Thai Flavored Summer Coleslaw

summer coleslaw You will make this coleslaw over and over again for your summer entertainment.  Also all your friends will ask you for the recipe and possibly bring the dish to their potluck dinners or gatherings.

It is simple, quick to make, gorgeous colors and also super healthy!  What else do you want from a salad  (easy going, pretty and good for you).  The key is the dressing that I was introduced to by brother-in-law, John, who is an excellent cook.  You can always rely on his well researched, tested recipes.  I think the original recipe came for “Cooks illustrated.”  The bonus of the recipe the dressing is really good over grilled fish and also grilled pork.  Without further prolonging…

summer coleslaw Thai flavored summer coleslaw

Thai flavored summer coleslaw

Thai Flavored Summer Coleslaw
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 6-8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • DRESSING:
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. of lemon and lime zest mix
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • ¼ cup of canola oil
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • COLESLAW
  • ½ small head of shredded red cabbage
  • ½ small head of shredded white cabbage
  • 1-2 cups of shredded carrots
  • 8-10 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 3-4 green onions chopped
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ bunch of Thai basil, chopped ( optional)
Instructions
  1. To make dressing, place all the ingredients in a small jar, shake it well to combine.
  2. In a big blow, place cabbages, carrots and herbs. Mix well, add dressing and mix well again.
  3. Bon appetite and Smacznego!!!

Rose Petal Preserves-Róża Ucierana

IMG_0222

How to preserve the taste of summer, childhood memories and happiness in a jar….

Finally the roses are in bloom.  I have been waiting for this time of the year for a while since I wanted to make traditional Polish rose petal preserves.  They are an amazingly fragrant, gorgeous in color and deliciously flavored preserve used in traditional Polish donuts that I made  before Lent on “Fat Thursday”.   It also goes well with a strong tasting cheese as  part of appetizer.  Anyhow, for me it is preserving the smells of childhood, summer and happiness.

All roses are edible as long as they are free of pesticides and not harvested from  plants growing in a heavily polluted area.  Some varieties are more tasty  than others. Generally the very fragrant are the best  I picked Rosa Rugosa (also know as Bach Rose, Sea Rose, Salt-spray Rose).  It blooms for prolonged periods of time beginning in June till September, although the main blooms come  now.  The heavily-scented flowers turn to rose hips later on.  Rosa Rugosa is disease resistant and  extremely tolerant of seaside salt spray and storms.  That’s why you can often see them near  beaches, dunes or roadside.  For its hardiness and being trouble-free, it is found in  landscapes by the water, so take a hike to the Cape and start collecting some petals.

In Poland you can find similar types of  roses in many gardens. We call them “dzika roza” or wild rose.  It is often grown near  fences or as hedges.

Roses are believed to have many medicinal properties such as an antibacterial, an antiseptic, or an  anti-inflammatory.   You can dry the rose petals and use in a tea which is believed to be effective in cleansing a gallbladder or liver.  Rose water is also used to treat dry scaly skin, dermatitis, and eczema, not to mention the romantic part of using rose petals, although my main interest is in the palatable aspect.  Always thought the stomach to the heart:)

Rose hips from this plant also are edible and can be used to make teas and jams but for this we will have to wait several weeks.

Rose Petal Preserves  Róża Ucierana Rose Petal Preserves-Róża Ucierana Rose Petal Preserves-Róża Ucierana This is the first time I made the preserves and I have to say it is not that complicated.  You will need for one part of rose petals (by weight) two part of sugars (by weight).  I collected around 10 oz of rose petals which means I used 20 oz of sugar to make this preserve. You also need some lemon juice to acidify the mixture and to extend the shelf life of your hard work.  Look for very fragrant roses.  As I told you I used the Rosa Rugosa variety. Avoid collecting them from any highly polluted places. To make the preserve traditionally in Poland, we use a variety of mortar and pestle  called makutra  (a clay bowl with a ridges in the inner surface. It is used to make cake cream and to grind up other foods).  If you don’t have that kind of “old fashioned” equipment  you can use a food processor although make sure to run it for a while to assure smooth consistency.  Some recipes recommend removing the white part of petals to avoid bitter taste but I have not done that, and it was perfect.  I did not pasteurize my preserves.  The high sugar content and low pH from lemon juice should inhibit years and mold growth.

 

Rose Petal Preserves-Róża Ucierana

Rose Petal Preserves-Róża Ucierana
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz of rose petals
  • 20 oz of regular sugar
  • fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Collect the petals.
  2. Place the rose petals in the “makutra” add sugar and lemon juice and grind till smooth mass. That may take 15 to 20 minutes if you are doing by hand. If you using food processor make sure to run it for a long time to assure smooth consistency.
  3. Transfer the smooth mass into the sterilized jars and place into the refrigerator.

 

 

 

Locust Flower Tempura- Kwiat Akacji w Tempurze

Locust flower (Acacia) tempura When was the last time you went for a walk and found something edible? I am always fascinated with the idea of foraging. When I go for a run or walk with the dogs in the nearby woods, I always look around to see what is edible and what is not. I like to find what Mother Nature has for us and is readily available. You will be quite surprised to see how many delightful treats are out there, you just have to learn how to identify them and know how to prepare them.

Locust flower I just couldn’t resist!  The idea for Black Locust ((Robinia pseudoacacia) flower tempura came from the Green Morning blog.  You must visit Kinga’s creation. Her food photography is just exquisite. I subscribed to many food blogs and try to do my best to read most of the posts, sometimes I just skim always checking out the pictures but… Kinga’s blog I read thoroughly, savoring each word. She writes in Polish and her writing style is so light and captivating. It makes me feel like a fresh breeze is going through my body :) She posts only vegetarian and eggless dishes with inclusion of dairy. Just go check it out, at least the pictures if you cannot read Polish.

Locust flower (Acacia) tempura Back to the recipe. Black Locust is also known as false Acacia. It is a very common tree, at least here in New England. It is even consider an invasive species. You can see it growing in many, parks and next to highways, roads etc… The wood out of the trees is very hard and often used for lumber. It is also valued as firewood for wood-burning stoves. Bees love the intensely fragrant flowers and the tree is considered a major honey plant. The flowers are edible and typically bloom from May to June. The flowers can be eaten raw as well. Avoid picking flowers from trees that are growing close to the road to avoid pollutants. In France and Italy they are eaten as fritters. Even Mark Bittman has a posted recipe for one. http://markbittman.com/foraging-for-fritters/

 Kinga’s recipe is eggless which is a great option for vegans.  I made mine with traditional tempura batter.

Black Locust flowers tempura

Locust flower (Acacia) tempura

Locust Flower Tempura
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8-10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 30-40 Black locust flowers
  • Tempura Batter:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of icy-cold water
  • ¾ cup of regular flour
  • ¼ cup of cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cardamom (optional)
  • oil for frying
  • powdered sugar to dust off the flowers tempura
Instructions
  1. Gently rinse the flowers and dry them on a paper towel.
  2. Place one egg in a medium bowl.
  3. Add 1 cup of ice water to the egg. (That will decrease the process of gluten development in the batter).
  4. Mix flours, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract and cardamom if using. Add to the liquid and very quickly and gently mix to combine. The mixture should have the consistency of a heavy cream.
  5. Heat 4 inches of oil in a large sauce pan over moderate heat until thermometer registers 325F- 330F. (About 163C – 166C)
  6. Drop the flowers one by one into the batter and then into the oil being careful not to overcrowd. To maintain consistent oil temperature, cook them in small batches for about two minutes.
  7. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Locust flower (Acacia) tempura My official taster, Gabriella after eating several of servings of the tempura, approved that dish.  Now we just have to wait another year to make that dish again!

Tofu Japanese Curry

Tofu Japanese curry  Have you figured out how to slow down time? I am not talking about stopping time so I can stay young forever, but I am talking about just having enough time to do it all. My list is long. I want to exercise every day. As a matter of fact I enjoy running, boot camp classes, yoga, etc… and there is a two hour commute, not to forget the 40 hours a week of my daytime entertainment, called a “job”. I also love gardening, which also just started and requires a bit of attention. I am a mom, and as you can imagine, that comes with endless activities. On my “to do list” there are other enjoyments such as cooking, taking care of the dogs and cleaning (no not really, I dislike the act of cleaning but I love clean space). My recent hobby of food blogging and photography sort of ended up on the bottom of the list. Anyhow the point is I have high aspirations for life and need an extra 2-3 hours a day. My list of desired activities is super long.  I want to travel more, I want to take Spanish lessons, and I want to go lindy hop dancing and salsa. I want to go get back to daily meditation, I want, I want, I want…

So what is it?  I am not productive? Or am I over ambitious? Anyhow, if you have any good suggestions or if you figure out all of that, please let me know…

  Japanese curry paste Tofu Japanese curry Tofu Japanese curry Today I am going to share with you a recipe for Japanese curry. It is totally a shortcut since it uses store bought curry paste. Curry is not a traditional part of the cuisine. I think it was adopted most likely from India, but its flavor and consistency are different. Japanese curry is sweet, milder and thicker. Typically the mix comes in segmented bars which look like a chocolate bar that you break off and add to a pot of meat, vegetables and water. It is always served with rice. In Japan you can find a casual restaurant that specializes only in curries. From the very first time I was introduced to it, I loved it. For me it is Japanese comfort food, sort of like our beef stew or chili.

I don’t know any Japanese people who make it from scratch. Most people resort to buying the curry bar mix. You cannot mess it up. The end result is always predictable and delicious. Maybe one day when my life’s “to do list” gets shorter, I will master Japanese curry from scratch.

Tofu Japanese curry Most people will make this dish using beef, lamb, chicken or even shrimp. Since I am not a big meat eater, I went with tofu as a source of the protein, but for my husband who loves this dish, I used chicken. Typical vegetables used in this dish are: onion, regular potatoes, carrots, celery, bell peppers and peas. I used  onions, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas and tomatoes  but you can come up with your favorite combination or you can see what you have available in your fridge. Just make sure that you don’t overcook your veggies.

If you are using tofu you can cube and brown it in a bit of oil and add it at the end, but if you use meat sauté together with onion as the first step (see box instructions)

Tofu Japanese Curry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 6-8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed ~ 1 inch size
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 sweet potatoes, cubed ½ inch size
  • 1 small bell pepper, cut into ½ inch squares
  • ½ cup of peas (frozen is fine)
  • 1 small tomato or ½ cup of canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of oil for sautéing
  • 3.5 oz. S&B Curry mix (there are other brands that can be used as well)
  • 2.5 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Sauté tofu in oil to brown it a bit for about 2-4 minutes, set aside
  2. In a big pot add oil and sauté onion (if you using meat, add it at this point)
  3. Add vegetables with exception of tomatoes and peas.
  4. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. If you are using meat, it also should be cooked till tender.
  5. Remove from heat and add curry sauce mix broken into the pieces, stir until completely dissolved. Add tomatoes, tofu and peas and simmer for 5 minutes stirring gently not to break the tofu. Serve over rice.

Smoked Trout Pate

Smoked trout pate IMG_9886 Smoked trout pate If you want good smoked fish, go to Whole Foods, but if you want good smoked (and not so expensive) fish, go to Russian or Polish store.  Russians and Poles are big fans of a variety of smoked fish.  You can find hot or cold smoked mackerel, herring, bluefish, trout and many others that I don’t even recognize. The typically selection is fantastic for a fraction of the cost of Whole Foods.

You can also get good naturally fermented sauerkraut, cucumber, beets and many other vegetables that have gained in recent popularity in the nutrition world as good sources of probiotics. When you are there, make sure to also check out the bread selection where you will find many types of whole grain, very hearty breads.

So here is a quick appetizer that can be made in a few minutes.

Smoked trout pate

Smoked Trout Pate
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. of smoked trout
  • 4 oz. of low fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. of lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp. of chopped flat leaf parsley or chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • smoked paprika and cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove all the bones and skin from the smoked fish. Place all the ingredients in the food processor. Mix for 20 second till you get a nice smooth paste consistency.
  2. Served with grilled bread and some greens with lemon dressing.

 

Vegetable Tempura

Vegetables tempura I know what you are thinking… fried foods do not belong on a dietitian’s food blog.  However I think it is okay to venture out once in a while and cook an authentic dish even if it swims in oil. The key world is “moderation”.

When I lived in Guam, I used to cook a lot of Japanese food. Then I stopped and forgot about it.  After visiting our Japanese friend in California, I was reminded how much I enjoy the Japanese flavors.  I dusted off all my cookbooks and old notes, made a trip to the Asian store and went back to the kitchen.

To add to it, Gabriella’s class has been studying Japan over the past few weeks. As a dietitian I offered to come in on a monthly basis to teach the kids various nutrition topics. Since they were learning about Japan my next assignment was Japanese food. For the class I decided to make a vegetable tempura. I also cooked some edamame (soy beans) and shared a few boxes of toasted seaweed with the kids. I also promised to make them several types of vegetable makki rolls for our next meeting. They requested avocado and cucumber sushi, so I have to practice my sushi making technique.

The class was very successful. Most of the kids liked the tempura and definitely enjoyed the soybean and seaweed. One of the boys came to me and told me that he really, really loved asparagus tempura. It was his first time that he had tried that veggie and he said it was the best! He asked for the recipe, so here you are:-)

Vegetables for tempura Vegetables tempura To make tempura you can use variety of ingredients.  I went with vegetables and herb such as sweet potatoes, asparagus, green beans, mushrooms.  I also used nasturtium flowers, Thai basil, parsley and tarragon because that’s what I had in my garden.  The trick to a light, crispy tempura, is not to over mix the batter which will cause gluten development and it will make the dough heavy.   Be sure to select oil that has a high smoke point, so it will not burn and cause development of toxic particles.  I used  a mixture of canola and coconut oil.  It is best is to use a thermometer and heat the oil to 325 to 330 F. If the temperature is too high it will burn, and if it’s too low the batter will absorb oil and will be soggy.

For dipping sauce, you can use store bought tempura sauce -Hon Tsuyu, which is used as a soup and sauce based for udon, tempura or vegetable soups.  Or you can make your own.

Vegetable Tempura
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • Dipping sauce:
  • ½ cup of dashi
  • ¼ cup of light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of grated ginger
  • ¼ cup of grated daikon radish

  • Tempura:
  • Oil, for frying
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced ¼ inches thick
  • 6-8 mushrooms, cut in half if large
  • 8-10 asparagus, trimmed
  • 10 green beans, trimmed
  • Variety of herbs (I used tarragon, basil, parsley mint)
  • (You can use also carrots, broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, sugar snap etc)

  • Tempura Batter:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • ¾ cup of regular flour
  • ¼ corn starch
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. To Make Dipping Sauce:
  2. In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together all ingredients. Bring to simmer, then remove from heat and keep warm. The sauce can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for a few days. Warm it up before serving.

  3. To Make Tempura:
  4. Place one egg in a medium bowl.
  5. Add 1 cup of ice water to the egg. (That will decrease the process of gluten development in the batter).
  6. Mix flours, salt and baking powder. Add to the liquid and very quickly and gently mix to combine; however some dry flour should be visible in the liquid. The mixture should have the consistency of a heavy cream.
  7. Heat 4 inches of oil in a large sauce pan over moderate heat until thermometer registers 325F- 330F.
  8. Drop the vegetables one by one into the batter and then into the oil being careful not to overcrowd. To maintain consistent oil temperature, cook them in small batches, about two and a half minutes for most, and two minutes for bell peppers, asparagus, and leafy ingredients such basil and parsley. Serve the tempura immediately, with a dipping sauce or seasoned salt and pepper.

Vegetables tempura IMG_9856 Gabriella enjoys vegetables tempura

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Homemade “Lara bars” – Go Nicolle!

Peanut butter chocolate chip Lara bars Boston Marathon dates back to 1897 and is one of the world’s best known running race.  It always takes place on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday of April.

To run it, you need to qualify (with a really fast time) or you can run for a charity.  it’s a fun and super exciting event for the city of Boston, which coincides with Patriots Day and an afternoon Red Sox game. However, the events from last year will have a profound impact on the race and the city going forward. Despite the horrific chaos and injury the events caused the city and countless individuals, it was an amazing experience to watch a city, community and individuals come together and overcome these horrendous acts.

Nicolle, a good friend of mine, who is super fit, extremely motivated, and a full time working mom of two is running again this year!!! She was one of the runners who was stopped a few miles before the finish line in 2013. Nicolle is also a dietitian extraordinaire and she is my inspiration.  She often drags me out of a bed to run a few miles before work. I call them charity runs on her part since I am not a fast runner as her.

As fellow dietitians, we often talk about sports nutrition.  Nicolle mentioned that she loves chocolate peanut butter Larabars, so I decided to recreate them. The label lists only 3 ingredients (dates, peanuts and chocolate), so it is a very simple snack bar. Great to eat before, during or after a long run. The dates are high in easy to absorb carbohydrates and can easily replenish a glycogen storage loss. Peanuts provide protein and some fat, which help with blood sugar stabilization as well as enhance palatability (or the yum factor) and not to mention the benefit of eating dark chocolate (I am talking about the flavonoids)

Go Nicolle!!! She mentioned that if she wins the marathon she promised to mention the contribution of the chocolate peanut butter bars to her accomplishment.  Her biggest challenge will be pronouncing my last name correctly:)

Peanut butter chocolate chip Lara bars Nutrition Note: Last week I attend a nutrition conference where one of the well known sports dietitians, Nancy Clark, was speaking. Her primary message was:

To perform well we need to nourish  ourselves well by eating well balanced meals in regular intervals. She also emphasized that eating real food is always much better and healthier that any of the “engineering” super expensive food- like concoctions.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Homemade Lara Bars
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of peanuts -unsalted roasted
  • 16 oz of pitted dates
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Add dates, chocolate chips and pinch of salt. Continue mixing until one mass is formed.
  2. Lined a 9x9 baking dish (although I used 10 x 7) with parchment or wax or plastic wrap. Place the mixture into the dish, covered with another sheet of plastic wrap or whatever you used on the bottom. With your hands press the mixture evenly to create a smooth sheet.
  3. Put it into the freezer for 30 min or for 1 hour into a refrigerator.
  4. Cut the mixture into 12 -14 pieces (depends what size of a pan you used). Wrapped each piece with a parchment or wax paper, plastic wrap can work fine as well. They can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.

 

The Best Cold Sesame Noodles

sesame noodles I have been searching for a perfect sesame noodle recipe for a while. I have tried several different ones but often they are either too sour or the sesame flavor does not come through well. I also want to avoid using  peanut butter because the school allergy policy forbids bringing peanuts and peanut products to school.

This dish has been a big family favorite. It is a perfect dish for a quick dinner as well as a crowd pleaser when entertaining. You can add some grilled chicken if you like or you can also serve it with some edamame on the side or both.

I often make it for dinner and the leftovers are great to pack for Gabriella’s school lunch since the dish does not have peanuts. Give this very simple and delicious cold sesame noodles recipe a try. I adapted this recipe from Saveur magazine.

Cold sesame noodles

Cold Sesame Noodles
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8-8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. of Chinese egg noodles, whole wheat fettuccine or spaghetti (or gluten free noodles)
  • 1//4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 ½ tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chinese sesame paste (tahini can be used too but the sesame flavor will not be as pronounced)
  • 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (I substitute sunflower butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon of chile-garlic paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • roasted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of water until barely tender. If you are using whole wheat noodles cook them al dente. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Place the noodles in a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil, toss it until evenly coated and set aside.
  2. Make the sesame dressing. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame paste, peanut (or sunflower) butter, sugar, chili-garlic paste, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. Mix until it is combined and smooth. Pour over the noodles and add cucumber, carrots and scallions. Toss until it is evenly combined. Garnish with roasted peanuts or sesame seeds if chose to use it.

 

Sesame crusted tofu with Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)

Sesame crusted tofu with Nuoc Mam Cham If you are not sold on tofu yet this recipe may persuade you otherwise. I guess the only condition is that you have to like spicy Vietnamese flavors and sesame seeds.  That would be enough to allow you to fall in love with this recipe.

I have made this recipe several times lately and I have to say; it is my absolutely favorite tofu recipe! It is so easy to make and the flavors are just bursting in your mouth.

Sesame crusted tofu with Nuoc Mam Cham For tofu you need to buy the regular extra firm variety, not the smooth extra firm.  Many people recommend that you press it down to squeeze the excess liquid from the tofu but I skip that step and it turned out just fine.

Sesame crusted tofu with Nuoc Mam Cham

Sesame Crusted Tofu with Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asia
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16oz) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds or Chia seeds*
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Green onions, sliced

  • Basic Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
  • Makes ¾ cup
  • 1-2 Thai bird chili
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • * You don’t need to use black sesame seeds or Chia seeds. It just makes it a more interesting presentation.
Instructions
  1. Slice the tofu into half-inch-thick slices and then further cut it into 1½ inch by 1 inch squares.
  2. Place the tofu on a layer of paper towels to remove the extra moisture.
  3. While the tofu is draining, prepare a dipping sauce by combining sugar and hot water. Mix it until completely dissolved. Add lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and chili peppers in a small bowl. Adjust the flavor to your liking. I typically like very spicy and limy. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for months.
  4. In a bowl, mix the panko bread, sesame seeds and Chia seeds. In another bowl, beat an egg with 1 teaspoon of water and salt.
  5. Working with one piece at a time, dip the tofu into the egg mixture and then roll it in the sesame-Chia-panko mixture until completely coated. Repeat this with all of the pieces.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan over medium high heat. Fry the coated tofu pieces on each side until golden brown. After they are golden brown, remove them from the pan and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.
  7. Garnish with scallions and serve with the dipping sauce.

 

Brilliant Beet Hummus

Beet hummus Lately I have been obsessing over beets.  It is almost like a new discovery of an old item. Beets are an integral part of eastern European cuisine. We have several types of beet dishes. Soups are the most common but we also have several side dishes.

 Other fairly common beet dishes are; beets with horseradish (buraczki ćwikłowe z chrzanem) and also warm shredded beet dishes (buraczki zasmażane) that are typically served with mashed potatoes and some type of meat.

 If you would like to learn more about the nutrition benefits of beets please go to my borscht  post, however this time I am taking a fresh look at this lovely sweet vegetable. In the past few months every Saturday I have been visiting several winter farmer’s markets. On my latest trips I bought tons of varieties of beets as well as many other root vegetables.

 I previously cooked the beet soup (borscht). I roasted a bunch of them, which I have used on salads. I have also made some roasted beets and a simple roasted garlic soup. I had a few leftovers so I decided to explore a few options for some dips. Someone told me about a beet hummus so I was curious. I wanted to experiment with it and it turned out perfectly. It takes only a few minutes assuming that you already have some roasted beets. You can roast them yourself or you can purchase them already roasted and ready to go.

Brilliant Beet Hummus
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can of 15 oz chickpeas, drained
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons of tahini
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 3 medium beets, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin
  • fresh dill
  • crackers or whole wheat pita bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the stem and most of the roots from the beets. Rinse and pierce them a few times with a knife or fork. Place them in a small greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast them for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are tender. Set aside and let them cool to room temperature. After they have cooled, peel the skin which should slide off very easily.
  3. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with chopped dill. Serve with pita bread or crackers.