23 March 2011

A Hard Day's Work


Well, let me start off by saying I had a somewhat poignantly written post that I spent an hour on, but I just deleted it. Somehow. So this post might not be as good as intended, but I promise it's due to sheer frustration with what this dreary Wednesday keeps throwing at me rather a wavering love with food. (Note: I don't know if it is still dreary in State College since I work in a basement with no windows, but considering State College's overall tendencies to be grey, I'll assume it's still gross out.)

Prompting this post was a request from Liron post a family-Style Sunday dinner that I whipped up for friends. Specifically, I had made some pretty healthy and tasty asparagus with cannellini beans that she would like to get her hands on, so here goes!

Asparagus with Cannellini Beans

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch (bushel? what are they called?!) of asparagus
  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Minced garlic or garlic powder
  • Red chili pepper flakes
  • Basil (I usually use dried basil flakes, since I always have it on hand)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
"Equipment"
  • 1 small (2-4 quart) saucepan
  • 1 small saut√© pan
  • Colander
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
Instructions
  1. Put saucepan with water onto high heat.
  2. Clean the asparagus with running water. After, hold the bottom quarter of the asparagus spears in your two hands and allow it to snap at its natural breaking point. This point will vary moderately throughout bunch of asparagus. Discard broken off ends.
  3. Cut remaining asparagus into 2-3" pieces.
  4. When water is boiling, add asparagus pieces. Allow pieces to cook for 3-4 minutes or until they just turn bright green.
  5. While asparagus is being cooked, heat olive oil and chili flakes on medium high in sauté pan. If using minced garlic, add it now. Otherwise, add the garlic powder after the asparagus and beans have entered the mix. With respect to amount of seasoning, this is a personal preference, where I usually use a dash or two of pepper flakes and a heaping tablespoon or two of minced garlic.
  6. Once asparagus is bright green, drain it from the boiling water and add to the olive oil mixture. Add drained cannellini beans at this point, as well, until they are warm (roughly 2-3 minutes).
  7. Season entire mixture with basil, salt, and pepper to your liking.
That's it! Another simple and healthy, but really flavorful recipe! I personally eat this by itself all the time, but it's also delicious on top of some hearty whole wheat pasta. Since it is such a simple recipe, I encourage you to experiment with it! In the past I've added mozzarella and parmesan cheese to it (separately) and been very pleased with the results. I'd bet that fontina in here would work beautifully, too. I also have wilted baby spinach and added halved cherry tomatoes to the recipe. Also, can someone do this with toasted pine nuts and tell me how delicious it is? My budget doesn't exactly afford me pine nuts, but I'm sure it's an amazing add!

So while I have not posted nearly as much as I had intended to this month (seriously, where did March go?), let this stand as proof that I have been spending time in the kitchen. I also have done some serious food blog checking and discovering in the past month, which I highly recommend you all do. A recipe I just found today which I'm sure will be of great use in the coming days, if not for the future to come, is www.foodblogsearch.com. This website allows you to search for a recipe by title, as well as ingredient, and then further restrict the results by browsing only through vegetarian or gluten-free blogs.




02 March 2011

Black Beans with Tofu


Every Monday, without fail, I leave work ready to indulge in black bean and tofu burritos at a local restaurant that starts off the week with $5 all you can eat mini-burritos. Doesn't matter who I'm with or how long I have to wait for whatever friend(s) that can join me that week, Monday is black bean and tofu day. Now why it took until today for me to attempt making my own version, I do not know, but it certainly will not be the last. Mad Mex, I'm sorry, but you've met your match!

Black Beans with Tofu

15 oz can of black blacks, drained and rinsed
1/3 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/3 cup of diced onion
2 cups of baby spinach
2-3 tbs of plain fat free greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil
1 (okay, I used 2) tbs of minced garlic
cayenne pepper
cumin
salt
pepper

  1. Heat pan with oil at medium high heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Toss in cubed tofu. A good shake of the pan and flick of the rest should keep them hopping around without sticking until at least 3 of the 6 sides are golden brown.
  3. Add black beans, onion and garlic, and stir ingredients around.
  4. Flavor black bean and tofu mix to your liking. (I added about 1/2 tsp of cumin, a couple of hearty shakes of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.) After, stir in greek yogurt to give mixture some creaminess.
  5. Wilt baby spinach on top and then stir into the mixture.
Viola! A delicious and hearty dinner will have been created in about 15 minutes! I happened to serve it on a bed of the red curry quinoa I made last week and topped with a little extra sharp cheddar cheese, but it could be served as a side or all by itself, too!