Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carrot and Celeriac Fried Rice with Tofu

Leftover rice + root vegetables + broiled tofu = delicious, quick, satisfying meal.  Toss a few cashews in at the end to jazz it up if you like. This is great with short grain  brown rice, which gives it extra substance. If you want more color, feel free to toss in some greens at the end.

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
1/4 cup soy sauce, or more to taste
Canola oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp grated ginger root
3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 large celeriac, peeled and shredded
3-4 cups cold leftover rice, preferably short grain brown rice
1/2-3/4 cup cashews (optional)

Preheat the broiler. Toss the tofu gently with the soy sauce, then spread in a single layer in a baking dish. Broil for 5 minutes, then flip the cubes and broil for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the tofu broils, heat some canola oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for about 1 minute, then add the carrots and celeric. Stir fry over medium-high heat until tender. Add a little soy sauce to keep it from sticking, if needed. Add the rice and stir well. Gently stir in the broiled tofu and whatever soy sauce is in the pan. Taste and add additional soy sauce if desired. Toss in the cashews if using.

Serves about 6.

Curried Beef with Root Vegetables and Spinach

This is one of those dishes that's even better the next day. Hearty and flavorful, chock full of vegetables, it's perfect for a cold November evening. Serve this over brown rice.

Canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp grated or minced ginger root
2-3 tsp garam masala
1 lb ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, diced
Beef stock
1/3 lb spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp corn starch for thickening (optional)

Heat a little canola oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown thoroughly, then stir in the garam masala. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Add carrots and potatoes, then add just enough beef stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.

If desired, stir together thee corn starch and about 1/3 cup of the broth from the stew, then stir the paste back into the stew and simmer until it thickens to the desired consistency.

Serve stew over rice, preferably brown.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

We picked the very last of the tomatoes before the first freeze a week and a half ago. With a bowl of cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter, it was time to put them to use. These are great with pasta or on pizza.

Cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried basil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the cherry tomatoes in a single layer in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of dried basil. Toss to coat the tomatoes all over, then return them to their single layer.

Roast for 25-35 minutes, until the tomatoes have split open and turned appealingly wrinkled and excess liquid has evaporated - but not to the point where they become glued to the pan.

Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts and White Beans

If you are a Brussels sprouts skeptic, or there's one in your family, this is a good point of entry (I speak from experience, both my own and that of my six-year-old who came back for thirds), especially now that we've had a few good frosts and the sprouts are at their best. This is an adaptation from Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The good health points from the sprouts may well be totally counter-weighted by the cream, but it sure is delicious.

1 quart Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

If your sprouts are large, cut them in half. Otherwise, use them whole.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Salt generously, then cook the Brussels sprouts at a vigorous simmer for about 8 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the sprouts.

In a small skillet or medium saucepan, melt the butter then add the sprouts. Saute for 1-2 minutes, then add the beans and the cream. Simmer until the cream thickens somewhat and the beans and sprouts are nicely permeated with it. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

Serves about 4.