Otsu

otsu

Soba, a Japanese noodle, is made from buckwheat flour and is a nutritional powerhouse compared to regular pasta. It has twice the amount of protein as rice and has the some of same healthful compounds found in green tea and red wine.

I made Otsu this weekend from  Super Natural Cooking. Soba and tofu are tossed with a ginger-cayenne-sesame dressing. So deliciously full of flavor and spicy {I didn’t even add Sriracha 😛 }, I think this would be a great potluck dish. It’s almost vegan, except for the honey–which could be substituted with agave or maple syrup or brown rice syrup…

Otsu

From 101 Cookbooks and Super Natural Cooking

Ginger-Sesame Dressing

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 12 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.
  2. Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ⅔ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

Creamy Wehani Rice Soup with Sweet Potato Croutons

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If you want a warm, creamy soup then this is the soup for you. It also happens to be vegan, but you can’t tell. It gets it’s creaminess from coconut milk. The  recipe–Creamy Wild Rice Soup with Sweet Potato Croutons–comes from Super Natural Cooking and originally calls for wild rice.

I’m not a fan of wild rice and debated about using it. While at the health food store bulk bin section, I noticed Wehani rice right next to the wild rice. I decided to sub out the wild rice with Wehani. I’ve never had it before, but it looked like it had a hearty exterior like wild rice and would be a good substitution. Cooked Wehani has a pleasant nutty flavor and I can’t wait to use it again. It’s a brown rice because it still has its bran, but because it has a sturdier exterior (which pops open like wild rice when cooked) it has bit more crunch than regular brown rice.

Wehani Rice from gourmetsleuth.com

Wehani Rice from gourmetsleuth.com

The flavor base of the soup comes from onions, garlic, and shallots sautéed in coconut oil and red curry paste. The sweet potato croutons are made just like you would make home fries with a regular potato. Diced sweet potatoes are sautéed in coconut oil with a pinch of salt until nice and toasty on all sides.

Creamy Wehani Rice Soup with Sweet Potato Croutons

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking

Note: The orginal recipe uses wild rice and cooks for approximately 40 minutes. Also it calls for an additional cup of water added to the soup when the coconut milk is added. I like thicker soups, therefore I did not add it. I also used Sriracha as condiment, well, because I add it to everything. I’m addicted. 😛

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Wehani rice, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu sauce
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • Squeeze of lime juice, to taste
  • Fine grain sea salt, to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in heavy-bottom soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot, onion, and red curry paste. Sauté until onions begin to soften, making sure red curry paste is evenly distributed. Add rice and give a quick stir to coat the rice. Add water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for approximately 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. When done, the Wehani will split a bit and be slightly chewy with a bit of a crunch.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the sweet potatoes. Heat remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in large skillet. Add sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat and cook for a few minutes until they begin to get some color. Toss repeatedly until all sides are brown and crunchy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt. Remove potatoes from pan onto a paper towel and set aside.

3. When rice is done, add tumeric, sugar, shoyu sauce, coconut milk, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir, return to simmer, and cook for 5 minutes or so for flavors to meld. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.  Season to taste with salt.

Polenta-style Teff Wedges, two-ways.

Teff?! What the heck is teff? A year or so ago, I couldn’t imagine myself cooking let alone cooking teff. Teff is the world’s smallest whole-grain. It’s super tiny  and commonly comes in two varietes brown or ivory. I’ve eaten teff before in the form of injera, the Ethiopian flat bread used in eating Ethiopian food. I just didn’t know it was made from teff.  Teff is a super-grain, so much so that the ratio based on size vs. superness is outstanding. It has loads of calcium and protein–it has all 8 essential amino acids. It has a ton of iron too and in a form that your body can easily absorb. It truly is a superfood.

I made Polenta-Style Teff Wedges using a recipe from  Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. Boy, were these good. And easy, too!  I like easy. Like polenta, you slowly stir in 2 cups grains into 6 cups salted boiling water. Unlike polenta, you don’ t have to stir constantly. You cover the pot and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, until it gets nice and thick. You stir in a cup of grated Parmesan Cheese and pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Let it set up in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but  preferably longer. Cut the teff into wedges.

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The first way I prepared the teff wedges was by grilling them on my grill pan and serving them with salad and scrambled eggs.

The second way I prepared the wedges was by baking them in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. I served these over micro greens and with green beans.

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Farro with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts, and Asparagus

{This is my 100th Post! Yay!}

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Farro.What is it? Farro is a whole-grain, similar to wheat, grown in Italy. Unlike spelt or wheatberries, it remains crunchy when you cook it.  It has a nutty, earthy taste with some complex undertones of oats and barley.

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It took me forever to find farro. I looked in (1)Whole Foods, (2)Trader Joes, (3)Bristol Farms, (4)the local crunchy-granola health food store, (5)Henry’s, (6)Vons. I finally found it at Surfas, which I probably would have gone sooner if it wasn’t an hour drive.  I was determined to find it and my determination paid off. The taste is out of this world.  If  you find some, buy it and cook with it.

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Farro with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts, and Asparagus was the next recipe for me to try out of Super Natural Cooking. In addition to the farro, which is the star of the recipe, the green onion sauce is absolutely amazing in taste and simplicity. It’s chopped up green onions, sauteed with a bit of olive oil and salt. The onions are then slightly pureed with a hand blender. That’s it!

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Once the farro is almost done cooking, you add in the asparagus, toasted walnuts, lemon zest. Season with salt (I also added freshly squeezed lemon juice–I didn’t want the lemon to go to waste after taking its zest :p ). Serve it by topping with the green onion sauce, creme fraiche, and some parm cheese.

You can find the recipe here.

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OMG! Cheese. Oh, and some quinoa and mushrooms too.

I love cheese. All kinds. I love cheese with bread and wine. I love cheese with fruit. I love cheese-smothered anything.

I have a new favorite cheese: La Tur.

imgp3427It’s an Italian triple-cream cheese made from cow, sheep, and goat milk. It’s heaven. Pure heaven. I bought it because I was looking for Crescenza and couldn’t find it. A Whole Foods employee recommended La Tur. I’m so glad WF did not have Crescenza.

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I was looking for Crescenza for Quinoa and Crescenza with Sauteed Mushrooms {<—recipe here}, the next recipe out of Super Natural Foods on my list. Definitely try this recipe. The quinoa is cooked with wine, garlic, and onions. I used extra-virgin olive oil  instead of clarified butter. And of  course I used La Tur instead of Crescenza, which takes it to a whole other level. The mushrooms are quick and easy to make, sauteed in olive oil with a bit of red pepper flakes and salt.

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I paired the quinoa with a green salad and Old-Fashioned Dinner Rolls {<—recipe here} from a The Art & Soul of Baking recipe.  I made the cloverleaf variation, which is just one roll divided into 3 and stuffed and baked  in a muffin tin. The roll was absolutely delicious, but when La Tur is in the picture it takes a back seat. 😛

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