Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Sea Monsters March 16, 2013

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In the depths of the Pacific ocean…

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There live horrifying, many-tentacled creatures

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That are just chock-full of iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc

and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K!  And fiber!

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I feel like seaweed is rather underrated, just because of its odd appearance, and the fact that it is indeed called “sea-weed“.  I think they should be called “sea-greens“.  Because nutritionally, eating seaweed is very much like eating greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, collards, turnip and mustard greens.  And depending on the type of seaweed, it can often be cooked like our better-known western greens.  Soups, salads, stir-fried or sauteed, mixed with grains, beans, and other proteins…

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Such as a multi-grain tempeh.

I’ve tried a few different types of seaweed– kombu, kelp, dulse, hijiki, laver, and of course, nori, the type that is used for sushi rolling.  When it comes to preparing seaweed at home, wakame– what you see in my photos here– is my favorite so far.  It’s got a mild flavor and melds well with different condiments and spices.  And at least with the packages I’ve found, it’s hardly salty at all.  I don’t feel like I’m eating the ocean when I eat wakame.  Many seaweeds need to be boiled, rinsed, boiled again, rinsed again…  With this stuff, I just rehydrate with cool water, and drain.  Bam.  I also like that a small amount when dried yields quite a bit once rehydrated and ready to eat.  So a few bucks for a big package means a long-lasting source of a nutritious vegetable.  Rather convenient in case of emergency budgeting, or the wrath of a hurricane.

Simple Tempeh & Wakame

Ingredients:

a handful of dried wakame (you may need scissors to cut off the desired amount from the rest of the package)

1 8-oz package of tempeh*

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

about 1/4 cup rice wine (or any white cooking wine)

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Optional: Schichimi spice blend, or a dash of cayenne and ginger

*You can also use extra firm tofu, and/or a cup or two of some cooked grain or noodles

1) In a large bowl, cover the wakame with cool water and let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.  Drain, and chop into bite-size pieces.  Slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces as well.  Set aside.

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2) In a large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and lower the heat to medium.  When the onion begins to soften and caramelize a bit, add the wakame and tempeh.  Cook for a few minutes, until the tempeh starts to brown.

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3) Add the wine, and allow that to simmer to a reduction.  Then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spices if using.  Taste and adjust.  If the soy sauce is too strong, add more rice vinegar.  If the flavor is dull, add more soy sauce, extra spices, or some salt and pepper.

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And people think I don’t eat seafood anymore… :p

 

No Mercy for the Cha-Cha February 19, 2013

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 11:11 am
Tags: , , , ,

            2013-02-17 19.04.39    Hey everyone.

This is Cha-Cha the Chayote.

Hello, Cha-Cha.

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Good-bye, Cha-Cha.

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I know.  You barely knew Cha-Cha.

You didn’t get to hear about Cha-Cha’s relatives, such as the squash, cucumber, and melon.  You didn’t get to hear about Cha-Cha’s Central American origins, and popularity around the world– Brazil, India, Thailand, The Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, Louisiana…  Damn, Cha-Cha, you got around.  Not surprised, I guess, you’re pretty tasty.  Mildly sweet and pleasant.  Crisp when raw, tender when cooked.  And you pair so well with so many flavors!

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Let’s do Cha-Cha some justice.

Add some garlic, onion, carrot.

And we got some coconut and cilantro waiting by…

Coconut, Cilantro, and Chayote Medley

Ingredients:

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 medium chayote, cut in into bite-size chunks

1 medium carrot, sliced into coins

1/2 cup cooked garbanzos

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

juice of 1 lime

a few dashes each of cumin and cinnamon

2-3 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut

a couple handfuls of cilantro leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion.  Once the onion begins to soften, add the chayote and carrot.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chayote and carrot have started to char and become tender.

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2) Add the garbanzos and pumpkin seeds, and cook for a couple minutes more.  Add the lime juice, then the cumin and cinnamon, and stir.  Finally, add the coconut and cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serve alongside some rice, Asian flatbread such as naan or roti, or with some tortilla chips and salsa.  If you chop the chayote and carrots smaller, this would also be a great taco filling.

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I can see a lot of you thinking how weird this dish is.

Okay, maybe it is…  But it’s delicious.

It draws inspiration from Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine.

It’s hearty, kinda sweet, kinda smokey, a little tangy.

Trust me.  Trust in Cha-Cha.

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Must Haves February 3, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:32 am
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t consider myself an impulse shopper/buyer.

When I see something that calls my name, I start to ponder…

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“Is this something I’ve been coveting?  Why?

Is this something useful to me?”

These thoughts mostly occur when I go grocery shopping…

I know.

Not clothes, not shoes, not jewelry.  It’s easy for me to say no to those.

Art, collectibles, books–  at this point I can tell myself it’s just “stuff”.  (Usually.)

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But then I see something like Japanese eggplants at the farmer’s market.

And I think to myself,

“I must buy this, and I must make something with it.  Here is my card, nice cashier girl.”

So then I’m driving home with Japanese eggplant, thinking about what’s going to happen to it.

Garlic, ginger, pepper…

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Soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar…  And it needs a partner.

Regular tofu is overdone.  Fermented tofu, while delicious and meaty, is too expensive.

Hello tempeh.

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Then I got kinda impulsive at the Japanese grocery store…

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But it was cheap anyway.

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Those chopsticks?  Impulse from many moons ago.

Teriyaki Japanese Eggplant and Tempeh

Tempeh is an Indonesian invention of fermented soybeans compounded together.  It’s naturally more flavorful and meatier than tofu, and better for digestion as well as the absorption of soy nutrients.  Convenient?  Yes.  Can you use other types of eggplant?  Yes.  Can you use bottled teriyaki sauce?  Yes.  But then you can’t be my friend for a week.

Ingredients:

two cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

black pepper to your liking

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)*

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

two medium Japanese eggplants (or one medium Italian eggplant, or the equivalent if using a different type)

one 8-oz package of plain tempeh

a few Tbsp of sesame oil

*Mirin adds sweetness. You can use pretty much any sweetener of choice in its place.

1) Prepare the teriyaki sauce.  Combine the garlic through rice wine vinegar.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  You may want it sweeter, you may want more ginger, etc.  Teriyaki doesn’t really have any rules.  Set sauce aside.

2) Slice your eggplant and tempeh into equal sizes.  Quarter to half inch slices are good.  In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add just the eggplant, and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s softened and has given up its moisture.

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3) Add the tempeh and pour the teriyaki sauce in.  Turn heat to medium low.  Allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced, while stirring occasionally to ensure all the eggplant and tempeh slices are coated and have absorbed the sauce.

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Done.

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Serve alongside some brown rice, or noodles such as soba, udon, or shirataki!  As you can see, I bought some Japanese rice seasoning, which comprises of sesame seed, dried vegetables and seaweed.  Some varieties have dried fish or seafood as well.  Awesome stuff and I recommend it if you can find it.

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It’s not impulsive if it’s culturally enriching…

 

Start Your Ovens… November 18, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 11:59 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Have you looked at the calendar?  Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  Are you freaking out?  There’s a lot to freak out about.

Family… Travel… Cooking… Holiday Weight Gain… Black Friday… Working on Black Friday

I feel worst for the Black Friday employees.

But last night, I realized: you guys need Guru Rabbit Thanksgiving recipes!  Oh Em Geez.

So I’m on a mission to post something every day until next Thursday.

Let’s start with a starter.

This is one of the easiest soups you will ever make.  It’s also quite healthy, and not too filling, so you’ll have plenty of room left for sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and although I HIGHLY DISAPPROVE, turkey.

Sweet & Spicy Miso Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup agave nectar or honey

3 Tbsp dark miso paste

a few dashes of powdered ginger

2-3 tsp shichimi (you remember shichimi, right?)*

1-2 Tbsp mirin (optional)**

salt and pepper to finish

1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin and vegetable broth.  Turn the heat onto medium.

2) Place the miso paste in a small bowl or cup.  When the pumpkin mixture starts to heat up, ladle a small amount into the miso and mix until it’s a smooth paste.  I recommend doing this any time you add miso to something.

3) Whisk the miso paste back into the saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Let it heat and blend together for a few minutes, and taste.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.  The soup will taste best if it sits for a while before serving, just reheat it if need be.

And voila.  I drizzled a bit of black sesame oil on here, but garnish as you please.  You can also see the black sesame seeds from the shichimi blend.  I love this soup– sweet, spicy, savory, and perfect for fall.  The miso, fyi, has probiotic properties, so it’s good for your digestive system, another plus if you serve this with a holiday meal…

This recipe should serve 4-5 people.  Multiply as necessary.

*If you don’t have shichimi or can’t find it near you, no big deal.  The soup without it is still good, but you can make up for its absence with some orange zest, a little extra ginger and a bit of cayenne pepper.

**Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine.  You can also try using sake if you have some on hand.