Tofu & Chickpea Tagine


Ever wonder what came of those preserved lemons? Or just what to do with them?
Now that I’m detoxing and the only fruits allowed are lemons and bananas. I couldn’t have been happier now that I’ve made them. One of the key ingredients in several Moroccan dishes, these mellowed lemons add just the perfect flavour, lifting something that could have been heavy to a fresh new height.

Since this was the first meal that I would be making for visitors while I’ve been on the detox I was obviously compelled to be sure it wasn’t boring. The last thing I wanted was to showcase the potential dark side of a detox. Really, the truth be told, I’ve been having a great time being challenged to get creative in the kitchen again and I wanted it to show. This lively dinner, with it’s combination of spices and the lemon certainly didn’t disappoint.

TOFU & CHICKPEA TAGINE

1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, pressed to remove excess liquid
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 scant teaspoon Sea Salt
1 scant Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, well chopped
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 – 540ml/19oz Can Chickpeas, rinsed
1 – 540ml/19oz Can White Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Preserved Lemons, rind only – rinsed
1 1/2 Cups water

Press the tofu between two plates to remove execss liquid. Then, slice into 1 inch (2cm) cubes.
Combine the olive oil, spices, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat. Cover and let it sit to marinade for at least one hour.

Heat a large sauté pan and fry the tofu over a medium-high heat until it is dry and beginning to crisp.
Remove from the pan and add the sliced onions to cook being sure to soak up any remaining bits of the marinade.
Rinse and remove the pulp from the preserved lemons. Dice the peel and add, along with both the onions and the tofu, to a large pot. Add the rinsed chickpeas and settle over a moderate heat.
In a separate bowl add the white kidney beans and the water. Using a potato masher, crush the beans, then add to the other ingredients, stirring well to combine.
Heat through, adjust seasoning where necessary.
Serve over a chewy brown rice, couscous (if not detoxing) or quinoa with a handful of extra cilantro.

Serves 6 – 8

Blogging By Mail: Take Two!


Imagine my surprise when I returned from a weekend at my in-laws to find a package wedged in between our front doors; addressed to me!

All the way from Austin Texas came a wonderfully sweet gesture of thanks. Yes, the cat’s out of the bag, Jerry at Food and Photo was my Blogging By Mail match and I’m so glad she received her package.

Little did I know I was going to get one in return.

In it was a great spice rub, perfect for grilling or dips. I think I might try it as a vegetable marinade with oil or just sprinkled over portabella mushrooms to grill.
Next was a hibiscus tea. The directions included ice tea, so I may just attempt Jumbo Empanada’s Recipe for sorbet, only with this great tea from Jerry.

Last, is a gift after my own heart, a Chipolte Chocolate Brownie. The ingredients include the standard chocolate and butter, but next is the chipolte in adobo sauce, so that’s smoked jalapeno in a tomato purée. This should be a tasty, interesting treat!

Thanks so much Jerry, you’ve made my day!

Spinach & Smoked Tofu Pasta Salad


Seeking out yet another farmers market here in the city, I was a bit surprised by the standard fare of field tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes until I passed the last vendor of the lot. There I found baby courgettes, quarter sized, tender Sunburst squash and a rainbow of heirloom grape tomatoes. It wasn’t a tremendous leap from the fore mentioned “norm”, but a nice hop to say the least.

Although I’d gobbled almost half of my little tomatoes on the way home, I was still famished by noon. I wanted something quick and cool but filling. So while thinking about my presto pasta contribution, I wanted to incorporate my fresh finds. With the addition of tofu and rigatoni, I had a full meal to share.

SPINACH & SMOKED TOFU PASTA SALAD

500g Whole Wheat Rigatoni
1/2 Package Firm Tofu, marinaded in Sundried Tomato Pesto*
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cups Baby Spinach, packed
1 Cup Heritage Grape Tomatoes, sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, 6 or 7 chopped
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
4 Baby Courgettes, (zucchini) or 1 regular, sliced
4 Sunburst Squash (Patty Pan), sliced

*SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO

1 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, packed
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Add the tomatoes to a 1 Cup measuring cup and fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes and allow to reconstitute until soft, about 20 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. Add the garlic and pulse until well chopped.
Add the basil and thyme and with the motor running, slowly drizzle enough oil until everything is well blended and smooth.
Add salt to taste, incorporating well.

Drain and slice the tofu 1/” thick, lengthwise.
Place it in a single layer in a seal able bag, spreading enough of the tomato pesto to cover each side.
Seal and freeze for at least 20 minutes.
Whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; set aside.
Boil the rigatoni to al dente, as to the package directions.
Drain and toss with the waiting oil and vinegar.
Grill the tofu over a medium flame for about 4 – 5 minutes on each side, or until slightly crisp with grill marks, being sure to close the lid between flipping to capture that smokey goodness.
Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes.
Wash and thinly slice the courgettes and squash; add to the pasta.
Toss with the spinach, tomatoes and lemon zest and top with the cubed tofu.

Serve immediately or make in advance and chill.

Chili Thai Spring Rolls


When I thought of making a pasta dish, I wanted something light.
I was looking for a quick and cool summer pasta for a crowd, so I hit my pantry and noticed the rice paper sheets I had on hand.
Perfect for an appetizer, or a fresh meal, depending on what you choose to fill them with, these really only take a few minutes to assemble making them the ultimate no-cook pasta.

Continue reading Chili Thai Spring Rolls

Sundried Tomato Pesto


1 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, packed
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Add the tomatoes to a 1 Cup measuring cup and fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes and allow to reconstitute until soft, about 20 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. Add the garlic and pulse until well chopped.
Add the basil and thyme and with the motor running, slowly drizzle enough oil until everything is well blended and smooth.
Add salt to taste, incorporating well.

Victoria Day


For about 150 years, Canadians have been celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on the Monday on or before May 24th with a statutory Monday holiday.

So, we’re occasionally quite thankful we are still held by a monarchy.

Commonly referred to as “May-Two-Four”, most celebrations are spent starting gardens, camping, opening cottages, getting stuck in traffic and of course, gathering. Marked as the unofficial beginning to our shorter summer season, people like to get outside.

In honour of a casual slow food get together, visiting, Canadian beer and fireworks we’re having some laid-back group fare.

This recipe is dead easy, and so worth it in the returns…

GRILLED EGGPLANT

2 Large Eggplants (Look for ones unblemished, with fresh, green tops)
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce (Use a low sodium, good quality variety)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon Fresh Summer Savory (Chopped)

Preheat your grill to medium.
Trim the ends from the eggplants. Slice lengthwise about 1/2″ thick.
Add the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Combine well.
Dip the eggplant slices into the marinade to coat both sides and add to the grill.
Do not discard the remaining marinade.
Reduce the heat to a medium-low.
Select a sunny holiday beverage of your choice.
Brush each of the eggplants with more marinade, flip.
Allow to grill for 2 – 3 minutes, watching closely not to char, repeat until eggplants nearly fall from your flipping utensil.

Serves 4 – 6