TOFU VEGETABLE CURRY: Filling, Flavorful, & Low In Calories!!!

tofu veg curry1 text

I love vegetarian curry dishes! The warm spices wake up your mouth, it fills you up, and – best of all – they’re low in calories! Without the rice, TOFU VEGETABLE CURRY is about 200 calories per cup. Yay!

TOFU VEGETABLE CURRY also has the benefit of being easy and fairly quick to prepare – about 40 minutes total (and the last 15 minutes are hands off simmering).

If you’ve already glanced at the recipe below, you may be leery of making it due to the long list of ingredients. Fear not! Notice that most of them are spices. If you’ve been cooking for awhile then you may already have many, if not all – they’re very common in cooking.

Note:  If you prefer, you can substitute 2 T garam masala spice blend for the first 10 ingredients.  Then start with the chili powder.

Additional Note: Don’t skip the cream – it truly makes all the difference in the world. (There’s only 1/4 cup in the whole batch anyway.)

TOFU VEGETABLE CURRY – makes about 8 cups

  • 1 T coriander
  • 1¼ tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups  onions, chopped
  • 1 cup red potatoes (or Yukon gold), unpeeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 serrano chili, minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 14 oz canned whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 6 oz extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Have all ingredients prepped, in order to speed things up.

Place a small bowl near the stove. Into a dry Dutch oven add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, mustard, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cayenne, and chili powder. Turn flame on to medium/high. Stir constantly for 1 minute – you’re toasting the spices. You’ll notice a puff of smoke at about the 1 minute mark. Immediately empty the spices into the bowl and set aside.

Into the now empty Dutch oven add 3 T oil, onions, and potatoes. Sauté over medium/high until browned – about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Shove the onions and potatoes to the edge of the pot. Into the center place the remaining 1 T oil, garlic, serrano, and tomato paste. Over medium flame stir just the tomato paste mixture for 1 minute to bloom them. Then stir the onions/potatoes and tomato paste mixture together, cooking an additional 2 minutes.

Add in the cauliflower and spices (from bowl),  and cook 2 more minutes, stirring often.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, water, chickpeas, sugar, tofu, and salt. Bring to boil, cover, then turn down heat to keep a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Stir in the peas and cream. Serve as is, or over rice with NAAN BREAD (which I prefer!).

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OATMEAL BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES: Thick And Chewy!

oatmeal butterscotch cookie textOnce I fine-tune a recipe to my liking, I move on. However, I’m not a gal so set in her ways that I’m not willing to be flexible about revisiting a recipe. (This does NOT apply to household activities in which I’m constantly suggesting (okay, nagging) that my husband put his keys and wallet in the same spot so he doesn’t have to spend 15 minutes daily looking for them.)

Three years ago I created an OATMEAL CHIP COOKIE which I loved. So when I recently saw a chewy oatmeal cookie recipe in Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I nearly gave it a miss. But, I like to learn about the science of cooking, so I read it. One thing lead to another and I decided to make them, adding butterscotch chips…just because.

They were chewy, moist, and the butterscotch was a perfect additional to the bland oatmeal. I’m a convert!

QUEEN OF FREEZE TIP:  Cookies (both baked and the batter) freeze well. Surprisingly, they don’t loose moisture when thawed. Just set the frozen cookies on a plate for a couple of hours and, presto – dessert!

OATMEAL BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES – makes about 22-23

  • 5 oz (1 cup + 2 T) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 T butter (salted)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 5¼ oz (3/4 cup + 2 T) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, whole
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (not the quick cooking kind)
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch chips

NOTE:  It’s best to weight ingredients like flour and brown sugar. This gives you an exact amount, which is important in baking. Even 1 tablespoon too much or little makes a difference. I included cup amounts, just in case. But, if you don’t have a scale, put it on your birthday wish list!flour on scaleIn a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Put butter in a light colored (such as silver) small skillet or saucepan. Over medium/high heat, melt and brown butter until it’s amber. There will be a lovely fragrance! This will take 2-3 minutes, so DON’T LEAVE UNATTENDED! Immediately pour into large mixing bowl.browning butter textStir in cinnamon until blended. Then, using a large spoon, add in brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla, mixing until smooth.oatmeal cookie mixing1Lightly beat together the whole egg and yolk, then mix into batter. (Don’t add the eggs at the same time as this the sugars – the butter is still too warm and you don’t want to cook the eggs. Mixing in the sugars, etc cools down the butter.)egg beatenStir in the flour mixture until most of flour is incorporated.oatmeal cookie mixing2Finally, stir in oats and butterscotch chips.oatmeal cookie mixing3Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.

Note: Don’t make smaller cookies or you’ll loose the chewiness.

Place about 2½ – 3 T dough blobs on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Smoosh together to form cookie. Don’t crowd them – they’ll spread. You can get about nine per sheet.oatmeal cookie unbaked Bake at 375º F for 9-10 minutes. The key is to look at the edges, not the center. The edge should start to look baked, but the center should not be browned. Because the cookies will continue to cook on the hot sheet out of the oven, if you wait to remove them from the oven until they look baked, they’ll be overcooked.oatmeal cookie bakedLet cookies cool on cookie sheet before removing them to a wire rack.

 

ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD – A New Favorite In Our Home!

Israeli coucous salad textI’m always interested in new salads – one can only eat so many lettuce and tomato dinner salads. My ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD combines Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous) with arugula, mint, dried cranberries, pistachio nuts, and feta cheese with a tasty vinaigrette.

It makes a delicious addition to a meal or, in larger portions, it’s filling enough to be a meal itself.

While preparing ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD is fairly quick, the marinated shallots need 30 minutes to steep – so plan ahead.

Note:  After the couscous is boiled, the instructions say to spread it out on a cookie sheet to cool and dry. DON’T do as I did the first few times and use paper towels or waxed paper (unless you double layer it). The towels and paper will tear, and the couscous will stick – it will be a mess!!!!  Pour the couscous straight on the sheet.

ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD – makes about 10 cups

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 sliced shallots
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 5T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup peas (if using frozen, thaw before using)
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 oz arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, shallots, and a pinch of salt. Bring to simmer, cover, and turn off burner. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate and slightly cook shallots.

In a medium sized saucepan, put 1T olive oil and couscous. Using a medium/high flame toast couscous until it starts to brown (about 5 minutes), stirring often to cook evenly and  prevent burning. Add in the water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to boil, lower heat to keep a simmer, cover, and cook 9 minutes – until most of water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let pot sit covered for another 3-4 minutes to allow the rest of water to absorb. Pour onto a large rimmed cookie sheet, spreading couscous out to cool and dry for at least 15 minutes.

Whisk together remaining 4 T olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, 1/4 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

After shallots are done steeping pour into a strainer, discarding liquid.

Into a very large bowl, place the shallots, couscous, arugula, mint, peas, feta, and cranberries. Pour in the vinaigrette and blend. When ready to serve, add in pistachios and toss.

 

 

TAPENADE – A Little Something To Tide You Over!

tapenade2 textIt’s tricky business when you have guests for dinner. I usually gear my meal to be ready half an hour after the designated arrival time. But there’s the rub. Sometimes people are late, or worse, early. They’re hungry, but you don’t want them to fill up on weighty appetizers.

I’ve recently discovered tapenade, a spread consisting of olives, capers and olive oil. (Carnivores will add anchovies, too.) It’s just enough to keep the hunger pangs at bay, but doesn’t ruin your appetite.

I’ve found that a hearty white bread, such as a French baguette or Italian loaf perfectly complements the saltiness of the spread.

Naturally, I make my own baguette (for my recipe click on French Bread Baguette – it’s très simple). But, of course, you can purchase it.

Tapenade is made in a flash via the food processor (hopefully, you have one!).

TAPANADE – makes about 2 cups

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, raw
  • 1½ cups Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup salt cured green olives, pitted
  • 3 T capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put pine nuts in food processor and whirl until they form a paste. Pulse in olives, capers, garlic, and mustard.

Pour olive mixture into a bowl and stir in the olive oil. (Don’t be tempted to pour the oil in the food processor with the other ingredients – it will emulsify.)

Serve with white bread.