Monday, June 30, 2008

Sweet Chili Lime, um, Stuff

Okay, Okay - it's tofu but I thought I'd lose you if I told you in the title. It's delicious, really it is! I was actually embarrassed in the store today when Ron asked "What's for dinner tonight?" and I replied (in a whisper) "tofu". If I was grocery shopping and heard someone say that to their boyfriend I'd think "Oh that poor guy. His health nut girlfriend is feeding him tofu - someone get him a nice flank steak". But the strangest part was Ron's response "Oh good, I love that stuff!".
I'm just about as carnivorous as it gets but I'm attempting to become a more conscious eater and eat a little bit less meat. While searching for a vegetarian dinner I stumbled upon VeganYumYum and this delicious recipe. Thanks to Lolo and her blog I've found the easiest and healthiest way to make tofu not taste like mushy nothing. It's all about the dry fry. Yes, the dry-no-oil-needed-fry. Check out her step by step instructions - they're informative and beautiful!

I've made this twice so far - both times with brown rice. Last time I made bok choy as a side and this time I made green beans with enoki mushrooms.

I've never used enoki mushrooms before but if you can find them (I got mine at the local asian market) use them! They're sort of weirdly spaghetti like when you cook them up. I took pictures but my crappy camera doesn't like to take good pictures on the stove top but this is what they look like.
I followed the vegan yum yum recipe pretty closely. I did deveganize it by using 2Tbs of honey instead of 3Tbs of sugar. I like the taste of honey with soy and the heat of the chili flakes. I never ate honey as a kid, my mom is allergic, and I've only recently realized how awesome it is in cooking. Now I can't get enough - thanks Bobby Flay! For this recipe I had some great orange blossom honey that my friend Rochelle gave me, I finished the bottle on this meal! But if you're allergic or vegan go for the sugar - I bet this would be good with brown sugar too.

I added a touch of soy and lime to the brown rice to add some flavor. For the green beans and mushrooms I just steamed the beans for a few minutes, I like mine with some crunch left in them. I sauteed the mushrooms in a little oil, added the beans, soy, sesame oil, honey and red pepper flake. The whole thing was delicious even though I was multitasking in the kitchen trying to make pretzels at the same time as dinner - not the best idea! I'll post about them later.

I Have the Week Off!

I decided to start this blog yesterday because I have the week off and I figured I could start strong!  I work for a television show and my next episode isn't for about three weeks so we were told to stay home this week.  Fortunately I have enough comp days that I'll actually be relaxing at home and getting paid.  No bad huh?

I'll be sleeping late and cooking a lot!  

We've got the best indoor farmers market here that I don't get to enough because of it's hours.  I plan on spending a lot of time there this week.  We're doing a 16 person tailgate on Friday for the 4th of July Phillies game so I'll be doing a lot of shopping and prepping for that.  This week is going to be awesome. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fist Fights and Danish: My first Daring Bakers Challenge

This is my first Daring Bakers Challenge and I was very excited when I saw this month's recipe. I love cooking but I'm new to the baking thing so this was a great challenge - I mean there was YEAST involved! We throw a lot of parties in my house - small impromptu parties and "Oh my god there are way too many people in my house" planned (sort of) parties. People always ask what they can bring and I recently decided that I no longer wanted my response to be "Well you can bring dessert because I don't bake". So for Christmas my boyfriend's family showered me with gifts that would help me conquer my baking fears, including a KitchenAid mixer (WAY too generous but so AWESOME!) and Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, probably knowing that my baking experiments would surely benefit them.

I must admit though that this month has been packed with weddings and work parties and family visits and as June 29th got closer and closer I was thinking "Maybe I'll skip this month's challenge" more and more! But, luckily, my Danish loving boyfriend would not allow that. I started my Danish Wednesday night and as I was about to run around the corner to get whole milk people started fighting in front of my house! They were yelling things that sounded completely ridiculous coming out of fat white men's mouths like "Yo I'm a gansta for real" and "That was a jab! I knocked you out with a jab!" so that delayed things for a minute. It's still funny to me that people are getting in fist fights outside my door while my boyfriend and I listen to NPR and bake Danish!

So anyway I eventually got my milk and made the dough. I was concerned about butter leakage but luckily it was minimal. I did put the butter in the fridge after I made it because I still had about twenty minutes to wait for my dough and I worried it would get too soft. Things were looking good. I made an apple blackberry filling with apples, blackberries, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and a sweet cream cheese filling with softened cream cheese, lemon juice and honey. I finished my final folds and put it in the fridge to rest. Please forgive the lack of progress photos - I was rushing!

Thursday after work I rolled out the dough and added my filling, cream cheese on the bottom, apples on top. Next time around I'll add more, I think I was too worried about over stuffing. The braid didn't look so good but I didn't have time to worry about it – I had a party to get ready for! So I gave my boyfriend the instructions for egg washing and baking the Danish and left it in his hands. He did a great job as you can see from the photos. Although he did confess that he forgot to turn the oven temp down and ended up just baking the whole thing for twenty minutes on 400 but it still looks and tastes delicious. I can't wait to play with the other half of the dough that's sitting in the freezer! Thanks Daring Bakers for an awesome challenge!