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

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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…

 

Ghost Noodles January 23, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 10:04 am
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I meant to write/post this yesterday… but damn, I hate Sundays.  I know most people hate Mondays, but I’m actually refreshed on Monday.  On Sunday I feel leaden with BLAH.  I attribute this to a Catholic upbringing.

Anywho...  Have you heard of shirataki noodles?  They’re made from the tuber-like stem of a plant called konjac (which also goes by various other names but you can just Wiki that).   The plant is found in India, China, Korea, and Japan, and is used to make flour and jelly-like foods.  It’s very high in fiber, and extremely low in calories, which of course, makes it a good diet food.  And leave it to the tiny-waisted Japanese to make a noodle that’s practically calorie-free.

The ones I bought are studded with bits of seaweed, but you can find plain ones, as well as tofu-based shirataki.  Regular grocery stores may have them, but you’re better off going to the Asian market.  There are “wet” and “dry” packages.  The wet ones are pretty much ready to go, and packaged in liquid.  You can find those in the refrigerated section.  I’ve yet to work with dry shirataki.  Like most noodles, they lack flavor and serve as a blank canvas for whatever you’re making.  I was looking to make something reminiscent of a ramen pack.  You know, salty, savory, mysteriously addictive…

Collegiate Shirataki

Ingredients:

1-2 tsp sesame oil (you can use other oils, but this will yield more of that “Japanese” flavor)

veggies/protein of your choice (or not, but we’re trying to be healthy, right?)

1 small package of shirataki noodles (any type)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup or more of water or vegetable broth (depending on how soupy you like your noodles)

soy sauce to taste

1) Heat the sesame oil in a medium saucepan, and saute your veggies.  Once they’re cooked, add the noodles.

If you’re cool, you cook with chopsticks.

2) Add the remaining ingredients, and let it simmer a few minutes.  Like I said, feel free to add more liquid if you’d like.

And that’s pretty much it.  Adjust the seasoning if need be.  You probably won’t need any salt if you use enough soy sauce.  If you want to go totally fat-free, omit the oil and just throw everything together and simmer.  But I mean, a little fat is definitely a good thing…

Enjoy with your fancy chopsticks.  (Or the ones you stole from Pei Wei, whatever.)

 

No Cookies. Yet. December 8, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 2:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

So that was a nice little hiatus from here after Thanksgiving.

I’m lying, I missed you.  I just didn’t have the opportunity to get on here.

I’m lying, I totally did.  I  just didn’t make anything, didn’t think of anything to entertain you with at the moment.  Oh, I’ve got ideas.  TONS.  And I mean, I could’ve made some holiday cookies.  ‘Tis the season, after all.

Buuuuut I didn’t feel like it.  I’ve been battling sugar recently.  And it’s only December 8th!  There’s still 23 days of cookies, pies, cakes, chocolate and booze…  Yay<3

In light of that, here’s something to eat when you want to avoid a sugar coma and not feel all bloaty and stuff.  It’s a vegetarian ceviche, something I came up with for the Drunken Doughnut.  It fuses Peruvian cuisine with a few Japanese ingredients.  Barbara and I served it at the Boca Raton Food & Wine Festival, which I don’t have pictures of because the event was so crappily organized that we didn’t have time, proper lighting, nor electricity to catalog our glory.  But anywho, people liked my ceviche, so I made another version for you.

This recipe is almost completely raw.  It’s the marinade that’s not raw, because it’s mostly a handful of condiments mixed together.  Even the mushrooms I chose not to cook this time, as the marinade will ease them up for digestion.  If you want to, you can cook the mushrooms any way you like before adding the marinade, though I would suggest sauteeing them in sesame oil.

Wild Mushroom Ceviche

Ingredients:

approx. 1 lb wild mushrooms (Go for a variety if you can.  I used shiitake and enoki here.  For the Drunken Doughnut, I used shiitake, enoki, golden enoki, wood ear, and king oyster.  It was crazy!)

1 15-oz can palm hearts

1 small bunch of cilantro

For the Marinade:

1 large ripe tomato

2 cloves garlic

and the rest according to your taste preference…

ketchup (I know, I’m not supposed to like ketchup, but it’s a convenience here!)

lime juice

lemon juice

Peruvian yellow pepper paste

Peruvian red pepper paste

worcesteshire sauce (I used a vegan one, but you can use regular if you want)

rice vinegar

mirin (optional)

salt & pepper

 

These are shiitake mushrooms.  They’re great meat substitute shrooms because they have a deep, earthy flavor.  Remove the stems and slice the caps.  You can save the stems to make soup stock.

Then there’s enoki, which I first discovered at my faaaavorite Pan-Asian restaurant.  These little ones are delicate, and slightly sweet.  Enoki mushrooms really don’t need prior cooking, but if you must, make sure it’s brief.  They don’t like to be abused.

But you definitely want to trim off that dirty bottom.

Your best bet for crazy mushrooms is an Asian or international grocery store.  You could find some at Whole Foods, but they’ll probably be way more expensive.  So there.

And here you have mushrooms, sliced hearts of palm, and a handful of cilantro.  If you’re anti-cilantro, you can use parsley, but then we can’t be friends.

For the marinade, roughly chop the tomato and garlic.  Throw them in the food processor and hit puree.  As the processor runs, add a few tablespoons of ketchup, lime, and lemon juice.  Then a teaspoon each of the pepper pastes and worcesteshire sauce.  Maybe a little extra of the yellow pepper paste.  That one tastes awesome.

After that, a few drizzles of rice vinegar and mirin.  From there, taste the marinade and decide where you want to go with it.  If you want it to be more sweet, add more ketchup.  More tangy, more lime and vinegar.  More heat, more pepper paste.  Mo’ money, mo’ problems.  Et cetera.

Again, you can find these specialty ingredients for cheap at international grocery stores.  Except for the vegan worcesteshire sauce, which you will have to get at Whole Foods, or some other hippie haven.  Fyi, traditional worcesteshire sauce has anchovies in it, which is why it is not exactly vegetarian.  The anchovies provide that umami flavor that we are so in love with.  This vegan brand hits the spot by using apple cider vinegar, fermented soybeans, and a plethora of spices.  Ees veddy nice.

Don’t forget salt and pepper in your marinade.  That’d be ridiculous.

Then pour the marinade over the mushrooms and palm hearts.  Mix it up and refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.  When you’re ready to serve the ceviche, slice or dice up some avocado, which you can use strictly as garnish, or toss with the rest of the mixture.  It’s way more awesome to toss the avocado into the ceviche, but I was trying to make it pretty for you…

Serve with some corn chips or rice crackers, and be awesome.

This dish will make you feel good about yourself.  This dish is a yummy excuse to bombard the dessert table.

To mix things up, you can incorporate other ingredients– sweet peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, olives, beans, corn, artichoke hearts, peas, tofu, cashews, etc.  I can even imagine sprinkling on some farmer’s cheese.  Hmm.

And yes, there will soon be dessert recipes.  I know you need them.  Like crack.

 

Zen Hummus September 5, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 10:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes, I feel an impending need to make hummus.  If you keep up here, that may come as no surprise.  If it does, you’re missing out.

I think my hummus urges are a sign that I need more beans in my life.

I was looking at my list of hummus ideas, thinking about what crazy flavor I would make.  It had to be quick and easy, because I reeaaallllly needed some hummus. 

Matcha.  Yes.  Matcha would be fun.  I hope you know what matcha is.  If not, it’s a very high grade of powdered Japanese green tea.  Traditionally, it is drank during tea ceremonies, and great care is taken in its preparation.  Nowadays, matcha has a place in mainstream cuisine, being used to flavor noodles, ice cream, cakes, and all sorts of delights.  Maybe you’ve seen Starbucks’ green tea latte and Frappuccino.  But of course, like everything else Starschmucks sells, their matcha powder is loaded with sugar.  I’m pretty sure it’s mostly sugar, actually.  I’m allowed to criticize them because I used to work at one.  I used to work at one because I’m an English major.  I’m an English major because I don’t intend to use my degree.

…And that’s what matcha is all about.  I also remembered a Japanese spice blend that I bought a while ago from The Spice and Tea Exchange.  That means it was expensive.  No, wait, I think I got it as a bonus.  The other thing I bought was expensive.  Anyway, the spice blend is called Togarashi Pepper.  It includes sesame seeds, orange zest, ginger, seaweed, and of course, chili pepper.  After Googling togarashi, I found the blend, in Japan, is known as shichimi togarashi, which means “seven flavor chili pepper”.  Although the recipe can have variations, the ingredients I mentioned are pretty typical.  The blend is often used for soups, noodles, and rice products.  But it’s quite delicious and I believe you can use it in just about anything.  Except your eye.  That would probably hurt.

Pretty, yes?  Pretty and spicy.

You should be able to find shichimi at any Asian or Japanese grocery store.  While you’re there, you may also find matcha powder.  And lots of cute candy packages because that’s how the Japanese roll.

I used 3 teaspoons of shichimi, and 1 teaspoon of matcha.  Matcha’s pretty strong, so be careful if you decide to add more.

If you’re not too good with spicy stuff, use less shichimi.  You won’t be as cool though.

Then you just blend with a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, a couple tablespoons of tahini, about a third of a cup of lemon juice, a squirt of honey or agave, and salt to taste.  Adjust ingredients to your preferred taste and texture.

How does it taste?  Refreshing.  Zesty.  A lingering sensation of heat.  The matcha is unintrusive, and provides a bit of smooth, herbal undertone.  It makes me happy.  I ate half the batch.  Enjoy with rice crackers next to a koi pond.