Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tofu "Egg" Salad

This is an excellent vegan sandwich, totally satisfying protein, but when something like pickled onions, fresh tomato and arugula are added, it becomes just about perfect. 

1 lb firm tofu, well drained
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon fresh dill weed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
salt and black pepper to taste

Allow tofu to drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture.  Crumble the tofu with hands into a large bowl.

In a small bowl blend together all remaining ingredients and pour over tofu.  Mix well and allow flavors to come together in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.  Tofu salad is excellent on crackers, toast, and fresh bread.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seafood Wontons

These would be excellent with pork, but not everybody eats pork, so this recipe is my version of a meatless wonton.  I have served these to meat-eaters and they were completely fooled by the fake sausage.  The addition of the shrimp protein adds a meaty chew to the filling making it nearly impossible to discern these from the real deal.

This recipe is enough to fill two packages of wonton wrappers.  That is a lot even for our family of nine. My girls and I usually make these in two batches, freezing half the filling for another time.  The wontons can be made ahead and frozen so that they are available anytime a wonton craving strikes.

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
14 oz pkg GimmeLean sausage
2 teaspoons ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 lb medium raw shrimp (41-50 count)
1/2 can water chestnuts (about 8 whole)

2 pkg wonton wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

In a large fry pan, heat the toasted sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the GimmeLean sausage, breaking  it into chunks and fry until slightly golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Pulse ginger, garlic, shallot, and oyster sauce in food processor until minced.  Add the shrimp and chestnuts, and pulse 3-4 times to coarsely chop.  Working in two batches, remove half the seafood mixture and pulse with half the sausage just until incorporated.  Remove to bowl and repeat with the second batch, repeating to blend together.  Stir the mixture in a bowl to bring the two batches together.
Fill each wonton wrapper with a scant 1 teaspoon of filling, folding into desired shape and thoroughly sealed.  

These wontons are excellent steamed as potstickers or as dumplings in a savory broth.  Our favorite way is fried.   When folded properly they fry up easily with almost no splatter.  Fry at 350-degrees until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.

Serve with sweet and sour sauce and Chinese mustard.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

¾ cup cold water
1 ½ tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
2/3 cup sugar
Dash soy sauce

Wisk to combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the sauce turns translucent.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blanched Spinach with Tahini

I modified this recipe from Cecilia Chiang’s excellent cookbook, The Seventh Daughter. This dish is addictive; I make twice what we need and eat it cold for breakfast the next day.  I love it, but to be honest, most of my family members do not.  Oh well, too bad for them, and extra good for me (literally, I can eat two or more bags of spinach fixed this way!)  

I’ve made this with raw spinach (and I like it that way too) but blanching the spinach really does make it much more appealing, as it masks that ‘chalky-coat-your-teeth’ feeling that some people experience when it is raw. I use a salad spinner to blanch the spinach as I find it much easier than the usual method of plunging it in boiling water and removing it to an ice bath.  My method also removes extra water in the spinning process, where traditional methods would require squeezing it between towels.

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½  tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.  The tahini may be thick and lumpy at first, but more whisking will soon bring the dressing together.

2-3 bags baby spinach
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Boil the water.  Add the salt.  Rinse and clean the spinach using a salad spinner with warm water. Dump out the water used to clean the spinach and carefully pour the boiling water over the spinach. Replace the salad spinner’s lid, placing the spinner in the sink and while holding the lid on tight, spin the spinach and the salted water until the leaves appear wilted.   Use caution when pouring out the hot water and then spin the spinach again to remove any remaining water. 

1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Toss the dressing with the spinach to coat well.  Taste and salt if needed.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve at room temperature.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Feeds 6 as a side.