Tag Archives: sesame seeds

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.

Advertisements

Romantic Mains to Impress

10 Feb

Even though I am not currently dating someone special… I still like to cook something nice, even if it’s just for myself.

After all, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate LOVE and there are many ways to express and celebrate love – love towards your parents, love towards your kids, love towards your siblings, love towards your pets, love towards your partner, love towards your neighbors, your family in general, your co-workers, your friends and most of all, LOVE TOWARDS YOURSELF.  Because, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect others to love you too???

Here are a few ideas I have cooked in the past to impress a few loved ones…  hope you choose to make one to impress YOURSELF!!!

Cheese, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

My Plate

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Pasta

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes - 3 tom

Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

My Maggiano's Mushrooms

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake

??????????

Asparagus Tart

ASparagus Tart - Before 2 KFC

Korean Seasoned Tofu

Sesame Sauce

Chame’s Spinach Salad with Figs and Blue Cheese

Chame's Salad

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline

pear-w-blue-cheese-2-comp

Black Sesame Gomasio

22 Nov

Have you ever had gomasio?? It’s a seasoning made from sesame seeds and salt. I was under the impression it was something that came from India, but according to Wikipedia, apparently is more Japanese.

I learned to enjoy gomasio thanks to Mili at the Yoga Center. She loves it and she would make some and bring to the center. She taught me how to eat it as a condiment sprinkled over salads, but you can certainly enjoy it over soups, rice or anything you want to give a nice salty flavor to.

??????????

You can find prepared gomasio in any gourmet or health food store or supermarket like Whole Foods. I even saw gomasio over at La Grande Epicerie in Paris. But why buy it if it’s so easy to make yourself???

??????????

Black Sesame Gomasio

1 ½ cups black sesame seeds
3 tbs kosher salt

??????????

  1.  In a large sauté pan over medium heat toast the sesame seeds. Toasting black sesame seeds is a bit challenging than toasting the regular white ones. Just keep toasting until the seeds start to pop and jump a little bit out of the pan. Transfer to a heat resistant bowl and allow for the seeds to cool completely. They turn a tad ashy…

??????????

2.  Transfer the cooled sesame seeds to a food processor. Pulse to pulverize the seeds a few times. Add the kosher salt and pulse a few times again until everything combines and becomes a unified powder mix.

Keep in a tight container. I save it in the fridge as the warm temperatures of Puerto Rico can make the seeds rancid very quickly.

Tofu with Snow Peas and Bean Sprouts

13 Jun

Making this Korean Seasoned Tofu recipe made me think of the first time I ever made tofu. It was a Martha Stewart recipe I had seen on her show. My mom and I weren’t even declared vegetarians yet. What surprised us the most about this recipe is how much it didn’t taste like the idea we had of tofu in our minds… rather, it tasted exactly as the imprint we had of what chicken tasted like. Weird…

Since that day, my mom and I remember and reminisced about that recipe. And one day recently we found, at the Pulguero, a bag of snow peas and some bean sprouts. Armed with my “emergency” block of tofu I always have on hand, the rest is history…

TOFU WITH SNOW PEAS AND BEAN SPROUTS

3 tbs toasted sesame oil
12 ounces extra-firm tofu,
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bean sprouts, about half a plastic container
1 cup snow-pea pods, trimmed, strings removed, and sliced into thirds on long diagonal
3 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
  1. Cut tofu into 1/4-inch slices and press in between a bunch of paper towels for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook until well browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to high and add sprouts and snow peas. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Season soy sauce. Remove from heat, transfer to serving dish, and garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Serve over steamed brown rice or even my version of Leek Rice. I think Martha would be proud of our rendition… don’t you think?

Korean Seasoned Tofu

23 May

I am a lucky girl… I’ve been invited to travel to many places around the world – the most recent invitation, to Seoul, Korea. Or maybe not that lucky, because I didn’t get to go in the end. Long story… but maybe it was just better for me to stay put in my lovely Puerto Rico.

The cool thing… you can travel thru food. And coincidentally I found this recipe for a Korean-style Seasoned Tofu on Serious Eats. It just seemed so simple and easy I had to try it.

You see, I do not need to get on that $2,000 flight to eat great vegetarian Korean food!!!

 

KOREAN SEASONED TOFU

One package firm tofu
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs water
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbs vegetable oil for frying the tofu
  1. Remove the tofu from its package. Cut into ½” pieces and let them drain in between paper towels.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and water in a small bowl. Add the green onions, garlic, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the tofu slices onto the skillet. Use a splatter guard if you have one… because the tofu slices are only slightly drained and still have plenty of water in them, the oil will splatter A LOT when you fry these tofu slices.
  4. Cook until the tofu is slightly browned on the bottom and getting a bit crispy on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the slices over and brown the other side.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the soy sauce/sesame seed seasoning over the tofu. Cover the skillet and let steam for 2 to 3 minutes. I usually turn off the stove about 1 minute after covering and continue cooking with the residual heat from the stove and skillet.

Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Serve over steamed brown rice…

%d bloggers like this: