Tuesday, May 26, 2009

teriyaki baked tofu

tofu is pretty much a punchline. but imagine a tofu dish that everyone would like. having trouble? well, it exists and i made it. really, i swear. The Boy even ate it and LIKED it. tofu. he liked tofu. so here's the deal.

if you bake tofu, it allows you to get it crispy and chewy, which vastly improves the texture. and we all know tofu takes on the taste of its marinade exceptionally well, so if it's a good one, the tofu is sure to taste great! you certainly don't have to use a teriyaki marinade, anything will do. peanut sauce, bbq sauce, something meatloaf like, vinaigrette, you name it. like spicy food? throw in some hot sauce or red pepper flakes. got it? this is really more about a method than a recipe.

so how did i make my tofu? alright, alright, i'll give you a recipe. once you have the finished product, it's perfect on salads or just darn good for snacking!

teriyaki baked tofu

  • extra firm tofu
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • mirin
  • some will say you should press your tofu. i say wrap it up in some paper towels and squeeze a couple of times. this should be good enough...
  • slice the tofu lengthwise. i sliced my package of tofu into 4 thin pieces.
  • mince garlic and ginger. add to marination receptacle (i find that a large ziploc baggie works particularly well).
  • add the sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin. the liquids should equal about 1/3-1/2 of a cup and i make at least half of that liquid soy sauce. add to marination receptacle.
  • marinate! at LEAST a half hour. depending on how hungry you are:
  • put on a baking sheet and bake in a 325-350 degree oven until crispy and golden. about 30-45 minutes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

outrageous chocolate cookies

i wanted an impressive dessert recipe that wasn't too over the top, for a bbq i was going to. i almost hate to say it but martha stewart is just the woman for the job; specifically martha's cookie of the day. now being that i was going with martha, i sort of feel as though my first batch of her outrageous chocolate cookies was bound to be a failure. once i had completed mixing everything together, i was left with a batter...not a dough. uh oh. i tried baking a batch anyways but the cookies were runny and therefore very flat and crispy. i was quickly brought back to a failed martha meringue box project my mom and i had tried one time.

the failed batch (still tasted yummy):

ok, so i panicked. you know that whole rule about not making something new for company? well i ignore it. i made a few phone calls and thought long and hard. i decided to refrigerate the batter for a little bit. bingo! the batter firmed right up and the resulting cookies were soft, chewy and the perfect amount of crazy chocolatyness. i even drizzled a bit of melted white chocolate on top of them (really not necessary). they were a hit. bottom line: these cookies are awesome. go make them. now.

after refrigerating the batter:

outrageous chocolate cookies (from martha stewart) makes 2 dozen large cookies
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose (spelt) flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees. heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat. in another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. mix in flour mixture until just combined. stir in chocolate chunks/chips.
  • drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. don't overbake! cool on sheets 10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

flourless peanut butter cookies

while we're on the subject of flourless cookies (i swear, HOW did i not know about this stuff?!) here's another one for you! and let me just reiterate that i'm totally into this flourless cookie thing because they also happen to not contain a great deal of added fats, so i can feel pretty awesome about eating them.

so apparently, these flourless peanut butter cookies have been an internet sensation for quite some time but i didn't discover them until a recent thekitchn post. these cookies are dangerously easy to make and quite yummy. if you don't like peanut butter, these might not be the cookies for you. a couple of pointers when making these cookies:

  1. don't smush them down too flat! i may or may not have done this and some of my cookies turned out rather biscuit like (not necessarily a bad thing). if you leave them a bit thicker, you'll get a chewy center. mmmm.
  2. i added chocolate chips to some of the tops of mine. definitely recommended: peanut butter and chocolate, you just can't go wrong.
sensational peanut butter cookies (from thekitchn)
makes 18 cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter (ALWAYS natural chunky peanut butter. i also happened to use salted because that's what i had, which was fine, but i wouldn't necessarily recommend it).
  • 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • additional sugar for rolling
  • preheat oven to 375.
  • mix all the ingredients up in a bowl. roll walnut-sized pieces into balls and roll balls in the additional sugar.
  • place on a parchment-lined (or foil-whatever you have) baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork in a crisscross pattern.
  • push chocolate chips into dough
  • bake for 10 minutes. remove and let cool before removing from baking sheet.

Monday, May 18, 2009

a brief announcement

i have been accepted into the greenpoint williamsburg csa!!!! (after lots of poking, prodding, and wait-listing).

get ready for a veggie/fruity summer, everyone!!! it's gonna be awwwwwesome.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

flourless chocolate cookies at café angelique

isn't it amazing when you discover something you should have already known about? this is precisely what happened to me last weekend when my blood sugar took a dangerous dip and the search for caffeine got desperate. sadly, it always seems to be my mother that witnesses these episodes (saint that she is). "i think there's a place around this corner," i gasped. moments later, we walked into cafe
angelique in soho. the last thing i expected to find was a flourless chocolate cookie. seriously, how did i never know such a cookie existed?!

and what a cookie it was...these ones were very plump and tall, crispy on the outside and dense and fudgy on the inside. serious chocolate hit. walnuts provided a good chocolate contrast and additional crunchiness. chocoholics unite! even more surprising was the simplicity of the core ingredients: egg whites, cocoa, sugar, and walnuts. so, they were practically healthy! and at $2.50 each, almost a bargain.

here's a recipe to try from nymag (although i haven't attempted it yet, so no guarantees here).

françois payard’s flourless chocolate-walnut cookies (courtesy of nymag.com)
  • 2 3/4 cups walnut halves
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • preheat oven to 350. spread the walnut halves on a large-rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant.
  • let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
  • position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • in a large bowl, whisk (or combine in an electric mixer on low speed) the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. While whisking (or once you change the speed to medium), add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen).
  • spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

weeknight dinner: tofu spinach soup

i was feeling a bit under the weather and was craving some comfort food. sadly, i don't have a restaurant in delivery distance with soup that gets the job done. hence my need to make this amazing healing comfort soup myself. the perfect solution? tofu and spinach soup! if your local chinese restaurant has it, i highly recommend it. the only chinese restaurants in local proximity here are scary, small, neon lit, greasy window ones. no thanks. this recipe is super simple and good but nothing crazy fancy. perfect for the "i'm feeling crappy and want something soothing to eat" feeling.

tofu and spinach soup

  • 1 32-ounce container of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 pack firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • green onions, sliced
  • a few big handfuls of spinach (i like baby spinach in this one)
  • sesame oil and soy sauce for serving
  • briefly heat sesame oil in the bottom of a pot.
  • add tofu, garlic, and ginger and sautee for a few minutes.
  • add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  • add spinach and allow to cook until wilted.
  • add sesame oil and soy sauce as needed for serving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

starbucks valencia orange cake - gluten-free!

alright everyone, here it is: the gluten-free cake promised by starbucks. for the record, the spring st. soho starbucks was out of them when i wandered over at 11:00. my valiant coworker and i trekked on in the rain to soho's number 2 starbucks on broadway and broome. victory! the cake was proudly displayed in the pastry shelf. at $1.95, it seemed like starbucks was dishing out bargains. ahem. i mean, valencia orange cakes.

it seems that this gluten-free cake stemmed from what i will call starbucks' grassroots marketing attempt. the site provides a forum for customer feedback where one of the hot topics became gluten-free offerings. the site introduced a voting option and it seems that this spread around the gluten-free community like wildfire!

the ingredients are pretty simple: eggs, orange pulp, almonds, sugar, orange peel, gluten-free baking powder, and orange oil. at 290 calories, 140 calories from fat and 16g of fat, this is certainly not any healthy alternative. HOWEVER, i am hoping that since almonds are one of the main ingredients, this is the type of fat you can feel good about. riiiight....the cake does come individually wrapped "for gluten-free goodness" as declared on the package. "you wouldn't even know it's gluten-free!" i exclaimed, overtaken by the cute cake's moist and spongy texture. "yes, yes you would," sighed my valiant coworker. we agreed that the cake had a texture rather corn bread like (not necessarily in a bad way) but after my initial excitement wore off, i was slightly disappointed by the cake's lack of flavor. the moral of the story here is that i'm not expecting everyone to go crazy over this cake but it's pretty awesome that this is a readily available starbucks product.