Tofu Pineaple stir fry

22 01 2013

I am the kind of cook that opens the fridge and sees “what’s there to be used” instead of carefully planning my meals. And this is what happens when I have some left overs that need to be used (aka: for some strange reason the pineapple was getting sad in the back of the fridge!):

IMG_8684

Firm, organic tofu, deliciously golden in sesame oil!

You will need:

1 block Tofu

1 medium onion

4 large sprigs celery

2 medium carrots

1 pint mushrooms

1 red bell pepper

2 cups diced pineapple

Sesame oil

French tarragon

Thyme

.

Preparation:

Cut your veggies in medium sized slices.

Cut the tofu in medium sized rectangles and fry until golden in a pan with sesame oil.

In another pan fry the vegetables, starting with the onions, finishing with the mushrooms. Once you have your veggies tender but not mushy, add the tofu, pineapple and spices. Mix well and cook together for five minutes so the flavors integrate.

Serve with rice.

I like fusion cooking, mixing spices that are not traditionally found in Asian cuisine can give a surprising flare to a stir fry. This recipe came out so good that  even my husband, who does not really like tofu, praised it. It makes for a delicious treat and the pineapple goes wonderfully well with tarragon and thyme!

IMG_8682

Add unexpected spices as tarragon and thyme to enhance the flavor of pineapple!





Celebrating a new citizen.

1 10 2012

One of our friends from Germany got her American citizenship last week, and to honor her we wanted to have her over to dinner. Obtaining your US citizenship is harder than what most people think (“You are a citizen now, right? You married and American!” “You’ve been living here for such a long time, you must be a citizen!”), and it is the only way you can vote, which is what she wanted most. Because it is such a lengthy, time consuming and expensive process, I wanted to make a special dinner for her, and I decided on roast and potatoes, black bread and All American cupcakes (I just made that up).

For the roast I simply marinated the meat with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and thyme. For the potatoes I marinated them with olive oil, salt, thyme and curry. Then cooked everything in the oven.

For the bread I followed this recipe by 101 cookbooks, which is really good and very recommendable. It is time consuming and quite involved, but it is totally worth it. I was not quite sure about the carrots, but the truth is that you do not feel the flavor (with the bread being so flavorful!) and they keep the moisture of the bread for days. The cocoa and the coffee make it very interesting, and I find that the flavors are more intense as the days go by, not that it lasts very long, it is so good that we just attack it!

Black bread.

Now, the cupcakes.

I started by staining the paper cups to get them more festive, I did not have time to go to the store to get special ones, so I only had white paper cups. I had seen this cute idea in Little Wren’s blog so I decided to try it. It is quite a simple method, just dilute some food coloring in water and then let dry. I went for blue and red rims.

Coloring cupcake cups

While the cups were drying I prepared my cupcakes. I found an easy recipe and modified it to our less sugary taste. I halved the sugar and the butter, compensating with apple sauce here it goes:

2 3/4 c all purpose white flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c sugar

1/2 c applesauce

4 eggs

1 c milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Red food coloring

Blue food coloring

Cream cheese

Red and blue sprinkles

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and applesauce, milk, vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Once you have the batter unified, separate in three portions (I chose to have less red, but that is up to you) and add the food coloring.

Preheat the oven. Line your cupcake tray with the paper cups you prepared earlier and add one layer of blue batter, one layer of white batter and one layer of red batter, up to 3/4 of the cup.  Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Once they are cold, cover the surface with cream cheese and sprinkle with your decoration. Keep in air tight container until it is time to serve.

All American cupcakes.

The applesauce adds sweetness and moisture making the lessening of sugar and butter viable. They were moist and fluffy, and the yield was about 16 cupcakes. They look really pretty, but in retrospect I should probably have held on the vanilla extract to keep the white whiter. I didn’t use any of my usual whole grains because I wanted them to be white, and that made them a little blander than what I am used to, but everybody loved them and the look was a win. I also think I would use a larger red layer and only red rimmed cups, since the blue color from the batter shows really well through the cup paper.

Have you ever made colored cupcakes? How did they come up? Do you have any nice recipe to share?





Adventures in the kitchen: Barley stir fry

10 02 2011

My husband knows that I am a very adventurous gal (in the kitchen!) and since he is awesome he brought home a bag of barley for us to try. Barley is amazingly healthy for you! It’s great against cholesterol, has a lot of fiber, iron, calcium and selenium! I had never eaten barley so I did not know much what to do with it. First thing I did was to just boil it as per instructions in the package and try it as it was, plain, just boiled, to have an idea of the flavor I was going to be working with. If I had to give you an idea (and I will be unfair to the real flavor) it tastes like a mix between rice and oatmeal, with strong nutty underflavors. So once I had tried it, I knew what I wanted to do with it.

 

Barley stir fry:

2 cups Boiled barley

Barley stock by tasastock.deviantart.com

1 medium onion

1 carrot

1 cup cooked corn kernels

2 cups cooked broccoli florets

2 cups cooked cut green beans

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice vinegar

spices: salt, pepper, ground ginger, curry, saffron, ground coriander

In a pot boil the barley for one hour before hand. Use plenty of water and keep in mind that barley expands to about 4 times it’s dry size. You might want to determine how soft you like it. I, myself, like an ‘al dente’ consistency, but my husband likes his starches soft, so I cooked for about one hour and left it cool down in its own water so it would soak up more water and become mushier.

Once the barley is done chop your vegetables and keep them at hand.

In a deep pot warm up two tablespoons of sesame oil and blanch your onions, add the carrot and cook until tender, add the rest of the vegetables and mix them well. Add some more sesame oil if it is too dry and you would like a stronger flavor.

Add the rice vinegar and the spices, mix and let the flavors blend together.

Lastly, add the boiled barley, mix thoroughly, add some more salt if needed.

Once your barley is warm, food is ready!

 

This is a delicious dish, very healthy and veggies lovers friendly. The saffron adds a unique touch to a mainly Asian flavored dish. Try it and let me know what you think!





Recipes: Rosemary Chicken and Black Rice Pudding.

19 09 2010

Today I had friends over and I needed to cook dinner. They were expected at about 7 and I needed to work, of course, so I needed to cook something that would be nice but doable in just 1-1:30 hours.

I decided for a simple but tasty 3 course meal: marjoram goat cheese toast, rosemary chicken and black rice pudding.

Marjoram goat cheese toasts:

Marjoram Goat Cheese Toasts (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

_1 french baguette

_2 oz. Chevre goat cheese.

_1 tbsp. olive oil (or more if you want)

_4 5″ sprigs of marjoram

_Cracked pepper.

-4 garlic cloves

Cut the bread in slices and place them in the oven at 300F for 15 minutes or until golden (or desired hardness).

In the meanwhile mix the cheese with the olive oil, the cracked pepper and marjoram. Marjoram is a sweet species of oregano (Oregano majorana) and one of my favourite herbs to use when I need a delicate flavor! But you can also use other herbs depending on your preference (oregano could work well, basil too!). Reserve.

Once the bread is ready, retire and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm. Take the garlic cloves and rub against the surface of the warm bread. The garlic will melt. Then spread the cheese on the toasts. Bring the toast as an appetizer on a bread basket.

.

.

Rosemary chicken (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Rosemary chicken:

-4 Chicken breasts

-1/2 large onion

-3 garlic cloves

-5 10″ sprigs of fresh rosemary

-1 tbsp olive oil

– salt and pepper.

Chop the onion and the garlic and place on a pot with the olive oil. Cook slightly until translucent. Add the chicken breasts and seal at high heat. Then lower the fire and add 1 cup of water. Add the rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook covered for 40 minutes or until desired tenderness. When the chicken breasts are cooked, uncover and let the sauce reduce.

Serve with rice, add the reduce sauce on top of the rice and decorate with fresh rosemary.

.

.

Black rice pudding:

I did not come up with this recipe, but I love it! So I find no need to modify it, and I just want to share it with you 🙂

I would recommend to prepare this one in advance, maybe the day before.

_1 cup of black rice

Black rice pudding (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

_1 cup milk

_1 can unsweetened coconut milk

_6 tbsp. honey

_1 teasp vanilla extract

Simmer the black rice in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes or until the water evaporates. The rice will release a lot of black pigments and

smell great! Then add the coconut milk, the milk and the honey and let simmer for 10 more minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and simmer for 10 more minutes or until desired viscosity. Transfer to individual bowls or to a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I love the nutty flavor of the black rice! It is really very unique. I’ve got people who do not like rice pudding to really like this one!

I hope you all enjoy this recipes, and you know… if you try them and like them, let me know! 😀





Easy Fast Pizza

8 03 2010

Hi!

A few friends have shown interest in my fast and easy pizza.

Stock pizza provided by Fantasy Stock http://fantasystock.deviantart.com/

This pizza is awesome because it takes about 30-40 minutes from beginning to eating! This recipe yields 2 individual pizzas and it is very easy to make.

You need:

*3/4 cups warm water

*1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour.

Turn on the oven at 500F about 30-60 minutes before hand. It really needs to be very hot!

Add yeast to water and whisk until it looks like miso soup.

Add salt to flour, make a well in the center and add the yeast. Combine everything together and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Part in two and work into a circular shape.

Place some cornmeal in the baking tray and place your pizza. Add your toppings (minus cheese) and bake for 5 minutes. Then rotate 180 degrees and bake for 3 minutes. Add the cheese and bake for 3 more minutes.

I need to bake it for longer since my oven is not that hot. But you should know when the dough is starting to turn golden-brown.





Recipes: Vegetarian food.

11 04 2009

As some of you might know I am Catholic and on Lent Fridays and Holy Week I don’t eat meat. I know you can eat fish, but I really like fish and it would be too much of a treat. So I just eliminate meat altogether. This poses a challenge, to cook 3 days vegetarian meals that can satisfy the carnivore husband! This is the first year that we spend Lent as husband and wife (we lived in separate states after marrying) and so far it’s been good.

My recipes for this year are: Savory corn pie, Spinach Pie, Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, and Leftover Croquetas. I also baked breads, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Savory Corn Pie.

For the dough disc you will need:

*300 gr flour (10.6 ounces)

*150 gr soft butter (1 stick)

*3/4 cup of milk

*1 teaspoon baking soda

*1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the butter and mix it with the flour, integrate it well, if should be grainy and lumpy. Then start pouring the milk slowly, integrate mixing, but not kneading. You have to place the dough in the fridge for at least one hour. After that, bring it out of the fridge and use a rolling pin to spread the dough in a thin circle (about 1/4 inch or less), the texture should be firm and elastic. Place in a pie tray and make sure you stab it with a fork so it stays flat. You can cover with saran wrap and freeze it for later use.

The filling is very similar to the Corn Empanadas recipe, but instead of using butter for the bechamel I used olive oil. For the broth, I like the bouillon cubes by Knorr Swiss.

Put the filling in the pie, add mozzarella cheese on top and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until the pie crust is golden.

tarta-espinaca1Spinach Pie

The crust is the same as above.

For the filling you will need:

*2 pounds spinach (you can use mustard greens, kales, or any other comparable leaf vegetable)

*1 large onion

*garlic

*1/2 bell pepper

*feta cheese

*spices: salt, pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves

*olive oil

*1/4 cup milk

*2 eggs

Chop the vegetables. To a pot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion, garlic and pepper. Add the spinach, season and cook down. This is going to reduce the volume of spinach a lot! But do not despair…  In a separate bowl mix the milk and eggs, whisk and add to the cooked spinach and veggies (make sure they are not hot). Then add to the pie crust. You can add mozzarella cheese on top. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown. The milk and eggs will inflate increasing the volume of your pie 🙂

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

*Two large tomatoes.

*1 cup of cooked brown rice

*1 stick of celery

*1 medium onion

*garlic

*salt, pepper, oregano

*cheese

In a bowl mix the rice with the chopped onions, celery and minced garlic.

Cut the top of the tomatoes and empty them carefully not to break them, you should obtain two shells. Chop the flesh of the tomatoes and mix it with the rice. Season. With a spoon stuff the filling into the tomato shells. Sprinkle some cheese on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the contents of the tomato are warm. Notice that the filling of the tomato will most probably be raw (I like crunchy veggies), so if you rather you can cook all the ingredients before stuffing the tomatoes. If you cook the tomatoes for longer they will turn watery and mushy.

Leftover Croquetas

*Leftovers

*1 egg

*1/4 cup of milk

*5-7 tablespoons of flour

*season: salt, pepper, oregano (it depends on what your leftovers are)

*vegetable oil (2 cups)

My left overs were the stuffing for the tomatoes. In a bowl mix the milk, eggs and flour until achieving uniform consistency, add your leftovers and season. You want the batter to be thick and tacky.

In a deep pan add the oil and heat until it’s boiling hot, be careful when you prepare this dish, the oil tends to jump at you! Once the oil is very hot  use a large spoon to pour the batter into the oil. Cook on both sides until golden brown. Take out of the oil and place on a plate with paper towels.

I hope you liked the recipes. As usual, if you try them tell me! And if you have suggestions to enhance or modify a recipe, I would love to hear them too!





Chicken in a bed of veggetables.

27 02 2009

It’s been a long time since I last posted recipes!

The one I bring you today is a really simple yet tasty one and it will satisfy those men in your household that like meat and frown upon veggies.

You will need:

*One large onion

*One bell pepper

*Two medium potatoes

*Garlic

*Celery (optional, but I highly recommend it)

*Chicken breasts

*salt, pepper, olive oil.

Preparation:

Slice the vegetables in thin slices. Spray an oven pan with the oil, place a layer of onions, then peppers, then potatoes and celery on it, in that order. Add salt and pepper. Then lay the chicken breasts on the bed of veggies. Then place a layer of garlic, celery, potatoes, bell peppers and onions, in that order, on top of the chicken breasts.  Add salt, pepper and olive oil.

Bake at 400F until cooked. The top layer of onions will caramelize or even burn, but it will not affect the outcome of the recipe. The chicken tastes very good because it is soaked in veggies juices, and the veggies will have a chickeny flavour which will attract the big carnivores at home.

If you try it, let me know how it came out!

———————————————————————————————————————————————

La receta que les traigo hoy es muy simple pero muy sabrosa y va a satisfacer a los hombres en tu casa que quieren carne y no les gustan las verduras (u hortalizas en este caso)

Se necesitan:

Una cebolla grande

Un morrón verde

Dos papas medianas

Ajo

Apio (opcional, pero lo recomiendo mucho)

Pechugas de pollo

Sal, pimienta, aceite de oliva.

Preparación:

Se cortan las verdudas en rebanadas finitas. Se rocía la bandeja de horno con aceite de oliva y se ponen una capa de cebollas, morrones, papas y apio, en ese orden. Salpimentar. Después se ponen las pechugas de pollo sobre el lecho de verduras. Se pone una capa de ajo, apio, papas, morrones y cebollas, en ese orden, arriba de las pechugas. Salpimentar y rociar con acerite de oliva.

Se cocina a horno moderado hasta que el pollo este listo. Las cebollas de arriba se vana  caramelizar o incluso quemar, pero no va a afectar el sabor. El pollo va a tener un buen sabor ya que se cocino en los jugos de las verduras, y las verduras van a tener un sabor a caldo de pollo que va a atraer a los carnivoros de tu casa.

Si la prueban  cuéntenme como quedó