FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
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Healthy lesson #30 – Soy Sauce is evil, but Ginger Teriyaki Temphe is a superhero!

October1

Back in 2008 when my husband and I quit eating things like meat, sugar, soy sauce, and chemicals we lost one of our favorite and unhealthy dishes… Chinese Teriyaki Chicken.  Boo Hoo.  My husband has been complaining about that one dish ever since saying he misses it more than anything else (only because we still occasionally eat pizza)

Tonight I got somewhat of a wild hair up the old proverbial butt and decided to make a vegan, healthy-ish, version of it for him.  To my surprise it was super easy and delicious.  I have no idea why I waited almost 4 years to make it this way??  But then – many things about food and pre-programming don’t make sense.  I just assumed I couldn’t do it so that was that.  Well… them days are gone.  here’s how it went down.

Here is a great article about the differences between Soy Sauce, Tamari, and Shoyu.  But in a nut shell, Soy Sauce is like the Velveeta of cheese, where as Tamari and Shoyu are like artisan $40/lb cheese.  Well, something like that.

1 package of Temphe
marinade in teriyaki sauce as follows:
1 cup Shoyu or Tamari (please don’t use soy sauce!! Gross!  Disgusting!  Bad for YOU!!!  Yuk.)
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup of coconut Sugar (my new favorite thing to put in everything)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon Garlic powder

Cut up Temphe into bite size chunks. Mix all marinade ingredients together adding more of whatever you like to taste (and smell) let sit in bowl marinading while you prep everything else for your meal (whatever that is) stirring occasionally to keep everything well coated. about 10 minutes before you are ready to plate and serve dinner, throw all the Temphe and marinade into either an iron skillet or saute pan. It’s going to get sticky and make a mess, so iron skillet is my first healthy choice. (We never non stick – that’s another post. They are super dangerous. Throw yours out!!) Using tongs, try to make sure all the Temphe is spread evenly throughout the pan and nothing is piled up. Cook over Medium-high heat for about 4 minutes then stir around to brown and caramelize more sides. You won’t be able to get all the sides cooked evenly – it’s just too much work and you won’t have the time, so relax and do the best you can. Cook until they look sticky, caramelized and brown. Then serve and wait for the praising to be sung! 

Lordy Lordy – these are delicious bites of what taste like VERY naughty food, yet they are reasonably good for you. No large amount of Teriyaki sauce is going to be GOOD for you, but in moderation this alternative IS a much healthier version and works well with the Temphe making it EXTREMELY healthier for you thanks to the lack of animal proteins and the added fermentation from the Temphe. (Happy stomachs = happy brains = happy you.)

Enjoy!

D-

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I could eat this dish every night of the week for the rest of my life and never get sick of it… and I will!”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “Yum! I love temphe!” (for the record: he doesn’t “love” temphe)

Peanut Butter Cookies for Katie

September8

Okay Katie! Here you go… (sorry it took me so long to get this to you.)  Let me know if you have any problems (you won’t).  It’s a pretty small recipe – I usually double it.  This recipe will make about 12 small cookies.  It’s really easy and really fast to make.  I sometimes have the cookies ready to go before the oven is even preheated.

1/2 cup Peanut Butter (I have used both TJ’s with or without nuts – organic.)
1/2 cup Earth Balance softened
1/4 cup Agave
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
2tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer – dry, or 1 eggs (I have never used eggs so I don’t know how much it will change it) I have tons of this if you want to use it without buying some.
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

Beat the Peanut Butter and Earth Balance together in a mixer until smooth.
Add Agave, Maple and Vanilla. If you’re going to use eggs then throw those babies in now and mix them too!
(by the way – I’m not suggesting that they are literally babies. I’m pretty sure not all eggs hatch into chickens.)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl (including the egg replacer if you’re going to use it) and gradually add the dry ingredients into the mixer (low speed speed works well)

I use a small scooper to get a pretty consistent size going otherwise some will be too dry. I have made them where I leave them in a ball and cook them like that (they won’t flatten) and I also make them where I flatten the ball slightly with my hand on the cookie sheet and then use a fork to do the traditional crisscross thing.  Nothing fancy or perfect, I do it really sloppy actually.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 15-20 min. I have cooked them at 375° for about 10 minutes but they came out a little dry. I think you can get away with that though if you are going to use eggs. Either way they should be slightly golden brown, not too much. They end up a little dry if they are overcooked (I think because of the lack of sugar)
Anyway – tell me what you did, what you used and how they came out! If they aren’t good I’ll make some and bring them over ASAP.
As for the rest of you – ENJOY these!! They are the most requested family favorites.

D-

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “These cookies make me wish there was a sixth star.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces “I want to eat one for breakfast.”

Two-Timing me with a Kabocha Squash.

September4

My husband is having some kind of crazy love affair with Kabocha Squash.  Every time we see it in Whole Foods he acts like it’s his long lost lover from college who performed private strip tease dances for him in his dorm and then did his laundry.  He practically cradles it romantically when he sees it – he gives it so much love from the bin to the cart to the bag to the house to the cutting board to the stove/oven to the plate, it’s embarrassing.  He LOVES Kabocha.  If I was the jealous type I would NEVER let that bitch back in my house.  But actually, I think she’s pretty nice myself.  So when she’s in season, we buy her any chance we can get.

We started eating Kabocha when we were eating a macrobiotic diet a few years back.  Our good friends and food mentors, J & A Taylor, had us over for dinner one night and the rest is history…  I have found that not only do most people not have a clue what Kabocha Squash is, but they are afraid to try it when they learn about it.  Silly.

Here are a few pictures I took of the Kabocha I used today – (I always forget to take pictures until after I have half eaten something or already chopped it up a bit – sorry.  Google Images is great for things like this if you need more detail)

So, Kabocha is a squash, or a pumpkin, or a potato… okay – it’s definitely not a potato I just like to type in threes.  Either way it is SO easy to make and SO good for you!!  You can cut it in quarters and roast it in the oven just like you would an acorn squash or spaghetti squash.  You can cut it into chunks and steam it.  That’s always a super healthy and easy way to eat just about any Veggie.  I sometimes pressure cook it and then mash it up with Earth Balance “Butter” (This is Zeke’s favorite way to eat it – he refers to this as “Squash Squash.”  He’s clever, and corny) Or you can cut it up and roast it with other delightful goodness like I did tonight.  As usual, I took a crappy picture AFTER we ate.  Blogging in my kitchen is usually an after-thought.  I’m working on this.  Here’s what I did – it was SERIOUSLY delicioso:

Let’s call this: Roasted Kabocha with Fresh Fig

-1/2 of a Kabocha Squash, gut the seeds and peel the green stuff off.  You CAN eat the green stuff but I don’t like it – my husband thinks Kabocha can do no wrong and he emphatically claims to like the green stuff.  But he is still in the honeymoon phase.  Trust me – peel it.
-1 produce basket of fresh RIPE figs (about 10-15??)
-2 to 3 yellow onions – cut in large chunks
-2 to 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
-1 to 2 tablespoons of dried Oregano (I never measure – but don’t overdo it – just add some flavor to enhance the Fig)
-1 tablespoons of dried rosemary ground up in your hands as much as possible (I think fresh rosemary would also be great, but I still wouldn’t use too much)
-Salt to taste
-3 to 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a roasting dish or pan and bake in a preheated oven at 400° for about 45 min to an hour. Check after 30 minutes and stir everything up to coat it evenly.
I added chopped up tofu in the last 15 minutes and it was a hit with the boys. You might be able to add Tempeh into it in the beginning for an alternate healthy, high protein version. I will try that next time… Zeke is also having an unreasonable love affair with Tempeh these days, but that’s another post.

Side note: I recently learned from a local farmer that Kabocha and most hard shelled squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc…) need at least a month to properly cure once cut off the vine.  That means you can, and should, buy and store squash for two to three months from the time it was picked to get the best flavor and the most nutrients out of it.  If you know when it was cut then you can wait a few months to use it.  If you don’t know when it was cut then you can still let it sit (room temp) for at least a month before you have to worry.  We didn’t do that this time because I couldn’t bear to listen to Zeke romance the squash for another second.  But I did buy two small Red Curry Squash and I don’t plan on eating them anytime soon!!

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I missed my Kabocha so much. Next time we go to WF’s let’s buy every one they have.”  and   “I actually thought the figs were great in this. I love this dish so much!!”
Kid Rating 3 smiley faces “I don’t like that fig.  But I love these onions and squash squash!”

Easy Easy Quinoa Burgers!!

August1

This was the second time I made these and they were a big hit with my boys!!  London thought they looked like the “Nuggets” he sees his friend Janey eating at school, and so he was double excited when I cut the patty up into bite size “nuggets” for him.  He ate two burgers by himself and asked me to put them in his lunch this week.  This made me swell with burger pride, as you can imagine.  Getting a 2.5 year old to eat quinoa is tricky, and by tricky I mean I have to trick him.  So for him to request this is slightly monumental.  The only thing he ever requests for school is Pizza or Pancakes.  Neither of which he has ever had in his Tiger Lunch Bag.  Back to the burgers…

First of all – I made these because I had way too much leftover Quinoa and couldn’t bear to eat it plain again.  I remembered I had a burger recipe somewhere in my notebook, and I am glad I found it.  The recipe was for Greek style burgers but I made a more Italian version because we just had Greek Souvlaki two nights ago – too much Greek!!  Here is what I did:

put all of the following ingredients into a food processor:

two small raw carrots – cut up

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 can of rinsed and drained Great Northern White Beans

1/4 cup dried breads crumbs (Italian are great if you can find organic!!)

Egg Replacer (the equivalent of one egg – lightly beaten)

1 teaspoon Bragg 24 Sprinkle (or Italian Spices of your choice)

salt to taste (I almost never cook with pepper, but go crazy if you like it)

The original recipe calls for pulsing your food processor until combined but still chunky – I blend it until it is really smooth and almost paste-like.  Make the mixture into patties with your hands, if it’s too sticky cool it off in the fridge first.  I used leftover Quinoa so it was already cold.  That helps. In a large skillet or frying pan heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil and cook burgers on medium heat until browned and cooked through on both sides, about 10 minutes per side.

I served these without buns or bread because they are already pretty high in Carbohydrates, but my husband went for some toast slices anyway and he was very happy.  I made guacamole and grilled some onions, green peppers, red chili pepper, and garlic to serve on top.  I also used my leftover Souvlaki Cilantro dressing on it (cilantro, soy yogurt, lemon, olive oil) which I thought was a great flavor profile for the rest of the dish.  But really – it’s a fried patty – you can eat it alone and it would be good.  Wrap lettuce around it, or put BBQ sauce on it, or cut it up and throw it in a salad.  It’s versatile.  Go crazy.  And remember to always choose organic products – it’s always worth it!!  Enjoy!

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I could eat these everyday for a month.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “Can I please have more burger? Can I please have another burger? I want more food.”

Vegan Souvlaki with Cilantro, and Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

August1

Okay – I made this two nights ago and I really really liked it – I found to recipe for a chicken version in one of my many many many magazines, and thought I’d see what happened if I used tofu instead.  It worked.  It was super good.  Here it is:

1 package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (cut into cubes wide and thick enough so they don’t fall off a skewer on the bbq)
8 warmed pita breads

Marinade:
small bunch of fresh mint chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 cup plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Dressing
large bunch of fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving
1 cup plain soy yogurt
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoons of olive oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add Tofu to the bowl and smother with marinade. Cover and chill overnight or longer – up to three days if possible.
Preheat your BBQ and set to medium heat. Thread tofu chunks onto skewers leaving space in between. Cook them until they look yummy and charred, about 7-10 minutes turning a few times so all sides get some direct heat. It’s not meat so you can’t undercook them, but the longer you can leave them without burning the juicer and crispier they will be. Push tofu off skewers into a bowl.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a smooth green sauce.
I cut thin slices of raw onion and had chopped cilantro on the table too. Then I put all the parts on the table (pita, tofu, dressing, cilantro, onion) and let everyone build their own sandwich! I also had a simple cucumber salad that we ended up adding to the sandwich because it was so so good. Here’s what I did for that:

1 cucumber chopped into quarter slices
1 heirloom tomato diced into big chunks
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
oregano (I never measure – sorry)
Feta Cheese crumbled (if you’re going for the Vegan version obviously leave this out. It really doesn’t need it.)
mix together and serve in a bowl.

That’s all there is to it – it was really easy and I have to say – I was shocked at how great it came out. Most meat recipes that I replace with tofu don’t come out like the original meat version of the recipe. This totally did and I would even go so far as to say it was better. That’s right – I said it.
Sorry I can’t credit the magazine or chef who made this recipe – I cut it out and only kept the parts I needed. But I can say – I didn’t change anything except replacing the dairy and meat. That’s rare for me. I WILL be making this again only next time I’m going to try to make my own pita bread. I can’t find a good organic pita bread and it will make or break the dish.

Husband Rating Souvlaki 3 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star “So close to 4 stars, but the Pita Bread taste like a USPS Priority box .”

Husband Rating Cucumber Salad 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Delicious Refreshing. Too Good to call salad.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces “ooooh this tofu is so yummy.”

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