Nofu: Burmese Bean Curd

December 31, 2006 at 6:53 am (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Other)

My friend gave me this recipe on my soy-free month, and I bought the garbanzo flour to make it but never got up the energy. Cleaning out my fridge I rediscovered the besan (chickpea flour) and decided to give it a go. I thought it was called Nofu but when I dug up the recipe it’s actually called Tohu, which isn’t nearly as catchy I think. But maybe Tohu is the Burmese name? By the way, the new Thai cookbook my brother just bought me for a gift says that tofu can also be made from mung beans, which are apparently a very close relative to soybeans.

  • 3 cups chickpea flour (also called besan or garbanzo flour)
  • 15 cups water
  • 1 t. corn or peanut oil
  • 1/4 t. ground turmeric
  • 1 t. salt
  1. 1. Mix the chickpea flour and water together with a whisk or egg beater. Let stand overnight, about 12 hours.
  2. Next day, strain the mixture, 1/4 at a time, through a thin cotton cloth. Help the mixture through the cloth by stirring and pressing. Scrape out the residue from the cloth and discard it. let the strained liquid settle for 3 hours.
  3. With a soup ladle, carefully remove 6 cups of the liquid from the top of the mixture without disturbing the bottom. Discard the 6 cups liquid you remove.
  4. Rub the bottom of a large pot with the oil. Pour in almost all the remaining mixture (about 9 cups) and add the turmeric and salt. What remains at the bottom of the original pan is a thick chickpea sludge, about 1 cup. This should be reserved for step 5.
  5. Bring to a boil the 9 cups of mixture and cook over moderate heat 30 minutes, stirring continuously. At this time, add the reserved sludge, which will act as a thickening agent, and continue to cook over low heat for 10 minutes more, stirring the thick mixture firmly. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Line a 12×4 inch tray (a large loaf pan is good), 3 inches deep, with clean cotton cloth. Turn outn the mixture into this and cool completely, uncovered, overnight. At this stage you may slice the firm tohu, it is ready to use.

Others’ Notes

After making it (but before tasting it) I went looking for others’ responses. I found two. One person on says:

I would describe the resulting product as gel-like but chalky (very much like polenta, actually); whereas, tofu is gel-like with a meatier chew/bite.
The Bofu does not brown well, (you have to use oil) meaning it will stick to the pan. When you try to turn it, you will leave a layer of it in the pan. This could be remedied by using a non-stick pan with oil; additional oil; or deep frying (which would probably taste good, but not very healthful!)
If I were to experiment, this what I’d be aiming: It needs to be creamier, have more chew, and binding (it has that cornmeal type of crumbliness). I would try various ingredients in combination to achieve this. Additionally, some more fat would help.

Another person on says:

I once made chickpea curd. It was HORRID. Metallic silken tofu. Ugh. It was in a veg magazine and called “tohu”. I was never a silken tofu fan, preferring the chewier cakes. This stuff like like eating slimy gram flour. *shudders*

Okay, now I’m scared, especially since I didn’t really follow the instructions. I used a metal sieve rather than a cloth to strain it, then didn’t have a whole cup of sludge left so threw in some of the fibrous sludge I have sieved out. I also didn’t stir continually enough and the bottom burned. Then I got tired of stirring and threw the sludge in early. In the end the stuff was quite thick and a pleasant yellow, like polenta. I put it in the loaf pan to set, and it really does look a lot like polenta. I tasted some of the stuff warm out of the pot and it’s pretty mild tasting–not unpleasant but not much flavor at all.

It looked so much like polenta I tried slicing it really thin and baking it at a high temperature on an oiled cookie sheet. The outside did crisp up a bit, but unlike polenta, the inside did not get firmer as it baked but softer–the inside kind of melted, almost turning back to what it was like as an uncooked chickpea flour and water mixture. The taste was mild but pleasant–but not nearly as tasty as baked polenta. Rating: B-

Next I decided to try the ultimate fake-tofu test–scrambled nofu. I got my cast iron skillet nice and hot, added 1/2 Tbs. of olive oil, then smushed a 1/2 pound of nofu between my hands just like I would with tofu to crumble it. It browned nicely on one side, but then again started to “melt.” When I flipped it it was starting to resemble mashed potatoes in consistency more than tofu–or maybe semolina porridge like they eat in South India for breakfast. I added nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and black pepper and served up the fried mush. It was surprisingly tasty. The great yeast/soy flavors came through just as well as they do with tofu. I was impressed. Another great vehicle for the infamous yeast/soy combo. Yum. I actually think it would make a great filling in breakfast tacos, because it’s sort of a cross between fried mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs (because of the yellow and the protein, not the flavor or texture really). I served some of this to a friend and she really like it. She even asked for some of the nofu to take home with her! She made burritos out of it, and said her (quite carnivorous) husband really liked it. Rating: B

Lastly, I tried throwing diced nofu squares in miso soup. I threw them in after offing heat, but before the miso. They didn’t melt away as I expected. The consistency was surprisingly similiar to silken tofu in miso soup, but the flavor was much stronger. Not exciting, but not bad. B-.

I like this nofu enough to make it again, but the steps seem unnecessarily complicated. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make it just like polenta? Mix the chickpea flour and water (less water though) and cook on super low for an hour. I’m going to try it… If anyone gets to it before me, let me know if it works.

In the meantime, anyone have other ideas for uses for this weird and wondrous nofu?

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Couscous salad with dried tomato vinaigrette

December 31, 2006 at 6:27 am (C (1 star, edible), Grains, The Vegan Gourmet)

I bought whole wheat couscous ages ago, but I never used it because… I never cook with couscous. Trying to clean out my pantry for my move I dug up this couscous salad from the Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Minday Toomay. I needed a potluck recipe and it seemed promising.

The dressing

  • 1/3 cup minced dried tomato
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

The salad

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced
  • 2 cups dried couscous
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  1. Roast the bell pepper.
  2. Mince the dried tomatoes. If they are too dry to mince, soak them in hot water 15-30 minutes. Drain the tomatoes well then mince them.
  3. Well ahead of time, make the dressing so the flavors can blend. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and cayenne. Place the mustard and cumin seeds in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds begin to pop. stir the hot seeds into the oil mixture (they will sizzle). Add the dried tomato and cilantro. Stir, cover, and seet aside at room temperature for up to several hours, until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water in a covered saucepan until boiling. Stir in the couscous, salt, and garlic. Immediately cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer couscous to a serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the roasted red pepper to the bowl. Grate the cucumber into the bowl and add the onion. Toss together the vegetables and couscous. Stir the dressing vigorously and add to the salad. Toss to distribute everything.
  5. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

My Notes:

I didn’t have cucumber so julienned some radishes instead. This salad was actually quite similar to the Southwestern Quinoa Salad I’ve posted to this blog, but despite their similarities, I didn’t think this recipe is as good. I found the flavors to be a little harsher, and it seemed a tad greasy. Also, I missed both the nuts and the beans. My friend enjoyed it though, and I took it to a potluck and it all got taken–of course I don’t know if it was actually eaten.

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Hominy and Tomatillo Stew

December 31, 2006 at 2:19 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, soup, The Vegan Gourmet)

It’s hard to find vegetarian recipes that call for hominy and tomatillos. Most are simply a version of posole, which I have never had. I decided to try this posole recipe from the Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Minday Toomay, which also includes sorrel, another rare ingredient in vegetarian cookbooks.

  • 1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos (about 10-12)
  • 1 cup firmly packed chopped sorrel
  • 3.5 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • 2 medium serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 cups white hominy (one 28 ounce can, drained)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Topping additions:

  • minced white onion
  • diced avocado tossed with lemon juice
  • chopped raw or pickled jalepenos
  • dried oregano
  • lime wedges for squeezing into the soup
  • diced fresh tomatoes
  • minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • shredded lettuce
  1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Seeds will turn golden brown and pop in the pan. Imeediately transfer to a bowl to cool. When cool, grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor to a fine meal consistency. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatillos. Place the tomatillos in a small saucepan with 1 cup water, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Tomatillos will be very soft. Drain the tomatillos and transfer them to a blender. Add the sorrel, 1 cup of the vegetable stock, the chiles, and garlic and puree thoroughly.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat. Pour the tomatillo puree into the pan through a wire-mesh strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to force the mixture through the mesh. The tomatillos seeds will remain in the strainer; discard them. Cook the puree for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ground pumpkin seeds, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the remaining 2.5 cups stock, hominy, and salt to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings and place them in bowls or plates to serve alongsize the posole. When the soup is done, ladle into bowls and serve hot. Diners may add whatever combinations of toppings they like.

This recipe makes 4 main dish servings, or 6-8 appetizer portions.

My Notes:

This is a very interesting soup. Grainy and green and rich. Very unusual. It actually tasted Spanish rather than Mexican. I wonder if pozole has spanish influences? I unfortunately couldn’t find any sorrel so used chard instead. I also used canned tomatillos, so skipped the cooking step, although I did strain the pureed tomatillos. It’s odd that they call for the tomatillos to be peeled–I assume they mean that the husks not the peels should be removed. Both my canned tomatillos and hominy were already salted, so I didn’t add any salt. Still the soup was extremely salty. I guess using canned tomatillos was a bad idea, unless I can find some with less salt. When I went to add the last 2.5 cups of stock the soup looked so thin that I decided to hold off. I reduced the soup quite a bit but never needed to add the stock, not sure why.

I served the soup with avocado and cilantro, both of which were a nice addition, and lime, which contributed a pleasing acidity.

Update Aug 2007: I made this soup again, using fresh tomatillos this time. I still couldn’t find sorrel so subbed beet greens, and I didn’t have serranos so substituted one jalepeno, with the seeds. It was very spicy! Not unbearable but definitely noticeable. I ended up adding all the broth, but it wasn’t too watery. I left out the salt, but shouldn’t have, because we had to salt it at the table. This time I skipped the avocado aond I topped the soup with halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes, which were quite pretty. I served this soup to guests, and gave very small portions due to the spiciness, but everyone went back for seconds except me. I still find it a bit odd tasting–interesting and unusual, but I just don’t have the inclination to eat much of it. Derek, on the other hand, finished the remaining two bowls for lunch the next day.

Rating: B

Derek: A-

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Kale and Spinach with Hazelnuts

December 30, 2006 at 6:20 am (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated)

This recipe is smooth and satisfying. The spinach is mild, soft, and yielding, and the kale is assertive and tougher. This recipe is by Joan Ranzini, who contributed it to the Smith and Hawken Gardener’s Community Cookbook.

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 cups mixed thinly shredded kale and spinach leaves, washed, and drained but not dried (about 1 bunch each)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Toast the hazelnuts in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the nuts are darkened in spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool enough to handle, coarsely chop, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Stir in the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the greens in batches, stirring them down until all are in the pan. Stir fry until tender, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the age of the greens.Stir in the hazelnuts and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently and serve right away.
  3. Variations: add a splash of hazelnut oil with the hazelnuts, or a dash or orange or lemon juice.

I used 1 Tbs. olive oil and extra garlic. Be careful not to overdo it with the lemon or it will overpower the hazelnuts.

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Portobello Wellington with Cashew Gravy

December 29, 2006 at 4:51 am (From a friend, To try)

My friend Shakti gave me this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m putting it here for safe keeping. The notes are all hers.

Portabello Wellington
Here’s a really easy and ellegant Portabello Mushroom dish. I entered in a recipe contest 10 years ago and it won 2nd place. ) Originally I had made it with puff pastry but the calorie count is much better with phyllo dough. It’s a great entree to serve for your vegetarian friends. ~ Shakti’s recipe box. )

1 package phyllo dough
4 portabello mushrooms med-large
10-12 button mushrooms
1 inch green onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 T or less of olive oil
1/4 cup pecans
Pinch of salt

Olive oil for brushing between layers

1. Place button mushrooms in food processor, along with garlic, salt, green onion and pecans. Blend until mealy looking. Add olive oil and pulse a couple of times but don’t make it too pasty.
2. Working very efficiently and delicately remove the phyllo from the wrapper. Have a moist towel to place on top of unworked pieces to keep damp and not dry out. Cut the phyllo in the center of the entire package. (This is not frozen anymore by the way)
3. Put the filling inside each portabello cap and cut in half.
4. Take 3 pieces of phyllo at a time. The first piece goes on the surface and with a pastry brush swipe with olive oil. Add another layer and then add more olive oil and one more layer. Take 1/2 a mushroom and put it at the end in front of you. Wrap it up and tuck sides under. Seam side down goes in baking dish.
5. Wrap all 8 mushrooms.
6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Bake uncovered on cookie sheet or baking dish for 20-25 min (or until golden brown). Brush final with a little more olive oil.

*For presentation I like to wrap each one with a chinese long bean (steamed) and tie it in a knot.

Serve with Cashew Gravy. Recipes as follows.

2 cups water
1/2cup raw cashews, ground to meal first
2 T arrowroot powder
2 T oil
1/2 tsp spike or sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
2-3 T bragg’s liquid aminos (or tamari)
1 T parsley, minced

Blend gravy ingredients smooth in blender. Pour into saucepan. Stir constantly over high heat until thickened. Pour over mushrooms individually.

Portabello Wellington
Serving Size: 1 serving
Calories 172
Total Fat 14.9g
Saturated Fat 1.9g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 49mg
Carbohydrate 8.3g
Dietary Fiber 1.6g
Sugars 1.6g
Protein 3.5g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 1% Iron 5%

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Samosa Potatoes

December 27, 2006 at 6:36 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Starches)

I really like samosas, but I don’t have the patience for rolling dough and deep frying. So I just make the potato filling and serve it as a side dish, or as a filling for dosas. This recipe, from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook, tastes very authentic to me–when I taste these I don’t think Indian potatoes I think samosa potatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rice Flour Dosas with Onions and Black Mustard Seeds

December 27, 2006 at 6:19 pm (A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches)

This recipe is not authentic as it is made with pre-ground rice flour, and no lentils, but it is fast and super tasty. It’s based on a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook.

Makes eight 6- to 7-inch pancakes, each using 1/3 cup of batter.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour (also called rice powder)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (or just quarter it)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (fine salt?)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (the sourer the better)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. veg oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. coarsely crushed or very coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Put the onion in the bowl of a food processor and chop finely. Add the white flour, rice flour, cayenne, coconut, salt, yogurt, and water. Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a very small skillet or pot over a medium flame. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop (almost immediately), pour the seeds and oil over the batter. Add the black pepper and mix thoroughly.
  3. The instructions for cooking the dosas is quite complicated and I’m not going to copy it here since I haven’t yet mastered the instructions anyhow. Jaffrey says to use a 7- to 8-inch nonstick pan, but I use my 12-inch pan since that’s the only nonstick one I have. She also says to use a spoon to spread the batter but I’m not skilled enough to make that work. Instead, I thin down my batter with water, and then just tilt the pan to get the batter to cover the bottom, as you do when making crepes. Note that you want the skillet to be hot, lightly oiled, and the dosa to be as thin as possible. Make sure to cover your skillet after placing 1/3 cup of batter in the pan, and cook until the dosas is no longer white in the center. Flip and leave uncovered when cooking the second side.
  4. To make these ahead of time you can wrap them in tin foil then reheat them later in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes (I haven’t tried this yet).

My Notes

I often add a bit more water to this recipe to thin the batter down and make it easier to spread in the pan, maybe 1 cup?  The thickness of your yogurt will affect how much water you need.  Since I add more water I usually get out more dosas, or bigger dosas, than the headnotes indicate.  Last time I made them I was able to make a total of nine 8- to 9-inch dosas in my 12-inch skillet.

Note that it’s essential to blend the batter in the food processor or blender to achieve the proper consistency. (A stick blender will work as well, but definitely don’t skip the blending step, even if you dice your onions very fine.) These dosas end up thicker than traditional dosas, but they have great flavor. The sourness and onion flavor are most noticeable. I like the onion so much I may try increasing the amount to a whole cup of onions.

I often serve these some subset of: coconut chutney, raita, samosa potatoes, garlic/ginger greens, and dal or sambar.

The recipe calls for using 6 Tbs. of vegetable oil when cooking the dosas, about 2 tsp. per dosa–1/2 tsp. in the pan before the batter, 1/2 tsp. drizzled over the pancake and 1 tsp. around the pancakes edges. I sometimes just oil the pan for the first dosa. They don’t turn out quite as crisp but they’re still very tasty.

Rating: A-
Derek: A

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Sesame sweet potato saute with hijiki

December 27, 2006 at 1:28 pm (Japanese, Root vegetables, Starches, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet 2nd edition.


  • 1/3 cup dried hijiki seaweed (about 1/3 ounce)
  • 1 tsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 2 green onions, minced
  1. Rinse the hijiki briefly under cold running water, then place it in 2 cups of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.  Lift the hijiki from the water, rinse it again, and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned and aromatic.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.  Heat the oils together over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or wok with a tight-fitting lid.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of sweet potato, add the sweet potato strips to the pan along with the salt and cayenne, and stir.  Saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Add the hijiki and continue to saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and mirnin with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.  Add the mixture to the pan and immediately cover.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is gone and the sweet potates are fork-tender, about 2-3 minute.  Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve hot, sprinkled evenly with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

My notes:

I liked the combination of the sweet potatoes and hijiki, but my sweet potatoes were undercooked. I don’t know if I cut them too thick, or if they just need to steam longer.  Also, I would have liked more toasted sesame seeds.

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Cannellini beans in mint marinade

December 27, 2006 at 1:14 pm (Beans, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet, expanded 2nd edition.


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained

Mix the marinade together, toss in the beans, and allow to marinate at room temperature for several hours.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 10 appetizer size servings.

My notes:

I thought this recipe made way too much dressing for the amount of beans.  It was too strong tasting for me, although the basic flavor was pleasant.  Derek liked it a lot.

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How to write a recipe

December 27, 2006 at 5:45 am (Cookbook reviews)

Everyone has their own preferences for how a recipe should be written and displayed. I know my formatting for this blog is not ideal, but I haven’t had much time to spend on it. Someday…

In the meantime, I thought the chart form at the bottom of each recipe on the
Cooking for Engineers website is quite interesting. It visually shows the dependencies between various steps.

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Indian Borscht

December 26, 2006 at 8:27 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Indian, Meyer & Romano, Other, soup)

This soup is unusual and sophisticated—slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with layers of subtle flavors. It’s good served both hot or cold. Based on a recipe called “Sweet-Hot Beet Soup” from Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oatmeal Walnut Pancakes

December 26, 2006 at 4:25 am (A (4 stars, love), breakfast, Derek's faves, Grains, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk)

Based on a recipe from the McCann’s Irish Oatmeal box. These pancakes have a hearty, nutty flavor, but are still quite light and fluffy. Derek and his father claim these are the “best pancakes ever.”

In a large bowl combine:

  • 1.25 cups quick cooking oats, or regular rolled oats blended to a coarse flour
  • 1 cup lowfat or nonfat yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 cup skim or lowfat milk or plain soymilk
  • 1 tsp. sugar or honey (omit if soymilk or yogurt are sweetened)

Stir in:

  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Add and mix well:

  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Use 1/4 cup batter per pancake.
Yields: 13 four-inch pancakes
Serving size: 3-4 pancakes

About 100 calories per pancake.

Rating: A-

Derek: A-

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Simple Oil and Vinegar Coleslaw

December 25, 2006 at 1:54 am (C (1 star, edible), Cruciferous rich, Mom’s recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Soymilk, Website / blog)

This is adapted from a recipe from Rachael Ray off the Food Network website. I needed some simple coleslaw in a pinch, and this sufficed quite well. It was light and refreshing.

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 16 ounces, shredded green cabbage
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage to dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

My notes: For the vinegar, we used white balsamic, although the original recipe called for red wine vinegar. We also reduced the sugar and salt from the amounts in the original recipe, and added carrots.

Rating: B-
Derek: B

Here’s my mom’s vinegar coleslaw recipe:

Mix together in quart jar:

  • oil 1/3 cup
  • vinegar 1/3 cup
  • sugar 1/3 cup (less if a sweet vinegar)
  • salt 1/2 tsp.
  • pepper 1/8 tsp.
  • water or 1/4 cup
  • soy milk (amount?)

Finely shred (slice thinly)

  • 1/2 large head of cabbage or 1 small head (should be about 6 cups shredded)


  • 2-3 carrots.

Shake sauce well, pour sauce over cabbage and carrots, then toss.
Another vegetable I sometimes add to coleslaw is grated jicama.

Update Jan 2008: Tonight I made a coleslaw with a bit of cabbage, 2 carrots, seeds and juice from 1/2 a pomegranate, a couple spoonfuls of currants, 3 Tbs. of white balsamic vinegar, and a few teaspoons of olive oil. It was quite tasty, and nicely colorful.

Update March 2008: Tonight I made a more asian inspired slaw. I used about 12 ounces of shredded savoy cabbage (about 6 cups I think), and 8 ounces of grated carrots (about 2 cups?). I added 4 Tbs. rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbs. white wine (I wanted to use mirin but was out), 2 tsp. soy sauce, 1/2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil, 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, 2 sliced scallions, 2 Tbs. currants, 2 Tbs. Trader Joe’s chili lime roasted peanuts, and some minced pickled ginger and wasabi leftover from sushi.  Other nice additions might be crushed red pepper (1/2 tsp?), cilantro (2 Tbs?), and toasted sesame seeds (1.5 Tbs?) instead of peanuts.


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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

December 24, 2006 at 5:34 am (A (4 stars, love), Alma's faves, Beans, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Monthly menu plan, Other, Root vegetables, Winter recipes) ()

This recipe is a long-time favorite.  We often make these burritos for company.  We serve them with salsa and a salad and either guacamole or diced avocado. It makes a great autumn or winter meal. This recipe is adapted from a recipe from the cookbook Sara Moulton Cooks At Home. The burritos freeze well, so we usually make a quadruple recipe and freeze a bunch of burritos.

Alma as a toddler loved these burritos, and now at almost 6 she still loves them! But she still asks us to leave the scallions out of hers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greens with Garlic, Mushrooms, and Pepitas

December 11, 2006 at 4:08 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe)

This recipe is from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley. This is his “all-purpose” greens recipe. He recommends drizzling on homemade herbal or chili vinegar.

  • 1 large bunch kale, collard, or mustard greens (about 2 pounds), trimmed, stems sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinl sliced
  • 4 to 6 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt.
  2. Drop the greens into the boiling water and cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and bright green. Drain in a colander.
  3. In a heavy, wide saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, or until pale gold. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the mushrooms and soy sauce and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushrooms soften.
  4. Chop the cooked greens and add them to the pan. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender.
  5. Season to taste with salt. Serve sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and pass the lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 4.

My Notes

I think this idea is a pretty solid basic greens recipe. I really like the greens with mushrooms and pumpkin seeds, although they’re good even if you don’t have either of those ingredients. The amounts, however, seem way off to me. Maybe my scale is broken, but one bunch of greens doesn’t come anywhere near 2 pounds for me. Last time I made this I put in one bunch of curly kale and one bunch of lacinato kale and I thought there was way too much greens for the amount of seasoning. Also, chopping the boiled greens is kind of a pain–I wonder if they can be chopped before boiling or if that’s bad? Anyone know?

Update Sept 2007: Today I bought a huge bunch of some sort of green that looked like a cross between dinosaur kale and collards. The farmer didn’t know what it was called in English but said the Italian name is Spiaggia(sp?). Anyone know what this green is? After I removed all the big stems the greens weighed about a pound. I sliced them thinly, then par-boiled them in a big pot of salted water (maybe 2 quarts water and 1.5 tsp. salt). I boiled them for only 2-3 minutes, then drained them. When I tasted them they were tasty, sweet with a good greens flavor. However, they were still quite chewy, and not quite salty enough. In my 12-inch skillet I heated 2 Tbs. olive oil and 3.5 Tbs. minced garlic, along with 1/2 tsp. red chile flakes. I added the greens and 2 tsp. soy sauce and let them cook for about 8 minutes, but they still were quite chewy, not yet tender. I gave up on getting them tender without them turning army green, and offed the heat and added 1 Tbs. lemon juice. They were pretty well seasoned, spicy but not too spicy, and just enough acid. They felt a bit greasy though, so next time I’d try just 1.5 Tbs. olive oil, and maybe cut back the garlic to just 2 Tbs.

Tip: if your greens are bitter try adding just a touch of mayo too them, and/or some fresh lime juice.

Rating: B

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Mango Lassi

December 10, 2006 at 11:41 pm (Beverage, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Indian, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk)

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver. I found it online at the food network page when looking for a mango lassi recipe.

  • 9 ounces plain yogurt
  • 4.5 ounces milk
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 4.5 ounces canned mango pulp or 7 ounces from 3 fresh mangos, stoned and sliced

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes, then pour into individual glasses, and serve. The lassi can be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Serves four.

I didn’t quite have the ingredients so this is what I ended up making:

  • 9 ounces organic Stonyfield nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 4.5 ounces unsweetened soy milk
  • 7 ounces frozen mango pieces from Trader Joe’s
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

I’ve never had a mango lassi so I’m not sure what it was supposed to taste like, but I thought it was tasty. My friend’s said it tasted right, but was thicker than usual (probably because I used the frozen mango). Personally, I couldn’t taste the soy milk or the cardomom, and I thought it could have used more mango.

Rating: B

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Intense Garlic Ginger Dressing

December 10, 2006 at 11:35 pm (Quick weeknight recipe, Sauce/dressing, unrated)

I used to make this dressing often in my college co-op days. It’s intense from the raw garlic and ginger, which some people shy away from, but I really love. It’s also quite watery since it’s mostly vinegar and very little oil. But I find that it flavors the salad well enough, even though it doesn’t “stick.” I don’t remember where this recipe originated.

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. oil, mostly roasted sesame

I think it yields about 2/3 cup of dressing, and makes about 8 servings? I have to check though.

My Notes:

I made this yesterday, but minced the ginger instead of grating it. Two Tbs. of soy sauce sounds like a lot but I didn’t think this was too salty (although I did use reduced sodium soy sauce.) It was quite tasty but the raw garlic and ginger flavors were mostly missing. Maybe because I didn’t grate the ginger? Or I should have let it sit longer for the flavors to meld?

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Jicama and Buckwheat Salad

December 5, 2006 at 6:30 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Grains, Rebecca Wood)

I was looking for a recipe to use up the end of my kasha, and came across this interesting salad in The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood.

Start by cooking the kasha:

  • 1 cup unroasted buckwheat groats
  • 1 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbs. unrefined vegetable oil or unsalted butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toast the groats in a saucepan or work over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the color turns several shades darker and they give off a deep fragrance. For a stronger flavor, reduce the heat and toast for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they turn a deep chestnut color.

Combine the water, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in groats (dumping them in all at once will cause the pot to boil over). Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat. Let steam, covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

  • kasha from above recipe
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ginger juice
  • 1 small (10 ounces) jicama
  • juice of 1 lime, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup coarsely grated granny smith apple
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 6 to 8 large red leaf lettuce leaves

Combine the kasha, sesame oil, and ginger juice in a very large bowl. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (I think this step is essential–if you try to mix the salad while the kasha is still has it will turn out very mushy.) Peel the jicama and cut into matchsticks. Place in a small nonreactive bowl with the lime juice and salt. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a saucepan or work over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Remove from the heat and set aside 1 Tbs. When oool, coarsely chop the remaining seeds.

Combine the kasha, jicama, apple, chopped pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and Tabasco. Taste and adjust the seasonings with additional salt, Tabasco, and/or lime juice.

Line a serving platter or salad bowl with lettuce leaves. Mound the buckwheat salad in the center. Sprinkle with the whole pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

My Notes

I think the buckwheat was just a tad overcooked. I might try cooking for 5 minutes and letting steam for 10 minutes. I needed way more than one lime. I added a whole extra lemon. I used 1/4 tsp. salt when I cooked the kasha, and a 1/4 tsp. salt to the jicama, but I think I could have used a bit more. The jicama is fine in this recipe, but doesn’t add a whole lot besides some crunch. I wonder if something else would work better? I cut down the pumpkin seeds to 1/4 cup, but I would put in the whole 1/3 cup next time. I might chop them a bit more coarsely though. I didn’t have Tabasco so used Chalula, another hot sauce. I added quite a bit! The salad is nice and spicy. Next time I might try adding one seeded jalepeno. I think slightly more ginger would be nice as well, maybe 1.5 tsp. ginger juice.

I like this salad. The kasha flavor is definitely there, but distinctive. The combination of flavors is subtle, but unusual.  After a couple of days though the lime flavor mellowed and I felt like I needed some dressing on my salad.  I tried it once with field greens and 1/2 a grapefruit.  I thought it was a waste of the grapefruit.  On the other hand, I quite liked it with pomegranate seeds and/or Annie’s goddess dressing.

The recipe made quite a bit, maybe 8 cups? The author says it serves 6.

Rating: B

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Apple Mustard Tempeh

December 3, 2006 at 12:17 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

This recipe makes a great sandwich filling. Just spread your bread with tahini or mustard, and top with sauerkraut and lettuce. It’s based on a recipe in Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

  • 1 pound tempeh (2 packages)
  • 1 1/3 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (originally 1/3 cup)
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. whole grain prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly milled black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the ingredients except the tempeh in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  3. Slice each block of tempeh in half crosswise, then slice each piece in half through its width to make thin pieces for sandwiches.
  4. Place the tempeh in a single layer in the baking pan. Tilt the pan to coat each piece with marinade. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the marinade has been almost completely absorbed.
  5. To serve, spread whole wheat bread with tahini or mustard. Top with one slice of tempeh, sauerkraut, and lettuce.

Yields: 8 sandwiches.

My Notes:

I decreased the oil slightly (from 1/3 cup). Next time I think I’ll use only 3 Tbs, as the recipe is pretty high fat, even with the bread. I also eliminated a step in which the tempeh was steamed, and mixed the marinade directly in the baking dish to avoid dirtying a bowl. I might increase the caraway a bit as well, as I love caraway.

When eating the leftovers I couldn’t taste much mustard or sweet? Does it need more mustard and cider?

Rating: B

Update December 1, 2009:

Now that apple cider is finally available in the farmer’s market, I made this recipe again.  I can’t recall how much olive oil I used, but the final dish ended up very tasty.  It did take substantially longer than 40 minutes for the marinade to cook down.  Derek was not happy about me making this recipe.  I tried to convince him that he liked it but for some reason he got it in head that he didn’t.  I knew he liked it, and I was vindicated after he tasted it.  We ate the tempeh plain for lunch and both of us enjoyed it a lot.  It’s a tiny bit too strong for me to eat plain, but I like the flavors a lot.  It’s even better on a sandwich with sauerkraut.

I also tried making it once in a skillet on the stovetop, and it came out better than it ever had before.  Everyone loved it.

Update March 2010:

I made a double batch with two 14-ounce packs of tempeh, cut widthwise into thirds.  I had too much tempeh for my big 17×9? pyrex dish, so I had to layer some of the tempeh slices on top of each other.  I cut the soy sauce to 1.5 Tbs., and I might have cut the oil too.  After 40 minutes the dish was still full of liquid–it didn’t seem like the sauce had reduced at all.  Only the tempeh in the top layer had browned at all.  I should have put it back in the oven to cook some more, but the tempeh was soft and I was impatient.   It didn’t taste sweet enough or mustardy enough (maybe because I cut the soy sauce?).  Derek ate it once but then wouldn’t eat it again.

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