Slightly Sweet – Lemon and Matcha Pudding

Here’s another dessert that is not over the top sweet. In fact this one contains silken tofu so not only does it satisfy a sweet craving, it will satisfy appetite!

Lemon and Matcha Tofu Pudding
(makes 4 servings)
1 package silken tofu
3-4 Tbs powdered sugar, divided
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs almond milk
2-3 tsp matcha tea powder
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
honey to taste

Drain the tofu and place half of it in a blender. Dissolve the matcha and one tablespoon of the powdered sugar in the almond milk. Once both are dissolved add the mixture to the blender. Blend until it smooth, scraping down the sides. Once the mixture is smooth either put it in your serving dishes or place it aside. Rinse the blender parts. Place the other half of the tofu in the blender. Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the lemon juice. Add this mixture, the vanilla, and the lemon zest to the blender. Blend until smooth.

With one tablespoon of sugar in the matcha batch it is not going to be very sweet. Since I like the flavors of honey and matcha together, I like to drizzle a little honey over each matcha layer. The two colors make for a great presentation, layer them into clear serving dishes and garnish. They are ready to eat right away, or refrigerate for later. I think they are a little better if they sit for an hour. Not all silken tofu is the same consistency. This is a very forgiving recipe. If you want it sweeter, and more sugar or honey, if you don’t like a thick pudding add a little more almond milk. Then sit back and enjoy this dessert that isn’t overwhelming you with sugar!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

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Muse Style Madras Curry

How do you feel about eggplant? I love it, but I’m starting to think that it’s a a love it or hate type of food. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s baked, grilled, mashed, cubed, sliced, or pureed, I’ll eat and love it. Long ago a vegetarian friend of mine described it as ‘comfort food’. Even if you aren’t as crazy about it as we are, you may still find it enjoyable. This is a simple method for making a spicy dinner of miniature eggplants and tofu. You can easily adjust the recipe to accommodate full size eggplants. If your Madras is hot add a side salad, or sliced cucumbers, to help balance the heat.

Curried Eggplants with Tofu

Slit the ends of mini eggplants, going both directions, up to the stem but leaving the stem in tact, and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with Hot Madras Curry Powder (recipe follows). Toss to evenly distribute the spices. As you place them on a baking sheet, or tray to take them to the grill, stuff each one of them with a dried red chili, a cherry tomato, or anything else to help keep them slightly open. If any of them look dry on the inside then drizzle a little more olive oil into the opening. Save the bowl you tossed them in, you’ll use the drippings for the tofu. Smoke, roast, or grill them, at a medium low temperature until they soften to your preference.

For the curried tofu, start with a brick of extra firm tofu. Drain and dry it, and then slice it into 1/2″ slices. Rub each slice around in the bottom of the eggplant tossing bowl until it’s covered on all sides with the olive oil and madras curry powder mixture. Add more of both to the bowl if you need more. At this point you can heat the tofu and serve it, or let it set for a while to incorporate more flavor. Heat the tofu on a grill or bake in in the oven to heat it. If you heat it on the stove in a hot skillet, you would probably end up with a lovely golden crust. I was afraid that the hot chilies would release too much capsicum into the air.

For a smokey version of this dinner, both the eggplant and tofu can be cooked in a smoker. Slice the leftovers for a great addition to garden salads.

 

Tasteful Muse Madras Curry is a hot curry, cut back on the chilies if you want a milder batch. Make sure you have good ventilation while making this recipe. The spices will become very fragrant as they toast, and the chilies can be very strong. The recipe can be easily doubled, or tripled and it can be stored for a long time.Visit an ethnic market for the best availability and prices on whole spices.

Tasteful Muse Hot Madras Curry Powder

4 tbsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Cardamom Seeds
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 inch Cinnamon Stick
6 Dried Red Chilies
10 Fresh or Dried Curry Leaves
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tbsp Ground Turmeric

Heat a heavy cast iron pan over medium low heat. Toast everything but the turmeric, ginger and curry leaves, for a few minutes, just until it begins to brown. Add the curry leaves and stir, letting it brown for just a little longer. Remove the spices from the pan to let them cool. After it cools, grind small batches in a a clean coffee grinder to grind everything into a fine mix.  Place the finished batches in a larger mixing bowl. Once everything is finely ground and add the ground turmeric and ginger and stir until it’s well blended. Store the curry in an airtight container in your spice cupboard.

 

 

Sunday Scramble (Shhhhh it’s tofu)

Don’t fear the tofu! I find that the tofu in this keeps me fuller longer than an egg burrito ever did (without the cholesterol). This is a great way to begin incorporating tofu into your diet. I’ve also added just a touch of tempeh to enhance the flavor.

Sunday Scramble

1 package of extra firm tofu
drizzle of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
Asparagus tips or any other vegetables you have in the produce bin (spinach, squash, hot peppers, tomatoes etc)
1-2 finely chopped garlic cloves
(optional) 3-4 Tbs bacon flavored tempeh crumbled (it doesn’t actually taste like bacon, it’s just ‘savory’)

Drain the tofu and dry it on paper towels. The dryer it is the better it will brown. Slice it into large 1/4 in slices and place them in a hot non-stick pan. Drizzle them with Bragg’s, soy sauce, or tamari. When the first side is brown flip the slices. I like to drizzle a little olive oil in the outer edges of the pan before I drop the chopped vegetables and tempeh in. Once the vegetables begin to cook and the tofu is browned on the second side start mixing it all up as you break up the tofu with a spatula. Continue to work the mixture until the vegetables are cooked and the tofu is a size you like.

That’s eat, you’re ready to eat! I put mine in a whole wheat tortilla with grated cheddar. But don’t stop there…. you could eat the scramble with toast. Or you could serve it for dinner on top of a pasta (like the ones made from beans) or brown rice. Add herbs to change the flavor – cilantro or basil. Make a Sunday Scramble for breakfast and you’ll stay full all morning!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Eat Dessert Like You Mean It

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So did you make a resolution to eat better this year? to cut the sweets out of your diet? That just doesn’t work for me. Life is too short to deprive myself of all things sweet. So here’s an alternative. Make a dessert that is more of a meal, with low sugar and protein, this dessert will leave your sweet tooth satisfied and your appetite satiated!

This is tofu pudding, yes tofu. Mori-Nu makes a great tofu pudding mix. All you do is place tofu in a blender with a little water and blend it until it’s smooth. Then add the pudding packet and continue to blend.  I like to add a little Kahlua or Frangelico too! Scrape down the sides and blend until well combined.

Spoon the pudding into dessert cups and refrigerate. To add a little decadence I like to add fresh berries and nuts to mine. You don’t have to give up desserts this year. In fact you can skip lunch all together and just have dessert!

You can accomplish the same thing with your own sugar and cocoa combination added to the tofu, melted chocolate works too. But until you get the hang of it, go easy on yourself, start with the packet.

Until next time… Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

Hold the Ham Salad

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Are you still afraid of tofu? I hope not, but if you need another way to try it here’s one of my favorites.

Use it as a substitute for ham in ham salad.

Start with extra firm tofu cut in to very small cubes, place them in a large bowl. Add finely chopped celery and onion, dill or sweet relish, a mustard you enjoy (I suggest a strong dijon), and a small bit of mayonnaise. Use the same seasonings and vegetable that you would use in a ham or chicken salad mixture. Stir the mixture well and taste it. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

If you’re still afraid to try tofu consider a half and half ratio with ham. It will give you lower fat and lower sodium than the traditional ham salad. Optionally you can also brown marinated tofu cubes before adding them, just follow the instructions in Just Taste It, the post where I first introduced you to baked tofu.

Until next time… Release YOUR Bon Vivan and Savor Your Life!

Just Taste It

baked tofu

I know what you’re going to say, I’ve heard it before. But before you know what it is, tell me you’re mouth isn’t watering for that golden, crispy, no doubt crunchy image above.

It’s baked tofu. So the first thing you are asking yourself is WHY? Why would anyone bother? Because it’s delicious, flavorful (if you want it to be), a decent source of protein and not really bad for you in any way.

Sometimes I purchase baked tofu to pack in my lunches. As the market was out of my usual (slightly spicy) flavor I was stuck with ‘savory’ this week. Hmmmm what, exactly, does savory taste like. Well to use a four letter word… savory tastes BLAH.

So of course I started thinking, why can’t I just make my own? It seems like that’s always the answer. Well it turns out that baked tofu is easy to prepare and tastes much better when you spice to your own tastes. For this first batch I went pretty traditional. I stirred together some soy sauce, ponzu sauce and garlic infused olive oil. To that I added cayenne, celery seed, and granulated onion.

But wait, I should start at the beginning. To get anything crisp when you bake it, it’s got to be reasonably dry. Use extra firm tofu, drain it, wrap it in paper towels, put it on a plate in the refrigerator. Check the paper towels every hour our so and change them when they are saturated. You want to draw the excess moisture out of the tofu. Once you’re satisfied with the dryness slice it or cube it. If you want a lot of crisp, slice it thin and go for more surface area. If you are going to add it to something (salad or soup) you could cube it at this point. Put it in a flat dish or zip top bag and pour the marinade over it. Make sure to turn it to get it evenly covered. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1-6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spay a baking sheet lightly with non-stick spray. Drain the excess marinade and place it in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake it for about 30 minutes turning halfway. If you’re making cubes you may want to turn them more often. Oh and you can keep that marinade. Unlike a meat marinade this one hasn’t been exposed to anything potentially dangerous and depending on the flavors, it may make a great dipping sauce.

The tofu will be crisp when you take it out of the oven, enjoy! It will keep its flavor but not crispness when refrigerated. Eat it within a few days.

tofu

The possibilities for using it after it’s baked are numerous! And the flavor possibilities, well… I’ve already started a list. My top two hot madras curry and black pepper and lemon! I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Until next time, cook to enjoy your unique tastes.

Release your Bon Vivant and savor your life!