Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sweet and sour tofu

Sweet and Sour Tofu

I can't really vouch for the authenticity of this recipe. It's my mom's, who got it from a church cookbook. So, not authentic in the least bit...but I can vouch for it's deliciousness. 

For the tofu:
1/2 brick of tofu
1-2 tbsp corn startch
few tablespoons of oil

Rinse the tofu and cut into desired shapes. Pat dry and mix with corn startch. I find it works best to put the tofu and corn startch in a sealable and shake it up!
Fry in a pan over medium heat in oil until all sides are browned. 

Set aside. 

For the Sweet and Sour sauce:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 onion
1 green chopped green pepper (I used half green and half yellow)
1-2 carrots, sliced
3-4 large mushrooms, sliced
1 can pineapple chunks
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ginger

Saute onion and green pepper in oil until almost tender.  
Drain syrup from pineapple and add enough water to make it 1 1/2 cups liquid.
Add pineapple to skillet.
Combine pineapple liquid, vinegar, brown sugar, corn starch, soy sauce and ginger - add to skillet.
Simmer until sauce thickens a bit, stirring constantly. Add the cooked tofu and let simmer 5 more minuetes. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I have never liked potato salad. I think it's because it always had eggs in it, and I get freaked out by eggs on their own. Except for that one time.
So I always hated potato salad. But not just because of the eggs. I didn't like it even when I'd make it without eggs. So I just never ate it or thought much about potato salad.
While I was home for Christmas, my Dad bought a sweet potato salad. With kale. Two of my favorite ingredients, right there. So I thought i'd at least try it. And I fell in love with it. So I made my own version when I got home. 

And it's delicious.

3 tbsp veganaise (or mayonaise/miracle whip)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp mrs dash seasoning
salt and pepper

1 sweet potato, baked and cooled
3 handfuls of kale, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries and pecans
3-4 green onions, chopped

Assemble the dressing. (Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir!) Add the green onions.
Wash the kale and place in a pot with an inch of water over medium heat. Cover, and let it wilt a bit. When it's slightly tender, rinse under cold water and dry. (A salad spinner works wonders here.)
Peel and dice the sweet potato, and chop the pecans. Assemble the potato, cranberries, kale, and pecans with the dressing. This can be eaten right away, but things only get better if you let it sit in the fridge for a bit. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm makin' waffles!

I have so many fond memories of waffles. Growing up, Christmas morning was always meant fresh belgian waffles for breakfast after opening presents. Waking up to a pile of presents is already a recipe for the best day ever, but fresh made waffles really enhance the general giddiness, I find. 

But this year my dad made pancakes instead. I was disappointed because waffles trump pancakes any day in my humble opinion. Waffles win on taste, texture, and they are much easier to make. (Pancakes and I don't exactly get along.)

So I was craving waffles and it was time for my fix. Luckily, once back in Vancouver I was able to rectify the situation.

A few months back I came across a $12 waffle iron while thrifting. Suddenly visions of fresh waffles filled my head, along with memories of a waffle filled childhood, so I decided to purchase it. And it has been one of my favorite purchases since. I first delved in with a basic vegan waffle recipe. It was delicious. 

So yesterday when a waffle craving hit, I wanted to try something other than the basic waffle. I remembered a recipe I had seen a while back on Everybody Likes Sandwiches for Lemon 
Cornmeal Waffles, and I knew that would hit the spot. Since i'm not well versed in waffle recipe science yet, I made no substitutions other than diary yogurt for the soy, soy milk for the almond milk, and raw sugar for the agave. I also had to use lemon concentrate and get rid of the zest since I had no lemons. Which was sad with no zest. but i'm happy to report these were still delicous.

Like, seriously delicious. I may have snacked on the first one of the batch because it was too delicious and tempting to have to wait to cook two dozen waffles to try it. 

I enjoyed them topped with my favorite christmas topping, pineapple. But instead of whip cream I used some strained non-fat vanilla yogurt. (much healthier and much more satisfying.) I also decided to sprinkle on some icing sugar for some sweet elegance. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Remember that time I tried my hand at making a Bánh mì without ever trying an authentic one? And how it was really good an all? But I still wasn't sure, 'cause I had never had a "real" one?
Well today I finally had an authentic one. And it was AMAZING. 
I was seriously loving every bite of this baby. The warm crunchy exterior of the bread gave way to soft warm fluffy white goodness, and nestled between that goodness was perfectly fried tofu, accompanied by crisp veggies with just the right amount of seasoning. Some kind of special sauce joined the party, and some mayo came along too. I added some hot sauce and more special sauce from the counter, and from there on it was sandwich heaven.
And it was only $3.64

The only downside, was that I may have spilled hot sauce all over my jacket since I had to walk and eat to meet a friend. And it was so worth it. 
And if I hadn't spent my last $4 in the world on this glory, I might be tempted to go downtown again and buy another. 
It's ok though. The shop I got it from is right by the library (a student's second home) so I foresee quite a few trips there in the future. 

So if you are ever in Vancouver, check it out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sometimes when you are a broke student, and find yourself constantly craving food from your favorite restaurant, but you have no money to spend, you figure out how to make yummy versions at home of your favorite meals. 

Which is what I did tonight. 

One of my favorite cuisines would have to be mexican. I love cooking it at home, and i love experiencing it at restaurants. I love that I have a friend from mexico who teaches me how to make the most delicious tacos you will ever meet in your life. 

Tonight was a simple dish, again inspired by my favorite brunch, though just the sides. This time I just went for the sides - beans, and roasted sweet potatoes.  

Pinto Beans:
olive oil
1 small can of pinto beans, drained, not rinsed.
1/2 white oniton
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 small can of green chili*
few tsp of  cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

heat the olive oil (about 1 tbsp) in a medium pan. Dice the onions and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften. Add the spices (cumin, paprika) and coat the onions. "deglaze" the pan by adding a bit of water, 2-3 tbsp should work. Don't add too much though!
Add the diced garlic and saute until fragrant. About a min. Add the beans and chili's and simmer over medium - low heat about 10 mins. 

*this could be replaced with jalapeno or chipotle peppers. Maybe just change up the qauntity a bit. (ie, reduce it if you don't like super spicy.)

I ate the beans over roasted sweet potatoes with some italian seasoning (since it had rosemary in it and I have no straight up rosemary), topped with jalepeno cheese, some salsa based off The Pioneer Woman's and half an avocado for good measure. 

Had I not botched a batch of cornbread last night, that would've made an appearance on my plate as well. Ah well. It's destined for croutons now

Make things extra special by eating this on one of the last summer nights on your balcony, even though it's already almost too cold to be out there even with a hoodie and sweats on. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Light Lemony Stir-Fry

Man alive, this was good! I wish I had a more eloquent way to put how much this sauce rocked my socks off, but sometimes all you can do is just say it was freakin' good

As I was making myself a stir fry for dinner I was lost as to what sauce i'd adorn my rice and veggies with. I couldn't make up my mind on what to do. Teriyaki? Spicy Peanut? Coconut Curry? While it's not even absolutely necessary to even have a sauce on a stir fry, it sure is nice to have. And while I was indecisive on what flavor of sauce I wanted, I just knew I wanted one.
Since it's finally summer I wanted something refreshing. Something lemony. I dabbled with just adding lemon juice and soy sauce to my veggies, but I knew that wouldn't do. I wanted more. And then it hit me-tahini! It'd add thickness and substance while still taking enough of a back seat to let the bright, fresh, lemon shine. 

This sauce is incredibly simple. Only 5 ingredients and all you need to do is stir. Perfect for when you are lazy but want something homemade and delicious without much effort. 

Lemon Pesto Tahini Sauce

1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice (+ zest of lemon if using fresh)
1 heaping tbsp basil pesto
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp red chili flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
fresh basil, to garnish if desired

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. Serve over rice, vegetables, or use as a salad dressing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Excuse the bad lighting please, It was night time.

For years I have been wanting to try a Bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich. While there are tons of shops selling them around town, I had never purchased one before. (Even though they are usually cheap. (That's student life for ya.) So I figured i'd try my hand at whipping up a Bánh mì at home, all on my own.

I usually have this thing about trying something new in a restaruant first, to taste something authentic before I attempt my own (not  always authentic) version. But that can get expensive and inconvenient so I have been getting a little more adventurous lately. The ingridients are almost always on hand in my fridge. The buns were a special buy. They were nice and fresh and I couldn't pass them up at the store.
The buns are the furthest variation from a traditional Bánh mì, as a special Vietnamese french bread is typically used. This was a Portuguese bun, and it was still delicious.

Bánh mi
makes one

1/4 brick of extra frim tofu, pressed
2 tsp seasame oil, soy sauce
1 small carrot, grated
1/4 cup cabbage, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2-3 sprigs of cilantro
finely sliced red onion
siraccha hot sauce (to taste)

Press the tofu and cut into slices. Fry in the sesame oil and soy sauce over medium heat until golden brown.
Grate the carrot and the cabbage and mix with soy sauce and vinegar. Set aside at least 5-10 mins.
To assemble the sandwhich, spread the bun with the mayo and a generous drizzle of siraccha, if desired. Add the cabbage carrot mixutre, cilantro, red onion, and tofu.