Category Archives: Many Possibilities

Tofu StirFry

Great with rice, noodles, or inside summer rolls.

The tofu can be replaced with almost any meat or fish.

If you want a refresher about cooking rice or combining Asian sauces, refer to my Asian Food Essentials blog post.

Tofu packs a lot of protein and has zero cholesterol. The texture makes it a good substitute for meat if you want to veganize or vetetarianize (yep, made that up) a meal. The smaller the tofu is cut, the better it blends with sauces and flavor. In this case, make sure you buy firm tofu.

For this dish, I pressed the tofu dry for a few hours assembling it in such an order starting from the bottom: 1) plate or cutting board  2) layers of paper towels  3) Tofu  4) more layers of paper towels  5) a cooking pot filled with a couple canned foods to weigh it down.

tofu

 

I cut the tofu into about 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes.

IMG_0863

After tossing it to be thinly coated in cornstarch (Speisestärke in German), I dropped them slowly into some shallow vegetable oil for frying.

IMG_0864

A couple minutes of frying and gently stirring will hopefully lead to some lightly golden crispy cubes. Dry them on paper towels when done.

IMG_0866

Then in a large pan, add a little vegetable oil to cook some bell pepper, ginger, regular onions & green onions, and garlic until tender.

IMG_0867

Add about 4 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and a little water if necessary to coat everything. Then add the fried tofu.

IMG_0873

I couldn’t decide if I liked it better served with rice or as left-overs the next day with rice noodles.

IMG_0876

A side of arugula kept things fresh the next day. To spruce it up more, I added a little peanut butter and sesame oil to the noodles when I heated them up. Yum.

IMG_0884

 

2-Ingredient Pancakes

GLUTEN-FREE & DELICIOUS

Fun fact: Best way to peel a banana is by pinching the end (opposite from stem) and peel from there. Monkeys do it and there are less fibrous strings this way! Know a better way? Comment below.

 

IMG_0239

Start with 1 Banana and 1 Egg.

 

IMG_0240

Put into a bowl for mashing.

 

IMG_0242

Mash – with fork or masher.

 

IMG_0243

Cook in oiled pan for a couple minutes each side on medium-low heat.

 

IMG_0246

Enjoy on its own, or with a dallop of Peanut Butter or Nutella.

 

More CAKES & Cupcakes

A Real Grilled Cheese Sandwich

g4

Made with Colby and Cheddar cheese, these sandwiches are meatless, yet hearty! For more flavor, I added grilled onions and garlic. Another flavor trick is using mayo instead of butter or oil to spread on the bread before toasting it. Served with blanched broccoli, this sandwich was a simple and satisfying meal. A fun luncheon idea would be to let guests choose from their choices of cheeses and vegetables… so many varieties!

 

DSCF9516
Slices from Chef Jimi’s freshly baked French bread. You could use sourdough or any other loaf.

 

DSCF9509
The crumbled cheese looks ready to be melted while laying under some grilled onions.

 

 

DSCF9512

One of the best ways to make any grilled sandwiches would be to use a Panini press. Don’t have one? Don’t fear! Use a heavy pot or pan to press the sandwich on a stove top. After a few minutes on medium heat, you can flip the sandwich to cook the other side and that’s it!

 

g5

Asian BBQ Tacos: A Favorite!

Originally made on accident, Chef Jimi created the taco shells to be perfectly chewy and crispy. After a light, crispy crunch when you bite in, comes a soft medley of rice, meat, and bold BBQ flavors. Sweet, salty, with caramelized onions, garlic, and garnished with fresh green onions, these tacos are the best around.

Can be made with any meat. This time, we used pork. The pork was sautéed with grilled onions, garlic; a mix of Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce, and Worcestershire. A little flour was used to bind it together. This is comfort food brought to another level.

taco1

Dark Chocolate Espresso Oreo Balls

Only 3 ingredients! Thanks to Grandma Bev for her Chocolate Oreo Balls recipe, which led to this slightly altered version. She made some for the holidays and nobody could eat just one. I changed it up only because I love dark chocolate.

choc5

Ingredients:

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 package (16 oz.) Oreo cookies, crushed (I used a store brand and it was about 40 cookies)

12 oz. dark chocolate bark/bar, chopped (I used 4 packages of “Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans” which donate 10% of net profits to endangered animals)

  • Using a blender or mixer, mix the cream cheese with Oreo cookies.
  • Roll into about 1-inch balls, using wax paper to set them on if you need to
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes

choc2

  • Melt the chopped chocolate bars or bark in the microwavable bowl, 1 minute at a time, stirring occasionally

choc3

  • Using a toothpick or two spoons, roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat. Set aside on wax paper or on a wire rack

choc4

  • Chill again for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. Serve cold or room temperature.

Salmon Sushi Roll

Even without a bamboo sushi mat, you can still make homemade sushi rolls. This version is my one of my favorites, but instead of cream cheese, I normally like it with Avocados. Here’s a simple version of a Salmon Roll, of which you can use many substitutes such as tuna instead of salmon, or cucumber instead of cream cheese, or both. We used FRESH, raw fish. Here in Washington, it’s possible to get the best Salmon around. Regardless of which fish you use, make sure it smells like nothing but the ocean or salty sea air.

s1

Ingredients:

  • Fresh, raw or cooked fish (raw Salmon, this time)
  • 1 package Seaweed wrap (also known as Nori, and available at most grocery stores now)
  • White rice (you can use a sushi rice recipe that requires vinegar for an even more authentic taste)
  • Narrow cucumber slices
  • Cream cheese
  • Pickled ginger and Wasabi for garnish (we used our homemade pickled ginger, but you can buy it in jars)

Cut the skin off the fish it’s still on. This is best to do with the skin facing down, hand placed on top of the fish, and slide the knife horizontally through, in a long sawing motion (get as close down as you can to the skin with your knife). Then slice the fish into half-inch thick, narrow pieces.

s2

Lay out a sheet of seaweed wrap. Using a spoon, spread on an even, thin layer of rice to cover entire sheet. You can wet the spoon a few times to keep it slippery and keep the rice from sticking. Pat down with the wet spoon to set the rice.

s3

Place the fish slices toward the bottom and any other topping on top like the cucumber or cream cheese. And roll up firmly.

s4

Cut the roll carefully (sharp knives come in handy here), starting from the center. You should be able to get about 8 pieces.

s5

Place the pickled ginger and wasabi on the side. Serve with soy sauce. The ginger can be eaten in between bites as a palette cleanser or at the end of your meal. It’s purpose is not only to be a palette cleanser, but is also known to help reduce the Mercury content commonly in fish. I just happen to like the taste of it with my sushi. Wasabi can be mixed into the soy sauce for a spicy kick, but some people just place tiny pieces of it onto the sushi bites.

s6

Natty Patty Banana Nut & Chocolate Cupcakes

These are the most fun cupcakes! The biggest hit at Julius’s 4th birthday party. Small and cute, kids and adults love them. My favorite part is that instead of battling with frosting on top, the frosting is in the center!

c2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Banana Nut muffin mix
  • 1 package or box Chocolate cake mix (and milk, eggs, or oil according to the back instructions)
  • 1 can or jar of white frosting, butter milk or vanilla
  • food coloring, liquid or gel, doesn’t matter (red, green, yellow)
  • Non-stick cooking spray or cupcake paper liners

Bake the chocolate cake package according to directions in a cupcake or muffin pan, lined or not (I’ve tried both, just do what you think is best for your muffin pan.

Separate the frosting into three even amounts. Mix in the food coloring a little at a time to get the desired color. I chose red to look like ketchup, green to look like lettuce, and yellow to either look like mustard or cheese.

The photo above features the yellow looking like mustard. Below is a photo that shows the yellow in a square outline to look like cheese corners. For best results, pipe the frosting out of a plastic bag corner with the tip finely cut off. All you need is a little frosting around the outside edges to be visible. You don’t need to fill the center.

c1

Cut the cooled chocolate muffin-tops off. This will be the “patty”. I discarded the bottom.

Cut the cooled banana nut muffin-tops in half and these will be the top and bottom “buns”.

Pipe on the frosting in whatever order you like, I put “ketchup” on top of the bottom bun, then the chocolate patty next. Then “lettuce, and cheese or mustard” on top of the patty. Make these ahead of time too, and save them in the refrigerator.