Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saag Tofu...Take 1

I finally have an oven....YAY! It has felt like I was missing a limb not having an operable oven (yes, I am that attached).

Anywho, back to cooking!

This is a wink & a nudge to saag paneer. I was inspired when watching "Aarti Party" a few weeks ago and was going to try to make my own paneer but had some tofu I needed to use up hence tonight's recipe.

I happen to love any indian flavored food. Well, anything vegetarian these days. I've been eating a lot of curry dishes lately so I thought I would branch out and try another indian favorite.

This is my first was good. But it will get better. Couldn't wait to share though (since I got a new oven!!!).

You will need....

For the "paneer"
1 Package Extra Firm Tofu

3 T canola oil
1 t turmeric
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t paprika

Drain Tofu and cut into 32 squares. On a baking sheet, layer squares between a clean dish towel. Top with another baking sheet and cover with a couple heavy objects that you may happen to have lying around....I used a gallon of water. Allow to press for at least 30 minutes to remove all extra moisture. In the mean time, in a small bowl (preferably one with a tight fitting lid), mix together marinade ingredients and set aside. Once tofu is pressed add to marinade and toss (lightly) to coat. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for at least an hour (I left mine in for about 5.5).

Preheat oven to 375. Place tofu squares on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cook 20 minutes, turning halfway.

Next comes the "Saag"
2 T Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 t coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 medium (or 1 small) onion, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded & diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t minced ginger
1 10 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c coconut milk
1 t salt
1/2 t garam masala
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg

In a large saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Once heated, add cumin & coriander seeds~allow to "cook" (and by cooking I mean popping in the hot oil until you start to smell them--will be very quick). Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and some salt and saute until tender~about 5 minutes. Next add spinach breaking apart to separate and allow to warm through about 1 minute. Pour in coconut milk, garam masala, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining salt and allow to come to a boil. Let cook for a few minutes. Next, add in tofu and toss lightly to incorporate with the spinach.

Doesn't it look just like paneer?!?! So delicious. Serve along side grain of choice (I cooked up rice in the rice cooker with some coconut milk & water) and/or (whole wheat) naan {why not have both}. And feel good knowing that although this seems really intense, it took me about as much time to cook this as it did for my rice cooker to lazily cook my rice...about 25 minutes.

Do you have any favorite indian recipes besides curries? Please share...I am always looking for new Indian food to make :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


So, first things first. Let me just share my sob story. My oven is broke. We had a temporary replacement for a while but that had to go back to it's rightful owner. So I have been without an oven for about 2 weeks now. So cooking has gone to the side and in it's place we have cooked on the grill a couple times, went out to eat lots of times and ate foods that needed no cooking (i.e. raw veggies & hummus, cereal & salads). All those are fine and dandy..but honestly, who wants to live like that. Needless to say, I am ready for a new oven to come my way...and fast.

Ok, now that i've got that off my chest, let's get on to the real reason i'm here.


There used to be this fabulous little restaurant and wine bar about 15 minutes south of where I lived called Romesco's. I loved the vibe, the decor and, of course, the food. Anytime someone wanted to eat? Let's go to Romesco's! I brought anyone who had an appetite there because I loved it so much. And as unimaginative as this may be, aside from 1 visit, I ordered the same thing everytime. Grilled vegetable panini with romesco sauce. Oh, and a peach tea :)

It was worth every visit.

Romesco sauce, by definition, is a sauce originating in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyora peppers, a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion.

And it's vegan too~something i'm trying to eat a little more of these days.

Unfortunately, the restaurant closed when it's neighbor (a furniture store) caught on fire and burned half of the building down including some of Romesco's. I prayed and prayed that they would reopen but to no avail.

I'm not sure what made me think of it as it's been closed now for about 4 years but I started craving that sandwich it was soon all I could think about.

So, here we are. Tonight's dinner. My way.

Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce

Serves 4

1 large Eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 large Zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
2 large Portabella Mushrooms, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices

Marinade (for the veggies)
3 T canola oil
2 T lemon juice
2 t dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt & cracked black pepper

Mix marinated ingredients in a large bowl. Add veggies and toss to coat. Let marinate for about 15~20 minutes stirring often. Set aside

Preheat grill. I found I needed no oil to grill my vegetables but lightly oil the grates if you'd like. Cook about 3~5 minutes per side until tender. Time will vary based on the type of grill you use.

Cheater's Romesco Sauce, makes 1 c sauce
1 roasted red pepper (jarred, in water)
1/2 c fire roasted tomatoes (from the can)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T whole almonds
3 T whole hazelnuts
1 T ground flax meal Normally, bread is used to thicken. I have no bread in house so there you go.)
2 T water

Blend all ingredients in a food processor on high stopping every so often to scrape down the sides of the processor. Continue to process until it forms a smooth sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste (I needed no salt~something I am trying to use less of). Refrigerate until ready to use.

This sauce was made for veggies but would be equally delicious over fish if you are so inclined. I would even go so far as to dip raw veggies in this (but i've had my fair share the last 2 weeks thank you very much).

I served mine over brown rice but obviously this would be great on a panini (Duh! Did you read the beginning of this post?) in a wrap, or even over greens. No salad dressing needed :)

Please excuse my sorry excuse of a photo. I was hungry and light was minimal thus flash was used. No bueno. I blame it on the oven.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!! Friday is so close, I can taste it :) Hope everyone is having a great week!

Here's Wednesday's Eats

Freeze Dried Pineapple mmmm

Olive Garden Minestrone & Breadsticks


Spinach Pie & Pasta Salad (extra feta please!)