Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today's recipe is one that is totally customizable, although this particular combination is a wonderful mixture of sweet, salty, crunchy and chewy.

 It starts with a base layer of some type of grain.  I chose spelt berries, they have a nutty chewy texture that is wonderfully addicting.  Spelt berries are my absolute favorite grain to cook with, but who knows next week I will probably be raving about quinoa.

The next layer is the vegetables, I chose to leave mine raw for an added crispy texture that would bring bright flavors into this dish.  The final layer is the tofu.  If you are one of those people who cringes at the sound of soy protein, I urge you to try this method of preparation.  I am a firm believer that those who hate tofu haven't actually had good tofu. 

Dry Fried  Perfect Tofu
Step 1: The press
Tofu is packaged in water in the shape of a block, so the first step is to drain the liquid.  Next you want to cut your block into individual rectangles, and then cut those rectangles into triangles.  If you need a tutorial on how to cut tofu, here is a good one.  Before cooking the soy goodness its important to press the tofu between two kitchen towels to get rid of as much of the liquid as possible.  There is my tofu, hidden under a cutting board and a basket of fruit I keep on my counter.  

Step 2: The Dry Fry
After your tofu is pressed and cut, it is time to fry those babies up.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and do not add any oil to your pan.  Because we are using no oil in this method, it is important that your skillet is non stick!  Place your tofu in the skillet, and occasionally press down on the pieces with a spatula to expel any excess liquid.  Your tofu will start to become more firm and take on a nice golden color.  When one side gets to your desired level of firmness (~5-6 minutes) flip and allow the other side to brown.  Here you can see the difference between uncooked tofu (just placed in the skillet) and fully dry fried tofu.  Remember to do this on medium heat, you want these babies to become firm throughout, and not to burn on the edges! 

Step 3: Add Your Sauce
Once the frying process is complete, add a packaged or pre-made sauce to you pan and watch that baby sizzle!! You will see the sauce become a thick glaze but do not panic!  Just add some water to deglaze  the pan, although other recipes may use vinegar or wine as a de-glazer.

There you have it.  The absolute best way to cook tofu.  

Now on to the actual recipe I used for this wonderful meal, stay with me folks!

Incredi-Bowl with Lime Soy Glaze 
1/2 cup spelt berries
Julienned raw vegetables
            Yellow bell pepper
3 T soy sauce
2 packets of stevia in the raw
1 T lime juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 T minced ginger
1 tsp red chili flakes

First, cut and press your tofu.  While the tofu is pressing, prepare your sauce by mixing the soy sauce, stevia, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and chili flakes in a small bowl.  

Next begin to prepare your veggie slaw by julienning your veggies.  Be patient, good knife skills (which I have yet to master) take time.  I added a drizzle of olive oil, 1 T apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to my veggies, but believe me this recipe is just as delicious leaving them as they are.  

Dry fry the tofu and add your sauce using the directions above.

Finally, layer the grain, veggies, and tofu into a bowl....an incredi-bowl.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Smokey Salmon Burgers

Happy Sunday!

Sundays are those days when I wish I had a big family to cook for.  Ya know, strap on my apron and slave in the kitchen all day.  Problem is that its just me for now in my little apartment in the Boston Suburbs.  This is why I love having a freezer.

As a pescatarian (no meat but still eating fish) sometime I miss out on the great barbecue experience.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes it amazes me how people can still eat meat when I am enjoying my oh so delicious veggie burger or grilled 'shroom burger.  But when grilling season comes around, and I am living so close to the Massachusetts Bay, there is nothing like a good salmon burger.

Go ahead stomach, start grumblin'.

So here I am, slaving away in the kitchen making plenty of freezable burgers for a quick lunch or lazy dinner.  This is why I love Sundays.

Makes approximately 4 burgers 

1 can of sockeye salmon, drained*
2 oz (approximately 1/4 cup) smoked salmon*
2 T Greek Yogurt
1 T whole grain Dijon mustard
1 T capers
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Calories Per Burger: 135

*If you are salt sensitive, have high blood pressure, or are on a heart healthy diet I would NOT recommend using canned or smoked salmon because of the high sodium content.  Use a leftover filet of salmon instead, or a low sodium can if you find it! 

In a food processor, pulse canned and smoked salmon until flaky.  Do not blend until smooth! You want big flaky chucks of delicious fish.

Transfer to bowl, mix in the rest of the ingredients, and season to your liking

NOTE: Just want salmon salad?  Add 4 more T of Greek yogurt, 1 T horseradish, 1 T light mayo, chopped red onion and celery.  Or you could just mash up a pre-made burger over a salad of greens and call it a day.

Heat a skillet with  ~ 1 T of live oil over medium heat.  You want these babies to cook over medium heat so that we don't burn the edges.  Place each patty on the skillet, for ~4 minutes, flip, and cook the other side.

Assemble burger with bun (or TJ's whole wheat sandwich thin) and toppings of your liking.  I chose Spinach, cucumbers, onion, Dijon mustard and ketchup.

Insert sandwich into mouth, and be happy you made enough to freeze for future.