Spring Gomasio Veggie Tofu Pan Roast

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The light changes dramatically here in Warwick in the very early spring. Right around the time we change the clocks, the angle of sun makes everything glow with the promise of long, soft days and warmer nights. This year, we have a deep, sparkling blanket of snow from last week’s blizzard; it feels a little peculiar to have sunlight for a walk after supper when the landscape looks so wintry.

The snow pack has given us a chance to get out into the woods on our cross country skis. It’s a terrific workout followed by a cup Totally Luxurious Comforting Hot Chocolate and a slice of toasted Mindfulness Bread  with almond butter in front of the fire.

It’s time for some food that feels springy, even as the grill is still buried and are toes are as yet too cold for salad suppers. One of my Instagram followers asked me for the recipe for my homemade gomasio, and thinking about that budding mind a direction; I love that sort of inspiration.

I have my Instagram friends, especially Jill @feedtheswimmers, to thank for the gomasio idea; I’ve been making my own because I’m such a committed diy-er. But Nancy, @urbankitchenapothecary, specializes in the stuff and I’d encourage you to check out her feed and her website for extra inspo and purchasing options.

Gomasio, or gomashio, is a Japanese condiment consisting of ground toasted sesame seeds and salt. Sometimes herbs and/or pepper are added. My version uses both black and white seeds, but you may use either. Unhulled seeds are traditional. I buy organic seeds and encourage you to do the same.

This recipe will give you a taste of this lovely condiment. And I’m sure you’ll think of many other uses. Here are some to get you started:

Top raw veggies, like carrots and cucumbers
Top a salad
Sprinkle on scrambled, hard-cooked or fried eggs
Top a chili or soup
Sprinkle on homemade crackers
In a grilled cheese sandwich
Garnish a stir fry
Sprinkle on bread dough before baking
Perfect crust for a roasted piece of salmon or chicken
Top a fruit salad
Top ice cream (I know, you’d be surprised)

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Spring Gomasio Veggie Tofu Pan Roast

Gomasio

Makes a little more than a cup.

½ cup white sesame seeds
½ cup black sesame seeds
1 tbs. coarse sea salt

Toast the seed in a dry skillet until the white seeds just begin to color and the mixture is fragrant. Mix in the salt. Grind in a mortar and pestle or mini food processor until most of the seeds are broken up. I hold out a few tablespoons to leave whole just because it’s prettier.

Tofu

The cornstarch helps form a nice crust. Skip it if you don’t want the carbs.

Extra firm tofu
Drizzle of walnut or olive oil
Sprinkle of soy sauce
Gomasio

optional: a bit of cornstarch and/or honey

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Press the tofu between two towel-lined plates for 15 minutes or so. Cut into sticks or cubes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch (if using). Toss very gently. Sprinkle on the gomasio. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tofu pieces are browned and crispy. Cool for a few minutes to let them firm up before you try to move them to a plate.

Veggies

I’ll list the veg I used here, but feel free to substitute your favorites.

Purple and green cabbage, cut into wedges
Purple cauliflower, cut into wedges
Purple carrots, sliced
Asparagus, trimmed
Purple potatoes, cut into wedges
Purple onions, cut into wedges
Frozen artichoke hearts

Line baking sheets with parchment. Toss the veggies with a bit of your favorite oil, salt, and pepper. Lay them in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until each veg is tender. You may need to remove the quicker cooking ones (like asparagus) as they are done. Sprinkle with gomasio.

Serve immediately, though roasted veggies and tofu reheat well and are also terrific at room temp or cold. Maple Sesame Dressing, Tahini Lime Sauce, or Peanut Sauce, are all terrific with this.
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Posted in condiment, dinner, entree, gluten free, healthy, low carb, lunch, main, roasted, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Candy Pork

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I was trying to remember when we renamed Chinese Barbecue Pork. In my memory, it is connected to a trip Megan took to the Pacific Northwest when she was a teenager, about a decade ago. Something about eating freshly grilled nuggets of native salmon on a beach; the sweet, Asian inspired salmon was called Candy Fish. Or was it Fish Candy?

Then, I looked up the recipe that was the original inspiration for Candy Pork, and the Cook’s Illustrated listing is dated 2007, the same year as that trip. So, I would say we’ve been enjoying Candy Pork in our family for ten years, and it’s about time I share it here on the blog.

My rendition is very similar to the ATK version. Strips of pork shoulder or country ribs are soaked in an Asian marinade; a portion of which is used as the base of a glaze that coats and lacquers the meat, making it sweet, gingery, savory, and pleasantly chewy. It is terrific served as the basis for supper, just serve with rice or a grain (here, I went with bulger, lightly season with sesame oil), and a steamed veg. Sliced, the pork is wonderful on top of a  salad or slaw. It would be great in Phake Pho! Throw leftovers into fried rice (or cauliflower rice), or fold into a wrap with some of the extra glaze and a few leaves of arugula or kale.

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Candy Pork

Serves 4

2 pounds pork shoulder or country ribs, cut into 2 inch wide strips
¼ cup cane sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tbs. hoisin sauce
2 tbs.dry white wine
2 tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 tbs. ketchup
2 tbs. honey
1 scallion, sliced
2 pieces candied ginger, minced
black pepper, to taste

extra scallions for garnish

Using a fork, prick the pork all over on both sides to help the marinade to penetrate the meat.

In a bowl, mix the sugar, soy, hoisin, wine, sesame oil, scallion, ginger, and pepper. Remove half a cup of marinade and set aside. Place the meat in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over, smooshing to mix. Press out extra air, seal the bag, put it on a plate (in case of leaks), and stash in the fridge for at least a half hour and up to four hours.

Place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and boil to reduce by half. Add the ketchup and honey to make the glaze.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a sheet pan with foil and then place a rack into the pan. Remove the pork from the marinade and lay the slices on the rack. Pour ¼ cup water into the pan and cover the pan tightly with foil. Roast, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and roast until the meat begins to brown, 40 minutes.

Heat the broiler and broil 7-9 minutes until the meat is fairly dark. Use a brush to paint with a generous layer of glaze; return to broiler. Watch carefully; broil for 3-4 minutes until the glaze is bubbly and dark brown in spots. Flip the meat and repeat the process.

Cool slightly and serve with remaining glaze and extra scallions.

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Posted in dinner, gluten free, low carb, lunch, main, supper, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Loaded Blondies

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I learned to bake blondies 50 years ago when I was a girl scout. I was a terrible girl scout, a total flop. I don’t think I ever earned a single badge. But I got this recipe at one of the meetings, and five decades later, it’s still a hit. The original recipe was simple, kid-friendly, and fool-proof.

These are similar, but a bit more sophisticated. They are soft, cakey, and chewy all at once. Caramelly, a little salty, sweetness tempered by whole wheat, sour cherries, toasty pecans, and slightly bitter dark chocolate.

I decided to work on a recipe for a slightly smaller batch than is common for blondies. That way, you can make them more often and explore a greater range of variations. Once you get started, you’ll want to try tons of different combinations. And then write me a note here on the blog (in Comments), and tell me about it!

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Loaded Blondies

Feel free to make these with all ap flour if you prefer. I like the slight savoriness and chew contributed by the whole wheat.

Makes 16 blondies, about 2 inches each

You will need a metal, square, 8 or 9 inch pan.

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cool room temp
½ cup cane or white sugar
½ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 egg, room temp
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup ap flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup each: dried sour cherries, chopped toasted pecans, coarsely chopped dark chocolate*

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a small bowl, whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder and soda.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and sugars. Alternatively, use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the flour mixture on low speed and when almost combined, add the cherries, nuts, and chocolate. I like to finish mixing by hand to avoid overbeating or breaking down the add-ins.

Spread the dough evenly in a 9 x 9 pan. I think the blondies turn out best if you refrigerate them at this point for a half hour or so, but if you’re in a rush, they’ll be fine if you bake them right away.

Bake for 20 minutes or until they are uniformly puffed and very slightly browned on top.

Cool on a rack for 15 minutes and then cut into squares and serve.

Blondies keep well at room temp for a day or so, and freeze wonderfully.

*Variations are endless. You may use hand-chopped chocolate or chips. Any combination that totals 1 cup of add-ins. Here are some combinations to get you started:

White chocolate, dark chocolate, and almonds
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate
Dark chocolate, raisins, and walnuts
Milk chocolate, peanut butter chips, and chopped peanuts
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and toffee bits
Dark, milk, and white chocolate (kid tested fave)

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Posted in chocolate, kid friendly, simple recipes, sweets, treats, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Warm Roasted Broccoli Salad with Maple Sesame Dressing

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I am a fake homesteader*. The idea of growing and/or raising my own food, of making things from scratch, appeals to me tremendously. I love the idea of living off the grid, of being free of the corporate economy, of living off the land.

Although I’m a pretty accomplished DIY-er, I can’t really grow much of anything here. The woods are just too dense for me to have enough hours of sunlight without knocking down a lot of trees. And anything I do grow is immediately  inhaled by my deer friends. So, I forage, grow herbs, rely on local farmers during the warmer months, and try to be conscious about my supermarket purchasing during the winter.

Right now, I’m tapping my maple trees again. As I type, the sap is flowing into containers, and I am boiling down gallons using a hot plate just outside the kitchen door. Once it’s down to a cup or two, I bring it in and finish on the stove. It’s pretty labor intensive, but the process is incredibly satisfying to me, making the resulting syrup all the sweeter for the experience.

I love making things from scratch. Homemade ricotta, for example, is far more delicious than the supermarket kind. I adore my own Mindfulness Granola, no store bought product even comes close. I’ve had some success making peanut and almond butters, though I can’t seem to get them super smooth. And last week, it occurred to me that I could make tahini from some of the huge tub of organic black sesame seeds I bought.

The tahini, spiked with a bit of the new maple syrup and some citrus, reminded me of a favorite terrific Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad from Food 52. Riffing off that recipe, I cut broccoli into thin planks and roasted, then drizzled it with the updated, maply dressing. The resulting warm salad is fresh, smoky, creamy, sweet, and citrusy, fresh and comforting. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself craving it again and again.

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Warm Roasted Broccoli Salad with Maple Sesame Dressing

Serves 4

You may make your own tahini or use prepared.

For the Broccoli:
1 ½ pounds broccoli, trimmed
1 tbs. olive oil
salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste

For the Dressing:
¼ cup tahini
2 tbs. maple syrup
juice of 1 small orange
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish. Or store bought or homemade gomasio.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Cut the broccoli into ¼ inch planks. There will be plenty of smaller pieces that fall off the larger planks, don’t worry, they will be delicious, too.

Pile the planks and smaller stuff onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, salt, sugar, and pepper, and smooge everything around a little. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green with some frizzle black around the edges.

While the broccoli cooks, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients. Add water, as needed, to get a thick sauce consistency. Taste, and adjust to your liking.

Place the broccoli in a wide, shallow bowl, drizzle with some of the dressing, and garnish if you like. Serve remaining dressing at the table.

This salad is terrific as a side dish or appetizer. Make it the center of meal by adding some grilled or roasted tofu, fish, poultry, or meat. Or simply top with a few perfectly cooked eggs.

If you have any dressing leftover (or decide to make another batch), it is great on just about any cooked or raw veggie or salad, terrific on grilled or roasted meat. I mixed some into yogurt with a little extra maple syrup and it was wonderful!

Blog note: Make sure to check out my Q and A on Propped. There are some beautiful new pots listed in my Propped Shop, including some of the bowls you see in this post. And keep an eye on mye, Etsy Store, which will be updated soon.

*Not to be confused with my amazing, beautiful friend, Kristin, The Ardent Homesteader, who is a real homesteader. I admire her tremendously and everyone should follow her blog and Instagram feed.

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Posted in appetizer, dinner, dressing, easy, gluten free, healthy, low carb, lunch, salad, sauce, side, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Seriously Craveworthy Coleslaw

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img_2524So, when was the last time you woke up in the morning and said to yourself, “I’m really in the mood for some coleslaw!”? I know, right? Coleslaw can be tasty, satisfying, perfect with certain favorites, but rarely crave-worthy. Unless you’re my dad.

My father, Don Bernstein (he was Donald first, and that makes the name safe from reproach IMO) turned 82 the other day, and this blog post is dedicated to him. Happy Birthday, Dad!! Dad always has coleslaw in the house. When I was a kid and I’d come down for a drink of water in the middle of the night, I’d often find Dad, in his boxers, standing in front of the fridge, munching on big forkfuls of coleslaw. Sometimes, he’d make it himself, but often, he’d pick it up at the deli.

A few months ago, when Brian was home, I saw a big, ugly, hairy knob of fresh horseradish at the market, and bought it on impulse. Have you ever ground your own horseradish? It’s kind of a revelation. It’ll blow your sinuses out when you make it, and again when you eat it. I learned how from Amy Theilen. Peel the root, cut it into chunks, and pulverize in the food processor until it’s finely ground. Then, mix in a little vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste. It is very fumish, and tastes super strong at first, so if you try it, be careful!

I think it was Brian’s idea to try adding the horseradish to coleslaw. I’d already made a version of my traditional creamy slaw with blue cheese. Throwing in some horseradish didn’t seem intuitive at first, but when we tried it, we were hooked. Creamy, spicy, savory, crunchy, a little bit sweet…this is a salad that tastes great with so many things. And you very well may wind up standing in front of the fridge in the middle of the night eating right out of the bowl!

Special thanks to my angel, Mary for helping with the post. And for making a MOVIE about it!!! So fun!

Also, before I get to the recipe, I have a bit of news. I did a Q and A for Propped! If you haven’t checked out Propped yet, you must! So wonderful, “a marketplace for modern day heirlooms.” I love these folks. Their work is stylish, grounded, and thoughtful; simultaneously homey and utterly current. It has been a terrific honor working with them and I am expecting great things to come.

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Seriously Craveworthy Coleslaw

I shred the cabbage using the slicing disk of my Cuisinart. But you can do it by hand if you prefer. The technique for preparing the cabbage comes from Cook’s Illustrated.

½ head green cabbage, shredded
2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. cane sugar
1 carrot, grated
2 tbs. prepared horseradish
2 oz. blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, crumbled
1 scallion, sliced
2 tbs. white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
optional: a dash of Worcestershire

Place the cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Toss well and let stand for ½ hour or so for the cabbage to wilt.

Mix up the ingredients for the dressing (everything below carrots).

Use a towel or paper towel to blot excess moisture from the cabbage. You don’t need to be fanatical about this, a little juiciness is ok, but you don’t want to water down the dressing too much.

Now, place everything in a really big bowl or pot and mix with your hands. Yes, you can do it with a spoon or tongs, but your hands are better. Serve immediately or refrigerate until bedtime.

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Posted in appetizer, condiment, gluten free, healthy, low carb, lunch, picnic, salad, side dish, snack, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Marbled Chocolate Dip (Topping or Tart Filling)

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img_2357This recipe is dedicated to my number one recipe tester, ski partner, co-parent, and sweetheart, Bob McGrath. After 30 years of marriage, we probably should be getting tired of each other, but I love him more deeply every day. The smartest, fairest, and most substantial person I know, he is also funny, sweet, and HOT. I’m so happy he was here when I tested this recipe, or I would be in a sugar coma instead of writing a blog post!

Just kidding. This stuff is satisfying enough that a minor dunk on a piece of fruit is a terrific treat. A little warm, creamy, dreamy, chocolate goes a long way. Unless you’re my fit runner husband, who can get away with slurping it right out of the bowl.

I found this recipe on Serious Eats and ran right out to buy the ingredients. I used Ghirardelli’s melting wafers, and was very happy with both taste and texture. And no, this is not a sponsored post.

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Marbled Chocolate Dip (Topping or Tart Filling)

You may use high quality block chocolate or disks. Don’t use chips. Make a vegan version using full fat coconut milk and vegan chocolate.

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped (or use disks)
1/3 cup white chocolate, chopped (or use disks)
pinch salt

fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, cookies, marshmallows, and/or cake for dipping

Bring the cream to a boil. Put the chocolates in separate bowls. Divide the hot cream between the bowls. Let stand 30 seconds. Add a pinch of salt and stir.

Now pour half of the dark into another bowl. Pour half the white in the middle. Then the remaining dark, finally the remaining white. You’re making a kind of chocolate bull’s eye. Swirl with a chopstick. Serve immediately.

If you have leftovers, rewarm in microwave and serve over ice cream.

This ganache makes a beautiful and delicious tart filling. I used the dough from my Caramel Apple Upside Down Cookie Tart recipe to form little tartlet shells in muffin cups, and filled them with this heavenly stuff.

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Posted in baked goods, chocolate, dessert, easy, fruit, gluten free, ice cream, sauce, simple recipes, snack, sweets, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polish Fish with Greek Sauce

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Honestly, I can never remember whether this recipe is Called Polish Fish with Greek Sauce or Greek Fish with Polish Sauce. When my sister Wendy, my beautiful niece, Tal, and I made it a couple of weeks ago in Florida, we took to calling it Confused Fish. But that makes me think of demented finned cartoon characters, so I can’t call it that.

The original recipe came from my nephew Max’s ex-girlfriends’s mother. My sister first tasted it years ago and fell so head over heels in love with it that she tried to find out how it was made. The cook was more than willing to share her ingredients and technique, but there was apparently a language barrier. So, being a talented cook, Wendy took on the challenge of recreating the dish herself. This was quite a number of years ago, and at this point, she really has little idea how much “our” version resembles the original. But it is unusual and delicious, and that’s really all that matters.

Wendy and I have both done a bit of research, and this sort of dish does appear to be a thing. It’s called Ryba Po Grecku, which translates from Polish into something like Polish Fish in the Greek Style, although there is nothing Greek about it. There is some speculation that it is a bastardization of “a la Greque,” which is about pickling. It would be a stretch to describe this dish as pickled. But who am I to argue with semantics?

There are a number of variations, but the gist appears to consist of a bed of vegetables, mostly carrots, with fish either on top or embedded. It is delicious either hot or cold. Wendy often makes extra so she can serve it right out of the oven for dinner, and then leftovers straight out of the fridge the next day. That’s what we did when we visited a couple of weeks ago; we sent some home with Mom and Dad, and ate the rest standing at the kitchen counter the next day.

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Polish Fish with Greek Sauce

I made this for two for the photos, but I’m giving you a recipe for 4. Suffice it to say, the proportions are flexible, and it’s very easy to adjust for however many people you are serving.

Make this gluten free by using GF panko, or skipping the panko entirely. Wendy uses a bit of cornstarch and sautés the fish, which is a terrific option. And you can skip the milk soak if your fish is impeccably fresh or you’re pressed for time.

Serves 4

2 pounds white fish*
½ cup milk**
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
¾ cup panko
1 very large onion, minced
8-10 big carrots, grated
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen fire roasted)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs. light brown sugar
1 tbs. smoked paprika
pinch (adjust to taste) cayenne
salt, to taste

*I used halibut here. Mahi mahi is good, as is grouper or cod.
**It turns out that soaking fish in milk does indeed eliminate any pesky fishiness and makes the flesh sweet and mild.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place the panko in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle with 1 tbs. of the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and mix well. Microwave for 1 minute, or until the crumbs begin to brown. Mix and set aside to cool.

Cut the fish into 4 equal pieces, season with salt and pepper, and place in a bowl with the milk. Refrigerate while you prep the veggies.

Heat 1 tbs. of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Saute the onion for a few minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients, and bring to simmer. Cook over low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take a look and see how much liquid is in the bottom of the pan. If it’s soupy, crank up the heat a bit and leave the cover off to evaporate some of the liquid. If it’s fairly dry, continue to cook over low heat while you make the fish.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the panko in a shallow pan. Take the filets out of the milk and let the excess fishy milk drain off before dredging each piece in the crumbs. Place the fish on the baking sheet and give the fish milk to the cat. Whatever you do, don’t trip over the bowl, you don’t want to have to wipe that off the floor. Ew. Bake the fish for 15 minutes or until it is cooked through.

Serve the fish on top of the stewy carrots. Some extra lemon is welcome.

Two announcements:
This week, I am donating a dollar to the ACLU for every new Instagram follower .Don’t even get me started on what’s going on in the world, but I just had to do SOMETHING. So, if you know anyone who isn’t already following me on Insta, get them to do so this week.

And…because life goes on, I have a beautiful kilnload of new pots and have begun posting them on Propped. I’ll post some on Etsy, too, but haven’t gotten started on that, yet. So, shop. Because everything feels just a bit better when you eat something delicious out of something handmade.

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Posted in dinner, fish, seafood, dinner, gluten free, healthy, main, main course, main courses, one pot meals, supper, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments