Tuesday, November 24, 2015

sesame tofu with cold noodles

I love cold Asian noodles & this dish does not disappoint! This recipe makes about 2-3 servings.

tofu marinade
1 lb extra firm tofu, well-drained
3 tablespoons soy
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Whisk together soy, fish sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and onions. Pour over cubed tofu and allow to marinate for an hour (up to overnight in the fridge).
Bake tofu at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until just browning. Remove and cool. 

peanut sesame sauce & noodles
1/2 pound whole grain angel hair pasta
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Prepare pasta according to package and then rinse under cold water, set aside to drain. In the blender combine peanut butter, stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, sesame oil, garlic, ginger until smooth. In a large bowl, toss the noodles, bell pepper, green onions, peanut butter sauce (reserving about 1/4 of the sauce at least) and sesame seeds. Assemble into bowls, place tofu on top, spoon reserved sauce over tofu and sprinkle with a few more sesame seeds. 

The tofu adds some protein to this dish but you could easily leave it off. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

fall entertaining - did someone say cheese?

My aunt and uncle came to Nashville this week and we caught up over cocktail hour and dinner. Here are some tasty cheese selections for your fall cheese board.
From the top left corner, going clockwise...Murray's Aged English Cheddar, Saint Angel Triple Creme, Cambozila Black Label (blue), Mango Ginger Stilton, and Prima Donna Maturo (gouda). We also had dried apricots, globe grapes, honey roasted almonds, sour cornichons and two great cheese toppers (both from the South!) Emily G's Cabernet Sauvignon jam and Nashville Jam Co.'s peach habanero jelly.
Happy Friday all!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

it's pumpkin time!

As usual, it is September in Nashville (90 degrees) and all I can think about is fall cooking! It's all the food magazines that come this month - apple, pumpkin, dark beer, chili...I am so excited for cooler cooking weather. Here is a fall teaser recipe - very delicious.
Oatmeal, pumpkin, chocolate, walnut muffins (long name).
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup low-fat milk
one large egg
one large egg white
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375ºF, and line muffin tin with cupcake wrappers. Whisk dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, oil, milk, egg, and egg white to a medium-size bowl, and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Fill muffin tins evenly, and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.
watermelon lime aguas fresca
small (sometimes called personal) seedless watermelon, cubed
agave syrup or honey (optional)
juice from whole lime
Pulse the watermelon in the blender until smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer. Take watermelon juice and combine with lime juice - taste. If you would like it sweeter, add some agave or honey. Fill a glass with ice and halfway with watermelon juice, top with club soda. I love a salty sweet combo so I enjoyed my drink in a salt-rimmed glass.

Friday, August 21, 2015

oatmeal for dinner?

Have you ever heard of oat groats? No - no one has heard of oat groats. I hadn't either until we were given some and they kept staring at me from the pantry. Well - Martha Stewart has heard of them (of course). This is a spin on her recipe and it is topped with an Italian tofu. Amazing. Time to move oatmeal type dishes to dinner! The recipe below serves 4.
For the oat groats:
1 cup oat groats
2 carrots
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
half head or bushel of kale
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/3 shredded Parmesan cheese
For the tofu:
1 package tofu, drained/pressed well
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
big squeeze of lemon 
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest from half a lemon
To prepare tofu, whisk all ingredients together (except tofu). Slice tofu and place in a shallow dish, cover with marinade for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes. If you like a little more color or crisp on your tofu (we do), I crank up the heat to 400 degrees (after 25 minutes) and move to the tofu to the top rack. Give it about 5 or so minutes then remove.
While tofu bakes, prepare oat groats. In a Dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons EVOO and saute the chopped onion until translucent, add garlic and chopped carrot. Saute vegetables for about 5 more minutes, then add oat groats, toast lightly, add stock. Bring to a slight boil, then put a lid on the pot and lower the heat. Cook for about 25 minutes. 
 In the last few minutes of the oat groat cooking, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large saute pan. Saute torn kale, add in 2 cloves garlic. Saute until just tender and add to Dutch oven - incorporate. Remove from heat and mix in Parmesan cheese - season with S&P.
Assemble hot oat groats and vegetables with tofu slices on top. 

From the Whole Grains Council, a groat is another name for a grain kernel. Whole oat groats are the result of simply harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing their inedible hulls. You can most often find these in health food stores. They take the longest to cook.
Below is chart to help you distinguish the best grains for you!

Friday, August 7, 2015

knock-off recipe: cheesy cauliflower

Over 4th of July, Vance and I went to Chattanooga for the weekend. We are doing a Southern tour this summer and have hit Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville - next up, Birmingham!
In Chattanooga, we had a great brunch at Tupelo Honey. I took myself to lunch at the Knoxville location this past Saturday (while Vance slaved away at a conference).
We had delicious salt-roasted beets with pistachio & goat cheese. Actually, Vance wanted french toast and I can't seem to get enough beets these days - so I inhaled this dish.
I had a fantastic cauliflower dish too - mashed with cheddar. Gave that a spin last night at home (and had leftovers this morning with an egg and tomato atop - yum!)
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup milk 
4 ounces white cheddar, shredded
S&P to taste
Steam cauliflower florets until tender (about 8 minutes). Pierce with a fork - when soft, drain. In a food processor, place cauliflower and milk. Pulse a few times, season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the cauliflower is a mashed potato-like consistency. Remove to a bowl and incorporate shredded cheese - serve (devour) immediately.
This is dish is a like a cross between mashed potatoes & cheese grits, but MUCH healthier. Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015


Vance and I had a great happy hour hosted by Cantina Laredo in the Gulch. The head chef and bar manager shared some fantastic bar bites and cocktails. Great way to start the week! They serve half price dishes and drink specials during their weekday happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - yes - that is pretty much the whole day!
watermelon & coconut mojitos

coconut, watermelon-mint and black & blueberry mojitos
artichoke & spinach nachos
ahi tuna tacos
Thanks Cantina Laredo - we will be back soon!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

when you don't like the wine...

I think opening a bottle of wine and not liking is just a terrible terrible feeling. Even if it was cheap wine - or perhaps you have open wine and can't drink it - for some reason...
This recipe provides a good way to use up a fair amount of white wine that might not be to your drinking taste (yet you don't want to pitch it).
wine poached salmon over vegetable with white wine, butter, basil sauce
2 (or double ingredients for 4 people) salmon fillets
3 ears of corn, shucked and cut off the cob
2 zucchini, shredded & drained with salt
2-3 cups white wine (about half a bottle)
assorted fresh herbs (sprig of rosemary, lemon thyme & lemon balm)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
S&P to taste
3 shallots
5 tablespoons butter
In a large saute pan, heat a little EVOO and saute 2 chopped shallots until soft. Add zucchini - stirring so it does not brown. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft, remove to serving bowls. In a separate sauté pan, heat 2 cups of wine and 1 cup water together. Add the assorted fresh herbs and one shallot, halved, bring to a light simmer. In the same pan you used for the zucchini, add about one tablespoon EVOO and 2 tablespoons butter. When hot, add corn kernels - sauté. Pour in about 1/3 cup water and cover corn for 5-6 minutes. At this time, season the salmon and place in simmering poaching wine mixture. Fish will take about 8 minutes, flip after 4 minutes.
When corn is done, remove from heat. Remove poached fish to a paper towel and discard poaching liquid. In fish pan, heat remaining cup or so of wine and 3-4 tablespoons butter - whisk together and season with S&P. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil. Assemble bowls with zucchini, corn, fish, butter sauce and top with cherry tomatoes for color.