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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Warming Winter Soups and Stews

Stock

Using a home made or good quality fresh stock is always going to give you a better quality soup than using stock cubes or flavour enhancers.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own stock then there are some good quality stocks available form specialty food stores.

Also consider carefully which stock you use for which dish. It is better to use chicken or vegetable stock for light soups and darker stocks such as beef for heartier soups and stews.

Seasoning

Season your ingredients moderately as you go along. This will enhance the flavours of the individual ingredients without making the soup salty.

Use sea salt flakes instead of table salt for a better flavour.

Once the soup is cooked out adjust the seasoning as necessary. Taste the soup add a little salt at a time until the full depth of the ingredients can be tasted.

Such a simple step but so often the difference between flavour-some soups and bland ones.

Consider Texture

Different elements of your dish will need to be cooked differently to produce the desired texture. A carrot for example takes a lot longer to cook than a pea.

Texture comes down to selecting the right ingredients and adding them to the dish at the right time so they are all cooked through at the same time.

Consider from the start if you want a smooth blended soup or one with lots of body and different components.

Add green and leafy veg such as spinach right at the end to avoid it becoming over-cooked.

Croutons, cheeses, crackers, nuts, bean shoots or even pork rinds can be used to add texture and flavour.

Cut to size

Pay attention to the size you are cutting your vegetables and meat. Too big and it may be difficult to eat or take a long time to cook while other components over cook. Too small and it may break down completely.

Fondant Icing

For you to achieve a perfect cake covering you need to consider some tips. These tips include:

Have a perfect ganache: There is no way your cake will have a perfect finish if it has a crude ganache.

Roll a thin fondant: To achieve a perfect finish you should roll your fondant thin. You should roll it 3-4 mm or even thinner if your fondant allows you. To have an easy time you should make use of rolling pins with spacers.

Cut your cake neatly: To keep the bottom edge clean you should neatly cut your fondant. To achieve ideal results, you should make use of a pizza wheel. Also, use a super sharp knife or scalpel to trim the seam at the back of the cake. This plays a significant role in making the seam neat.

Add color: To give your cake an interesting look, it’s wise to add color to it. For ideal results, you should add one drop of food color at a time and knead the color into your fondant. It’s common for the icing to feel tacky. When it does, you should sprinkle a little powdered sugar into it. All you need to do is to gently rub it over the sticky area with the palm of your hand.

Seal the cracks: When you are applying the icing, it can break. When this happens, you shouldn’t worry as all you need to do, is patch the cracks using little water and your finger.

This is what you need to know about fondant icing. You should apply your preferred color and shape the unit in a design that you are proud of.

Fried Japanese Tofu

Now that he is home I search recipe blogs for yummy vegan dishes for him.

The other night I made something tasty on my own with what we had available – tofu, sriracha sauce, and soy sauce without a recipe.

I squished all the water out trying not to break the tofu. The paper towels were soaking wet. Once it was as dry as I could get it I sliced it into cubes – probably 2 inches each.

In a separate bowl I put sriracha sauce, soy sauce, garlic flakes, and some seasoning. After mixing it and putting some gloves on I placed the tofu cubes into the sauce. I gently moved the pieces in the bowl to make sure I covered each piece.

While I let this sit I heated some olive oil in a frying pan on low heat. Once heated I added the pieces one by one placing a lid on top.

After about 3 – 6 minutes I flipped them – they were brown on one side. Be careful and keep the heat low or use protective gloves because the grease does splatter.

I removed them from the fire a few minutes later.

Next, I reheated some rice with soy sauce and sriracha along with scallions, thinly sliced carrots, and broccoli.

Finally, I placed the rice on the plate with the fried tofu on top. I tried a bit myself and my mouth did a happy dance. I actually made something yummy.

My son ate his meal with enjoyment.

What did I just make? I know from eating at Japanese restaurants that they have something like this so I searched online.

It’s called Agedashi Tofu. You make in a similar way except you add a coating to it.

1. Agedashi Tofu by Nami of Just One Cook Book

She uses soft tofu in her recipe along with vegetable oil, potato starch, dashi (kombu dashi for vegetarian – she has a homemade recipe on her blog), mirin, soy sauce, scallion, daikon radish and Japanese seven spice.

Included is a step-by-by step photo tutorial as well as video tutorial.

She suggest squeezing the liquid out of the tofu for 15-minutes. I think I may have done 5-minutes so I’ll have to try getting more of the water out next time.

After chopping the onions and grating the radish (and making the sauce) she deep fries the tofu. Agedashi is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Read the rest of her tutorial as well as some interesting tidbits about this appetizer on her blog Just One Cook Book.

2. Deep Fried Tofu by Bebe Love Okazu

This recipe looks very simple.

– drain the tofu

– coat it with potato starch

– fry it

– make sauce and cut up vegetables

– serve

Tomato and Zucchini Squash Pasta

This recipe may be easily doubled. Serve the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not cheese in a carton.

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces (half a box) of spaghetti with extra fiber
1 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes (more if you wish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small zucchini, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (may be omitted)
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup pasta water (approximate)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

METHOD

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. While it is cooking, prepare the vegetable sauce. Chop the tomatoes and transfer to a bowl. Shred the zucchini and set aside. Pour olive oil into a large skillet. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, seasonings, and capers. Take a half cup of water out of the pasta pot. Drain the pasta and add to vegetables in skillet. Moisten with pasta water and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle basil leaves over pasta and toss well. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 generous servings.