Friday, May 25, 2012

Mujadara Stuffed Collard Wraps

Ever have one of those days where you eat nothing but bread, cheese, beer and more bread?

A bagel for breakfast, followed by SEVERAL beers for an afternoon snack (It was my day off... I was camping... no judgements people) followed by a half a loaf of ciabatta bread with more cheese than a person should eat in one sitting.

It happens.

I always feel like crap the next day and bitch about how I'm never eating wheat again and then I inevitably find myself noshing on a sandwich a couple days later.

On those off days when I'm not binging on wheat I'm usually stuffing my face with lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

It's all about balance....

Sometimes It's hard to get all of those greens down, which makes these collard wraps perfect.  Take a raw collard wrap, stuff it with your favorite goodies and roll it up like a burrito. 

Collards are high in vitamins A, B, C, and K and contain high amounts of beta carotine. They are rich in iron and calcium and high in fiber. They help support our body's detoxification system and contain anti-inflamatory nutrients. 

In other words.. alot healther than a hunk of bread.

Mujadara Stuffed Collard Wraps (makes 4-6 rolls)

1 bunch collard greens, in this case the bigger the leaf, the better
1 batch of mujadara 
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 batch miso lemon tahini sauce

Wash and dry your collards. Lay one leaf on a flat surface (shiny side down) and cut out the inner rib, leaving as much of the leaf intact as possible. Spread a tablespoon of miso lemon tahini sauce in the center of the collard, followed by 1/2 c. mujadara, some cucumber and a sprinkling of toasted walnuts. Fold in the sides and roll up like a burrito. Cut in half and serve with additional miso lemon tahini sauce for dipping.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Rolls with Mushrooms and Brown Sugar Tofu

Summer roll season is here, people!

Time to make a trip to the Asian market and stock up on supplies.

Rice paper wraps and vermacelli noodles are a must.

This version here is packed full of goodness... brown sugar seared tofu, beech mushrooms, romaine lettuce and cilantro with a ginger shallot green onion paste. 

Savory and Sweet.

Roll. Eat. Repeat.

Summer Rolls with Mushrooms and Brown Sugar Tofu  (makes 8 fat rolls)

Slightly Adapted From 101 cookbooks

Ginger onion paste

2 scallions, sliced
2 medium shallots, peeled and chopped
3 T. grated, peeled ginger
1/2 t. sea salt
4 T. sunflower oil

Brown Sugar Tofu and Mushrooms

15 oz. tofu
4 cloves garlic    
3/4 t. sea salt
2 T. dark brown sugar
3 T. sunflower oil

8 oz. package beech mushrooms, rough chopped

Other Goodies      

spring roll wrappers (25 cm size)
vermacelli noodles (2 small bundles)
romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
fresh cilantro sprigs        

Sweet sesame dipping sauce (optional, but yummy)

To make the ginger onion paste, place scallions, shallots, ginger and sea salt in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Alternatively you could pound everything together using a mortar and pestle.  Heat the oil in a small pan until hot. Stir in the onion/ginger mixture, remove from the heat and transfer to a jar to cool.

For the tofu and mushrooms, pat tofu dry and cut into 8 equal slabs and arrange on a large plate or baking sheet. Rough chop the garlic and sprinkle it with garlic, continue chopping, sliding the side of the knive over top to create a paste. Place in a small bowl with the brown sugar and slowly whisk in the oil to create a smooth paste. Using a small pastry brush (or your fingers) slather both sides of the tofu with the marinade. Set aside and leave the bowl dirty.

Cook tofu in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat (you shouldn't need any additional oil) until golden brown on each side. Set aside to cool a bit.  When cool enough to handle, cut into strips.

Meanwhile, gently toss the mushrooms with the residual marinade left from the tofu bowl. Using the same skillet to cook the tofu, add a splash of oil and sautee the mushrooms until they take on a bit of color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

To rehydrate vermacelli noodles, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles, remove from the heat and let sit 2-3 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer and refresh under cold water. Drain well and set aside.

To assemble the spring rolls, dip a spring roll wrapper in a bowl of hot water for five seconds. Place on a flat surface (I use my cutting board) and smear a generous amount of ginger onion paste in the middle. Next add a couple torn romaine lettuce leaves, a small amount of vermacelli noodles, three pieces of tofu and some cilantro. Roll the bottom of the wrap over the filling, fold in the sides and continue rolling.  Place rolls on a large plate covered with a damp paper towel to prevent from drying out. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Best Egg Salad.. EVER.

The quality of your eggs is directly propotional to the taste of your egg salad.

It's easy math really.  Get some mass produced supermarket eggs with pale yolks and the final result ain't gonna be all that.  No amount of mayonnaise or herbs or whatever you like to add to your egg salad is going to help.

Now... get yourself some local, free range, preferably organic eggs. The kind where the name of the farm is printed on the box. The kind where the eggs vary in size and color and the yolks are so vibrantly yellow they appear to glow.

I haven't always loved egg salad. Especially the kind sold in deli's gooped up with mayo sitting in a glass case under some limp kale for god knows HOW long.  I avoided it like the plague. It just looked so unappealing to me. 

Then one day I decided to make my own. 

What the hell took me so long?

I've made several variations and this is my favorite.  Local eggs, a little bit of mayo, fresh herbs, shallots and just a touch of dijon mustard.  Sandwiched between some good bread or eaten straight out the bowl this stuff is delicious. 

Make it once and you'll never go back to store bought again..

Egg Salad
6 large hard boiled eggs, peeled (local, free range and/or organic)
2 T. fresh chopped dill
2 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 T. chives
2 T. diced shallot
3-4 T. mayonnaise
1/2 T. dijon mustard
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Never hardboiled eggs before?

Here's my go to method:
Place the eggs in a medium sized saucepan (so they all fit comfortably) and cover with cold water. I usually add a tablespoon of vinegar, which is supposed to make the eggs easier to peel. Some people do this and others don't.  It seems to work pretty well for me so I go with it.  Bring to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat, cover and let sit 16 minutes. Immediately transfer eggs to an ice water bath and let them hang out for 10 minutes or so.  Voila! You got hard boiled eggs.

Rough chop your eggs. I like the salad a little on the chunky side, if you like yours a little more uniform, you could chop the eggs finer. Place in a bowl and gently fold in the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.