Rhubarb, Apple, and Pear Crisp

Rhubard-Apple-Pear Crisp with Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, and Cranberry Topping

Rhubarb is one of those early spring treats I’ve been dying to try after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this past winter. Not ever having used rhubarb before and not exactly sure what I’d do with it, I picked up 4 stalks at our food coop. When trying to decide what kind of menu we should cook for our friend’s party, I thought a dessert might be nice. In the past we’d all cooked the Weight Watchers Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe, and we knew our friend liked that recipe a lot. So Ray and I modified the recipe to accommodate the rhubarb. In our Boston Organics box this week, we had an apple and a pear, so we used those along with the four stalks of rhubarb. We did top with cranberries we’d frozen from the fall. You may want to garnish with some simple apple slices.

Ingredients

  • 4 stalks rhubarb, diced into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium apple, sliced very thinly and diced
  • 1 medium pear, sliced very thinly and diced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp light butter (we used the vegan Earth Balance brand)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole grain rolled oats
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice and dice up the rhubard, apple, and pear, tossing into a medium-size glass baking dish and squirting with lemon juice as you go along to prevent the fruits from browning. Mix the 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar in with the diced fruits and rhubarb.

    Rhubarb-Apple-Pear Crisp

    In a bowl combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and oats. Mash and combine them with your fingers to make sure they are a uniform, crumbly mixture (see photo below.) Top the glass dish of fruit and rhubarb evenly with the crumbly mixture.

    Rhubarb-Apple-Pear Crisp Topping
    Rhubarb-Apple-Pear Crisp Topping

    Bake until the topping has browned, about 50 minutes. The wonderful sweet smell will give you plenty of warning. We mixed ours together and served in small dishes

    • Servings: 8
    • Weight Watchers Points: 3 per serving

    Rhubard-Apple-Pear Crisp with Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, and Cranberry Topping
    Rhubard-Apple-Pear Crisp with Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, and Cranberry Topping

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Spicy Tofu, Pineapple, and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles

Last Friday on the way home from work, we stopped by a very cool specialty gourmet shop in Concord, MA called Debra’s Natural Gourmet. We were out of ginger and wanted to pick some up, and also thought there might be a chance we’d find farro, a grain that has eluded us for a while. Well, Debra’s didn’t have the farro, but one our way out we picked up one of those free natural grocery publications called Taste for Life. On the way home we found a delicious-looking recipe in the magazine so we decided to try it that night.

This recipe came out very light and flavorful for us, but we did make some modifications. We modified the original recipe in a couple of ways. We changed it to include broiled rather than deep fried tofu, and we went a lot lower on the oils and syrup, so our take isn’t that bad a caloric hit. The recipe calls for pineapple – we thought we had canned pineapple but when we got home, it turned out it was tropical fruit salad and it had expired in 2005! So I ran out to the corner store and picked up a full real pineapple. Ray, being the good Hawaiian that he is, knew how to open it up and get the diced pineapple we needed so that added a bit of fun to cooking this. 🙂 By the way, the original recipe came from Christina Pirello who hosts PBS’ Christina Cooks.

Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles

Ingredients

Spicy Tofu

  • 3 Tbsp organic tamari (you could substitute plain soy sauce if needed)
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown rice syrup (you could substitute honey if needed)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch (we didn’t have arrowroot which the original recipe called for)
  • 1 pound extra-firm organic tofu
  • Canola oil spray

Bok Choy and Pineapple

  • 12 baby bok choy, split lengthwise (we had a *lot* of bok choy, original recipe called for 6-7)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly.
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to your taste/tolerance
  • Tamari, to taste (can use soy sauce)
  • 2 cups pineapple cubes (approximately 1/4 of a pineapple, cubed)
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly (for garnish)

Whisk together 3 Tbsp tamari, 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp brown rice syrup, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp corn starch, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a medium-sized bowl to make the spicy tofu marinade. Drain the tofu and blot dry, then cut into 1-inch cubes, tossing the cubes into the bowl of marinade. Let the tofu marinate for 10 minutes.

While tofu is marinating, turn your oven on to broil. Then, take the time to crush and slice the garlic, slice the onion, rinse and split the bok choy, and dice the pineapple.

Line a broiler pan with tin foil, and spray lightly with an oil spray. Place the marinated tofu onto the pan and place inside the broiler. Be sure to reserve the marinade, you’ll need it later. Broil the tofu for 10 minutes, flip the cubes, then broil for 5-10 minutes more until browned.

Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles
Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles
Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles

Spray a skillet or wok lightly with oil and heat it up at medium high or so. When the oil has heated, toss in the garlic, ginger, onion, roasted red pepper, red pepper flakes, and some soy sauce. Stir fry this mix for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the bok choy, stir frying until wilted for 1-2 more minutes. Add the broiled tofu and remaining marinade, stirring until it starts to glaze. Remove from heat, add the pineapple, and garnish with scallions.

Pineapple Bok Choy Tofu Stiry Fry with Shirataki Noodles

Some serving suggestions

  • Servings: 4
  • We served this the first night we had it with pan fried shirataki noodles. Drain and rinse the shirataki noodles well and pan fry in a very lightly-sprayed skillet for 5-10 minutes.
  • We had the leftovers for dinner last night and they were great, so this is a dish that reheats well! (see leftover version below.)

Leftover Pineapple Tofu Curry with Couscous and leftover Spinach with Mushrooms

Samosa Puffs

Samosa Puffs

This past weekend was a birthday party for one of our best friends. We decided to cook up a storm of party finger-food to bring along. I pulled out a bunch of both our favorite and not-used-often-enough cookbooks and we picked out a party menu together. Samosa puffs sounded like a perfect finger food so we decided to give them a try. We slightly modified a recipe from a Hare Krishna cookbook called The Higher Taste.

For you Weight Watchers out there, these samosas are only 1 point a piece, so don’t cry when you read the nutritional information on the puff pastry packging (yes, 1 package of puff pastries has a caloric value in the thousands, and we’ll be using two packages.) For us, this yielded ~72 puff pastries, so if you’re cooking for less people than a party-ful, you may want divide the recipe a bit.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup carrot diced very small
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup potato, diced very small
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • A sprig of mint leaves (maybe 4 or 5 leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder (available in Indian and Asian markets)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sheets puff pastry (available in the freezer aisle by the pies usually, in a box)

Thaw your puff pastry sheets. We’ll be cutting them, so you can unfold them and lay them out on a clean surface to thaw if you need to (unfolding them while frozen tends to rip them along the seam but that should be fine in this case.)

Samosa Filling

Dice up your carrots and potatoes, and measure out the peas. Steam each separately until tender – we steamed each in a separate layer of a bamboo steamer for about 10 minutes or so. Heat the oil in a deep skillet. When the oil is heated, place the mint leaves in the oil and fry them until they crackle, then add the ginger and fry for about a minute or so. Add the asafetida powder, and fry another minute. Now, stir in the curry powder, peas, carrots, potatoes, sugar, and salt, frying all of the ingredients together for 2 minutes or so, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Samosa Puff Wrapping
Samosa Puff Wrapping

If you haven’t already, lay out your puff pastry sheets. Our puff pastry sheets came folded in thirds. Use a pizza cutter to cut the sheets into 9 squares a piece. We laid one unfolded sheet down, then laid another sheet down on top at a 90 degree angle, so when we cut through the seams at the thirds of the top sheet, it cut through the bottom sheet. We then flipped and cut through the seams on the (formerly) bottom sheet. We used the seams as guides to cut the sheets into perfect sheets of 9 squares a piece, two sheets at a time. You should end up with 36 squares.

Samosa Puffs

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your cooled panful of vegetable filling nearby your puff pastry sheets. Take a teaspoon and spoon out two teaspoons to each square. Working one square at a time, fold each square diagonally, pressing the edges down and scalloping them with a fork (see photos if this doesn’t make sense.) Finally, once your squares are all folded over and filled, take a pizza cutter and slice each one in half. You’ll now have 72 triangles.

Samosa Puffs

We used two baking sheets in two batches to cook all these curry puffs. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper, no oil needed. If you like, you can spray the puffs themselves lightly with oil to brown but we skipped this option. Bake the puffs for 12 to 15 minutes or until browned. (Oven times may vary, but they will smell done when they are done so you’ll know. Keep a nostril open for them!)

Enjoy your curry puffs. You may wish to try them with a tamarind, onion, or mint chutney.

Samosa Puffs

  • Servings: A whole lot. Makes 72 puffs.
  • Weight Watchers Points: 1 point for one puff.

Cranberry Pancakes and Cheddar-Dill Omelet

Cranberry Pancakes and Dill and Cheddar Omelet

There’s really nothing special or complicated about this meal. The pancakes were made from Bisquick mix! It was pretty quick and delicious though.

Cranberry Pancakes

Cranberry Pancakes

  • Bisquick Mix
  • 1/2 cup Fat-Free Plain Yogurt (we used Stonyfield Fat-Free Plain)
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (we had some frozen from fresh last fall)

Make the pancakes according to the directions. I like making them a little bigger than silver dollar size, using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Take 1/2 cup of the plain yogurt and mix it well with the honey. Toss in the cranberries, and pour over the pancakes. Enjoy. 🙂

Cheddar-Dill Omelet

Dill and Cheddar Omelet

We have tons and tons of dill growing in our Aerogarden, so an omelet seemed like a good excuse to use it. We’re still learning, for some of our herbs, what are the best ways to use them so they don’t go to waste. We used a George Foreman omelet grill pan to make this which is how its shape came out so perfectly oval, but there’s no need for this of course.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened plain soymilk
  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese (we used Cabot 50% fat omega-3)
  • two stalks of dill
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • Olive or canola oil spray

Spray a pan or omelet plate and heat it up. Chop up 1 scallion into thin slices and also chop up two stalks of dill. Separate the egg yolks from the whites of two eggs into a bowl. Add just a splash (1/2 Tbsp – 1 Tbsp or so) of unsweetened plain soymilk, the chopped dill, and the chopped scallion and beat with a spoon. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Let cook on medium high for a couple of minutes. Grate the 1oz cube of cheese on top of the omelet. Fold the omelet over onto itself and flip if necessary. When egg is cooked through sufficiently, the omelet is done. Garnish with any extra grated cheese or dill you might have on hand.

Mango Coconut Yuba Knot Curry with Garlic-Ginger Bok Choy and Green Tea Brown Rice

Mango Coconut Yuba Twist Curry with Garlic-Ginger Bok Choi and Green Tea Brown Rice

A few days ago, Mo and I made a mango-coconut curry with braised tofu and never posted about it (but maybe you saw it on Mo’s Flickr stream.) It was good though. So good, we wanted to do it again. Over the weekend, we found some yuba knots at an Asian grocery store. Yuba knots are strips of soybean curd that have been tied into a knot (see below.)

Yuba Twists

Yuba Twists

They have a very pleasant, chewy texture and flavor which we decided would complement the mango-coconut curry sauce nicely. We were right!

Mango-Coconut Yuba Knot Curry

Mango Coconut Yuba Twist Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. package frozen yuba knots (or 1/2 pound braised tofu)
  • 1 can light coconut milk (~15 fl. oz.)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • Diced poblano peppers, to taste
  • Canola oil spray
  • 2 mangos, diced.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

Defrost the yuba knots. Pre-chop the garlic and ginger. You also need to dice the mangos. If you’ve never diced a mango before, it’s not entirely straightforward, so search online for it. While I was writing this blog post, I searched for it really quickly and found this link that shows pretty much what I did. Blender the peppercorns, garlic, ginger, and turmeric in a food processor until consistent. Add the light coconut milk to the food processor and blend until smooth. Place yuba knots into a large bowl, and pour the coconut curry sauce on top. Let sit.

Spray a light coating of oil in a skillet on high heat and drop the mustard seeds onto the pan. Let sit until they start jumping out of the pan. Then, toss in the mangoes and poblano peppers and cook for a few minutes, less than five. Dump sauce and yuba knots into pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer and stir frequently until heated through, seven or eight minutes.

  • Servings: 4

Garlic-Ginger Bok Choi

Garlic-Ginger Bok Choi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bok choy
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • Canola oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp tamari

Thoroughly rinse bok choy, and chop, separating the stems from the greens. Lightly spray a skillet and heat oil. Toss in the bok choy stems and cook for two to three minutes. Then, throw in the garlic, ginger, and leaves and stir fry until wilted. Add crushed black pepper and a few squirts of tamari to taste.

  • Servings: 2

Green Tea Brown Rice

Green Tea Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry short-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp loose leaf green tea

A simple way to dress up ordinary brown rice is to spruce it up with a little green tea. Cook the rice as you normally would – we toss the dry rice and water into our rice cooker and let it handle all the work. Once the rice is done, measure out 1 tsp of loose leaf green tea (or rip open a bag of green tea) and mix it into the rice.

  • Servings: 2

Mango Coconut Yuba Twist Curry with Garlic-Ginger Bok Choi and Green Tea Brown Rice

Easter Vegetarian Italian Feast

Vegetarian Italian Feast

Since we had a three-day weekend for Easter, we went out on Friday and did a bunch of shopping so we could get a lot of cooking in this weekend. Tonight we cooked an Italian feast with lots of fresh and homemade food. Here is what our menu looked like:

  • Baked Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Seitan Cutlets and Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce with Truffles on Whole-Grain Flax Linguine
  • Oven-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Bok Choy Cabbage with Capers
  • Garlic-Butter Whole Wheat Flatbread
  • Fresh Mixed Greens Salad with Thinly-Sliced Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion, Dressed with Balsamic

Except where noted, all these recipes are meant to serve two.

Baked Seitan Cutlets

Baked Seitan Cutlets

We learned this recipe at one of Emilie Hardman’s vegan cooking classes. Actually we learned it a while back and have been wanting to try it at home. It seemed it might go well with Italian so we went with it. It’s slightly modified to have less of a caloric hit (not that it was so bad in the first place).

This recipe makes 8 cutlets. Each of us had one cutlet and froze the 6 others for later use.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomato halves
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon butter (we used Earth Balance vegan buttery spread)

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter – we put ours in an oven-safe ramekin for a minute or so. Mince one clove of garlic, reserving the rest. Mix your one minced clove of garlic in with the butter.

Process the water, peppers, tomato, pine nuts, garlic, oil, salt, and wheat gluten in a food processor until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Line a baking sheet with tin foil sprayed with olive oil or have a cast iron pan at the ready. Halve and re-halve the mixture until you have 8 balls of dough. Pat the dough balls into little patties and arrange them in your pan or on your cooking sheet. Brush with your garlic-butter mixture. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for 10 more minutes.

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce with Truffles on Whole-Grain Flax Linguine

Vegetarian Italian Feast

Ray has always wanted to try truffles and his brother Sam gave him a jar for Christmas. He’s been saving them for a special occasion and decided tonight would be the night to try one. We both decided after our meal, though, that truffles’ flavor is so subtle that it’s probably better to try to cook them in a dish where their flavor can really shine rather than mix them in a tomato sauce. So, we’ll have to try something a little different with the rest of the truffles. Trial and error, right?

Ingredients

  • 1 small Chinese black truffle, diced
  • 2 oz. whole grain and flax linguine, dry (we used Nature’s Path brand)
  • 1 cup garlic roasted tomato sauce (yes, pre-made! Sorry!)

This is very simple. First, boil a medium-sized pot full of water. When it’s at a rolling boil, put your pasta in and turn down the heat to medium, letting it cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked to your preferred amount. While the pasta is cooking, dice the truffle, and pour the tomato sauce into a small saucepan, heating it on low, Toss the truffle into the tomato sauce. Serve the pasta and pour the tomato sauce over it. Simple.

Oven-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Italian Seasoning

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomates

If you thought the last recipe was super-simple, well, this is even simpler. We bought a carton of grape tomatoes to have with lunch (rice and bean wraps with cucumber and mixed greens) and thought this would be a nice way to enjoy the rest.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil spray
  • Fresh oregano or dried Italian herbs (we used dried because our oregano plant isn’t substantial enough yet!)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Line up the tomatoes on the sheet (see photo above) and once they are all arranged, spray more olive oil lightly on top. Shake some dried Italian seasoning (or place chopped fresh oregano and basil if you should be so lucky) on top of the tomatoes, rolling them around to coat if desired. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Garlic Bok Choy Cabbage with Capers

Mediterranean Bok Choy

We’ve had fresh baby bok choy in the refrigerator since Friday and it was starting to look sad so I promised myself we’d cook it tonight. Except… well… “Bok Choy” doesn’t make one think of Italy, does it? I figured I’d give it a quick stir fry with some onions and garlic and call it a day, though, but at the last minute decided to look through Mark Bittman’s wonderful How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and he has a recipe in there for “Mediterranean Bok Choy.” I adapted his recipe to the ingredients we had and it came out fine (not mind-blowing though, I think we may have overcooked it. :-p)

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of baby bok choy
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive oil or canola oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp capers

Wash the bok choy thoroughly, chop off the very end of each piece and toss it (the hard end of the bulb at the base). Chop the rest of the bok choy into pieces that are 1/2 to 1 inch long, taking care to keep the stalk/stem pieces separate from the leafy green pieces. Mince your garlic. Heat a skillet sprayed lightly with oil and toss the stem pieces of the bok choy in. Stir fry for about three minutes or so until the stems get soft. Once they are soft, put about 1/4 cup water in the pan and add the leafy bok choy pieces and the capers as well. Stir fry for another minute or so. Add the balsamic vinegar and garlic. Stir fry another minute or so. It’ll overcook easily, so watch it! 🙂 Enjoy.

Fresh Mixed Greens Salad with Thinly-Sliced Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion, Dressed with Balsamic

Fresh Spring Salad

The picture here’s not the best, but this salad made a great complement to the rest of the meal. We got a mandolin vegetable slicer this weekend and I was eager to try it on our plum tomato and cucumber, so this salad was the result. 🙂 Something about thinly-sliced cucumber makes me way more excited about eating cucumber than I normally am. Cucumbers are not in season now sowe normally do not eat them now, but I saw it in the store and somehow felt compelled to try it.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium cucumber, thinly-sliced
  • 1 plum tomato, thinly-sliced
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • A few pieces of thinly-sliced onion

This is way simple. 🙂 Toss all ingredients together and enjoy.

Garlic-Butter Whole Wheat Flatbread

Vegetarian Italian Feast

I forgot to take a close-up of this one! It’s in the back right of the photo above. So we made this in a very non-traditional way. We have some pre-made Indian whole wheat chapati bread, so Ray made it into garlic-butter flatbread. It was very good and went well with the meal; it had a bit of crunchiness to it but still maintained a soft middle.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces chapati
  • 1 Tbsp butter (we used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Melt butter. (We placed in the oven at 375 in an oven-safe ramekin for a minute or so.) Mix garlic in with butter. Brush garlic-butter mix on bread. Wrap bread in tin foil and toast in oven for about 5 minutes.

Seitan Cutlets and Bok Choy