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Eggplant Musubi

3 Sep

I can’t believe I had forgotten to share this recipe with you…

Hawaii is the number 1 consumer of SPAM in the United States…  Apparently, Hawaiians love their potted meat.  I have to admit, back in the days when I was growing up I looooved when my grandma made for us Spam sandwiches with mayo on criollo bread.  That was a treat we only ate while on vacations.

Now…  my tastes have changed.  And while I wanted to bring a traditional and authentic take of a Hawaiian Luau to my Yogi friends, I also wanted to make it accessible to everyone.  Some of us have access to good vegetarian “hams”, but I figured that eggplant is something most of you will be able to get and will not cringe when you read it on a recipe.  The teriyaki marinade is what will bring it all together in true Hawaiian musubi fashion.

This recipe is a tad long…  but there are just 3 main steps – 1. cook the rice, 2. cook the eggplant, 3. assemble the musubi.  So don’t be overwhelmed by it all.    I used two small plastic containers of the same size that can fit one inside the other to form my musubi.  There are musubi contraptions, but I could not find one for the life of me in Puerto Rico.   Once you get the hang of it… it will be a breeze.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

EGGPLANT MUSUBI

2 cups short grain brown rice

3 cups water

1/3 cup plain unseasoned rice vinegar

3 tbs brown sugar

½ tsp salt

2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced thinly

1  cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, grated

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

About ¼ cup of Black Sesame Gomasio as seasoning

2 nori sheets, cut into thin strips

Olive Oil

  1. First, cook the rice…  I use a rice cooker, but you can do it on the stove top if you prefer.  The idea is to cook the rice thoroughly but that it’s a tad sticky.  Not fluffy for sure.  Although by using short grain rice you get that consistency inherently.
  2. Cook the rice without oil, just a light sprinkling of salt.  In a measuring cup mix together the rice vinegar, the 3 tbs of brown sugar and salt.  Set aside.  After the rice is cooked, transfer to a plastic or wooden bowl to cool completely.  While rice is still hot, drizzle the vinegar/brown sugar mixture over the rice to season.   Set aside for the rice to cool completely.
  3. Secondly, we season the eggplant…  Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice eggplant in thin, ¼ inch slices.  In a large flat container mix together the marinade for the eggplant – soy sauce, brown sugar, grated garlic and ginger.  Mix together well to make sure the sugar dissolves well in the soy sauce.  Add the eggplant slices to the marinade, making sure all sides of eggplant are coated with the marinade.  Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet or griddle and pan-fry the marinated eggplant slices until caramelized, about 2 minutes on each side.  As you cook the eggplant slices, set aside on a baking sheet.
  5. So now…  we assemble the musubi.  Moisten your hands with water.  It will help with the rice not sticking as much to your fingers while you’re assembling.  Take about 2 tbs or rice into the bottom of the plastic container.  Sprinkle lightly some black sesame gomasio as seasoning over the rice.  Place a piece of eggplant over the rice.  Fold the eggplant slice if it’s necessary to fit into the small plastic container.  With the secong plastic container press the eggplant/rice tower to form a compact package.  Using a sharp knife separate the rice/eggplant for the edges and flip over and tap on a cutting board for the rice/eggplant to release from the container.
  6. Wrap with a thin strip of nori.  The nori sheets come scored in strips, we cut each of those strips in half, to make them yiled more strips for sheet.

Musubi tastes best the same day it is made.  Never refrigerate because the cold makes the rice hardens and it’s not very nice to eat.

As you can see, the recipe has a few steps, but it’s not very difficult to make.  And when you get the hang of making the musubi, it becomes kinda like an assembly line.   I want to thank Jesús Omar for being my musubi assistant the day we had to make 50+ musubis for the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival.  The crowd was surprised they were eating “vegetarian sushi”  for the first time.

Next time, I will definitely try to make this with what they call “sham spam”…  my version, of course.  Stay tuned.

Tofu Mushroom Poke

15 May

Poke is not something you used to do on Facebook…  it’s a salad served raw in Hawaii.  From the looks of it, it’s the Hawaiian ceviche and the correct pronunciation is Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/.

When I traveled to Peru, I had delicious tofu ceviche and white mushroom ceviche.  Both vegan, and both tasted as authentic as ceviche made with fish.  So I decided our Hawaiian ceviche, or poke, would include both tofu and mushrooms. To add more interest, color and crunch, I thought I would include some broccoli florets into the mix.

This is a simple dish with many components coming together.  Feel free to make some parts the night before you’re serving this and finish it off the day of with the broccoli and tossing it all together in the marinade.  This way the tofu marinates overnight and the broccoli is served fresh – the best of both worlds.

 

Typical Hawaiian Dish from KarmaFree Cooking

TOFU MUSHROOM POKE

2 blocks of extra-firm tofu

1 pint of cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 bunch of broccoli, florets only cut in half or thirds

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 shallots, finely minced

4-6 scallions, thinly sliced

About ¼ cup Garlic and Herb Seasonings

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup tamari

2 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt to taste

 

  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. Cut each slice of tofu in 12 pieces – cut into 3 pieces on the long side.  Cut those 3 strips in half and then those halves in half again.   Set aside.
  4. Mix the marinate in a container with a lid that you can cover and marinate tofu for a while – tamari, olive oil, sesame oil, shallots, scallions, grated garlic, grated ginger, lime juice.  Add tofu slices to marinate.  Add shredded carrots.  Marinate for about 4 hours or even overnight in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch broccoli florets for about 1 minute, until they turn bright green.  Scoop them out of the boiling water and shock them in a bowl filled with salted ice water.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.  Working in batches will help you control the blanching process and avoid any over cooking.   When broccoli is cooled, transfer to a colander for the florets to drain well and dry.
  6. About 2 hours before serving, combine marinated tofu/carrots mix with quartered mushrooms, cooked broccoli florets and sliced scallions.  Toss well to combine and allow marinate all together.  Toss every 20 minutes to make sure all components are marinated.

Serve at room temperature.

 

If you enjoyed this recipe…  you can check out the other dishes we served at the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival here in a previous post serving as anchor for all the recipes.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

Lomi Tomato

9 May

Lomi Tomato is the vegetarian version of Lomi Salmon, without the salmon.  This reminded me so much of when I used to order in Chinese restaurants Chicken with Cashew Nuts, without the Chicken.  Somehow people would understand it better when explained like that.

This was the salad portion of our Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Devanand Yoga Center a few weeks ago.  To me it’s really important to include in a menu a salad, but I couldn’t find a typical salad in all the searches I did on Hawaiian cuisine.  So I adapted a version of this very popular dish and made it vegetarian.

I have never tasted the original… to me it sounded very similar to a tartar or a ceviche, both of which I’ve had.  But I thought that by adding macadamia nuts it could be made very interesting.  The audience agreed…  and you??

 

Hawaiian Tomato Salad

LOMI TOMATO

4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

½ cup fresh Italian leaf parsley, chopped finely

½ cup olive oil

1 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper

 A pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

 

  1. Just place tomatoes, scallions, macadamias and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. In a measuring cup combine the ingredients for the dressing – olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Whisk well to combine.  Add over the tomato salad and toss to combine.
  3. Allow flavors to marinate tomatoes for about 30 minutes before serving.

 

We served it over a bad of mixed greens…  somehow, a salad is more of an salad when lettuces and something leafy is involved, no?

Top 10 Mom’s Favorite Recipes

7 May

I love my mom to death… we disagree on many things, we argue, but we also have tons in common.  We both love to travel, to shop, to decorate, work on home projects, and we have also a mutual love for yoga, meditation and the spiritual lifestyle.

And what do you do to honor and celebrate someone who has giving you everything but also has everything she needs??  You cook for them… because everyone is bound to get hungry sometime and especially if they ask you for something in specific.

Sometimes, when my mom and I go to The Boys Farmer’s Market in Florida, she will see products/ingredients and tell me, “Madelyn…  Why don’t you make this tonight?”

So to honor all my mom’s cravings I want to share some of her favorite recipes in KarmaFree Cooking.  The ones she requests over and over and over again.  Maybe YOUR Mom will enjoy them as well.

My mom's favorite recipes published in KarmaFree Cooking

 

Spinach Pinwheels

Cottage Cheese Dip

Tofu with Snow Peas and Bean Sprouts

Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon

White Lasagna with Spinach

Spinach-filled Mushrooms

Tomato Bruschetta

Asparagus Tart

Whole Wheat Bread Budín

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches

Apple Crisp

 

This is a list of 11…  but the cottage cheese can’t be called a recipe, but believe me, If I have cottage cheese and chips and my mom passes by, she will undoubtedly stand guard in front of me and eat my stuff until I tell her to stop.

Vegan Longrice Soup

1 May

One of my friends on Facebook suggested this soup as something very traditional to Hawaii…  And, coincidentally,  it was one of the hits of the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center.

It has quite a few ingredients, but it’s not a complicated recipe at all.  It’s all about making a very flavorful broth to enjoy with some veggies and noodles.  The cellophane noodles are great because they’re made from mung beans and are naturally gluten-free.   This might not be traditional, but I suggest you break up the noodles a bit before adding them to the soup…  I find that if you leave them whole, they’re a hassle to serve and eat.  Don’t kill the messenger, but I also like shorter noodles of pasta…  (ducks head in protection of potential tomatoes thrown her way).

I guess you could use only vegetable stock and avoid the hassle of boiling vegetables for the stock… but I like the idea and flavor the fresh veggies give to the stock. And the ginger needs some time to infuse its flavor into it too.  Don’t be afraid at the amount of stock this needs… this recipe will serve about 10-12 people.  You’ll need more stock than you’ll think you’ll need because the noodles soak up some and people will go back for seconds.  Mark my words…

Hawaiian Soup

VEGAN LONGRICE SOUP

4 cups water

1 quart vegetable stock

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1 large onion, quartered

6 cremini mushrooms, halved

2 bell peppers, seeded and halved or quartered

4 garlic cloves, smashed

Half of a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

A 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 large carrots, grated coarsely

1 bunch of watercress leaves

2 packages of cellophane noodles

A bunch of scallions, sliced thinly

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted Sesame Oil, optional

Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional

 

  1. In a large stock pot, add the water, vegetable stock, bouillon cubes, onion, mushrooms, peppers, garlic cloves, parsley and ginger.  Cover pot and bring stock to a boil and lower heat to medium to simmer for about 30-45 minutes for the veggies to release their flavors. After the stock is done, turn off the heat.
  2. Remove the cooked pieces of onion, parsley, pepper, ginger and any loose garlic cloves you can find.  The mushrooms will be so small that you can leave them in.
  3. Add the shredded carrot and the cellophane noodles.   Move the noodles around so they hydrate and loosen up.
  4. Add the watercress leaves and sliced scallions.  It will stay warm for about 1-2 hours.  Garnish with extra scallions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, optional.
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