janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce

In Mains (Vegetarian) on February 1, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Not only have I been craving cabbage, but I have also been on a sesame/tahini kick lately.

It all started when I basically made my own tahini with freshly roasted sesame seeds to go with sauteed spinach for Terry’s oshitashi recipe (Sesame Wow Greens). So good, yet so simple.

Then, I discovered tahini heaven. I had heard that tahini could taste so good that one could eat it straight from the jar. Not so with my previous brand. But now I am a tahini-convert after spreading my way through Prince’s tahini: smooth, rich and creamy with a deep sesame flavour. I love it! I want to eat it with everything! I honestly wonder if I should try out Deb’s Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad again (I found it too bitter the first time) because my tahini was probably at fault.

This time, I went heavy with the tahini. I spotted this recipe in The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East (recipe here) and thought 1/3 cup of tahini would be great simmered with tempeh and green beans. I liked it but it wasn’t as sesame heavy as I was anticipating. The dressing, of course, also had lemon juice, broth, tamari and mirin, creating a more complex flavour palate. Nice and light, and quite soupy, too, and easy to put together. The tempeh was a bit more meaty and juicy because I pre-steamed it, dry-fried it to lock in the shape and then simmered in the sesame broth. The green beans were a perfect match. Serve with quinoa so that you can savour this down to the last drop of sauce.🙂

Barring hummus, what is your favourite way to use tahini?

Here are some other tahini recipes I’ve had my eye on:

Miso Tahini Magic Sauce from Fresh Young Coconut
Smoky Red Pepper, Chickpea and Tahini Dressing from Choosing Raw
Miso Sesame Dressing from Choosing Raw
Low-Fat Tahini-Chickpea Dressing from Fat Free Vegan
Orange-Miso-Tahini Gravy from My New Roots
Carrot Ginger Tahini Soup from Kahakai Kitchen
Beet, Tahini and Pomegranate Dip (Mama Dall’ou’ah) from Taste of Beirut
Roasted Carrot Hummus from Enlightened Cooking
Tofu Tahini Scramble from Choosing Raw
Burnt Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegrante from Ottolenghi
Noodles with a Lemon-Miso-Tahini Sauce from ExtraVeganZa
Tangy Tahini Noodles with Tempeh and Vegetables from Julia’s Vegan Kitchen
Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles from Vegan Yum Yum
Creamy Kale Soup with Tahini from Vegan Yum Yum
Quinoa Pilaf with Spiced Miso Tahini Sauce from Sweet Potato Soul
Spinach, Chickpea and Tahini Soup from Soup Chick

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chris, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, and to this month’s Veggie/Fruit A Month featuring lemons.

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Almost Raw Asian Kale and Edamame Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on January 2, 2012 at 6:03 AM

When reflecting on my top meals of the year, I had a hard time picking my favourites. Did I want to highlight the easy weeknight meals, or the more elaborate concoctions? Taste was number one on my mind, and I have had great successes in my kitchen this year.

My secret?  Great recipes but most importantly fresh ingredients. It’s the fresh lemon juice, the garlic cloves and the vegetables. The beans cooked from scratch. I still scour the flyers on a weekly basis, but Sunny’s is my go-to grocer, as the produce is fresh and always reasonably priced. The fresh herbs from my garden were also a huge flavour boost this summer. I never knew I loved thyme so much until I wiped my plant clean before the winter. Rob’s chili plant also provided us with tons of chilis, which we subsequently dried this fall.

While I am still a weakling with regards to chilis and peppers, my tolerance towards garlic has definitely increased over the year. When I made the 15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles for my family, they commented on the strong garlic flavour. They enjoyed it but weren’t used to the garlic. For me, it was perfect with 5 cloves of raw garlic, and I really had to think about it before the garlic registered. I didn’t even bat an eye when I used 6 cloves of raw garlic in the Black-Eyed Pea and Kale Salad, 8 (pan-fried) cloves of garlic for The New Best Salad Ever, 10 cloves of (roasted) garlic with broccoli and chickpeas, 14 cloves of raw and roasted with this Spanish stew, or a whole 1/3 cup (12 cloves) with my baked beans. I love my garlic.

Tess‘ recipes introduced me to meals with fresh citrus juice and lots of garlic. I go through garlic so fast that I can buy the package with 40-50 pre-peeled garlic cloves before it goes bad. I also can easily stock up on lemons and limes and need frequent replenishment (whereas a year ago, sometimes I would use the limes to clean my pots!). I honestly feel like this has been a blessing to my cooking – the flavours really pop. Fresh lemon juice makes a world of difference compared to the bottled stuff.

I always plan out a week’s worth of meals, cooking them on a weekend, usually opting for a bean dish, a grain dish and either a soup or salad. I also try to make sure I don’t go too long without a recipe from Tess! Sometimes I go into Tess recipe withdrawal.

My Mom warned me that I might start to smell like garlic if I eat too much raw garlic. She didn’t mean my breath, rather my sweat.

Almost Raw Asian Kale and Edamame Salad

This time, when I picked another highly-rated recipe from Tess, her Asian Kale Salad from The Two Week Wellness Solution (recipe also here), I erred on the side of caution: I decreased the agave, ginger and garlic (sacrilegious, I know!) while increasing the lime juice and omitting the orange juice. Adding edamame made this into a delicious main-course salad. There was a perfect merriment of flavours with a zippy and sweet dressing with the earthy kale and creamy edamame.

To be fair, no one has ever said I smell like garlic – certainly not from my pores.. garlic breath, perhaps?  So, have no fear and increase the garlic to your tummy’s and heart’s content!🙂

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Haalo, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays, to Simple and In Season and to this month’s citrus love blog hop.

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Braised Daikon

In Sides on November 16, 2011 at 6:12 AM

If you compare meat and vegetables, which are more expensive? Meat, right?

I hear people complaining how costly fresh vegetables are, but really it isn’t that bad. The problem is that they are perishable and don’t necessarily keep that long.  I suppose the same is true with meat, but it can easily be frozen without adverse effects.

Now tell me what the cheapest vegetable is….

Courtesy of Sunny-rrific sales:

Carrots: $1 for 4 lb is pretty good. 25c/lb.

I’ve bought a head of cabbage for 50c. That’s like 20c/lb.

Kohlrabi is cheap, too. I’ve bought it on sale for 19c/lb at Sunny’s. Probably because no one has a clue what to do with it.

When I see butternut squash on sale for 19c/lb, I stock up!

But no, I’ve seen fresh veggies even cheaper than 19c/lb.

Daikon! For 9c/lb!

Daikon is also known as a white radish and is relatively mild but still has a peppery punch.  While I have cooked with daikon in my Japanese Winter Stew, I don’t have that many daikon recipes. I couldn’t help myself, though, and grabbed a handful of daikon for the road. As a root vegetable, they keep extremely well in the refrigerator.

A quick search led me to Miss Figgy’s daikon braised in mirin and tamari, which she adapted from The Kind Diet (original recipe posted here). The long braise was supposed to turn the normally pungent white radish into sea scallops. Not that I really know what sea scallops taste like, but I can imagine the texture.

Let me tell you, I would not have even guessed this was daikon. After the long braise in mirin, tamari and kombu, you create a subtly sweet and salty treat. There was no trace of spicy radish here. The radish was just a vehicle for the sauce. These are great warm, fresh from their long braise, but also chilled as leftovers.

Now please tell me how you prepare daikon. I think I have one left.🙂

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Christina from La Cucina di Cristina.

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Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a Miso-Walnut Dressing

In Appetizers, Favourites, Salads, Sides on July 19, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Not all nuts are created equal. I have a particular fondness for almonds, pistachios and even hazelnuts on a good day. I adore cashews as well, although they have saturated fats. Walnuts, I do not like as much. Pecans, neither.

But I still use walnuts in my meals. All those omega-3s are good for me, right? Beyond their health benefits, I find they can whip up to be nice and creamy, and have worked well in my energy balls and create a nice base for muhammara, the delicious Middle Eastern roasted red pepper and walnut dip. However, I find that baklava is brought to the next level when you substitute the (traditional) walnuts for pistachios.

With my recent adoration of all things miso, I decided to forge ahead and combine miso with walnuts in this warm asparagus and carrot salad.  Adapted from  Color Me Vegan, you create a lovely miso-walnut dip with mirin, tamari and rice vinegar. It was sweet and creamy and spread nicely over the warm vegetables. Thankfully in Southwestern Ontario, local asparagus can still be found!  It paired well with the asparagus and carrots, but do not let that stop you from trying other vegetables.

I also loved this as a cold dip with freshly-cut vegetables as well (again, carrots worked well!). However, then you’ll need to make a lot more of the dip, because it will disappear quickly!

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chriesi from Almond Corner.

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Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on July 11, 2011 at 6:15 AM

Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado
I didn’t think I was going to eat any sushi while I was in Vancouver.

But I did.

Trust me, I didn’t succumb to the traditional sushi rolls.

Instead, I had a delicious raw sushi roll at Organic Lives. Completely inauthentic, it was filled with a pecan pate, sprouts, veggies, avocado and mango. With the zippy fruit-based dipping sauce, it was so completely different from any sushi roll I have ever had. The only similarity was that it was a nori roll wrap.

Once the hubbub subsided after I returned home, I was craving a more traditional sushi roll. Without all the hard work of actually rolling the little buggers…

When I visited Japan, one of my favourite meals was eating sashimi at the Tsukiji Market, which is the wholesale marketplace for seafood in Tokyo. With daily auctions, this is where you can eat the freshest fish. The sashimi was unbeatable. I have never been able to enjoy sea urchin anywhere else. So fresh, it was so buttery soft and creamy.

I actually visited Tsukiji two days in a row and sampled sashimi from two different vendors. Both times, I ordered a sushi bowl with an assortment of sashimi. One resto had better sashimi and the other had better rice. The rice was so good, it eclipsed the fish. And I don’t really like rice, actually. I consider it filler in sushi rolls, when I would rather be eating the filling. I tolerate rice for the most part, but here, I learned how great rice can taste.

I have experimented with a few rices since my return, and I still remain partial to a short-grain Japanese-style rice. Recently, I bought the Taiwanese Yih Chuan Aromatic Rice, which has a faint aroma of taro (yes, on sale at T&T). It brings rice to the next level. The rice is nicely flavoured, shaped and most importantly, tastes great.

My whole preamble about rice is because if you are going to make a sushi rice bowl, you should try to use a nice rice! The dressing helps, too. The toppings, too. But let the rice get the spotlight it deserves as it isn’t supposed to be a bland side.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, I wouldn’t call this an authentic Japanese recipe, but a lively citrus-flavoured sushi bowl. Top with your favourite sushi toppings such as steamed asparagus, avocado, grilled tofu, and dare I suggest mango? (Mango, next time…). The key to keep this a sushi bowl, and not a rice salad, though, is to include the toasted nori strips. You can buy them pre-shredded, but you could also toast the nori and then cut it into thin strips yourself.

This is my submission to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends. Read the rest of this entry »

Savoury Oatmeal with Goji Berries, Nori and Ponzu Sauce

In Breakfasts, Mains (Vegetarian) on June 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM

When you eat alone, you may eat things that are odd. Cereal for dinner? I did that one too many times while in university. So quick and easy!  Unless you are making steel cut oatmeal, regular or quick cooking oatmeal falls into the same category: quick and easy meal. Since exploring savoury oatmeal for breakfast, I didn’t think twice about whipping up a batch of oatmeal after coming home from Vancouver and then again for breakfast the next day. I was craving something warm and homey, after eating a lot of raw foods last week.

With Vancouver still on my mind (the sushi capital of Canada), I decided to spice up my ponzu-flavoured savoury oatmeal with strips of toasted nori and goji berries. Seemingly odd ingredients, but all hailing from somewhere in Asia, it worked really well together! The goji berries plumped up nicely and offered a hint of sweetness with some chewiness. The nori brought a comforting sushi-flavour to the dish, the citrus from the ponzu was light and refreshing and the quick-cooking oatmeal was slightly lumpy, but in a good reminds-me-of-rice kind of way.

I have been experimenting with more unusual ingredients lately: maca, delicious! Carob, yup. And now goji berries. Can I blame Tess’ new cookbook all about superfoods? Perhaps… but blame isn’t the right word, praise is more like it. :)  While I also believe that common fruits and vegetables are superfoods with all their vitamins and minerals, it is nice to spice things up with new ingredients. Taste is the most important, though, which is something I will never sacrifice (the health benefits of goji berries may be overstated).

But let me share a secret: these wacky “superfoods” don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Even seaweed (nori, etc) and dried mushrooms can be expensive at health food stores. However, people have been eating seaweed and goji berries for years. Head to where they are native to find cheap supplies – and no, I don’t mean China. Head to Chinatown or your favourite Asian grocery store (Sunny!). Here, goji berries may be labelled as red medlar, though, which is why they have gone under my radar until now. Goji berries are so much cheaper, only a buck or two, whereas I know Whole Foods charges a lot more.

While goji berries are a bit lackluster straight from the bag – they taste like a tart cherry in the guise of a dried raisin – they are much better once they are plumped up in the oatmeal. Because they aren’t cloyingly sweet like most dried fruit, this paired well with the savoury nori and ponzu sauce.

This is my submission to this month’s Breakfast Club, featuring berries.

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Chickpea and Edamame Beans with Watercress and Shiitake Mushrooms

In Mains (Vegetarian) on May 20, 2011 at 6:52 AM

Sometimes greens go on sale, so when T&T had 2 bunches of watercress on sale for 88 cents, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying a new green. I didn’t even know what I wanted to make, but I knew it would come to me.

Of course, greens can easily be interchanged. Baby spinach may be sweeter, but Swiss chard could work as well. Want something with more bite? Add arugula. Want something with an even stronger peppery snap? Try watercress!

I love Japanese food because it highlights simplicity while balancing all the major tastes (bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty, and delicate). While most of the Japanese dishes I make play more on the sweet side, I loved the change of pace with this more earthy stir-fry.

Adapted from ExtraVeganZa, I fooled around with the veggies, but the essence of the dish was the same. I swapped watercress for the spinach, used more shiitake mushrooms and edamame beans, and added in snow peas. The primary flavours were ginger as well as the earthy-flavour from the dulse (a kind of seaweed).

My only initial complaint was from the cornstarch, because I don’t really like it. It was more noticeable when the dish was eaten fresh, less so as leftovers. I found it important to deglaze the pan, although next time I would omit it and deglaze with less liquid. Otherwise, it was fine as leftovers.🙂

Not sure watercress will make it into my backyard garden, though, as it doesn’t seem to be suitable without lots of water!

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu.

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Gingery Enoki Mushrooms with Carrots and Silken Tofu

In Mains (Vegetarian) on May 18, 2011 at 6:25 AM

My mom has been reading my blog from the beginning. My dad, not so much. Last summer, he saw the picture of Silken Tofu Topped with Enoki Mushrooms and told me it looked awful. Maybe he said it looked gross. I can’t remember. To me, the picture reminded me how great the dish was. I saw the taste that I remembered, that I enjoyed, so I didn’t think it looked “gross”. Granted, enoki mushrooms are odd-looking things to the uninitiated. My mom still raves about one of my first photos of enoki mushrooms, and how alien-like they look. Attack of the mushrooms!!

Personally, I love enoki mushrooms and they are definitely one of my favourite mushrooms. They have a delicate flavour so the rest of the dish is what matters most. It is a shame they haven’t hit mainstream grocers just yet.  I usually pick them up at T&T when they go on sale, but yes, my new favourite grocery store, Sunny Supermarket, also sells them. On sale to boot- 2 packages for $2!

I wanted to try something that highlighted the mushroom, instead of adding them to a stew.  I spotted a great recipe in Kansha, the new vegetarian cookbook by Andoh, who also provided the original recipe for Silken Tofu Topped with Enoki Mushrooms in Washoku. The original recipe was a vegetable side but I decided to beef it up by doubling the vegetable portion and serving it overtop chunks of silken tofu as a main dish.

The prep was quite labour intensive if you follow Andoh’s suggestion of making thin matchsticks of carrots and ginger. I did it all by hand since I don’t have a spiralizer (yet). It made for a nice texture that complemented the enoki mushrooms really well, but since everything was stir-fried, I feel that simply shredding the carrots would be equally as good and way easier to do. But the taste, the taste was great. Andoh’s recipes are more subtle, not in your face, which is what I love. It was simple, tasty and completely Japanese. The zip from the ginger was great with the silky background of the delicate enoki mushrooms and silken tofu.

This is my submission to E.A.T. World for Japan.

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Sesame, Edamame and Pea Shoot Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on April 22, 2011 at 6:21 AM

Can you taste spring?

I can and it tastes like this salad. It is light, fresh and filled with green vegetables bursting with flavour.

It may have been snowing this week, but I felt the the need to bring spring back into my cooking.

Unfortunately, my own pea shoots are still too small to harvest, so I went back to T&T to pick up some more pea shoots for an instant boost of spring.

Inspired by Gourmet (June 1994), the base of this salad comes from pea shoots, which are sweet like peas with a nice body from the stems and delicate leaves.  I topped it with fresh sweet sugar snap peas, edamame and carrots and coated it in a subtle sesame dressing. The star of this dish are the veggies, not the dressing.

The thing I love about this salad, though, besides its mouthful of spring, is that it is a very satisfying salad. Deceivingly so, it fills you up.  The edamame really helps to increase the fat and protein levels. While each serving of this salad has only 180 calories, it also boasts 11g of protein, 22g of carbohydrates (7g fiber) and 7g of fat. That is something everyone could use from a salad!

Sesame, Edamame and Pea Shoot Salad

This is my submission to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for this week’s Magazine Mondays, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, as well as to April in the Raw (substituting some of the toasted elements, and not cooking the edamame).

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Japanese Winter Stew

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on March 29, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Japanese Winter Stew

Last week was a bit of a tease. Just two weeks earlierI was lamenting how it would be months before I could take my bike out.  I was shocked when the weather turned around completely, with a few gorgeous spring days with highs around 15C. I quickly brought my bike into the shop to get its annual tune up, and was commuting to work earlier this week. Only to have snow come again the following day. It was such a slap in the face to have spring yanked out from under my bicycle tires!

No use sulking, as there are still lots of great things winter provides, like hearty soups and stews. There are many dishes to warm up the soul when outside is so cold.

Like this Japanese Stew. While I am usually leery of making Japanese recipes from a non-Japanese cookbook, I still ventured to make a Japanese Winter Stew I found in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I swapped the veggies around, though, for a more authentic feel (power to random purchases from Chinatown!), but really, you could throw in any seasonal vegetable. I kept the sweet potato and tofu, but I substituted daikon for the turnip, added in 100g of chopped enoki mushrooms and used 4 oz baby spinach instead of mustard greens. I then topped each serving with chopped green onions and drizzled with a touch of toasted sesame oil. This is a powerhouse of a winter stew, overflowing with vegetables, yet with the comforting miso taste but zippy from the chili flakes and ginger. It balances out so nicely, which is what Japanese cuisine is all about.

This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring radishes (including daikon), and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Lemon Miso Tofu and Eggplant

In Mains (Vegetarian) on October 16, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I find most food bloggers have very positive opinions about their food. They generally always love it.

Personally, I try to share recipes that I have loved, as well as normal, and the not-as-great ones. It helps to gauge how great I think the great recipes are. I also keep a list of my favourites for easy identification. I got a bit of flack for calling my Turkish bulgur salad with pomegranate and almonds the best salad ever, but truth be told, it was also called the best salad ever from the blog that I found it on. It also deserves the title.🙂

I like to try other food bloggers’ favourite recipes. A while back, Ashley listed her favourite tofu dishes, and I was eager to try her Lemon Miso Tofu and Eggplant, adapted from the Rebar cookbook. With a lemon, miso and wasabi dressing (I substituted Aleppo chili flakes), I knew it would be tasty.  The key is to press your tofu so it can absorb a lot of the marinade. As Ashley suggested, I made this with an overnight marinade for the tofu. I used the same dressing for the eggplant the following day, and in no time, it was ready to be baked for a quick meal.  I preferred the tofu with the marinade the most, but it also worked well with the eggplant. Feel free to use your favourite vegetable. A good, tasty tofu recipe.

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame, to My Kitchen, My World, featuring Japanese dishes this month, and to Tasty Tofu Treats hosted by Seduce Your Tastebuds.

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Japanese Tomato Tofu Caprese Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on October 4, 2010 at 5:42 AM

I was waiting patiently all summer. My heirloom tomato plants were late bloomers, you see. I ate a few tomatoes here and there when I noticed them earlier in the season, but nothing that I could harvest as a meal. Now my plants have a lot of tomatoes for the picking.

I would feel guilty using my heirloom cherry tomatoes in anything but a salad and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them first: Momofuku‘s Tomato Tofu Caprese Salad (spotted via Belm Blog).

This is fusion cuisine at its best, where the classic Italian flavours from the caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar) are infused with Japanese flair.

First, a portion of small cherry tomatoes are poached, lightly cooked and skinned. The remainder remain raw and are halved. The textural contrast, with the skinned poached tomatoes and the raw crisp tomatoes was wonderful. Heirloom tomatoes, with their varying colours and tastes work really well with the mix (my green zebra tomatoes were the most sweet of all!).

Next, the traditional buffalo mozzarella is replaced with silken tofu. I realize this is sacrilegious to the purists. My brother ate caprese salad every day throughout this honeymoon in Italy, it was that good. Buffalo mozzarella can be a difficult find, and to be honest,  I really liked the silken tofu as it sopped up the extra dressing. It was light, tasty and incredibly filling. This was a main meal salad, especially when I added the baby arugula.

The typical basil is replaced with shiso, which is a Japanese herb that tastes similar to mint. I decided to pluck basil from my balcony instead of searching out shiso.

The dressing was changed from a heavier balsamic to a light sherry vinaigrette with deep tones from the sesame oil and soy sauce. Now I knew this was a definitely a Japanese interpretation.

This is a tad more work than a standard salad, but trust me when I say the poaching of the tomatoes are worth it. The variety of both flavours and textures are remarkable. Together, we have a delicious salad.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to My Kitchen, My World, featuring Japanese dishes this month, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Dil Se, and to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame.

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Ginger-Poached Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on September 10, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Ginger-Poached Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

This weekend, I might die. Hopefully, not literally. But I am nuts. I hope I can still stand on Monday.

All summer, I have been training to cycle between Ottawa and Cornwall and back again. A double imperial century, or 320km. A double metric century, 240km, if we chicken out. Either path will be difficult.

A few of my latest training runs have been cancelled due to rain, so I am hoping that the weather will be nice (no rain, no wind) this weekend. Last I checked, everything was good to go, but nothing matters except the weather on the day. Heck, on Monday it wasn’t supposed to rain either, but at 9am, after 3km, it started to rain. We took shelter for an hour to re-evaluate. It continued to rain. We watched another episode of Dexter. By this time, we decided to forego my last 120km training ride and hit the pool instead.

While loading up on carbohydrates hasn’t been proven to work as well in women, I have been scouting out high carb meals this week. Oatmeal sprinkled with pomegranate molasses, is a new favourite for breakfast. Welcoming pasta back into the mix, including this Japanese-inspired noodle dish I found at 101 Cookbooks.

It was a simple dish with subtle flavours. I thought the ginger would overpower the dish, but it blended seemlessly with the noodles and broccoli. The mint and basil worked well together with the chili flakes in this Japanese dish.

If I was truly carb-loading, I would omit the tofu (72% carbs) but I think tofu adds a certain filling factor, so I kept it in. Good thing I am a woman!😉

This is my submission to Regional Recipes, featuring dishes from Japan, this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook, to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Abby of eat the right stuff and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Silken Tofu Topped With Enoki Mushrooms (Tofu no enoki an kake)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 14, 2010 at 5:48 AM

I know tofu gets a bad rap, but I rather enjoy it. It sops up flavours while cooking and can be molded into many different directions. One of my favourite kinds of tofu is silken tofu. I still remember the first time I tried it; my friend added it to an orzo soup simply because it was close to its best before date. The tofu was cut into small pieces and every time I ate a piece of tofu, I felt like I was eating from a cool cloud, a pillow of silkiness – in a good way! It was my first introduction to tofu and I was hooked. I started adding it to my soups, too, and cold noodle salads.

This is one of my favourite dishes, especially when enoki mushrooms are on sale, as the silky, melt-in-your-mouth tofu is paired with pale, tender, enoki mushrooms smothered in a delicate, subtle dashi broth flavoured with soy sauce, mirin and sake. It is a snap to put together but it is important to warm the tofu so that it is heated all the way through. This is simplicity at its finest, very much the quintessential trait of Japanese cuisine. Depending on the mushroom you choose, this dish vary from delicate as I described with the enoki mushrooms, to more robust with maitake mushrooms.

Enoki mushrooms are hands-down my favourite mushroom and here is another lovely summer dish for enoki mushrooms: Enoki somen.

It is my pleasure to join the Washoku Warriors this month, featuring our favourite dish from Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh (the original recipe is posted here). I am also submitting it for this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona at Briciole.

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Avocado Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

In Appetizers, Salads on June 23, 2010 at 12:06 AM

I have a love/hate relationship with restaurants. I love trying new foods, but hate the heavy cost, of both funds and calories, that typically go hand-in-hand with restaurant meals. Plus, as I get more adventurous in the kitchen, I feel that I can make it better, cheaper, and healthier if I have the time to experiment. A year ago, I thought Japanese cuisine was impossible to make in my own kitchen, but after getting a few staples, it is easy to make tasty Japanese meals at home.

This post is all about the carrot-ginger-miso appetizer salad you find ubiquitously in Japanese restaurants. I never thought of making it myself until I saw it on Smitten Kitchen, who proclaimed it to be the best salad after adapting it from Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP.com. Whiz together a couple of ingredients in your food processor or blender and you have a silky, spicy, creamy, zesty and salty dressing in one. Use it to top lettuce and avocado for a wholesome, delicious, complex veggie treat prior to your main meal.

This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit A Month featuring avocados, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this month’s Vegetable Marathon featuring carrots as well as to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays (which also includes salads).

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