Spicy orange and pepper stir fry

Orange Tofu 3.jpgFor most of my adult life, I have sucked at making stir fries. I just didn’t have a clue what to do or what ingredients to add. That’s changed and now I’m stir frying like a boss thanks to the many great recipe sites out there.

This recipe is from the Vegan Richa site with just a few modifications; I added more veggies. If I could find them, I’d add those cute, sweet little baby corns too but they remain elusive.

I hope you make this recipe. It’s beautiful enough to serve to guests and delicious and different.

Ingredients

Ingredients.jpg

3 tsp cornstarch (use arrowroot to make corn-free, add more starch for thicker sauce and glaze)

2 Tbsp warm water

2 Tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave or 1 Tbsp raw sugar

1 Tbsp Asian Hot Chili paste (I used Sambal oelek and 1 tablespoon made this dish plenty hot! )

The juice and zest of one naval orange

1 Tbsp flavourless oil for stir frying. I use peanut oil.

7-8 ounces of very firm tofu patted and dried and cut into cubes.

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/sliced (not minced)

1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 can (about ¾ cup) sliced water chestnuts drained

Orange Tofu 2

Directions:

In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch and water. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, hot chili sauce, orange juice and zest. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry until the cubes are browned on several sides.  This will take about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sliced garlic and give a quick stir – about 1 minute.

Add the sauce and cook for about 3 more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice, rice noodles or glass noodles.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings depending on how much rice you want to eat it with. I find it’s quite saucy and spicy so it can easily 2 ½ cups of cooked rice – enough for 3 servings.

Lentil sloppy joes

SloppyJoe

 

When I was a kid, sloppy joes were a really big deal for lunch or dinner. Making them involved nothing more than ground beef and a can of Manwich sauce. I shudder to think of it now. These sloppy joys, on the other hand, are something to get excited about. They’re tangy with a hint of sweetness. The lentils are chewy and satisfying and the whole dish – never mind that long list of ingredients, almost all of which you probably have in your pantry already – comes together easily. And…. these joes are great for your body. They’re loaded with iron, fibre, protein and vitamin C.

Ingredients

1 cup of dried Du Puy lentils (or black lentils a/k/a beluga lentils). You want a smaller lentil that needs no presoaking and cooks quickly

1 medium carrot finely minced

1 stalk celery finely minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 red or green pepper diced

1 onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp dry mustard

15 oz can (541 ml) diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar

½ to 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)

1 Tbsp prepared mustard

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp A-1 sauce (a/k/a brown sauce)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt (adjust according to how much salt is in your tomato paste and diced tomatoes)

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup vegetable broth

Toasted bread or buns for serving. This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

Directions

Put the lentils, diced celery and carrot and 2 cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes. The lentils will be chewy but still firm and most of the water will be absorbed. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and red or green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and dry spices and stir together, letting the spices heat through. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the saucepan of lentils (do not drain!) to the large sauce pan. Stir everything together to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncover for 15 to 20 minutes depending on how saucy you want your sloppy joes to be. I cooked mine for 20 minutes.

Serve over toasted bread, buns or fat pitas (as I did). This dish is even better the next day and freezes well for up to 2 months.

Hola! It’s Aztec soup – spices, veggies and lentils sing in a bowl.

AztecSoup

Here’s a hearty, flavourful soup that’s easy to make and satisfying. I love it with side of toast and sliced avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Alas, this delicious soup that’s loaded with great flavours and textures photographs badly. You’ll just have to trust me that this ugly duckling is beautiful on the inside (of your tummy).

This recipe makes four dinner-sized bowls. Mmmm.

Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped

1 cup (250 ml) red lentils

1 red or green pepper diced

2 carrots sliced into half-moon coins.

1 stalk celery sliced

½ cup fresh or frozen corn

1 large jalapeno pepper minced

2 cloves garlic minced

½ Tbsp olive or coconut oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, celery, onion, jalapeno and garlic and sauté on medium heat until the onion softens about 5 minutes. Add the diced pepper and sauté a few more minutes. Add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

This soup will keep covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days and freezes well. It will last for 3 months in the freezer, but even better share with neighbours and friends.

Ratatouille – the savoury stewed flavours of the early harvest

Ratatouille

My organic farmers’ box arrived this week with an eggplant, a yellow zucchini and a red pepper. Looked like ratatouille waiting to happen to me!

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew that’s satisfying and rustic. Rustic is cooking talk for “easy and carelessly chopped.” When I eat ratatouille, I envision sturdy French peasants eating from wooden bowls by the warm glow of the fireplace.

Ingredients

1 zucchini – cut in half lengthwise and then sliced

1 medium eggplant – with ½ the skin peeled off and then cut in cubes. There’s no magic in peeling off half the skin. I just like having some pieces with skin on and some skinless. Leave all the skin on, or take it all off. Your ratatouille, your rules.

1 red pepper – seeded and roughly diced (rustically diced)

3-4 cremini mushrooms – stems removed and sliced

½ large white onion diced

4 cloves garlic minced

19 oz can diced tomatoes

¼ cup fresh basil chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley chopped

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 sprigs dried thyme (roughly 1 tsp dried thyme)

1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

2 tsp olive oil

Directions

In a large pot, sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add all the other ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and keep simmering for 30-60 minutes. The longer you simmer this dish, the more the veggies will break down. I preferred a chunkier stew and only simmered mine for 40 minutes.

TIP: Add a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar to most tomato dishes – spaghetti, minestrone soup, ratatouille or even cream pasta sauces. The vinegar adds depth and roundness to the flavours.

I had some leftover lentils in the freezer – about ¾ cup – so I threw them in the pot, but that is NOT classic ratatouille.

Ratatouille is usually served with crusty bread and might have cheese, particularly goat cheese, melted on top.

Since I am not a sturdy French peasant and am vegan, I will have my ratatouille over brown rice and with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

My salad days

My salad days

It’s September 1st and the garden is bursting with goodies: yellow and green beans, savoy cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onion, green pepper, cucumber and tomatoes.

Summer is having a hot and steamy farewell this week so I opted for a quartet of salads for my dinner.

SaladDays

  1. Spicy Asian coleslaw (top of the plate)
  2. A creamy cucumber salad (on the right)
  3. A traditional bean salad (front and centre), and
  4. My mom’s potato salad (on the left).

Each recipe makes about 3-4 servings. Each salad is better after sitting overnight but you MUST let the bean salad sit overnight or you won’t get the full flavour effect.

Spicy Asian slaw

4 cups of green cabbage shredded or diced (that’s about 1/3 of a savoy cabbage)

1 carrot sliced or shredded

½ stalk celery sliced thinly

¼ of a large onion diced

¼ of a green pepper diced

2 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp hot chili paste (I use sambal oelek)

About 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and enjoy! I like this salad with roasted tofu too and a few chow mein noodles.

Note – if you have radishes they are great in this salad too and add pretty colour.

Creamy cucumber salad

About half of a large English cucumber. Do not peel. Cut into quarters and then slice.

1 green onion sliced – I use the white and green

1 tsp fresh dill or more to taste

A few grinds of black pepper

½ tsp salt

I Tbsp white vinegar

1 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Traditional bean salad

¾ cup fresh beans

15 oz can of mixed beans (not bean salad) – drained and rinsed

¼ of a green pepper diced

½ of a large onion cut in half and then sliced in thin rings

½ stalk (or more) celery thinly sliced

¼ cup white vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil (or good vegetable oil)

3 Tbsp sugar (use raw sugar, processed, white sugar may have been made with animal bone ash – ugh)

½ tsp salt or to taste

A few grinds of black pepper to taste

Cut the stem end of the beans off and put the beans in boiling water until they are cooked – about 5-10 minutes. Drain the beans and let them cool. When the beans have cooled, cut into 1” pieces and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Toss everything together and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. You really must let this salad marinate!

My mom’s potato salad

3 cups of boiled potatoes (I live the skin on), cooled and cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ of a large onion diced

1 stalk celery sliced thinly

1-2 dill pickles diced

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil or other good vegetable oil

2 Tbsp dill pickle juice (the brine from the jar)

3 Tbsp Vegeniase or other vegan mayo-type dressing

Salt and pepper to taste (careful on the salt – the pickle juice is already salty!)

In a large bowl toss the potatoes, onion, oil and pickle juice together until the potatoes and onion are coated. Add the remaining ingredients and toss together.

p.s. My mom would not be happy that I shared her recipe. She would be delighted that we’re all still gushing over her potato salad though.