Squeaky Peanut

"Dot takes on the Domestic Diva"

Inedibles and Tofu Bowls February 19, 2011

Filed under: Recipe Review — squeakypeanut @ 10:22 AM
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This week I tried two recipes from Power Foods, a snack and a main dish. One was successful, and one was dangerous.

First, the snack, titled Crunchy Split Pea Bites. Oh, they were crunchy, all right. This involved soaking one and a half cups of green split peas in three cups of water for four hours. At that point you drain and dry them. Since I was not about to polish each pea individually, I just spread them out onto a paper towel to dry. Actually, two paper towels, because that is a ton of peas, in case you didn’t realize. They took forever to dry; by the next morning they were still damp, but I was already over the whole thing so I decided to finish them off so I could take them to work as a snack.

Half a batch of the peas were sautéed in a mixture of canola oil and sesame oil until they got browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Then they were drained on paper towels and sprinkled with salt. They were ok–they didn’t have much flavor, so The Husband ground up some herbs de Provence on his, which he thought helped somewhat. The biggest problem was that some of the peas were still as hard as they were before soaking, and we were afraid we’d break a tooth on one. I threw out both the cooked half, and the uncooked half. Luckily, peas are inexpensive, so it’s not like we ruined an expensive duck breast (Martha!).

I was cautiously optimistic that the Brown Rice with Tofu, Dried Mushrooms and Baby Spinach would be good because it appeared to have a lot of seasoning,  and we liked most of the Asian-inspired foods in Dinner at Home.

The recipe was pretty easy–cook 1.5 cups of brown rice (the recipe called for short grain, but I used long and it was fine) in 2.75 cups of water with a half ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms, 1 T ginger, 4 minced garlic cloves, a crumbled dried red chile, and salt. When done (50 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and toss in a half package of drained and diced extra-firm, drained tofu, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. At the end of the fifteen minutes, you are supposed to be able to toss in 3 ounces of baby spinach and have them wilt in three minutes.  This didn’t happen, because the pan was no longer hot enough. I had to put it back on low heat and leave it until the spinach wilted, which also meant the rice started to stick.  After the spinach finally wilted, I mixed in several chopped scallions, cilantro (I used dried, since we didn’t have any fresh), 2 T + 1t of tamari soy sauce (low-sodium), 1.5 T of rice vinegar, and 1 t of sesame oil.

This had quite a nice flavor. The Husband added more garlic to his, but I thought it was super garlicky. In fact, later that night I could not get the garlic and scallion taste out of my mouth, even with vigorous teeth brushing. So, maybe this is not a good dish to take to your book club or on  a date, but it’s otherwise recommendable.

Scores:

Split Peas:  D  Both bland and too many inedible bits

Rice Bowl:   A-

 

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Green Food Stuffs February 13, 2011

Filed under: Recipe Review — squeakypeanut @ 11:39 PM
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So! I think I may have found a cookbook under the Martha Stewart umbrella to work my way through.

The editors of her Whole Living magazine have just released a cookbook titled, Power Foods, featuring, natch, 38 “power foods” that are the healthiest things to stuff in your pie hole. I try to eat fairly healthily, but could also use help ingesting more vegetables and such. I like that there are only three red meat recipes in the entire cookbook, and very little dairy other than Greek yogurt and the occasional sprinkle of parmesan or goat cheese.

The book has a large section at the front describing the benefits of each of the 38 power foods, and tips on how to prepare them, which is great if you are reading about papaya, but not so helpful for eggs. Then the book is broken into sections on breakfast, snacks, sandwiches, soups, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts.

There is a foreward by Martha herself! I don’t pretend to believe that she wrote any of the recipes, but some are awfully similar to recipes in Dinner at Home, like the pears with chocolate and baked apples, both of which were terrible. Yay.

I think there will be lots to snark at, such as the concoction I am drinking as I type this. It is an avocado pear breakfast smoothie ( it is 9 pm in reality–I don’t do fruit or sugar in the morning) made with avocado, silken tofu, honey, pear nectar, vanilla and ice. Hmm. Well, it isn’t as terrible as you would think,  but the vanilla overpowers it and it has a very odd taste. I would certainly never drink one willingly again. It’s good for me, though, right?

With the other half of the avocado (you don’t think I would make a full batch of that nonsense, do you?) I tried another breakfast item, the avocado and boiled egg salad. Can you make a salad with two ingredients? The  recipe is to mix chopped avocado, boiled egg whites, olive oil, salt and pepper. I do not know why this is considered a “recipe” any more than pouring booze on fruit, but this time I actually liked how it tasted and would eat it again. The Husband refused to even try it.

The third thing I’ve tried so far is a soy wasabi dip I made for my book club. It involved pureeing endamame, silken tofu, wasabi paste, Chinese hot mustard and lemon juice. I made it the night before and it was very spicy, but by the next day it had mellowed enough that I had to add more wasabi and mustard. I couldn’t get it to be as spicy again, and so I gave up. Some people said they liked it, but they are all very polite. I thought it was ok–endamame are kind of bland to me so I think it needed something else to help it out. It was a good excuse to eat rice crackers, at least.

Smoothie:  D  for demented ingredient list

Avocado & Egg Salad:  B  It tasted good, but why not add some additional foods to it?

Soy Wasabi Dip:   B (edited grade. I had some leftovers and thought it was pretty ok).