-mmiserating, co-mmunity, co-mplaining with co-workers, co-mfort foods)
The last of which was the inspiration for today's post (that and a recipe co-ntest entitled 'Meat Loaf Makeovers').  Ask my mom, I hated meat loaf as a kid.  It was weird...meat & loaf are two words that really shouldn't go together--not to mention that gross sugary ketchup on top.  So here's the deal, I used the basic recipe for the Beanwah Burgers & just tweaked the amounts of what I pureed in the food processor.  Instead of forming it into patties, obviously it gets pressed into a loaf pan.  I also retooled that nasty sweet ketchup sauce.  Thus, I give you:

Beanwah 'Meat' Loaf with Spicy Mustard Remoulade
Hold on to your hats! 

1 cup quinoa
1 bunch of green onion, divided
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes      
2 15-oz cans of black beans, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T herb & spice seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
Nonstick cooking spray

Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa, cover and simmer for 15-20 min, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coarsely chop most of the green onion, finely chop a small handful and set aside.  Place coarsely chopped onion in a medium skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes (the oil from the tomatoes will be enough to saute the onion).  Cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in all the black beans, garlic, herb & spice seasoning, and 3/4 cup of water.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Transfer to food processor and add 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to bowl and mix in the remaining quinoa.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. 

Generously coat loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Press mixture into pan, flattening out the top.  Bake for 30 to 35 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Garnish with the Spicy Mustard Remoulade and the reserved chopped green onions.

For the remoulade:
4 T spicy brown mustard
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp vegan or canola mayo
1 tsp parsley flakes
Mix all ingredients together.

Try this recipe with Spiced Glazed Carrots or simple baked sweet potatoes.

Also, I'm co-teaching a workshop with my friend Ajeet.  Get our yogic tips for banishing your black cloud and calming the swirling vortex!  For more info, click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall Detox

I just finished the most hilarious, honest book I've read in a while.  In Poser, Claire Dederer exhibited a slight irreverence, which I find quite charming, and included some strategically placed f-bombs (guilty pleasure) that will really knock your socks off.  If you're new to yoga, a woman, or a new mom, you should totally read it.  Even if you're not one of those things, you should still check it out.  Here's just a taste...this passage reminds me of my husband and me:
Now I am going to tell you the secret to a lasting marriage:  Choose a spouse who needs to eat as often as you do. Bruce and I are like toddlers on a big day out.  We need a snack, no matter where we are going or how long we are going to be gone.  If we are headed out for dinner, we bring a baggie of cut-up cheese for the car ride to the restaurant.  It's a good thing we never became stoners because the grocery bills alone would've killed us.
In other news, tomorrow I will be starting a 7-day detox guided by Yoga Journal.  The detox is supposed to help boost immunity as well as prepare your body for the advent of Fall (which seems to be fast-approaching--yay scarves!).  Another intention of the detox is to reduce stress and stimulation by slowing down a bit--not to mention taking time for meditation and yoga practice.  I'm hoping to carve out some 'space' for myself.  Maybe I'll even dabble in some self-reflection. 

This isn't one of those deals where you drink cayenne pepper and lemon juice until smoke comes out your ears and your cheeks permanently pucker.  I will be eating (because I would die if I didn't).  The reason I'm telling y'all out there in the blogosphere about this is because the detox includes specific Ayurvedic recipes (this is a food blog, after all).  I expected to spend half my morning in the kitchen today preparing the food in advance.  I made three recipes in just 45 minutes though.  I'm a little nervous that the kitchari will get old after two days and I'll still have to keep eating it all week long.  The coriander chutney is really crazy and will be a nice garnish for the kitchari.  Thankfully, I will also be eating steamed vegetables, fresh apples, and avocado throughout the week too.  Can't go wrong with fresh avocado. 

Still, please send me encouraging thoughts over the next 7 days so that I can keep going with the detox well after I've gotten sick of rice & mung beans & broth.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gargantuan Grain Junket, Part Deux: Beanwah Veggie Burgers

Well folks, it's been raining since before I got up this morning.  A big thank you to Tropical Storm Lee for traveling all the way up to Appalachia to visit.  I actually have been enjoying the pitter patter--it's been a refreshing soundtrack for my day off.  Along with the rain, Lee has brought slightly more tolerable temperatures.  Yes, that's right I'm wearing pants and long sleeves--makes my husband sweat just looking at me (because I'm wearing long sleeves and pants...don't create an innuendo).

So I know you're looking at the title of this post and are thinking (a) what the eff is beanwah? (2) is that even a grain? and (d) why is her husband sweating?  I'm prepared to answer the first two of those questions.

Beanwah is one of those fun words like 'froyo.'  I just combined beans and quinoa (remember, it's pronounced keen-wah).  Unfortunately, quinoa was not one of the aforementioned grains we serendipitously acquired (see my last post).  It is, however, one of those 'indie grains' as I'm calling them.  'Indie grain' is just a cute way of saying psuedo-grain...and in this case it's actually a seed.  For a refresher course on the super awesome nutritional benefits of quinoa, see my post about Apple Quinoa Salad.

Weather update:  now it's raining sideways...just a few degrees from horizontal...quite amazing actually.

Anyway, these Beanwah Burgers are awesome.  I adapted the recipe from this Vegetarian Times dish, which calls for a lot of water.  While the water does stretch the recipe, it makes the burgers a little more mushy.  The second time around, I omitted the water, doubled the recipe and saw a huge improvement.  The third time, I messed up the recipe, added less water and saw an even bigger improvement.  They're not the same consistency as a Morning Star Black Bean Patty, so don't expect that--expect better!  These burgers will be made from scratch by you, will contain only ingredients that you can pronounce and find in your pantry/local supermarket, and will have way less sodium.  Without further ado, I give you...

Beanwah Burgers
I have a friend who likes to pronounce 'burgers' with a bit of an accent...'boy-gahs.'  I encourage you to use that pronunciation when referring to this recipe.

1 cup quinoa
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried maters
2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp herb & spice seasoning (or any grill seasoning you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add quinoa & reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 15-20 min or until all liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried maters in a medium skillet (no need to add extra oil; the oil from the maters will be enough to saute the onion).  Cook 2 to 3 min or until fragrant.  Add seasoning, beans, garlic, and 1/2 cup water.  Simmer 3 to 5 min or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Transfer the bean-onion mixture to your food processor along with 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining quinoa.  Give it a taste (careful it's hot!) and season with more salt & pepper if you think it's needed.

Shape the bean mixture into patties (use a 1/2 cup measuring scoop for each patty).  If your baking sheet is NOT non-stick, make sure to spray it with cooking spray before placing the patties on it.  Bake 20 min, or until patties are crisp on top.  Then flip and bake 10 min more or until both sides are crisp and brown.

Serve the patties on whole wheat buns and dress them like you would any other burger (they're also great with guacamole).  You can also go naked (no bun) like I did in the picture above.  Really, just do whatever strikes your fancy.

For a crazy vegetarian side dish that's totally en vogue right now, bake up some kale chips.  I bought a bag of pre-cut kale from the store & just removed the large stems.  Turn the oven up to 375.  Make sure the kale is good & dry, then spray with cooking spray.  Top it off with salt & pepper or your favorite seasoning and bake for 15 min or until the kale is cripsy.  Check out this easy how-to video from Kath Eats Real Food.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gargantuan Grain Junket, Part Un: That's Groats!

We have recently come into a gargantuan amount of grains.  Odd grains that people don't talk about much at the grocery store.  These grains are like the mysterious art kids in the cafeteria who sat under the block of florescent lights that flickered and dimmed slightly.  These grains are indie, pretentious, cool, and a little rough around the edges.  I have no clue how to cook these grains.  Side note:  I'm not even sure they're all 'grains.'

I invite you to join me on my Gargantuan Grain Junket.  Together we'll discover the nutritional benefits of eating indie grains and the ins and outs of making them digestible. 

As this week's title suggests, we're going groats, buckwheat groats to be exact.  Some folks call it kasha, which rhymes with sasha and makes me think of Borat.  Groats sounds like gross, which is basically a synonym for Borat but with less graphic associations.  So we'll go with groats.  As a result, there will be no photograph of this dish (because it's groats).  I don't want to give you the wrong idea, this is dang good food; it's just not...pretty.  Since there won't be a picture of the finished project, here's a stock image of buckwheat groats so you know what we're working with.

They have the shape of chocolate chips!  These puppies are souped up with magnesium and omega-6 fatty acids.  As with most grains & indie grains (aka pseudo-grains) there are a variety of ways to cook them.  I decided to ease my way in to this journey and cooked them much like I would quinoa.  I rinsed them first because they came from the bulk section and I picked out any weird looking ones.  Then it's just 2:1 water to groat.  When cooked, they got really clumpy and delicious; it kind of reminded me of chunky (not soupy) oatmeal, although each individual groat did retain its shape.

Sounds cooler when you put the two words together to make one word, almost like a city in Russia.

1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed & picked over
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package herbed (or plain) tofu, extra firm
1 10 oz package frozen broccoli florets
Basil Pesto (see below)

In a medium saucepan boil water.  Add groats and return to boiling.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 - 20 min or until all water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cube the tofu and press away excess moisture.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Working in batches so as to avoid over crowding, pan fry the cubed tofu until golden brown, flipping as necessary.

Boil/steam/microwave/thaw the broccoli.  Chop into bite size pieces.

Combine groats, tofu, and broccoli.  Top with 1 - 2 tbsp basil pesto per serving.

Pesto Change-O!  You can use the skeleton of this recipe for Cilantro Pesto and make a few substitutions for this meal:  Sub basil for cilantro, Parmesan cheese is optional (or you can sub in sun-dried maters).  Omit mustard seed, orange zest.  Red pepper flakes are optional.

There ya have it folks.  Pestogroats.  A hearty, nutrient-dense, indie treat.  I would love to hear your experiences with groats, including any word associations that come to mind.  Also, check out this recipe for Crunchy Buckwheat Groats.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cuter than a shortbread biscuit

Strawberry shortcake banana split!  We think your team is full of--shake it to the left!  Shake it to the right!
Did you ever sing this song as a kid?  Did you giggle at how 'shake' made the adults think you were going to say shit?  I did!  And all summer long, I have been giggling, scheming, and searching for the best shortcake recipe.  Alas school has started and despite what the calendars say, that means summer's over for millions of kids.  Thankfully, my mom came to visit this past weekend and gave me an awesome reason to get quick in the kitchen with this recipe on Friday night.

Most of the recipes I found weren't really cakes, per se, more like biscuits.  I think the biscuit thing is really hot right now, especially for Knoxville, which is home of the International Biscuit Festival.  Also biscuits seem more rustic than cake and we are in the middle of this movement (buzzwords are 'local,' 'sustainable,' 'homemade,' 'don't eat it if your grandmother wouldn't recognize the ingredients,' etc)...let's face it folks, cake ain't that earthy--but biscuits... 

Berry Shortbread Biscuits
I am using the biscuit recipe for Very Berry Shortcakes from Vegetarian Times.

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup almond milk, plus more for brushing tops of shortcakes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup turbinado sugar, optional

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and coat baking sheet with cooking spray.  Put your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Stir in oil until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk and vanilla extract.  Stir almond milk mixture into flour mixture until soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto floured work surface, and roll to 1-inch thickness.  Cut out 8 shortcakes with 2 1/2-inch round cutter.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet, brush biscuit tops with almond milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if using.  Bake 12 to 15 min or until biscuits are golden brown.  Cool 10 min.

While the biscuits are cooling make the whipped cream.  Get your frosty bowl and whisk attachment from the freezer and using your mixer (or by hand...ouch!) whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Whip until stiff peaks form (until it looks like whipped cream).

What about the berries?  Some recipes call for a berry compote or something fancy like that.  I just microwaved a frozen mixed berry blend (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries) until thawed.  In between nukes I mashed the berries a little with a fork to extract more juice for drizzling.

Assembly required:  Using a serrated knife, split the biscuits in half.  Place the bottom on your plate, top with berries and a touch of whipped cream.  Cap with biscuit tops, a generous heap of whipped cream, more berries & berry juice.

Shameless Plug:  Balancing Flow is still at 7:45pm on Tuesdays at the Glowing Body AND starting in September, I will be taking over the Karma Yoga I class on Sundays at 1:00pm.  Karma Yoga is donation based.  See you there!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let them eat it...

Yesterday was my birthday (and Ken Burns').  It was full of true friends and great food like gazpacho, spumoni, and saag paneer (not eaten simultaneously).  Also, Yoga Girl, a pipe cleaner person made by my friend Aaron, made an appearance at the dinner table and wowed us with her sweet skills and flexibility.  I hope to feature Yoga Girl on this blog in the near future.
One of the highlights of the big day was the cake my hubby made for me.  He used my recipe and a carton full of my favorite icing (props!).  We ate cake before dinner just to make sure we had enough room for dessert...we tend to gorge at Sitar.

Don't Grab My Bundt Cake
This is the easiest, most delicious chocolate cake you will ever barely stir!

2 c flour (use whole wheat!)
1 c sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c cocoa powder
2 c applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla**
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bundt pan with cookie spray and dust with flour.

Sift together dry ingredients into large bowl.  Add applesauce and vanilla.  Using wooden spoon, mix until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 - 35 min or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for about 10 min in the pan, then turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.

**There's plenty of room for substitutions here.  Instead of vanilla, you can use 2 tbsp of spiced rum or 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (sift cinnamon with dry ingredients).  Get crazy, the sky's the limit!

Travis used my favorite rainbow chip frosting for this special occasion.  Normally when I make this cake, however, I make my own:

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2-4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder, sifted

Add ingredients to mixing bowl in the order they're listed above, waiting to add the next ingredient until the previous are combined.  How much powdered sugar you add depends on how sweet and how stiff you want the frosting (the more powdered sugar the easier it is to pipe).  If you added rum to the cake, you can also add 1 tbsp rum to the frosting.

What do you like to eat on your birthday?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Say Brushetta, You Say Brusketta

Our apartment smells like apple cider vinegar.  We have three bowls of it strategically placed throughout our small kitchen in an effort to corral the sizeable herd of fruit flies that have set up camp there.  I personally think the fruit flies have evolved and gained intelligence regarding our current campaign against them.  Normally they love that little vinegar and sugar concoction we set out for them; perhaps they're currently on a diet.

As for our defensive tactics, we had to use up or put away all our fresh produce that cannot be refrigerated (namely: tomatoes).  Clearly the only thing to do with an abundance of fresh produce is to roast it and eat it!  Here's two dishes we had this weekend in an effort to starve the little buggers out.

Bigger is Betta Roasted Veg Bruschetta
Normally bruschetta is served as an appetizer, but not at our house. 

3 medium tomatoes in various colors
2 zucchini
1 lb asparagus, hard bottoms snapped off
1 small red onion
1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little more
1/2 tsp rosemary
Salt & pepper
creamy goat cheese
hearty/rustic bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coarsely chop the tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, and red onion.  Mix together and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper (to taste).  Spread evenly onto baking sheet.  Roast for 30 min, stirring half way through.

Cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange on another baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil.  Broil until lightly toasted on top (depending on how close your rack is to the broiler, this could take anywhere from 2 - 5 min; just to be safe, check it often).

Spread a generous portion of goat cheese on each slice of toast and top with roasted vegetables.  Enjoy with your favorite glass of red wine.

Eggs Kevin
We still had some tomatoes left over after the bruschetta, so this morning I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart Living.  This would also be great if you topped off the eggs with leftover roasted vegetables from last night.

Slice up some colorful tomatoes and lightly sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese is golden brown, a little bubbly.

Meanwhile, cook two eggs however you like them best.  When the eggs are done spread with more of the goat cheese you used for the bruschetta last night.  Top with the cheesy tomatoes and salt & pepper to taste.  Mimosas anyone?

Don't forget that this Tuesday at 7:45pm is your LAST CHANCE to attend Balancing Flow as a donation-based class!  It's going to be tons of fun!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Essence of Bread Crust

When you were a kid did you used to put up a fuss about eating your bread crusts?  I certainly did.  My dad provided a compelling argument for eating the crust:  he said it would put hair on my chest.  Being an intelligent kid, I knew that girls didn't typically have or want hairy chests; this gave me a leg up in the debate.  Then, just yesterday, during a period of deep philosophical introspection, I realized that the bread and the crust are both made of the same thing.  The crust is just darker because it's exposed to the heat of the oven or the sides of the pan.  Alas, despite these ontological contemplations, I learned the crust really is good for you.

As a result of my bread crust musings and our gloomy weekend--cloudy skies, drizzles, chilly air--we enjoyed my Best Tomato Soup paired with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Campbell's may be Mmm Mmm Good, but this soup is Om Om Good.  It's quick, inexpensive, packed full of phytonutrients, and doesn't have high fructose corn syrup (if you're buying canned tomato soup, make sure you read the label, most are sweetened).  The red wine adds depth while the Greek yogurt makes it creamy without all the fat of using heavy cream--save that fat for the sandwich!  The avocado mixed with the sharp cheddar achieves a buttery taste with the added punch of omega3s (perfect for a gloomy weekend, omega3s are known mood-boosters!).  We enjoyed this meal not once, but twice this weekend!

Best Tomato Soup
You can enjoy this soup hot or cold, so it's good on gloomy days & air quality alert days!

1/2 onion, chunked
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp rosemary
6oz can tomato paste
12oz water
1-15oz can crushed tomatoes
1-15oz can diced tomatoes in juice (check for no salt added)
Splash of red wine
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Salt & pepper

In a food processor or blender, puree onion & garlic (If you don't have access to either of these, you can finely chop the garlic & onion; this will obviously change the texture of the soup).

In a large pot, heat oil and add onion puree and rosemary.  Cook 1-2 min or until fragrant.  Add tomato puree.  Fill the 6oz can with water twice and mix well to combine.  Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and red wine.  Mix well.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 min.

Remove from heat.  Add Greek yogurt and mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Cheese
Warning:  this is an extremely rich and filling sandwich; you may become full quite quickly.

Whole wheat bread
Sharp cheddar cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
Avocado, evenly sliced (1/2 an avocado per sandwich)
Roma tomato, evenly sliced (about 4 slices per sandwich)
Your favorite buttery spread (we use Earth Balance)

Sandwich blueprint:  Buttered bread (butter side down) / Slice of cheese / tomato slices / avocado slices / Slice of cheese / Buttered bread (butter side up)

Cook on medium heat for 1 1/2 - 2 min per side (or until bread is golden brown).  Take care that your tomato & avocado slices are relatively flat so the whole flipping part doesn't turn into some sort of flying avocado ordeal.

Shameless Plug:  Only two more weeks to take advantage of Karma Month at the Glowing Body.  Come check out Balancing Flow on Tuesday at 7:45pm!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tut Tut Chin Up

Shameless Plug:  I know that all of you have just been dying to try out one of my yoga classes.  Now's your chance.  July is Karma Month at the Glowing Body--that means my Tuesday evening Balancing Flow Class (7:45pm) is donation based, pay what you can.

Speaking of yoga (nice segue), my practice has made me more aware of 'trends' in my body.  It has also made me more inclined to explore metaphysical reasons as to why these trends manifest.  (Stop being so esoteric and speak English.)  Okay, example, over the past few months, it has come to my attention that I am constantly sticking my chin out.  Sometimes this is caused by poor posture at the computer, but other times it's just plain unusual.  Last night while laying in bed, I woke up and felt my chin sticking straight up in the air.  I told my husband about it the next morning and he noticed that I was doing the same thing when he came to bed a few nights before.  As you can imagine, this round the clock chin reaching has caused quite a bit of neck pain.  A massage therapist friend and I named one of my more persnickety muscle knots Big Bertha.  The realization of this trend in my body has led me to ask/conclude/free write...
  1. What am I reaching for? 
  2. What is holding me back?
  3. Is this the only thing I have in common with my dad's dog?  (Harley is one of those dogs you fear may break his neck while straining against his leash.) 
  4. When standing on tip toes in the deep end of the pool, you stick your chin up to keep your head above water.
  5. Lieutenant Dan told Bubba to tuck in his lip or he would get it caught on a trip wire.  Am I going to catch my chin on trip wire? 
  6. 'Chin up' is what people say when they're encouraging you to keep going (sometimes they think you have no reason to be glum and they preface it with a 'tut tut,' and they usually have a British accent).
  7. My husband brought home Ode the other day; he said it's a magazine for people like me (tagline is: Intelligent Optimists).  
I suppose in a fit of optimism, I also decided to re-encounter the glazed carrot.  When you hear 'glazed carrot' you may think of sugary mush or have terrifying flashbacks to your elementary school cafeteria/Great Aunt Mildred's house.  That's certainly what I think of (although I do not know of anyone in my family named Mildred).  Needless to say, I've never been a fan of assaulting vegetables with brown sugar so I chose to approach the situation more gingerly....

Spiced Glazed Carrots
I used the honey drip station at Three Rivers--best honey you'll ever taste and more potent than the stuff in those little plastic bears.

2 lbs carrots, peeled
1 1/2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (use your cheese grater!)
1 tbsp really good honey
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bias-cut the carrots in 1/2" rounds.  Whisk remaining ingredients together and mix with carrots until well coated.  Place carrots in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet.  Bake for 20 min, stirring halfway through.  Take a picture and compose a blog post about it (optional).

So I'm just dying to know...How do you feel about glazed carrots and your Great Aunt Mildred?  What do your boddities mean? (sound it out folks, it's like body-oddities)  Are your creaky knees signaling the coming apocalypse (aka severe thunderstorms in Knoxville)?    I also expect to see you all on Tuesday at 7:45pm (except Heidi because she doesn't live here). 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Beer Chili

I've decided to come in from the sun for two reasons (a) I can never tell how much sun I've gotten until I allow the rays to soak in for a bit; and (b) I can't leave my faithful readers in the lurch.  Some of you have been telling me that you're reading the blog and loving the blog and that warms my heart!  Some of you have been telling me that you've started using the cookbooks we made for you last Christmas...and that makes me smile a strawberry seed-filled grin!  Keep reading, keep cooking and start commenting.

I was recently back in my hometown for a visit and was sharing this blog with my mom.  She was touched when she saw the name of the blog in the URL, which she interpreted as 'O Mom Good.'  Even though I corrected her, she has since begun commenting quite regularly (thanks mom!).  Maybe you'll see your name mysteriously in my URL and start joining the conversation...

Which today revolves around chili, but not just any chili--beer chili.  What makes it beer chili?  You put a beer in it and drink a beer while you make it.  Dark beers work best:  Newcastle (my fav), 1554, Becks Dark, etc.  I adapted this from another Vegetarian Times recipe, which calls for two bottles of beer and two chipotle peppers---two too many in my opinion.

Beer Chili
This chili cooks down quite a bit and usually makes five or six large servings.

1/2 - 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (depends on your palate)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 15oz cans of bean (tri-bean blend or black beans), rinsed and drained
1 15oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup frozen corn
1 bottle of dark beer
1-2 tbsp cornstarch
A bit of water

1.  In a large pot combine chipotle pepper, oil, and cumin.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 min.  Add onions and cook another 1-2 min.  Add bell pepper and garlic and continue to cook 6-7 min, or until pepper is tender.
2.  Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and beer.  Bring chili to a boil.
3.  Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 45 min.
4.  If your chili didn't thicken after all that (mine didn't), make a slurry by combining 1 tbsp cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it.  Stir into the chili.  Wait about 30 sec and check the consistency again.  If it's still not thick enough, make another slurry using the other tbsp of cornstarch.  Remember the chili will continue to thicken as it cools, so you may not want to add more than 2 tbsp.

This goes so well with Hearty Whole Grain Cornbread Muffins and a little bit more of the same beer you put in the pot!  If you want to use the rest of the adobo sauce in your can of peppers, try these Adobo Peanuts.

Hopefully we'll have pictures again soon...working out the necessary technical accoutrements!
Happy Fourth y'all!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Karma Korma

Blogging from the public library this lovely Saturday (clear skies!).  We've had some stormy weather (literally and figuratively) and many thousands of people are just now getting their power turned on again.  Friends have also been dealing with tough times too:  the passing of family members, shocking revelations of people they thought they knew, lies, etc.  

Our world got rocked in a different way.  Our sweet home was broken into on Thursday.  They (he/she/it?) took our computer (hence blogging at the library), my husband's camera, some of my family jewelry, and my spare car key.  Another apartment was robbed down the hill from us in the same afternoon.  I'm not feeling so sad about the stuff we lost, just feeling violated.  Trying to reroot, ground, breathe.

I got started on the right foot this morning, however, and had a wonderful massage with my dear friend Beth at Belleza.  I was also encouraged by another friend in my little community.  His offering of wisdom,
It is often difficult to continually remain open especially when we feel our lives have been compromised or that we have been taken advantage of.  I hope that you allow the light you have to continue to shine as bright as ever as you over come this challenge...
So today, I'm serving up some Karma Korma (aka Vegetable Korma).  There will be no pictures (they're gone!) so you'll have to use your imagination or check out the original recipe from Vegetarian Times.  First I followed their recipe to a T and it was delicious--apparently my husband's new favorite.  Then I tweaked...he couldn't taste a difference AND it was cheaper and more nutrient dense.  Instead of fresh tomatoes I used canned, which tend to retain more good stuff (lycopenes!).  I also substituted Greek yogurt for evaporated milk (protein!) and brown rice for white rice (it wins!).

Karma Korma
This dish goes great with garlic naan if you've got it.

1 cup brown rice (long grain or brown basmati)
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 small white onion, chunked
3 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp olive oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp golden raisins
1 12oz package (4 cups) frozen mixed vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, peas
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Cook rice according to package directions (or let your rice cooker handle it).
2.  Puree tomatoes, onion, and ginger to paste in food processor or blender.
3.  Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Add garam masala and cardamom.  Cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
4.  Add puree mixture and raisins to the saucepan.  Simmer for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
5.  Stir in frozen Greek yogurt and mix well.  Add frozen vegetables, chickpeas, and salt and pepper.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 6 to 7 minutes (until vegetables are tender).
6.  Serve over rice and enjoy.

Indian food is my comfort food.  What's yours?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yo Yo Daddy-O

I woke up this morning to the sound of the 'angels bowling' as my dad used to say.  While the sky looks like Dementors could come swooping down at any time, it's cool and the birds are singing.  If the rain stays at bay, we'll have a great time grilling out this Dad's Day (I promise I wasn't trying to rhyme).

Last year we started a tradition of taking over the kitchen at my in-law's house when we created our own take of Giada's Mini Italian Pub Burgers.  My father-in-law is one of those dads who balks at a meal with no meat, but we're going out on a limb today.  In an effort to promote a heart-healthy diet for dad, we're not putting any meat on that grill.  Instead we're making Blue Cheese Stuffed Portabella Burgers (with whole wheat buns, spinach, and grilled red onion rings).  We're also trying out two recipes from the most recent Martha Stewart Living:  Beer-Steamed Potato Hobo Pack and Adobo Peanuts.  I made the peanuts ahead of time and they made the kitchen smell recent sinus issues also ceased for the duration of the bake!

My dad, who basically looks like this, lives in Cincinnati and we're bummed that he can't join in our feast.  We sent him some locally roasted coffee we got at Three Rivers and a homemade card.  Maybe we'll get to take in a baseball game this summer after all, with those terribly delicious ball park nachos and ice cold beer.  Happy Father's Day, you!

How do you celebrate your dad?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Breathe In, Calm...Breathe Out, Smile

I recently started reading Peace is Every Step, written by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and Nobel Peace Prize winner.  The book gives simple suggestions for living fully in the present moment; it's subtitled "The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life."  He talks about how to find peace in doing the dishes, answering the telephone, and driving your car.

I have specifically been working with the breathing technique he offers at the very beginning of the book.  I shared this with my Balancing Flow yoga class tonight (thanks Jenna & John for your support!) and I'd like to share it with you as well.  Hanh recommends that as we inhale we say to ourselves, "Breathing in, I calm my body," and as we exhale we say, "Breathing out, I smile."  It doesn't have to be a big toothy grin, perhaps the corners of your eyes wrinkle or just the tips of your mouth turn upward in a sort of Mona Lisa smile.

He goes on to discuss the importance and effects of smiling:
If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important.  If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.  If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile.  Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy.  The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
He's right.  Studies have proven that smiling, or just seeing a person (or baby) smile, can change our body chemistry.  I challenged my yoga students to smile with their exhales, even while they were all knotted up in garudasana.  After class, they looked quite relaxed--this breathing technique worked for them.  So now you've got a tested recipe for mindfulness, a way to help you stay tuned in to the present moment. 

What makes you smile?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yankee Beans & Greens

What a weekend!  My little brother graduated from high school AND turned 18 all in about three days time.  That's a little much for a big sister to handle all at once.  After that turbulence, I decided I wanted to eat something a little bit fresh, a little bit simple, and more than a little bit tasty. 

If you're feeling a little out of sorts like I was, just stare real intently at some rainbow chard.  I found the most beautiful bunches at the market and when I got home, I just looked at them for a while.  Fuchsia veggies...come on! 

The prospect of these 'greens' immediately transported me back to my first day as a waitress at Cracker Barrel (I had only recently crossed the Mason-Dixon Line at that point).  In a drawl thick as an oil (ohl) spill, a customer requested some beans 'n greens with vinegar on the side.  I believe I questioned my migration South at that point.  It has taken about seven years for the trauma to subside and just this week I made my own version of beans 'n greens.

Yankee Beans & Greens
If you're feeling sassy, this looks like a great recipe for homemade baked beans (just omit the bacon!).

For the Greens:
2 bunches of rainbow chard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste

1.  Wash the greens well.  Remove and discard (aka compost!) the stems.  Trim away thick mid-ribs from the leaves.  Discard them or slice thinly and use.  Chop leaves coarsely.
2.  Heat oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until golden.  Add the greens, cover, and steam until tender.  (If you decide to use other kinds of greens like kale or collards, you will need to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to keep moist and steam longer, about 10 to 15 min.)  Allow 3-5 min to steam chard.
3.  Remove from heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar.

For the Beans:
I just used a large can of vegetarian baked beans.  Put them in a small sauce pan and heat through on the stove.  The special part about the beans is what you serve them on:

Hearty Whole Grain Cornbread Muffins (makes 12)
A lot of the corn muffins I've tasted are too sweet, especially to be served with baked beans.  This is my tweaked recipe with less sugar.  If you like your cornbread sweet (like Jiffy), add up to 1/2 cup of sugar.
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin pan.
2.  In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Beat in the milk and the butter until completely combined.
4.  Using a wooden spoon, stir liquid into dry ingredients until just moistened.  (Don't mix too much or the muffins will have tunnels).
5.  Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Bake 18-22 min or until lightly browned on the top.  My muffin pan is non-stick so mine usually cook up by 12 - 15 min.

Get cookin with this summery comfort food.  What do you think about greens?  Are they too bitter for you?  Do you like your corn muffins sweet or not?  I want to know what's going on in those heads of yours out there in the blogosphere.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cilantro Pesto!

It's so dang hot y'all.  My cilantro & oregano aren't fairing too well out there on the balcony in the heat...and I'm afraid it's not much cooler in here.  I snipped off the most descent looking strands of the oregano and hung them upside down to dry.  The living room smelled so nice for a little while.  I had much bigger plans for my cilantro, however.

Now for some reason, not everyone likes cilantro.  Some people think it tastes like soap.  I am not one of those people.  I think cilantro is Om Om flippin delicious.  This is the whole reason I decided to try my hand at herb gardening.  Unfortunately, my cilantro was a little patchy, a little yellow, a little sad.  I'm going to be honest with you, I only used a tad bit of my own cilantro in this recipe, as in like 3-5 leaves.  I found a lovely bunch of green organic cilantro at the store last week that I needed to hurry up and use (there's only so much you can garnish!).  This is what I did:

Cilantro Pesto!
If you are a cilantro hater, you can always go halv-zees with fresh baby spinach leaves.

2 cups pack cilatnro leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed yellow mustard seed
1 clove garlic
Zest of a small orange 
Dash of crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  In the bowl of your food processor (a blender will work too), combine all ingredients except olive oil.  Pulse a few times.  Blend and slowly add the olive oil until you achieve desired texture (you can always add more or less oil, 1/3 cup is just a good start).

That's it!  It's so easy.  Spread it on a sandwich; put it on eggs; use it as pizza sauce!  I cooked whole wheat pasta and some frozen mixed veggies (zucchini, squash, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower), mixed in some navy beans and stirred in a spoonful of pesto.  De-lish. 

What do you think about cilantro?  Are you a hater?  Let me know dear readers!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

1992 Apple Quinoa Salad

What makes a salad a salad?  Is it the dressing? the greens?  I realize this a very deep philosophical question that will require many hours of pondering.  There are those who think salad is a bed of slightly browned iceburg lettuce topped with cubed ham, a mayo-based dressing, and cheese (don't forget the croutons!).  Still others think salad must actually be green and some even allow for salads of the fruit variety or those served on bars.  Obscure music fans think Salad is a pop group formed in London in 1992.

So while this dish doesn't necessarily have greens, it does have fruit and it does have olive oil.  It's a mixture of food stuff most easily eaten out of a bowl.  Some people would call it a grain salad and others (like myself) would go so far as to call it nutrient dense.  It's chock full of Superfoods:  Walnuts contain omega-3s (good for you fats) and help raise HDLs (good for you cholesterol).  We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away and so do the immune boosting powers of ginger!  Much like that piece of chicken you may have on your plate, the grain in this salad is a complete protein.  Quinoa (KEEN-wah) contains a balanced set of amino acids, has high iron content, and is gluten free.  It comes in different colors and was also the name of a 1992 album by Tangerine Dream.  Because so much music trivia from the year 1992 can be associated with this dish, I decided to call it:

1992 Apple Quinoa Salad
You can eat this dish warm or make it more 'salad-like' by serving it cold on a bed of arugula.

1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
Quarter-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated (use your cheese grater!)
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 large apple (Fuji, Gala, or Pink Lady work well)
A bit of lemon juice
1 cup frozen peas
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.
2.  In a medium sauce pan, saute onion in oil until translucent. Add ginger and water.
3.  Turn heat up to high and bring water to a boil.  Add quinoa, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 25-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa 'uncurls.'
4.  In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa and the frozen peas.  Add salt & pepper.  Cover with a towel and set aside.
5.  Coarsely chop the walnuts.
6.  Core and dice the apple.  Pour a little lemon juice into the palm of your hand, and toss with the apple to prevent browning (be careful if there are cuts on your hand, it will sting!).
7.  Combine the walnuts and apple with the quinoa and peas (which should be the thawed by now).

Get cooking!  While your quinoa is simmering, let me know your definition of a salad.  Also, what else happened in 1992?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Herbed Tofu Pasta

Ever since my husband got a new job, our pantry has grown to hold an abundance of free, recently expired foods.  Fortunately, he doesn't work at just any ole grocery store, so the food he brings home tends to be local, natural, and organic (yipee!).  Earlier in the week, Travis brought home some recently expired Italian Herbed Tofu, which has inspired today's lunch.  After googling how much longer we had with the tofu before it went rancid for real, we stuck it in the freezer.  This tofu had already been pressed (the liquid had been removed) and marinated and came to us in a vacuum seal.  I'm guessing this was why I couldn't tell a change in the texture after thawing.  We were also blessed with some organic whole wheat pasta AND my basil is finally blooming out there on the patio.  What's a girl to do with herbed tofu, pasta, and a teensy bit of fresh basil? 

Herbed Tofu Pasta
10 oz grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil, divided
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 8oz package of Italian Herbed Tofu*
16 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets
8 oz whole wheat pasta of your choice (short & curly works great)
Crumbled feta cheese
Fresh basil to garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Toss tomatoes with 1 tsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread evenly onto non-stick baking sheet.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
2.  In a medium saucepan, combine mushrooms, 1 tsp olive oil, 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.  Cover and cook on medium low heat until most of the vinegar is absorbed, about 15-20 min.
3.  Cook pasta according to package directions.
4.  Cube herbed tofu.  Place in non-stick skillet and cook on medium low heat until tofu starts to turn golden brown, about 15-20 min. Stir frequently.
5.  Cook broccoli according to package directions.  Coarsely chop into bite-size pieces.
6.  Add the roasted tomatoes to the mushrooms.  Using the back of a spoon, taking care to aim properly, burst the tomatoes.  Add the tofu to the mixture and continue to cook on low until all liquid is absorbed (just a few minutes more).
7.  In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, chopped broccoli, and tomato/mushroom/tofu mixture.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Serve with a dash of crumbled feta cheese and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

*Can't find herbed tofu?  No problem, you can make your own!  Tofu comes in many forms and is usually either water packed or vacuum sealed.  If all you can find is water packed tofu, you'll have to take a few extra steps (best if done in advance).  Drain the tofu and cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Cook in a non-stick skillet on low heat, draining off liquid as it bubbles out.  Once the tofu is sufficiently dry, marinate in good olive oil and dried Italian seasoning mix (you could also add some balsamic vinegar).  If you're able to find plain vacuum sealed tofu, just slice it up and marinate least over night.

In honor of our testy Knoxville climate, this dish can be served hot or cold.  You could even use it to top off salad greens.  One more tip:  when you go to savor your leftovers, drizzle with more olive oil (if eating cold) or sprinkle with a little water (if reheating in the microwave).  The tofu is very absorbent and otherwise your pasta may be a little on the dry side.

While your cooking, give a listen to this episode of On Being where Krista Tippett talks about flavor with chef Dan Barber.  Just some food for thought...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here goes...

Hello there and welcome to Om Om Good, the food/yoga/life blog where I'll share recipes, meditations, yoga poses, frugal tips, food-sights (that's like an insight with food) and whatever else tickles my fancy.  Despite sitting at a desk all day at work and then teaching yoga at night, I'm always studying and learning and trying out new things.  I’m a teacher at heart, or at least a ‘passer on-er’ so I’ll be passing on my successes as well as my failures (i.e. there’s no getting around parchment paper; if a recipe calls for it, use it or you may lose half of your meringue cookie to a supposedly nonstick pan). 
I’m a vegetarian, so you won’t find any meat as you're scrolling around here.  If you’re not a vegetarian I hope you’ll stick around; maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your Meatless Monday menu or for help dealing with your pesky vegetarian relatives.

Make sure you check out the calendar over there to see when I'll be teaching yoga and for other yoga-type events; like this Saturday, Sangita Devi is playing at the Glowing Body at 7pm and it's going to be awesome!  Maybe I'll see you there.