Forbidden Rice

I’m not going to lie to you – the reason I made this is because the end result is so-freakin-beautiful. Don’t you think?

The fact that Nick happens to LOVE bacon was just an added bonus. I think he and I can both agree that this dish was a winner. How do I know? We made more than enough for left-overs but we ate it all that night. I should probably point out that mine was made with vegan Smart Bacon, and his was made with lean bacon, exactly what the recipe called for.

So this is my take on Food and Wine’s Forbidden Rice Recipe. Of course, I had to make a few changes in order to make it vegetarian for me, but the end result was divine. Enjoy.

Forbidden Rice

1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves), cloves peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups black rice (most markets carry Forbidden Rice in the bulk section)
2 cups water
6 strips of Smart Bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup edamame, thawed and shelled

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the garlic cloves on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with vegetable oil. Seal the foil around the garlic and bake for about 1 hour, until the garlic is soft and caramelized. Let cool, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the black rice with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread the rice on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet after removing the bacon. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the bacon, black rice and roasted garlic and stir-fry over moderately high heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to bowls, garnish with the scallions and serve right away.

Marmalade Tofu with Roasted Garlicky Green Beans and Mustard Roasted Potatoes

If you were keeping up with my posts this week, two out of three items on the plate above are probably familiar to you. Despite the opinion of the majority of the public, I absolutely love Tofu. Tofu can be transformed into anything – seriously.

A few years ago, I was experimenting with being strictly vegan and ended up making things, such as Ricotta, Sour Cream, Cream elements for soup – you name it, I made it all out of tofu. As someone who hasn’t always been a vegetarian (4 years and counting woohoo!), I know what the real stuff tastes like. Mock me all you want, but I can honestly say that I couldn’t taste the difference OR notice a difference in texture. I think you can see why I’m not one of the many people who is grossed out by Tofu.

I stumbled upon a Marmalade Marinade on VeganYumYum that I thought looked delicious. I had some tofu to use up, Nick had salmon that needed to be eaten. Hmmmm… can you say perfect marinade?  You can? Great. We paired our proteins with Roasted Garlicky Green Beans and Mustard Roasted Potatoes.

Below is the recipe for the Tofu Marmalade. If you want to make the salmon, the process is exactly the same. Obvi.
Marmalade Marinated Tofu
1 14oz block of Super Firm Tofu, pressed well
5 Tbs Marmalade
2 Tbs Shoyu
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Hot Chili Flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp Ginger (optional)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together except the tofu, cut tofu into 8 strips, marinade for 30 minutes. Cook to your liking (may I recommend grilling?).

 

Tutorial: How To Drain Tofu

I can understand the difficulties people have with Tofu. I mostly hear: It’s too spongey, it’s watery, it’s bland. This doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, I’m going to give you my secret tricks on how to drain your Tofu to perfection. So, say goodbye, to watery tofu – this tutorial will result in Tofu that is perfect in texture and can absorb a lot of flavor. Brace yourselves, it’s simpler than you think.

 

The process**:

1) Pour off all excess water.

2) Wrap the tofu in two paper towels.

3) Wrap the paper towel-wrapped tofu in a  kitchen towel.

4) Fill a tea kettle half way and set on top on the tofu (or anything that adds a little pressure and has a flat bottom)and let sit for 20 minutes or longer.

5) After 20 minutes, the towel should be soaked through and the tofu nice and firm.

**If you buy tofu in bulk, freeze it. After you defrost your tofu, you can literally just squeeze out the water with your bare hands. Freezing tofu changes the texture and will allow you rid the water without crumbling the block. Any questions? Comment and I’ll answer!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

This is my take on Joy the Baker’s Mustard Roasted Potatoes. I almost followed the recipe exactly, except my grocer didn’t have any whole-grain dijon AND I’m an idiot and forgot to pick up parsley at the store. Palm to forehead. Anywho, this is a great side-dish for ANY entree and it gives you your carb fix for the day. And since I’m dating a meat-and-potatoes kind of a guy, I knew that this side-dish would be a hit. I think it’s also worth pointing out that this would be a great potato dish for family get-togethers, holidays, etc. Recipe below.

As always, enjoy.

Ingredients:

3 pounds new potatoes
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted (any butter here will do, vegan or not)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
Thyme to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set baking sheets aside.
  2. Clean and dice new potatoes. Try to slice them so they’re just about all the same size. Place in a large bowl. Toss in sliced onions.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Pour mustard mixture over diced potatoes and onions. Toss until potatoes are coated. Divide the coated potatoes between the two baking sheets. Leave any extra mustard mixture in the bowl. It will just burn in the oven.
  4. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven, toss with parsley, and serve warm. They’re yummy.

Roasted Garlicky Green Beans

I’ve never claimed to be a “healthy” vegetarian. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a carbohydrate fiend. I simply would not be able to live without my pasta and bread. However, eating a strictly carbohydrate-based diet will undoubtedly cause weight gain and all sorts of health issues. But I must admit that dressing up some simple veggies, like these yummy Green Beans above, with some parm and truffle oil makes what you used to try to hide under mashed potatoes, your favorite option on the plate. I got this recipe from Skinny Taste, and the recipe claims to be kid-approved; I totally believe it. I think we may have just solved every mother’s crisis when butting heads with their toddler at the kitchen table. Kids: Eat your veggies!

Ingredients:

12 oz green beans, trimmed (make sure they are dry)
2 tsp truffle oil
kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tbsp shredded parmesan

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum for easy clean-up.
  2. Lay green beans out on the baking sheet and drizzle oil over them. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Spread them out on the sheet so that they all lay flat and place on the lower third section of your oven. Bake 10 minutes, shake the pan to turn; bake 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians Unite: Pizza Night!

For Her: Fontina, Radicchio, Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

For Him: Summer Sausage, Orange Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

 

I. Love. Pizza. Night. I had a bunch of produce that needed to be used up, so Pizza Night sounded like the best option – let’s be honest, when is Pizza not a good idea? I usually make my own pizza dough, but I was feeling lazy (and pressed for time) so I picked up some dough balls from Sunflower Farmer’s Market along with some summer sausage for my boy toy. We decided to get creative and the results were AMAZING! Recipe below:

 

Fontina, Radicchio, Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

  • 1/2 cup Caramelized Fennel and Onions (I make these in advance)
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina
  • 1/2 head of radicchio, chopped, salted and oiled
  • fennel fronds
  • Ball of Pizza dough
  • Truffle Oil

 

Summer Sausage, Orange Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

  • 1/4 lb Summer Sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Caramelized Fennel and Onions (I make these in advance)
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces shredded Asiago
  • 1/2 c. My Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, julienned
  • Ball of Pizza dough
  • Truffle Oil

 

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 425°. Begin to roll out each dough ball into a 10″ disc.
2) Meanwhile, prep your toppings by slicing and dicing; set aside.
3) Add 3 Tbsp. of truffle oil for one of the pizzas (Hers) and tomato sauce for the other (His).
4) Add cheeses and toppings to your liking.
5) Bake side-by-side for 20-25 minutes.
6) Open up a bottle of wine and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Three-Cheese Skillet Lasagna

Yes, I realize it seems rather silly to do a “Meatless Mondays” post on a Tuesday, but in my defense, I didn’t have access to computer last night and it was a very late dinner. So, when you’re in a rush, like I was last night – this one-skillet dish is a great go to. Plus, it’s Martha Stewart approved, how can you go wrong?

Ingredients

  • 43 ounces canned whole peeled plum tomatoes (I used My Favorite Tomato Sauce)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 box (12 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together egg yolk, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Add 3/4 cups of sauce to the skillet and spread sauce evenly. Add a single layer of noodles, breaking them up to fit. Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, then 1 1/2 cups marinara. Add a third layer of noodles, then remaining ricotta mixture. Follow with a final noodle layer, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and pecorino over top.
  4. Bake lasagna until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.