Week 11: Tofu

We’re really busy this week and next, so the food postings and ingredient-involved meals are going to be a bit lacking.  Please accept my apologies in advance.

This week we’re enjoying TOFU!

A little bit from Brandon’s favorite food book, “On Food and Cooking:”

Tofu/bean curd is a curdled soy milk, a concentrated mass of protein and oil formed by coagulating the dissolved proteins with salts that yoke them and the protein-coated oil droplets together. Bean curd was invented in China around 2,000 years ago, was well-known by 500 AD, and became a daily food beginning around 1300.  

Firm tofu

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Better late than never: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  We had a pretty leisurely day– we were supposed to get up and run/walk in Seattle’s St. Pat’s Dash, but it was raining pretty hard and started snowing, so we opted to stay in bed a bit longer and run on the treadmill instead.  Probably one of the best moves we’ve made.

Wearing our Dash shirts, we opted to stay in, crack open some Guinness and make a very green meal at home.

I discovered Kevin and Amanda’s blog and combined their tribute to the Pioneer Woman’s Pesto Cream sauce with Eating Well’s fettuccine with mushrooms and basil. The result was a bit lighter and fantastic!

First, I made the basil, per their instructions:

Simple pesto: basil, shredded parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper and some drizzled olive oil. So good I could have eaten it all by itself!

Homemade pasta

Once the pesto was made, we made some fettuccine with our favorite Kitchen Aid pasta attachment. It’s so easy and so good.  While the pasta was drying, we sauteed some sliced chicken breasts and shiitake mushrooms.






Sauce, pre-pesto, cream and butter

We cooked the pasta and added the pesto, cream and a wee bit of Irish butter to the sauce and voila! Happy St. Patty’s day!

YUM! St. Patrick's Day style

Strawberry Meal 3: Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry juices suspended

This used to be one of my favorite desserts, but for some reason I don’t enjoy it nearly enough.

For this dessert, we took our leftover strawberries, but them up real small — Brandon smooshed some through the garlic press — and added it atop some store-bought angel food cake, topped with whip cream.

All in all, I’m definitely getting angel food cake and strawberries again soon!

A healthy (ish), delicious dessert

Strawberry Meal 2: Steak with a Strawberry-Balsamic Reduction

Brown sugar, strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Can't go wrong!

Oh yeah, this was good!  We have made this once before, but our reduction turned out a black, sticky mess, similar to an oil spill.  This time; however, it was great.

We started with Emeril’s recipe and soaked the strawberries with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. When reducing the mixture, we added mint.  From there, we grilled a hanger steak and made the sides: baked potatoes and brussel sprouts (a favorite of mine).

Here is the finished product:


Strawberry Meal 1: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Salsa


We decided to be adventurous with our strawberry meals and cook ‘outside the box.’ Alas, Emeril’s grilled salmon with mango, pineapple and strawberry salsa.  Rather than using Emeril’s rub, we used Tom Douglas’ Salmon Rub With Love. This was fantastic (with less jalapeno) and we will definitely make it again, come summertime.  Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Grilled salmon, our delicious salsa, wilted spinach and quinoa.


Week 10: Strawberries

I’m enjoying this week’s ingredient as I type this blog post, and boy is it good!

Week 10: Strawberries!

First, a little education from WikipediaIn addition to being consumed fresh, strawberries can be frozen, made into preserves, as well as dried and used in prepared foods, such as cereal bars. Strawberries are a popular addition to dairy products, as in strawberry-flavored ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, and yogurts. Strawberries and cream is a popular dessert, famously consumed at Wimbledon. Depending on area, strawberry pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, or strawberry shortcake are also popular.

Our strawberries are “fresh” from Mexico and we have some great menu ideas planned!  Check back soon!


An addendum from Brandon.  He wasn’t impressed with Wikipedia’s strawberry facts and encouraged me to add some information from “On food and cooking: the science of lore of the kitchen” — one of his favorite food knowledge books.

So, here it is: The strawberry is unusual in bearing its “seeds” on the surface of the fleshy portion, not inside. The seeds are actually miniature dry fruits, similar to buckwheat and sunflower seeds and the fleshy portion is the flowers swollen base, not its ovary. Strawberries don’t improve once picked, so they must be picked ripe.

Asparagus Meal 2: Asparagus, Artichoke and Mushroom Saute Over Pasta

For our second asparagus adventure, we made Emeril’s asparagus, artichoke, and mushroom saute with tarragon vinaigrette, but we made it our own.

I omitted the vinegar and instead added the tarragon to the saute, along with some  canned chicken.  Once the mixture was complete, we put it over orecchiette and enjoyed.

Veggies, chicken and tarragon over pasta

This meal was good, but it wasn’t amazing and we probably won’t be having it again anytime soon.

Asparagus Meal 1: Asparagus with Turkey Meatloaf

This is a favorite meal combination of ours: asparagus, turkey meatloaf and potatoes. It’s delicious and hearty and there are always leftovers for lunch.

The turkey meatloaf recipe is from Everyday Foods and can be found here.  I HIGHLY recommend it.  Delicious and easy. For the asparagus, I cut off the tough bottom section and put them in a skillet with just enough water to cover the bottom half of the asparagus.  I drizzled the dish with olive oil and added some garlic salt and pepper.  Turn the asparagus on medium-high and bring to a simmer.  Wait until the asparagus turns bright great, pull from the water and serve!  Delicious!

Yum, yum, yum!