Tag Archives: vegetarian

Stewed Tofu

23 Jun

This is one of my mom’s signature dishes… she cooks it all the time, especially if we need to cook for a crowd.  We have cooked this recipe at the Yoga Center, when we’ve had to cook for yoga friends while traveling and even for my niece and nephew.  They love saucy tofu, especially when mixed into a nice helping of rice.

It’s a simple, kinda one-pot dish…  kinda, because my mom likes to sear the tofu in a skillet before adding to the stew.  This gives the tofu a chewy consistency that I find more palatable and interesting.   And again… think of tofu as a blank canvas.  It will taste just as good as the seasonings you use on it.

Tofu in Tomato Sauce with Onions and Peppers

STEWED TOFU

1 block of extra-firm tofu
Garlic and Herbs Seasoning
2 large red skinned potatoes or Yukon Gold, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper , sliced
1 tablespoon of sofrito
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar of stewed tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of water – if needed
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of capers
2 bay leaves
a large dash of paprika
a few splashes of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

  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. In a large pot over medium heat, pour olive oil. Mix in the onions, peppers and sofrito, and vegetable bouillon cube.   Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When onions and peppers have softened, add in the potatoes. Stir a few times for them to start cooking a bit.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives or capers, bay leaves and paprika. If there is not enough liquid for the potatoes to cook in, add some water, until the potatoes are covered. Add the vinegar.  Cover the pot and allow it to simmer to cook.
  6. Take the cooled tofu slices and slice them again into smaller pieces.  I slice each piece into 4 smaller pieces, which yield me about 32 tofu pieces total.  But if you feel you want the pieces larger or smaller, slice them to your desired size.  It’s your stew, your tofu…
  7. When the stew has cooked for about 20 minutes already, add the tofu pieces to warm up with the sauce and potatoes.  Simmer in the covered pot for about 10 more minutes, about 30 minutes total time or until potatoes are fork tender.

Serve over brown rice.

Vegetarian Fast Food for Father’s Day

17 Jun

This coming Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day and KarmaFree Cooking will be participating in the Vegetarian Fast Food Festival hosted by the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Vegetarians like me get the fast food cravings once in a while…  but fast food does not have to be synonymous with fatty or nasty.  Vegetarian Fast Food can be made healthy and nutritious, with a few simple ingredients and twists.

So join me at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand for a super fast food fatherly lunch filled with goodies such as – Veggie Burgers, Fries, Onion Rings, Vegan Mac and Cheese (who ever said mac&cheese was fast food??????), Ice Cream, and many, many more…    I really hope they’re planning on having natural sodas too!!!! 

I will be in charge of the Veggie Hot Dogs and maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe I can also make some of my now famous Bacala-Free-Tos – because the criollo fast food scene needs to represent as well, no???

 

Vegetarian Fast Food Festival

Please join me this coming Sunday, June 21 starting from 10:30AM at Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand for a super fast, super delicious and nutritious.   If you need directions on who to get there, please let me know in the comments section or just call 787-273-0236.

Hope to see you there!!!

Turmeric Tea

15 Jun

You know me… always trying to find a natural way to relieve whatever ails me.

I have not been feeling well from my Cronh’s Disease.  I could tell by how my abdomen was bloated from the inflammation to certain foods and certain stresses.  But then the Universe, or Big Brother who’s always watching, started sending me messages – a few posts on Facebook and even a few emails claiming the benefits of turmeric tea for inflammation –  I had to go with the flow and decided to try it.

Turmeric is a spice used for centuries in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as a powerful anti-inflammatory and to treat a variety of conditions such as flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.  There are also new developments that turmeric is also helpful in patients with IBS, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and even can have cancer prevention benefits.  It’s also what gives mustards and curry its yellow color.

How to Make Turmeric Tea

Turmeric can be found in fresh form in most supermarkets nowadays.  I have bought it at The Boys Farmer’s Market, in Freshmart and even in Econo Altamira, here in Puerto Rico.  Most people confuse it with ginger, but the bright yellow interior gives it away.   Turmeric is also be readily found in supplements at health food stores.  Here is a picture of a recent trip to Whole Foods in Florida.

Supplements at Whole Foods made from turmeric

WFoods Turmeric 1

I have been drinking turmeric tea for a few months now… and as with any natural remedy, consistency and persistence is key to see results.   After 2 weeks of consistent drinking, I noticed I do not get as bloated as I used to, I have seen a reduction of the inflammation inside my lids from my eye allergies,  and I have also noticed reduction of hemorrhoid tissue (sorry for the TMI)…   Let’s try to erase that mental picture and check out how I make turmeric tea…

Turmeric Tea for Inflammation

TURMERIC TEA

1-2 medium sized pieces of fresh turmeric

4 cups of water

  1. Grate the pieces of turmeric into a large pot with 4 cups of water.
  2. Boil turmeric in water for about 20 minutes.
  3. Let rest and drink warm.  Sweeten with brown sugar, agave nectar, coconut sugar or honey  if you prefer.

 

The amount of tea you can make with 4 cups of water will give you about three 12oz servings of tea.

 

Some tips on working with turmeric:

  • Turmeric STAINS like crazy…  so I use mostly paper towels when handling it and anything related to it.  If a little stains your countertops, just clean with Fantastik or Bar Keeper’s Friend as quickly as possible to avoid the stains to set.

KarmaFree Cooking - Turmeric Tea

  • When you grate it, your grater and fingers will get stained yellow.   The key is to immediately wash them with dishwashing liquid.  I use Dawn and a Scotch scouring pad to avoid the stains to penetrate.  Most of the yellow in my nails goes away after washing a few times, but if you want to save a very expensive manicure, wear gloves.

Turmeric Stains Yellow

  • If it stains your fingers, it probably also stains your teeth when you’re drinking it.  I try to brush my teeth immediately after drinking the tea.  My mom suggested drinking it with a straw, but I have not been able to try that technique yet.  I forget…
  • Store the fresh rhizones in the fridge.  I have also freezed them.  Freezing them makes them a bit harder to grate and the color of the finished tea will not be as intense.  I feel, and this is just a hunch, that the benefits are also less potent.
  • When boiling turmeric in a pot, the turmeric will bubble – very similar to the way pasta water or even potato water create starch bubbles when they boil.  I place a wooden spoon over the pot to prevent the bubbles to bubble over the pot and make a mess of turmeric all over my stove.  It has happened a few more times than I would care to admit.  I try to watch the pot a bit to lower the heat to medium to prevent any boil-overs before they happen.

Turmeric Tea from KarmaFree Cooking

  • To avoid staining my ceramic mugs, I drink turmeric tea out of stainless steel insulated cups.  These do not get stained yellow and are easy to clean with a scouring pad.  My stainless steel pots get cleaned as soon as I finish my last serving of tea with a sprinkling of Bar Keeper’s Friend.  I don’t think you would be able to tell which is the pot I use to boil my turmeric tea.

Have you ever had turmeric?  Or turmeric tea?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section…

Image

Veggie Bites of Wisdom #52

10 Jun

Veggie Bites of Wisdom - KarmaFree Cooking

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

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