guacamole, ’70s style

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Two weeks ago, food for fun kicked off its Cooking with Great-aunt Helen series. (Please suggest another title–this one isn’t doing it for me.) My mom’s Aunt Helen was a fierce and independent spirit, passing away at 92. She never … Continue reading

frying (chips) on the fly

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Les Dames d’Escoffier may sound a bit fancy-pants, but it’s all about fun, food, and helping others. Also known simply as Dames, this philanthropic professional organization is one of my favorite groups of women. Nationally, members are known for owning … Continue reading

wakame wha’?

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Those bloggers in the Cooking Through the Alphabet gang are wild folk. First, they tested me with T for Tofu (I jumped in late); next, U was assigned to udon. With V came vanilla beans, which seemed a simpler ingredient. … Continue reading

soy snack break

After recouping from last week’s presentation with multiple mugs of hot chocolate, food for fun is ready to hit the blogging circuit again. This week, I offer the six recipes featured last week when presenting a Snack Break at a client’s annual meeting.

Minnesota Soybean has been a long-time partner and my work with them has taught me that soyfoods can be a fun tool in the kitchen. Why not include them in your ingredient palette when you’re thinking through meals, snacks, and even the sweet stuff?

True, some people have allergies to soy and there have also been whispers of soy’s “dark side” in certain media circles. To those with allergies, skip right over these recipes, or try subbing in another type of nut, nut milk, green veg, or flour. And to those who believe soy has that dark side, I’d offer that moderate consumption of soy has yet to show negative effects in any study to date. On the plus side, it’s a strong source of plant protein and fiber and has been proven to reduce high cholesterol levels, possibly prevent against certain hormonal cancers, yadda yadda yadda.

Shopping for and cooking up the snacks for the presentation was loads of fun–as a writer, it’s a treat to move around and create something tangible (and edible!) for a work project. An overestimate of attendees meant there were plenty of leftovers, which I wish I could serve up here. Instead, I’ll post photos and recipes and invite you to try a little soy.

green tea edamame

Green Tea Edamame

  •  1 quart water
  • 4 tea-bags green tea
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen edamame
  • Sea salt to taste

In medium pot, bring water to a boil. Remove pot from heat; add tea bags. Steep 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove and discard tea bags. Return pot to medium heat. Bring tea to a gentle boil. Add edamame. Cook about 7 minutes or until beans are cooked through; drain and discard tea. Sprinkle edamame with salt. Serve immediately. Makes 4 (generous 1-cup) servings.

soy sconesSavory Spring Scones

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar plus enough soymilk to measure 1 cup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup soy flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • Dash cracked black pepper

Heat oven to 500°F. In measuring cup, combine vinegar and soymilk; let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in soured soymilk until dough forms. Stir in onions and pepper.

Turn dough out onto well-floured surface; knead dough gently 8 to 10 times, sprinkling with flour as needed. Pat dough into 8-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut circle into 8 pie-shape wedges, pressing down with knife without sawing. Sprinkle baking sheet with flour. Gently transfer wedges to baking sheet.

Reduce oven to 450°F. Bake scones 20 minutes or just until golden. Makes 8 scones.

tofu saladEgg & Tofu Salad

  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
  • 4 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) package water-packed soft tofu, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, and chives until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; stir gently to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste. Makes 4 cups.

Edamame-Chile Hummus

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen edamame, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each seeded diced red and green jalapeño chiles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In food processor, combine all ingredients; cover. Process until blended, but still slightly chunky. Adjust seasoning as desired. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

pumpkin granolaPumpkin Soynut Granola

Love pumpkin? Go ahead and double the pumpkin puree.

  • 3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted soynuts (can use Cinnamon-Roasted Soynuts, recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Heat oven to 325ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, toss together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.

In small bowl, stir together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir into oat mixture until coated. Stir in cranberries, soynuts, and pumpkin seeds.

Spread mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before storing in covered container. Makes 5 cups.

1386593552042Cinnamon-Roasted Soynuts

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups soynuts
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 300°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, beat egg white just until frothy; beat in vanilla. Fold in soynuts. Stir in brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon.

Spread soynuts evenly on baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until just lightly browned. Cool slightly, breaking up any clumps before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

All together now:

tofu, edamame, soynuts, oh my!

tofu, edamame, soynuts, oh my!

roasted guaca-chickpea-licious

A great deal on perfectly ripe avocados (69 cents each!) had me thinking guacamole. Knowing they were at that use-them-now stage of ripeness lent a sense of urgency to this project, but somehow it wasn’t urgent enough as days went by without any guac. A post from Sophie gave me the brilliant idea to combine avocados with chickpeas for a tasty spread. But again–in part because I had neither the smoked paprika nor the alternate suggestion of smoked sea sat on hand–this didn’t get made. (Sorry, Sophie!)

Tonight, though, I knew it was use it or lose it. Those bargain avocados would go to waste (and that’s no bargain) if I didn’t get my guac on. Or maybe my chickpea spread on? Then again, a friend had recently explained how she roasts peppers, onion, and tomatoes for her guac–maybe I should go that route? Things were getting mighty confusing.

So I did what home cooks have long done: I made it up as I went along. First the roasted veggies. I really wanted to try my friend Kathleen’s method of roasting veggies–garlic included–before mixing them into the avocado. I grabbed what I had in the fridge–half a tomato, two small sweet yellow chiles, an already diced and seeded jalapeno, one-fourth of a red onion–and laid it all on a baking stone. Spritzed generously with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt, they roasted at 450°F alongside a foil packet of an oil-rubbed garlic clove.

Before roasting

Meanwhile, I pureed two of the über-ripe avocado along with the half-can chickpeas I had on hand. Also tossed in the mix was another clove of garlic as I wanted its raw bite as well as the roasty sweetness that would come from the roasted clove. Just for kicks I added a few sprigs of leftover parsley along with a generous handful of cilantro leaves and stems. Next up was the juice of two small limes (2ish tablespoons, but just guessing) and a stick blender took care of the rest.

When the roasted veggies were done,

veggies after roasting--don't they smell good?

veggies after roasting–don’t they smell good?

I added them to the avocado-chickpea puree along with another 2 or so tablespoons lime juice and blended them into a smooth of a paste as possible. A fan of chunky guacamole, I rough-chopped the final two avocados and gently stirred/mashed the cubes into the other ingredients along with another 2 or 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro. Lots of freshly cracked pepper and coarse salt followed. A taste test suggested I needed a bit more bite and plenty more heat, so in went two additional cloves minced garlic and a generous pinch (just shy of 1/4 teaspoon?) cayenne.

The resulting mixture was hard to define. Guacamole, maybe, but what were chickpeas doing in there? Certainly not a hummus: the texture was more spread than dip. And the roasted veggies added an earthy sweetness not found in guacamole or hummus. The good news? Definition not required to enjoy this–or any other–dish. A savory and delicious combination of recipes, tips, and tricks, it’s proof that you don’t always have to know where you’re going when you cook.

defying definition, but it tastes so good!

defying definition, but tastes so good!