Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chili Roasted Tofu with Minted Quinoa Relish by Heather

I wanted to share this easy weeknight dinner.  It's light and healthy, and only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish to make.  This recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen (one of my go to recipe sources) and this was actually the first time I've made this recipe.


1 14 oz. pack extra firm tofu, drained and pressed in paper towel
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tsp. chili powder
pinch smoked paprika or chipotle
2 tsp. maple syrup or honey
1 tbs. orange juice
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

1 pomegranate (just buy the arils)
1 shallot, finely minced
zest of 1 orange
2 tbs. chopped mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, diced
Sriracha to taste

Wrap tofu in paper towel and place between two plates.  Rest a couple heavy objects on the top plate to help remove any excess liquid from the tofu.  Keep the tofu pressed for at least 10 minutes.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  Typically, the instructions call for 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water.  Bring the quinoa to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is fluffy and all water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, make the chili marinade.  Combine the chili powder, paprika or chipotle powder, maple syrup, orange juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until combined.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Green Tea Poached Salmon with Soba by Heather

On days when I want to eat healthy, but want to feel indulgent, I turn to this recipe.  I make salmon at least once a week and I love its versatility.  Don't be worried about poaching the salmon here.  It's actually quite easy.

This recipe was adapted from Sprouted Kitchen, and I've made only minor tweaks to the recipe.


For the sauce:
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. tahini
2 tbs. honey
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 tbs. soy sauce
1 inch piece of ginger, grated

For the salmon:
3 bags green tea
1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 8 oz. salmon filet

1 package soba noodles
1 bunch broccolini or broccoli, chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced

2 green onions, cut on the diagonal
black or white sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk sauce ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

Combine broccolini, garlic, and olive oil on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.  If you are in a hurry and need to save time, you can also microwave the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl with lid for 2 minutes.

In a medium sized sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to a simmer.  Turn heat down to low and add tea bags and peppercorns, steep for 3 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.  Add rice vinegar to the poaching liquid, then slide in the salmon, skin-side down.  Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, until salmon is just barely cooked in the middle.  Remove the salmon and set on a plate, and flake it into pieces with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook the soba according to package instructions.  Once the soba has been drained, divide the soba into individual bowls.  Top with sauce, broccolini, and salmon, then garnish.

Special Ingredient: Kabocha and Goat Cheese Empanadas by Heather

I decided to make empanadas with the special ingredient this month.  I wanted to create a dish that captured the flavors of fall and played on elements that were both salty and sweet.

In full disclosure, I don't do a lot of baking, so I was a little nervous to make these empanadas, but the dough recipe is basically fool-proof, and you can really add whatever ingredients you desire for the filling. I thought goat cheese would be a nice complement to the kabocha, but you could also try a blue cheese if you wanted to make these a little more daring.  The sweetness of these empanadas are balanced by the tanginess of a nicely aged, syrupy balsamic vinegar.  Using a good quality balsamic vinegar is really key to this recipe.  I used Olivier&Co's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

For the dough, I stuck to this recipe here: Give Me Flour

For the filling, I used the following ingredients:
1 kabocha squash, halved
1 sprig rosemary
3 sage leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 log soft goat cheese
2-3 tbs. milk
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar, divided
spice mix: 2 parts cinnamon, 1 part chili powder, couple dashes of nutmeg
Egg wash: 1 egg white and 1 tbs. of water

To prep the squash, cut in half, and rub inside and out with olive oil.  Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.   Bake in over for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until you can easily insert a knife into the outside of the skin. When the squash bakes like this, it's called steaming.  Because the moisture within the squash is trapped inside, it allows the squash to cook more quickly.

While the squash cooks, prepare the dough and set aside into the fridge to cool.

As the squash cools, saute the onions with the herbs in olive oil until the onions are translucent and set aside.
Once the squash has cooled, remove from skin and cut into chunks, adding them to a food processor.  Add the onion mixture, vegetable stock, and most of the spice mixture to the food processor, and blend until all ingredients are smooth.  If the mixture looks a little dry, add the milk to add in some creaminess, then half of the balsamic vinegar and blend until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a thin sheet 1/8 in. thick on a floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter or any rounded object you have on hand to cut the dough into disks.

Spoon about a tablespoon of the squash mixture onto one side of each disk and as much goat cheese as desired, leaving about 1/4 in. room at the edges.

Fold the empanadas in half, then crimp edges together with a fork.

Repeat process until all empanadas have been filled, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle the remaining spice mixture on top for a bit of color.

Cook until empanadas are lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Serve with a small dish of balsamic for dipping and enjoy!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Special Ingredient: Kabocha Squash Croquettes by Rachel

Once a month, Heather and I decided that we would pick a seasonal ingredient and make something yummy with it.  This month, now that fall has settled in, we decided to pick kabocha squash.

I've turned my kabocha squash into tasty croquettes!  The recipe is really delicious and it makes a great appetizer.  I am a HUGE fan of the squash and I'm glad to have found a dish that makes the squash a star.

Croquettes do take a gentle hand and this was my first time making them.  I find that, with cooking, practice makes perfect.  Be gentle with these!  My first attempt came out pretty good!  Cradle them into the hot oil and watch them brown and in less than 8 minutes, you'll have crunchy croquettes!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade Teriyaki Tilapia by Rachel

Working in and around Times Square, sometimes it's hard to find a place to have a good, well-balanced lunch.  Some of my favorite lunches in the area tend to be bento boxes from little Japanese delis.  If you aren't familiar with a bento box, it's basically a mix of things that you can eat with rice.  Usually it comes with a protein and a few vegetables or a salad.

My favorite bento boxes have a teriyaki glazed fish as the protein and last night I had a serious craving for it.  Luckily for me, homemade teriyaki sauce is super easy to make and you can make it sweeter or saltier depending on what you like.  I prefer mine a little saltier, but if you like yours little sweeter, just add a little more mirin and a little more agave.

1lb of fish separated into two filets- I used tilapia, but this type of sauce is popular on salmon as well
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp good soy sauce
4 tbsp Agave
2 tbsp water

- Mix the mirin, soy sauce and agave together in a dish that will be big enough to place your fish flat into the plate.  Make sure that the agave is well mixed into the soy sauce and mirin.

Yummy sauces all mixed together!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hello, World!

We finally did it.  We started a food blog and we're excited to start share our cooking adventures with you!

After posting picture after picture on Instagram, we're always asked how we find the time to make the dishes that we make or what our techniques are in cooking things that seem intimidating or complicated, so we've finally decided to put together a blog of all our at-home creations to share with you.  

With all the craziness that goes on in our lives, we find solace and comfort in cooking something yummy to share with our friends and family.  While we're not professional chefs, we've become the chefs in our own homes and have created some pretty tasty dishes (if we do say so ourselves).

We'll be sharing them here and we hope that you'll start to enjoy cooking as much as we do!

Rachel and Heather