Tag: recipes

Stop steaming your potatoes and bake them

Stop steaming your potatoes and bake them

I’d been doing it wrong for my entire life. Wrapping a potato in tin foil and sticking it in the oven or on a BBQ is more like steaming your potatoes than baking them. If you want the best baked potato ever, try this: 1. […]

A homemade egg salad sandwich

A homemade egg salad sandwich

Life is changing. I guess that’s what it’s meant to do. I’m working more outside the home – and homemaking less. We’ve hired a full-time live-in nanny and we’ve got her doing all kinds of things that I used to do. I now have a […]

The best tofu and daikon sandwich ever

For many people, tofu just doesn’t sound that appetizing. I kinda get that – the whole bean curd thing gets less appealing the more I think about it.

But I love tofu – especially the firm variety. I love the taste and the texture. I love that it’s not meat, but full of protein. And I think I may have found the best way to eat tofu – in a sandwich.

I first discovered this sandwich in a small, underground vegetarian spot (literally, it was in the basement of a building I worked in on Spadina south of Queen in the late 1990s) and I have adapted it to my liking.

It has four main ingredients: tofu, radish, mustard, and greens.

Here’s how I make it:

1. Prepare your tofu in two steps:

a. Marinate your tofu. Start with the firmest tofu you can buy. Slice it into thin pieces (say 1/2 to 1 cm or about 1/4 inch) and then marinate for an hour or so in a store-bought Teriyaki sauce. You can use any yummy Asian marinade here, for instance this Korean flank steak marinade would work just as well.

b. After an hour of marinating, place the tofu on a cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 20 minutes or so. You just want to firm up the tofu and bake in the marinade flavour. Remove from oven and let cool. (Ok, you can taste one.)

2. Pick your radish. The original sandwich that inspired me used daikon (winter) radish and this has a great taste in combination with the salty tofu. You can also use traditional white-fleshed, red-skinned (summer) radish. The key is to pick a radish with a fresh, peppery taste. Slice your radish thinly, but not paper-thin. You want to maintain some crunch.

3. Use Dijon mustard. I’ve experimented with a number of other mustards and they don’t work as well. Dijon has that perfect combination of tang and heat to complement the flavours. I’ve tasted very hot and and very mild dijon, so find one that fits your palate.

4. Greens. To me, you just want a touch of green to finish this medley fo flavours. Sprouts would work, such as radish or alfalfa, but stick to the green tops and don’t overload. Chives might also work. This is really optional, so do whatever works.

Of course, your sandwich is only as good as your bread. As I recall, the original sandwich that inspired me was on focaccia. I’d pick something fresh and soft, but that’s me.

Now, after writing this post, I’m jonesing for a tofu and daikon sandwich. Let me know how it works for you.

 

Those ripening bananas on your counter will go great in these oatmeal muffins

For some reason, I’m finding myself craving home baked goods lately. And I mean craving – jonesing, even. Dinner’s done and I see the browning bananas on the counter and I think to myself: I could whip those into muffins in no time. I tell […]

My favourite latke recipe

Hanukkah is the festival of light…and oil. As the tradition goes, the Maccabees won the war, but the Temple was destroyed in the process. When they returned to the rubble, they found only one intact jug of oil still bearing the high priest’s seal – […]

Waffle Wednesdays is a labour of love

Who doesn’t love a warm waffle drenched in pure maple syrup? I’m not talking about blueberry waffles or fancy Belgian waffles. I’m talking plain old waffles – freshly prepared from scratch.

I love making waffles for my family. For me, waffle-making is the essence of home and comfort food. Waffle Wednesdays is our favourite morning around our house. Most days, I’ll reach in the freezer and grab some left-over waffles from the double or triple batch I make on the weekend (so I’ll have extras). But some days, like today, I’ll get up a little early and whip them together. It doesn’t take much.

There’s another benefit of making waffles: they remind me of my mother. And I have transferred those fond memories to my kids. So when the waffles are cooking and the smell is permeating the house, we all think and talk of her and those memories just make it taste better.

My recipe is simple and no fuss. It takes all of 3 minutes to make the batter.

1. Combine in dry bowl:

  • 1 3/4 cups white flour;
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder;
  • 1/4 tsp salt .

2. Combine in wet bowl:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups of milk

3. Pour wet ingredients into dry bowl and stir until combined.

4. Spoon onto a hot waffle iron.

I read somewhere that you know when the waffles are done when they stop steaming. This is mostly correct, but don’t wait for all the steam to disappear or you’ll have dried out waffles. I always end up opening and closing the top to check them anyway, but you’ll get a feel for it after a few.

Whatever you do, make sure you eat them warm with pure maple syrup. There is absolutely no excuse to eat artificial syrup in Canada. It is the quintessentially Canadian experience.

Enjoy your Waffle Wednesday!

Postscript: It turns out that Waffle Wednesdays is a popular concept – there is a Waffle Wednesday Facebook page, a Chief Waffle Officer out there and quite the Twitter discussion. Who knew?

Variations on an Asian slaw

Lately, my favourite recipe for my wife and myself has been this Asian slaw. It starts with a basic Asian vinaigrette: 1 large clove crushed garlic 1/4 cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup (60 ml) Soy Sauce […]

Make your stainless appliances sparkle again

Remember how shiny those stainless steel appliances were when you were looking at them in the showroom? Now that they’re at home in your kitchen, they come into daily contact with grubby little paws and it’s starting to show. Every try wiping them with a […]

Presto, you have pesto

Pesto is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It tastes heavenly and freezes well for future dinners.

Freshly made pesto on pasta is exquisite. The earthy basil combined with the sexy fresh garlic blended into a rich, smooth paste with extra-virgin olive oil (or EVOO, as Rachel Ray says) is one of the best non-sex experiences I know. There I said it.

I’m not going to waste time here explaining that pesto is Italian for paste or tell you that you can make a paste out of anything. I am only going to say start making this recipe early and your kids (and you) will grow to love it.

So, here are the ingredients that we need:

3 packed cups fresh basil leaves (removed from stems and cleaned)
2 large cloves fresh garlic
½ cup walnuts (traditionally pine nuts, but walnuts are healthier)
¾ packed cup fresh chopped parsley
¾ cup fresh grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
salt to taste

Throw everything in the food processor and voila, sorry, I mean presto – you have pesto.

Now, here are some tips to make it really good pesto:

1. Make sure you use only the basil leaves (no stems) and that it is very clean. Gritty is not a quality you are striving for in your pesto. I plug the sink drain and wash each leaf under the slowly running tap, then drop it into the sink. At the end, you have a sink full of water with the clean basil leaves floating on top and the dirt sitting on the bottom. Scoop off the basil and dry – in a towel or lettuce spinner.

2. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor to on low, then medium speed. Re-arrange contents with a spatula so everything gets combined into a smooth paste.

3. Toss with hot, drained pasta. (I like to drizzle a bit of EVOO on the pasta before dressing it with the pesto.) Serve with freshly grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper. (Don’t under-salt it.)

4. Once made, the pesto will turn a dark colour quickly. So, for the freshest, greenest pesto, prepare all ingredients, then process just before tossing with pasta. Cover with plastic wrap (allowing no air contact) and refrigerate if preparing in advance.

5. Make 3-4 times the amount you need for a large meal and freeze the rest. I spoon a large dollop (enough for a meal) onto plastic wrap and freeze it.

When you’re stuck for a dinner idea or are surprised with dinner guests – presto.

And don’t forget the salt. (Trust me.)