Monday, April 26, 2010

Rapini With Spiced Turtle Beans, Tuscan Beans With Kale And Craisins, Bean-Stuffed Squash, Oven-Baked Tofu


Way back when, I posted a variation on the bean recipe HERE - using back then soy beans rather than the turtle (or black) beans pictured here. I may have added a few extra little bits of this and that for interest, but the idea is the same: spicy hot (but not too hot) beans gently simmered with a sweetener (maple syrup works nicely, as does agave nectar, but I like organic molasses for this one to go with the rich taste of this kind of bean.) along with various spices (see recipe) to produce a delicious bean dish that keeps well in the refrigerator and can be used for a variety of dishes.

In this case, I served rapini (broccoli rabe), lightly done with a little garlic, to complete the Beans 'n' Greens meal. The contrast of the slight bitterness of the rapini with the beans is sensational.


This is an old favourite, but I can't resist adding it in here. The recipe I have posted before, as HERE, although I, like most of people reading this blog, don't follow the recipe slavishly. Using lightly cooked shredded kale steamed with a touch of onion or garlic and some dried cranberries (craisins) not only looks wonderful and is good for us, but the slight sweetness of the cranberries turns the kale into something even more special than usual. As you will have gathered by now, I love putting slightly sweet dried fruit with 'cabbage-like' vegetables. One could used chopped dried apricots here, or raisins, currants - whatever. Again, it's Beans 'n' Greens in a simple but not boring way.


Now this was nearly a disaster. I used the photo to make the point that either of these bean recipes would be good, if there are any leftovers, in all sorts of ways - on toast, on a split baked potato, etc. Our preferred way is to stuff them into a small pre-baked squash (you choose your fave) and serve with whatever other leftovers or salad seem appropriate. In this case, I had some tofu that needed to be used quickly, the baked squash and the beans (and a green salad - always have the makings of a green salad here). But it was indeed nearly or perhaps actually a disaster. I left them in the oven that bit too long and the tofu, which was also marinated and then baked, got too much heat and the edge of the squash turned a little darker than was aesthetically desirable. Wanna see my disaster in the uncropped version? Here ya go:

Not a dish I am proud of! I actually can bake tofu successfully, however (and usually don't scorch my squash). Later in the week I made tofu to go with greens (much more sensible than adding it to beans, but as I say it needed to be used) and managed bake my marinated fingers of tofu enough to get just the right degree of colour and texture.


So simple, but it is easy to answer the phone and let it over-do. This was frozen tofu (makes a different texture) lightly squeezed to removed excess liquid after defrosting, then marinated in minced garlic (you can used the dried flakes if you are in a rush), ginger (powdered is a different taste, but it works for heat), crushed or powdered chilies - totally optional - a little mirin or other sweetener (just about half a tsp, but to taste), a shake of Bragg Liquid Amino/All-Purpose Seasoning, and a little water to help it not be too strong. Marinate in a flat dish and turn a couple of times while you're preparing something else, then put in a 375 F oven for as long as it takes - it depends on how thick you have cut the tofu strips or logs or fingers - turning once. You can used a light spray of oil on an oven tray or cookie sheet or put it all on top of a sheet of parchment paper. I find the spray of oil works better.

Serve hot with a drizzle of whatever you fancy and decorate according to your whimsy. Leftovers make great additions to a wrap or, cubed, a salad. We rarely have leftovers. *sigh*

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wheat Berry Squash Salad, Cauliflower Corn Curry, Tofu and Pea Tops in Black Bean Vinaigrette

Wheatberry Squash Salad

This was a meal fairly recently (so, I'm a little behind), the recipe gleaned from a non-vegetarian cookbook by Canadian Chef Bill Jones, Chef's Salad. This one required cooked wheat berries (delicious and tender and chewy all at once) plus Squash, garlic, and a wonderful maple-sunflower dressing. We cut down on the amounts (just for two persons rather than the four to six the recipe aimed for) and did a little tickling for flavour but it was a hit even before we started messing with the recipe. Served at room temperature, the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and sunflower seed dressing, carefully blended with a little water and garlic, just enhanced the already delicious roasted squash something to shout about. We want this one again!

Cauliflower Corn Curry

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook - a must for anyone who loves good food from around the world. We had made it before then forgotten about it (how could that happen!) until I looked at half a cauliflower in the vegetable crisper and wanted something special. I keep a can of corn niblets up the cupboard most of the time, for 'just in case', and that was what we added here, along with the usual (Indian) things plus some chopped cilantro at the end. We made enough for four, by accident, and had the delight of enjoying it again at another meal. What I like about this one is that by cutting the cauliflower into small florets and using the already-cooked corn, it is all ready in a hurry and can be served with salad and crusty bread if the traditional rice, raitas, etc., isn't on the cards.

Tofu and Pea Tops in Black Bean Vinaigrette

This is another of Bill Jones's warm or room-temperature salads, and I must admit I had my doubts about this one - until I tasted it! - and was luckily talked out of my hesitation by my husband.

Black bean paste, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil (I used just a smidge, and only at the end, for the aroma) are put into a pan with ginger, chopped cilantro, hot sauce and a spoonful of water until looking cooked, then tofu and pea tops (pea tenders) are added just enough to wilt along with bean sprouts. Toss the lot together and garnish with cilantro and green onion. The result is a warm salad which is also good at room temperature. A very nice way to take your sprouts!!!

There's more to find in this excellent book.

For my next trick . . . . :)