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Kale, Carrot, and Tofu Curried Fried Rice February 7, 2012

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dairy free, dinner, vegetarian.
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I love the Instagram app on my iPhone.  I check it all the time to see and share pictures with friends (my user name is apilchak).  9 times out of 10, the pictures I share are of Emitt, but sometimes I throw a food picture in there, too. This month, I’m doing a “photo a day” challenge where every day you have to post a picture of some pre-determined subject matter.  Last night’s subject was “dinner.”  Easy enough.  This is what I made, and posted, and a few people asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d put it up here!

This comes together really quickly if you have the rice pre-cooked.  I usually cook the rice in the morning while I’m getting ready for work. That way, it’s pre-cooked and cooled (which is what you want when making fried rice) when I get home from work.  Also, what makes this rice SUPER easy is using a bottled sauce, either curry or peanut.  If you have the time and inclination to make your own curry or peanut sauce, it’d probably be even better, but I’m lacking in the time department these days.  I usually use one of these:

curry and peanut sauces

The two curry sauces are from Trader Joe’s and the peanut sauce is my favorite bottled peanut sauce, the San-J brand.  So now that you know my dirty secret (bottled sauce instead of fresh!), here’s how I made the rice.

Kale, Carrot, and Tofu Curried Fried Rice
(Printable Recipe)

curried fried rice

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked and cooked brown rice
15 oz firm tofu
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
3 medium carrots, shredded
A few shakes of soy sauce
2 t. golden mountain sauce (can use soy sauce if you don’t have golden mountain)
1/2 cup curry sauce (I’ve used the red and yellow curry sauces from TJs)
2 eggs
Sesame seeds, sriracha, etc to top

Method:

Dice the firm tofu into small cubes.  Saute the cubes in olive oil in a large pan (I use my largest skillet for this) until golden, about 10 minutes.  When the tofu is nice and crispy, add a few shakes of soy sauce to the pan to lightly coat the tofu.

Add the cleaned and chopped kale and shredded carrots (I grate mine with the box grater) to the pan with the tofu.  Saute them together for 2 minutes or so, then add the rice.  Stir fry everything together for 3-4 minutes, add the curry (or peanut) sauce and golden mountain (or soy) sauce.  Continue cooking until everything is heated through and some of the rice grains get a nice crisp to them.

In a separate, small pan, scramble two eggs and throw the eggs in with the cooked rice in the large pan. Top with sesame seeds (I use black and white) and sriracha before serving.

Getting Fresh: Baked Kale Pasta with Chickpeas and Feta July 8, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in good for a group, vegetarian.
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kale pasta

My most recent column on Ferndale Patch went up a few weeks ago, and I forgot to post about it here! That is a travesty, because it includes the recipe for one of our favorite dinners, baked kale pasta with chickpeas and feta. This one has evolved over the past year or so. It started out with broccoli and breadcrumbs, but eventually we decided that the kale was better than broccoli, feta was a delicious addition, and the breadcrumbs could be left out. The recipe on Patch is the “perfected” version. I also originally made it with a big tablespoon of this allspice blend I brought back from Jamaica, but since that is long gone, I now make do with a mix of Penzey’s southwestern seasoning, smokey salt, and whatever other random spices look good to me.

Click on the link or photo above to be taken to the column and recipe on Patch.  I promise it’s a good one!!

Kale Peanut Salad September 28, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in salad, vegan.
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Sometimes, after a weekend of eating pasta, fajitas, cookies, and maybe a few beers, Monday night rolls around and the only things that sounds good are VEGETABLES.  I ate an entire head of kale for dinner last night and I’d do it again tonight!

The original basis for this recipe is from a dish served at M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles. It was sent to me by a friend of a friend, and there used to be a video of the chef at M Cafe making this dish online.  It seems to have disappeared, though.  Over the course of making this quite a few times, I’ve changed and simplified the recipe down to the bare essentials.  The original called for boiling & blanching the kale, but I think steaming it is quite a bit easier and holds the structure of the kale leaf better in the end product.  The original was also garnished with shaved carrot and red onion, but I don’t usually do that—sesame seeds and sriracha for me!

Kale Peanut Salad

kalepeanutsalad

Ingredients:
1 head of kale
For peanut sauce:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs sriracha (or other hot sauce, or a few pinches of cayenne pepper)
2 tbs Golden Mountain sauce (optional)
1 tsp ginger (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic (optional)

Chopped peanuts for garnish
Sriracha for garnish
Sesame seeds for garnish

Method:

Prep your kale by rinsing thoroughly to remove any grit from the leaves. Remove the thick stem from the middle of each leaf, and rip or chop into smaller pieces.

chopped kale

Assemble your ingredients for the peanut sauce.  I think you can make a perfectly fine peanut sauce with just four ingredients: peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha.  You can certainly add in any of the optional items above to fancy it up a little but in a pinch, four ingredients will be just fine.

peanut sauce ingredients

Put your kale on the stove to steam.  I use a metal steamer basket in my largest pot.  If you don’t have a way to steam it, you can blanch the kale in boiling water for half a minute of so, and immediately remove it from the boiling water to an ice bath (a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes) to stop the cooking process.  If you do it this way, make sure to press as much water out of the leaves as you can. You don’t want the kale to be too soggy.  I find steaming it to be much easier!

While the kale is steaming, put all of your peanut sauce ingredients in a blender, and blend it up.  Taste, and adjust any seasonings you might need to tweak.

When the kale is done (it should be bright green and easy to chew–not too tough but not limp), plate it, drizzle the peanut sauce on top, and garnish with chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, and a little more sriracha.

If you have any leftovers, this is good as a cold salad the following day!

Jamaican Lentil Stew June 22, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, good for a group, soup, vegan.
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Stew on a 90 degree day?  I realize this is crazy, but it’s what sounded good!  Never mind that making this raised our house temperature from a cool 81 degrees indoors to a mildly uncomfortable 84 degrees…sometimes you just have to suffer for a healthy dinner.

I am going to write up this recipe as I made it, but please—substitute away!  The veggies that went in were the veggies I wanted to use up before re-stocking the fridge tomorrow, and I’m sure you could put in any number of ingredients and still have it turn out delicious.  I wish I would’ve put a sweet potato in, but there’s always next time.  To spice this up, I used a few spoonfuls of Jamaican jerk seasoning we brought back from our vacation this spring.  I forgot how incredibly SPICY this stuff is.  I was fine with it, but you might want to start with one teaspoon, taste it, and work up from there.  If you don’t have jerk seasoning on hand and don’t want to purchase it, a garlic chili sauce might be nice, or just plain old hot sauce.  This is what I used:

Grace Jerk Seasoning

Jamaican Lentil Stew

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Jamaican lentil stew

Ingredients:

2 cups French lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 small red skin potatoes, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
2 cups water
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped

Method:

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil.  Add rinsed lentils and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rest of the stew.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil, and saute the onions until they are translucent (or even a little browned–I like mine just on the verge of burnt). Add the carrots and potatoes.  I pre-steamed the carrots and potatoes to cut down on cooking time, which you might want to do.  If you don’t pre-steam them, you’ll have to cook them for a little while at this stage, remembering to stir often.  When the potatoes and carrots are soft, add the diced tomatoes and jerk seasoning to the mix.  Stir, and simmer.

Drain the lentils when they are done cooking.  Add the drained lentils and two cups of water to the mix. Simmer for a few minutes, tasting to check the seasoning and spice level. Add more salt & pepper or jerk seasoning if needed.  Stir in the chopped kale, and cook another few minutes.

How I almost burned down the kitchen right before Lost came on May 5, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, lunch, salad, vegetarian.
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I was excited about dinner last night.  A friend at work had sent me a recipe for quinoa cakes, and I decided that would be the base of the night’s meal.  I had planned a nice salad with grilled halloumi cheese and green beans, and thought some soup would be perfect to round out the meal (while using up two more cans of diced tomatoes from my cabinet).

Once everyone arrived, we sat down in the living room, mere minutes from the time Lost was going to come on.  I started to smell smoke, but figured it was our neighbors to the left burning something on their grill again.  A minute later, Ryan said, “I think I smell something burning” and we all looked down the hallway toward the kitchen to see smoke billowing out into the hallway, right ONTO the smoke detector, which never bothered to go off.  Good thing we have that. I raced into the kitchen  and found the stovetop up in flames from a burning oven mitt left on a too-hot-still burner.  I smacked the flames out with a towel, yelled at Toby to stop eating falling ashes, and Ryan took the charred mess outside to hose it off and stop the smoldering fibers.  By this time, the smoke had filled our entire house with thick air and a campfire aroma (which is still lingering this morning). Jokes were made about the Smoke Monster visiting our house, fans were brought out, all the windows were opened, and we continued to eat.

burning oven mitt

Here’s a recipe for quinoa cakes.  I modified it from the original to add cheese and baked them instead of frying.  Come to think of it, this meal might have been one of the healthiest we’ve eaten on a Tuesday in a while.

Update: I had two plain leftover quinoa cakes for lunch today.  I smeared some tomato paste on them, sprinkled a little mozzarella on top, and heated them up, and they were delicious!  Next time I’ll make extra cakes just to eat them the next day.

Baked Quinoa Cakes with Spring Halloumi Salad

quinoa cakes with salad

For the quinoa cakes:

3 cups water
2 cup quinoa
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper (at least 1 tbs each)
Herbs/spices if you’d like
Cooking spray

For the salad:

1/2 lb green beans, cut into approx. 1 inch segments
1 bunch kale, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tbs fresh dill
1/2 halloumi cheese, 1/2 inch dice
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbs olive oil

Making the quinoa cakes:

  • Bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.
  • If needed (I’ve found Trader Joe’s quinoa doesn’t need washing but Costco’s does), wash quinoa in 3 changes of water in a bowl, then drain well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Stir quinoa into boiling water and return to a boil, then simmer, covered, until quinoa is dry and water is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool, stirring occasionally until cooled off, about 10 minutes, then stir in eggs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and additional herbs/spices, if using.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray a 1/2 cup dry-ingredient measuring cup with cooking spray. Pack enough quinoa into measure with a rubber spatula to fill it two-thirds full. (If spatula becomes sticky, dip in water.) Unmold onto baking sheet and gently pat quinoa into a 4-inch-wide patty with spatula. Form the rest of the quinoa cakes the same way.
  • Cook for 20 minutes at 400, flipping once if you want.

Making the salad:

  • First, cook the halloumi. Cut the halloumi into bite-sized pieces (1/2 inch or so) and place on grill pan or skillet over medium.  There is no need to add extra olive oil or use cooking spray; the cheese has enough oil in it to grill nicely by itself.  Cook the halloumi over medium heat until golden brown, then flip to cook the other side.
    • Note: We have a grill pan with a press from Target that is probably the most-used pan in the house, and perfect for this purpose.  If you don’t have a grill pan, any sort of skillet will do.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add kale, and cook until leaves are bright green. Add green beans and salt and pepper, cook until green beans are bright green.  Add halved cherry tomatoes, dill, and pre-cooked halloumi chunks, and cook just until tomatoes start to soften a bit.  Remove from heat and serve alongside the quinoa cakes.

Raw Kale “Fattoush” Salad April 28, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, lunch, salad, vegetarian.
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For last night’s dinner, I made a vegetarian lasagna using a recipe found at the Amateur Gourmet community blog. (By the way, that lasagna lived up to its title. It was not as heavy as a typical white lasagna because there’s no bechamel sauce involved.  It was time-consuming to make, but 100% worth the wait!  I made it exactly as described, so head over there for the recipe.  Now, back to the salad….)

I bought a few bunches of kale over the weekend, and wanted to start using it up, found a few about-to-go-stale pitas, dill leftover from a recent spinach pie, put them all together, and this salad was born!   It was tangy, fresh, and delicious.  If you keep the feta and pita separate, this salad holds up really well in the fridge for lunch the next day!

Raw Kale “Fattoush” Salad

Ingredients:

1 large bunch of fresh kale
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper (at least 1/2 tbs of salt; pepper to taste)
Sumac (to taste; as much as you want)
2 chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 thinly sliced cucumber
½ cup feta
For toasted pita:
3 pieces of pita bread
Olive oil
Sumac
Sesame seeds
Salt

Method:

Wash the fresh kale, removing the leaves from the main stem, and cut or chop into small, bite sized pieces.  Spin or pat the kale as dry (doesn’t have to be completely dry).  Put the kale into a large bowl, pour the juice of one lemon on top, sprinkle the salt, pepper, and sumac on top, and mix it all up very well.  The lemon juice and salt will soften or “cook” the kale and make it easier to eat.  Let the kale/lemon juice/spice bowl sit while you prep the other ingredients.

For the pita:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Tear three large pitas into small pieces (like you’d see with pita chips you’d buy at a store).  Toss them in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, some sumac, sesame seeds, and salt & pepper.  Spread the pieces out evenly on a large baking sheet.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.  They burn quickly after that, so be sure to keep an eye on them in case they need to come out early.

Once the rest of the ingredients have been chopped, sliced, and prepped, mix them in the big bowl with the kale. Serve with pita chips crumbled over top.