Thai Tofu Quinoa Bowls

April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Before you go telling me you don’t like tofu- hear me out! I myself am not a huge fan of tofu. The texture has always been kind of off putting to me and I’m not dependent on it for protein, so I hardly ever buy it or eat that much of it. But a few weeks back I came across this method of baking tofu that allows you to make it really crispy. The process is super simple, just some extra draining (similar to strained yogurt( and a solid bake time are all that’s needed. I’m a huge fan of it in this Thai quinoa bowl. Yes you could totally do chicken or even scrambled egg, but I love the crunch of the tofu nuggets against the rest of the ingredients. That and it soaks up this addictive sauce really well. The other great thing is that this dish works just as well hot as it does cold- making it the perfect thing to have on hand for healthy lunches throughout the week!

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Thai Tofu Quinoa Bowls adapted from How Sweet It Is

For the quinoa:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 package extra firm tofu ( 15 oz), diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon Srircha
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1  teaspoon grated ginger

30 Minutes Before Cooking: Drain and rinse the block of tofu. Wrap it in a clean dish towel (or paper towels), and place it on a rimmed dinner plate. Place another plate on top and weight it down with something heavy, like a can of tomatoes or a heavy skillet, to press out some of the excess liquid. Let sit 15 – 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Toss the tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil in bowl. Place the tofu in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes tossing every ten minutes to crisp the tofu on all sides.

Toast the quinoa: Place a medium sized saucepan on medium low heat. Add in the dry quinoa and toast for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and nutty in scent. Add in the broth, lower heat slightly, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork once cooked, and set aside.

Make the sauce: Place the peanut butter in the bowl first and throw in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt slightly. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

Toast the almonds: Place the almonds, sesame seeds, and vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Cook or medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are a deep golden brown.

Toss together the quinoa, vegetables and herbs, tofu, and 3/4 of the nut mixture. Pour over the sauce and toss well to combine. Spoon into bowls, top with remaining nuts, extra lime and Sriracha if desired. Can be stored in fridge up to one week.

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Honeycrisp and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh, Friday. I’m so glad you’re here!

I’m currently en route to DC for a little work and play weekend. After some work meetings, I get to catch up with two of my closest girls. Then tomorrow Brandon and I are headed to Baltimore for a college friend’s wedding. I have such a special place in my heart for that city. It’s where I went to college, made so many amazing friends, and…

Summer Squash and Feta Cakes

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

This year, for the first time ever, we joined a CSA. Each Monday we pick up a slew of vegetables which we eat throughout the week. It’s definitely keeping our vegetable intake high, as we have to really work to get though the week’s share without letting anything go to waste. But I’m definitely on board with that kind of pressure!

For the last two weeks we’ve been getting these massive squash. I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture, they’re seriously huge! The thing is though…

Happy Purchases

March 20, 2012 § 11 Comments

So, I went on a little Amazon shopping spree on Sunday night. Do you ever just have a random list of things you’ve been meaning to buy forever? Such is the case with these items. Here’s what I needed!

1. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home I got this book to go hand in hand with my ice cream maker! It’s going to be a delicious summer. Have you tried any recipes in this book? I think I’m going to make the salted caramel ice cream first.

2. A Clarisonic Do you have one of these? I’m probably the last person to purchase one but I wasn’t so sure about it at first. But then I read enough reviews and decided to try it out.  I’m super excited for soft, silky skin everyday!

3. Joy the Baker Cookbook Joy is coming to Brooklyn for a book signing at the end of the month, so I clearly needed a book for her to sign! I can’t wait to try all her recipes, too. Have you bought this book?

4. Ice Cream Maker A necessity for number 1! I initially was going to purchase the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, but an actual ice cream maker was less expensive and had better reviews. Has anyone tried the attachment, though? I’m curious how people like it.

5. Plate to Pixel Ok, this was largely a book spree, but I’ve been meaning to purchase a book on food photography for quite some time, and I can’t wait to read this one. There are so many resources online, but sometimes I just feel like curling up and thumbing through a really beautiful book. Do you ever feel like way?

 Have you bought anything fun lately?

Roasted Shrimp Salad

March 19, 2012 § 8 Comments

Good morning! I’m breathing a little easier after this weekend, it was the final thing I needed to get my life completely back on track. In a perfect world, I’d like each weekend to mirror the following schedule- Saturday is spent out exploring a new part of the city, seeing friends, and enjoying great food, and Sunday is spent relaxing at home, cooking up lots of food for the week, and catching up on reading. I’m almost finished with The Paris Wife, it is so good! Have you read it?

Yesterday’s time in the kitchen produced two killer dishes, both of which I’m excited to share with you this week. The first is this Roasted Shrimp Salad from the Barefoot Contessa. Ever since I discovered the method of roasting shrimp, I can’t imagine cooking it any other way. The process makes it completely fool proof, with perfectly cooked shrimp every time. This salad is ideal for spring and summer dinners, as it’s light and cool and can be made ahead. I recommend making it earlier in the day, letting the flavors meld, and serving it alongside a big salad and some crusty. That’s exactly what we had for dinner last night, and it made for the perfect end to my dream weekend.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Roasted Shrimp Salad adapted from Ina Garten’s How Easy is That?

Serves 2-3 entée portions

  • 1 lb (15 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt ( you could sub out the mayo and do all yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon capers, drained and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons small-diced red onion

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and devein the shrimp. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Fold in the parsley, capers, and red onion. When the shrimp are cool, add them to the sauce and toss.The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature.

Grilled PB&J

February 15, 2012 § 9 Comments

Yesterday I was feeling a bit under the weather, so the idea of cooking something that required little more than putting two pieces of bread together and spreading peanut butter and jelly in the middle seemed impossible. Still craving something comforting to enjoy with my hot cup of tea, I decided that instead of the traditional PB&J, it needed a little twist.  Out came the butter and sea salt and I got to work prepping my grilled PB&J sandwich. I probably don’t need to tell you that when you bring buttery crispy bread into the mix with melty sweet peanut butter, it is beyond delicious.  This sandwich is perfect for those lazy day eats, but would also make for a playful breakfast, lunch, or even dessert if you swapped out the jelly for.. oh say, Nutella?  Yum!

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Makes 1 sandwich

I probably don’t need to give you exact instructions to prep you PB&J sandwich, so do that to your liking!  Then, take a one tablespoon of softened butter and spread it on each outside part of the sandwich. Sprinkle a little sea salt on each side. Set a small frying pan to medium heat, let warm for a few minutes.  Then place the sandwich in the pan and grill for five minutes on the first side, and 3-4 minutes on the second side until golden brown.  Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.  Cut in half and enjoy immediately!

Smashed Black Bean & Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

February 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

First off- thank you all so much for your support on my new venture, it means so much to me!  After such a super long post though, I think we need to get right back into the food.

Mexican food rarely happens on purpose in our household for some reason. We always have avocados and black beans, which we use for various other dishes, but rarely for the purpose of making say… quesadillas.  After purchasing ingredients to make nachos last week in honor of the Superbowl (yes, we ate Superbowl food even though we didn’t actually watch it), we were left with many of the typical ingredients needed for Mexican food. These quesadillas were simply the outcome of those leftovers, but they were so delicious, I intentionally bought the same ingredients to make them again this week. This batch features a combo of black beans and chicken, but the ones I made last week included avocado, not chicken. I have to admit, I liked the avocado batch better! Nonetheless, this version is quite tasty, too.

Have you ever noticed how avocado is always a topping for Mexican dishes but never featured inside the dish?Why is that? I find it so, so good! Enjoy!

Smashed Black Bean & Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

Makes 4 entrée portion servings

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • pickled jalapeños and hot sauce (optional)
  • salsa and sour cream for serving

Prep your ingredients: Set a medium size frying pan to medium high(ish) heat.  Place a bit of vegetable oil in the bottom of the pan and let the pan warm up for 5 minutes. While the pan is heating, mix together all spices and liberally coat each side of both chicken breasts.  Once pan has heated, put the chicken in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side depending on how thick your meat is. Once cooked, shred chicken into bite size pieces.

Place your black beans in a large bowl and mash them roughly with the back of a fork (they don’t need to be completely smooth).

Assemble the quesadillas:  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a large baking sheet inside the oven.

Place one tortilla in a large frying pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese, a quarter of the chicken, and a quarter of the diced tomatoes. Top with hot sauce and pickled jalapeños if desired. Take another tortilla, and press the smashed beans into a single layer.  Place that tortilla on top of the one in the pan. Place a dinner plate on top of the tortilla, along with something heavy like other canned goods, to press down the quesadilla. Bring the heat to medium and let cook for 7 minutes. Flip and let cook for 5 minutes on the other side.  Place quesadilla in oven to keep warm while preparing remaining quesadillas. Cut and serve once all are cooked.

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