Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

I often have weeks where I buy food that for one reason or another ends up not getting eaten and I have to creatively work it into something that won't be affected by produce that's past its prime. Last week was strawberries, though I love them, my stomach was hating me and so my plans to have them with cereal and oatmeal were foiled. By the weekend something needed to be done with them. They were getting overripe and would soon mold. I decided to make strawberry-rhubarb muffins out of them since it's beginning to warm up, and rhubarb is one of the first bits of "summer" produce. Not actually having a recipe for strawberry-rhubarb muffins, I turned to google and ended up using a conglomeration of recipes, which turned out great! I had enough strawberries and rhubarb for 24 muffins (with a bit to spare!), so this recipe makes 24 muffins. If you only want a dozen, cut it in half.

I was too busy eating yummy muffins to take a picture just after I baked them, so when I actually went to write this blog entry, I only had two left and not the prettiest two! Though in my own defense, my boyfriend ate a bunch and I gave a dozen away.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
One 6 oz container soy yogurt, plain or vanilla
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
zest of one orange

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 24 muffin cups with papers.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl, mix together the sugars, yogurt, milk, applesauce, oil, and zest.

4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

5. Fold in the strawberries and rhubarb

6. Fill the cup nearly full with batter (it will be thick). Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops of the muffins bounce back when gently pressed. (Or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, whichever you like)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crunchy Marinated Mexican Tofu and Corn Fritters

Here's how this meal evolved -- we had friends over for dinner Saturday night and at the end of dinner, I had 3 cooked ears of corn on the cob that no one ate. I rarely actually eat leftover corn on the cob unless I cook it into something else, but what? Not enough for soup, wasn't really in the mood for salad... then genius struck. CORN FRITTERS!! My mom used to make corn fritters when I was a kid out of a can of corn niblets and flour and eggs and things, and we loved them. I set out to find a vegan corn fritter recipe and found a bunch, but some just had too many ingredients, and a lot called for a bunch of other veggies, and I JUST wanted corn fritters.. so after reading a bunch of recipes from various sources to get an idea of what goes in 'em, I made one up. It turned out FANTASTIC!

... of course you can't just eat corn fritters for dinner. (ok ok, you can, but you SHOULDN'T because they aren't a balanced meal) I thought maybe tofu of some sort would go well, and decided to make up some sort of Mexican-ish marinade for the tofu, and then bread it and bake it. It also turned out absolutely delicious. I thickened the leftover marinade into a sauce that I drizzled over the top (and dipped my fritters in). I served sauteed broccoli and carrots on the side, and it was a complete, and completely yummy dinner.

Crunchy Marinated Mexican Tofu
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, diced
1 lbs tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. In a small bowl whisk together everything but the tofu, bread crumbs, salt and cornstarch. Place the tofu slices in a lidded container, pour the marinade over it, and refridgerate overnight (or until you become impatient and want to cook your damn tofu already).

2. Oh hey tomorrow! How's it going? Preheat the oven to 425. Remove the tofu from the fridge, and pour the marinade off of it into a small pot. Set aside.

3. Mix together the panko and salt on a plate. Retrieve a baking sheet and either spray with nonstick spray, or use a silpat sheet. Press each piece of wet tofu in the bread crumbs, flip, press the other side in (you're trying to stick the breadcrumbs to the tofu) and place on baking sheet. Once they're all ready to go, lightly spray each piece with oil (helps it brown and crisp!). Bake for about 45 minutes, or until firm, golden brown, and crispy.

4. Meanwhile, during the last 15 minutes of cooking, bring the remaining marinade to a boil. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it, then whisk it into the boiling marinade. Simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking often, until the sauce gets a ketchup-like consistency.

5. Apply sauce to tofu. Eat.

Corn Fritters
3 ears of corn, de-eared (about 1 1/2 cups of corn niblets if you're going frozen or canned)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/4 cup rice milk
Oil for frying

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

2. Add the rice milk and whisk until the big lumps are gone.

3. Fold in the corn. Allow the batter to sit for at least 5 minutes before frying.

4. To fry, in a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about 1 cm of oil). It's ready when it looks "wavy," or if you put the bottom of a wooden spoon into the oil it bubbles around the wood. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter per fritter and pour into the pan, spreading it a little as you pour. Cook until the edges look bubbly and brown, then flip, and cook until that side is golden brown. Drain on paper towels or bags, and sprinkle with salt immediately after removing from the oil.