Marinated Tofu Cabbage Salad

On a day when my feet were hurting too much to go to the store or spend much time in the kitchen, I found this simple recipe for marinated tofu cabbage salad in my old copy of Diet for a New World. Except for the celery seed, everything in the recipe, which has a very limited list of ingredients, was a already in my kitchen. It came together super fast. The tofu is just marinated and added to the salad uncooked. I was a bit skeptical of this, but it came out really tasty. The soft texture of the tofu actually works really well in the coleslaw like salad. Instead of using all sunflower seeds, I used half sunflower seeds and half pumpkin seeds, which I think added some extra interest to the dish. I halved the oil called for in the recipe and thought there was definitely enough oil in it. Even Ian who adds extra oil to a lot of things I make ate it without any amendment. This is a fantastic weeknight dish. Easy, satisfying, and surprisingly tasty for something so simple.

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Spinach Raita

Raita is one of my all time favorite foods. As a kid my parents used to take me to an Indian buffet, where I would proceed to only eat raita and naan. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the other dishes, but why eat other things when that would just take up precious raita storage space. As an adult I rarely (but not never) eat raita only meals. But adulthood hasn’t dampened my love of the dish at all. Sadly, eating seasonally means no cucumber raita in the winter. So I was intrigued when I found this recipe for spinach raita in Indian Vegetarian Cooking at Your House.

The recipe is described as a seasoned salad with yogurt and spinach, which is accurate. The veggie to yogurt ratio is much heavier on the veggie side than traditional raita. This recipe has about 3/4 cup of liquid to 1 cup of spinach plus extra veggies. I looked up other Palak Raita recipes and found they usually had a one to one ratio of raita to spinach with no extra veggies.

I really enjoyed the spices and the spinach went well with the yogurt. However, I thought the chopped carrots took away from the blended flavor of the dish. Next time I’d leave them out. I might also add an extra 2-3 tbsp of yogurt. Not as good as cucumber raita, but intriguing, healthy, and easy to make. I might make this again with a few tweaks. I’d like to try a different Palak Raita recipe first though.

Rice Cakes with Peanut Sauce and Hoison

I bought a large bag of Asian rice cakes for another recipe, but I only ended up using a third of the bag. While looking for something to do with the remainder, I found this New York times recipe for pan fried rice cakes and bok choy. The recipe is written for cylindrical rice sticks, but says you can slide rice cakes instead. Slicing these rice cakes was awful and took forever. I ended up resorting to a pizza roller after trying a few different knives.

I’m not sure if the rice cake/rice stick swap was the problem, but my dish did not look like the one in the picture. Instead of nicely browned individual rice sticks, the rice sticks kind of merged together and stuck both to each other and the pan. A cast iron pan or nonstick pan is a must for this dish. Instead of making the peanut sauce in the recipe, I just used leftover peanut sauce from gado gado that I had in the freezer.

The recipe had a great flavor and even though the rice cakes turned into a rice cake clump, I enjoyed their chewy texture. I thought the bok choy needed to be cooked for a minute or two longer. I also found the recipe really benefited from chopped peanuts on top to add a bit of crunch. This was unusual, but oddly good. And it seemed to get better with time. I’d make it again, but would try the rice sticks next time.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1022726-rice-cakes-with-peanut-sauce-and-hoisin

Chickpea, Cabbage, and Dill Soup

I’ve recently reintroduced canned chickpeas into my diet. I’ve been so excited to be eating beans again, even in this limited form. I needed to use up cabbage and dill from my garden that I picked before the cold front. I found this recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea, Cabbage, and Dill Soup on page 313 Madhur Jefrey’s World of East Vegetarian Cooking. The recipe is super simple and I further simplified by using canned goods.

I made quite a few adjustments. I used canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes. The original recipe calls for you to cook pre-soaked chickpeas for 1 hour and then cook all the veggies with the chickpeas for another hour and a half. Instead, I just cooked everything together for 45 minutes. I thought the potatoes were a little too soft. Next time I’d cook for 30 minutes. I left out the onion. Since I didn’t have flavor from the onion, I used vegetable broth instead of water. Instead of a whole tomato and 2 tsp of tomato paste, I used about a can of chopped stewed tomatoes. Here’s my version:

2 can chickpeas

4 cups vegetable broth

1-2 medium sized boiling potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can stewed chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup chopped fresh dill, firmly packed

2 cups cabbage, cut into 1 inch squares

1.5 -2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes
  3. Adjust salt and add pepper to taste

For something so simple, this was really flavorful and yummy, this was super easy. A really good weeknight recipe on a cold night. Ian liked it a lot too. The dill didn’t really stand out the way I thought it would though. I think next time I’d reserve 1/3 of the dill and add at the end, to see how that affects the flavor.

Soy-Braised Tofu with Bok Choy

I had a bunch of bok choy left over from another recipe and was looking for something fast to make for dinner. I found this recipe for soy-braised tofu with bok choy. The recipe says it takes 20 minutes to make. On a hungry weeknight, that sounded perfect to me! I adapted the recipe to make it low fodmap by cooking the garlic and scallion whites first separately in oil and then tossing them out. Because I added this step, the recipe took my closer to 30 minutes, but was still relatively fast and easy. Also, since spicy foods make me sick, I used only 1/4 tsp of doubanjiang (reluctantly since I love doubanjiang). Since doubanjiang is very spicy, the dish still had a bit of a kick to it. If you don’t like spicy foods, but want a little sizzle, definitely cut the doubanjiang in half.

This was very tasty and as easy as billed. The tofu was so good! My main objection was that there wasn’t enough veggies. I’d double the bok choy next time. I might also add some baby corn, since that makes everything better.

Crispy Potato Kugel

Potato kugel is a staple Ashkenazi dish that I’ve eaten many many times. But I don’t actually like it all that much. It’s always kind of bland and uninspiring, especially next to the triumph that is my grandma’s dairy dairy kugel. Still, for some reason I decided to make potato kugel recently. I found this recipe for crispy kugel (which actually translates to extra oil) on New York Times. Usually I cut down the oil in recipes, but I kept this about the same as what the recipe calls for. Totally worth it.

I adapted the recipe to make it low fodmap. I used onion oil instead of an onion. Then I added a bunch of chopped wild onions (green parts only) to the potatoes. The recipe doesn’t specify an amount of sale. I think I used 1.5 or 2 tsp table salt.

The dish came out so flavorful. I think it has more egg than the average kugel, which makes it more satisfying than most. This dish is an absolute winner. I’ll definitely keep it in my back pocket for guests. It’s easy and something everyone (but vegans) will like. Just be sure to have some greek yogurt or sour cream on hand when serving.

Cilantro Walnut Tapenade

Ian made this one night as a sauce for shrimp. I only got to taste the residue on the bowl he made it in, but I was hooked. So he made it again for me, this time putting on an egg scramble. Oh my gosh is it good. We spent a long time trying to figure out what to call it, and finally settled on tapenade, which still isn’t quite right but is the best option we found. Put it on tofu, put it on eggs, put it on pita. It doesn’t matter. It will be delicious. Just remember it has like a gallon of oil, so control yourself.

In a bowl combine:

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

2/3 cup diced chives

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup diced walnuts

5 roma small tomatoes diced

2/3 cup diced chives

1/2 cup diced walnuts

5 cherry tomatoes diced

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

Salt to taste

Zucchini and Carrot Fritters

I picked one enormous zucchini at the end of our unexpectedly warm early fall. So I’ve continued to have zucchini as we teetered toward winter. I made these fritters, which include carrots, as a summer-fall transition recipe. They’re very good. And the mint yogurt sauce that goes with them is very very good. The batter looks a little soupy, but they come out just right. Make sure you get them as thin in the pan as possible to avoid mushiness in the center. I’ll make these again for sure. And I want to try making them gluten free as well.

Rice Noodles with Egg Drop Gravy

A few weeks ago I was prescribed an antibiotic. I react really badly to antibiotics; I usually get nauseous and lose my appetite while I’m on them. While I was taking the medicine, I could only get myself to eat pasta and oatmeal. The week after, I started to regain my appetite, but was still only eating light soups etc. I found this recipe on New York Times when I was looking for something soothing to help me transition back to regular food. It was pretty easy. I think it would make a great weeknight recipe.

I added about 1.5 cups of broccoli along with the other veggies in the recipe, which seemed like the exact right amount. Because the noodles and gravy are made separately, you can keep them separate in the fridge and eat this as leftovers without the noodles going mushy. I used the wrong type of noodles though. The recipe calls for thick rice noodles. I used medium rice sticks. (the kind used for pad thai) They formed a mass when fried and were hard to pull apart immediately after cooking. As leftovers they were impossible to pull apart and I just had to chop them up. Next time I’d use a much wider noodle like shahe fen, chow fun, hor fun, or sen yai. You have to do a lot of stirring and scraping while frying the noodles to prevent them from sticking to the pan, but the flavor is great. I really liked the flavor of this dish. I thought it was just a tad too sweet. Next time I’d use 3/4 tsp sugar instead of 1 tsp. Make sure to be very careful to pour the egg very slowly. It’s easy to mess that part up. As you can see in the photo, I didn’t pour slowly enough and ended up with clumps of egg instead of strands.

One-Pot Turmeric Coconut Rice With Collards

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from New York times, but I made a lot of changes to the flavor profile and the greens and also made it low fodmap. This was possibly the best rice dish I have ever made. So so good, super easy, and all in one pot. A great weeknight dish. It also keeps really well for leftovers. Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups long-grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati (I used white basmati)
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 bunch wild onion or scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (I used the wild onion that grows in my yard)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp grated fresh tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1(14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 strands of saffron
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 bunches collard greens
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separate)
  1. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium pot or Dutch oven, toast the coconut and sesame seeds over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.) Transfer to a small bowl.
  3. In the same pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-low. Add the scallion whites and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until as dark as possible without being burned (4-8 minutes)
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and scallions (If you don’t need this to be low fodmap you can skip steps 3 and 4 and just add the scallions and garlic in with the coconut oil in step 5)
  5. Add the ginger and fresh tumeric to the oil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the ginger is cooking, bloom the saffron in small bowl of very hot water.
  7. Add the dry tumeric and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1-2 minutes
  8. Add the rice and stir together. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the coconut milk, saffron with its water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fill the empty can of coconut milk with water and add it to the pot. Give the mixture a good stir to separate any lumps and bring to a boil over medium-high.
  10. Once boiling, cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. As rice cooks, remove and discard the tough stems of the collards. Cut or tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.
  12. When the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, arrange the greens on top of the rice in an even layer and add final 1/2 tsp salt.
  13. Cover, and cook until the rice is tender, 5 more minutes. In the last minute of cooking, stir in the lime zest.
  14. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes.
  15. Stir in lime juice, coconut-sesame mixture, and the scallion greens.