My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Monday, July 30, 2007

Millet & Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Happy Monday! The humidity died down here in Minnesota, but the heat is still here, so it's very enjoyable. Ryan and I were able to continue our adventurous bike rides throughout Apple Valley and conquered 9 miles on Sunday. Nothing outrageous, but still racking up the miles for the lazyman triathlon.

Speaking of lazy...I still haven't uploaded any pics to my computer from my camera, so I'll talk about something we made a couple weeks ago - stuffed peppers!

I used Isa's recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance for Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers. I could have sworn that I had quinoa - why wouldn't I? But, I was wrong as I only had quinoa flour. Argh, time to break out the millet. So, the peppers were stuffed with millet, black beans, tomatoes, and some other goodies that I can't remember.

The recipe made a ton and we even cut down the recipe. We tried to eat as much as we could, but in all honesty, we weren't too into this dish. Ryan even used it to fill tacos, so we did try to eat it all! Maybe it was the millet, maybe it was the blah tomato sauce. Either way, I think I'm sticking with my mom's stuffed peppers recipe for the future.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

BBQ Ribz

It is hot and humid here in Minnesota - we're just hoping the rain breaks this awful weather.

Ryan and I are doing the Lazyman Triathlon again this year although we started a couple weeks later than the YMCA does. This weather makes it really difficult to do any running or biking outdoors so we've taken the workouts inside for awhile.

I need to catch you all up on the crop shares we've been getting, but I need to get the pics from my camera to my computer sometime soon. We've been enjoying sweet corn, raspberries, and even orange watermelon!

Awhile back, we tried to make Fat-free Vegan's ribz. Here they are in the pan after baking.

As you can see, I couldn't get the mixture to fill the whole pan, but that didn't seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. Here they are sauced:

And here is the entire meal composed of sauteed Swiss Chard and onions from our crop share and some carrots that were steamed in foil on the grill.

Partway through dinner, I started thinking that the leftover ribz needed to go back on the grill for a little while before packing them for lunch tomorrow. Well, I completely forgot about them and they were totally charred by the time I remembered. So much for ribz for lunch!

I'd make these again - the texture was really good and a great way to eat BBQ sauce. They were really easy too!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sweet & Sour Tofu and Broccoli

Mmmm...mmmm..mmm...this dish is awesome! Since I've been tuning into Vegan Yum Yum's blog lately, I was super excited to find this recipe for Sweet & Sour Tofu and Broccoli. I've never used only cornstarch for "breading", but it made for a super crunchy crispy coating.

We also steamed up some broccoli from Gardens of Eagan (that's where our farm, Loon Organics gets their broccoli for our crop share) and threw in some almonds. Now, this recipe did take some time to make since we fried the tofu in batches, but it was well worth it. You could easily substitute any green veggies in this like asparagus or green beans.
Here's the modified recipe:

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu
(4 servings)

1 lb. extra-firm tofu
2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer + 4 tsp water, mixed
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup peanut or canola oil
Sesame Seeds for garnish
½ cup sliced almonds
1-2 cups steamed broccoli

3 ½ tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (you can eyeball the ½ tbsp)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp + 2 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp molasses
¼ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water

Slice the tofu into triangles or small cubes. Toss tofu with the egg replacer/water mixture until coated. Then toss in cornstarch until each piece is coated and dry, adding more cornstarch if needed.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok.

While oil is heating, mix sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch/water into a small sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens. If you leave the sauce unattended now it will thicken and burn, so keep an eye on it. When thick, turn off heat and set aside.

Place tofu in the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. You don’t want the tofu to be crowded or the pieces will stick to each other, so fry it in batches if needed. Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden on the bottom, then gently turn and brown the other side. When tofu is almost done frying, add almonds and fry until very lightly browned.

Drain tofu and almonds from oil (in the sink like you’d drain pasta, being very careful), and place tofu, almonds and broccoli in a large bowl. Pour sauce on top and gently toss to completely coat. Sauce should be thick and sticky - it shouldn’t pool at the bottom of the bowl.

Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Crop Share #3 & Beet Salad

Happy Monday! I'm back from Chicago, where I was there for a convention from Tuesday evening until Sunday afternoon. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and not a lot of sleep! I unpacked last night, but still working to get back in the swing of things, which includes blogging.

Here is our 3rd crop share which includes:

Salad mix
Snow peas
Green garlic
Garlic scapes
Dill (ick)

Using the beets, we made a beet salad on top of arugula with a blue cheese vinaigrette.

Beet and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
(4 servings)

3 bunches fresh arugula, washed and trimmed
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 cups beets, peeled, diced and cooked
½ cup thinly sliced celery
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ cup toasted walnut pieces

In a bottle or bowl, whisk vinegar and olive oil together. Add ½ cup blue cheese and combine. In a large bowl, toss ½ cup with arugula and arrange on salad plates. In the same large bowl, toss beets, celery, salt and pepper with remaining dressing; spoon over arugula. Sprinkle each serving with walnuts and additional blue cheese.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Crop Share #2 & Ginger Glazed Turnips

Crop Share #2 contained:
Garlic Scapes
Green Garlic
Sugar Snap Peas
Snow Peas
Pea shoots
Baby swiss chard
Salad Mix

So, we went ahead and used a recipe that our farmers provided for the turnips.

*I really don't know why this picture looks upside down...if I flip it over, it still looks upside down!

Ginger-Glazed Young Turnips with Cider and Raisins

½ tsp salt plus a dash, divided
1 bunch young turnips, trimmed
¼ cup sugar or honey
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1-2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup apple or grape cider
½ cup raisins
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add dash of salt, then the young turnips. When water returns to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer turnips gently until tender, but not mushy 10 minutes at most. Remove the pot from heat and transfer turnips to a dish to cool. Meanwhile, transfer ½ cup of hot cooking water to medium pot. Stir in sugar or honey, vinegar, and ginger to taste. Add ½ tsp salt.
Combine cornstarch and cider in small glass or bowl; let stand until cornstarch is dissolved. Slice turnips to desired thickness. Place pot with ginger mixture over medium heat. Stir in cider mixture and adjust heat so ingredients simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in the raisins and sliced turnips and continue to stir for 2 minutes, until the mixture reaches a thick, gravylike consistency. Stop stirring and let stand for 2 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and crystallized ginger.

Overall, I'm not sure that I'm too interested in turnips. This was a great way to use the turnips, but I doubt I'll ever have a craving for them.

Monday, July 2, 2007

2007 Crop Share #1

Happy 4th of July week! Wednesday is such an unusual date for a holiday and hard to predict work patterns. This morning, I got to work at 8:30am and as I was pulling into a closer than normal parking space, I thought to myself, "Sweet! I got here earlier than a ton of people! I rock!" only to realize shortly after that the reason I got a closer spot was because of the holiday. Then I got a bit sad, thinking, "Shoot, everyone else but me took the week off. Darn it!" You have to understand, a parking spot can be an opportunity for excitement or disappointment. My company employs 7,000 people in our facility and we only have surface lots. We even have a shuttle running year-round to one of the lots because it is so far away. I'm looking forward to parking this week :)

Someone asked me how Pink Martini was...they were awesome! It is a 14-person group that play music from all over the world. The instruments were fantastic, especially the percussion team. At one point, they were playing the whistle and the bongos at the same time. If Pink Martini is at your local orchestra hall, buy tickets!!

Ryan and I have been enjoying our local crop shares and so far we have received three, but I need to upload a bunch of pictures, so Crop Shares #2 & #3 are still on my camera. Here's the first one:

Crop Share #1 included:

Green garlic
Garlic scapes
Lettuce mix
Head of lettuce
Sugar Snap Peas

Of course we made salads!

Mine was a Taco Salad

Ryan's was more of a Waldorf Salad, but missing a couple ingredients.

I pick up our 4th crop share tomorrow. We should be getting some new items in addition to all the great greens!
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