sesame

Entrée, Gluten Free

LEMONGRASS TOFU BOWLS

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

I had my baby shower this past weekend with so many of my favorite people. I felt extremely loved and celebrated. While making the rounds to fifty-plus people that I truly care about wore me out, it was incredibly special. Even if you have a few babies, you do it for the first time just once, and it's sort of a surreal thing, growing a tiny person. My sister went full throttle with her "camping" theme. There were arrows and cactus, southwestern printed pillows, and a tee pee for the gifts. Even the food was in theme with grilled skewers and mac n cheese and a smores dessert on wooden plates with adorned utensils. If your shower can be "cooler" than you, mine certainly was thanks to my little sister. My mom's garden was decked out and in full bloom and my dad played bartender for all the ladies. Obviously I was thrilled to get set up with a lot of the equipment we need along with a good loot of books and mini clothes, but I was most humbled by how many people stepped up to help out and the lengths my sister went to to make this day thoughtful and special. There is nothing that inspires generousity more than being on the receving end of it. I am not the most awesome gift giver and I know I could not match my sisters party throwing skills, but giving time or skill or words... there is always a way to give something. Be it in very small but significant ways, I resolve to pay closer attention to celebrating and anticipating what may make someone feel special. 

I contributed a few recipes and a couple of quotes for the special issue of Epicurious: America's Best Recipes, which came out this month. The issue has some gorgeous looking recipes (Hugh has requested those blueberry handpies a few times now) and it's neat to see our cuisine divided by region. These bowls stuck out to me as a riff on the tofu bowls we make around here often. I love lemongrass and the unique freshness it brings to a stir fry as well as anything that can be topped with a ripe half of an avocado. It is clearly delicious warm out of the skillet but leftovers the next day were just as welcomed. It's definitely worth taking a peek at the issue if you come across it. 

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

LEMONGRASS TOFU BOWLS // Serves 4

Adapted from Epicurious: America's Best Recipes

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 12-14 oz. package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and outer stalks removed 
  • 2 tsp. thai chile paste or sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 cups-ish broccoli florets
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 2 avocados, for garnish
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Rinse and cook the brown rice according to instructions. 

Cut the tofu into cubes and set it on a few paper towels or dish towel to drain. 

Smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife and mince it well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemongrass, chile paste, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, pinch of salt and stir to mix. Add the tofu and stir everything to coat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. 

Warm the coconut and sesame oils in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the tofu and it's marinade and saute for 4-5 minutes, until edges are browned. Add the broccoli, carrots, coconut milk, remaining Tbsp. sesame oil and soy sauce and saute until the vegetables are warmed through. About 3 more minutes. Add the greens onions, stir and taste for seasonings.

Serve each bowl with a scoop of the brown rice, the tofu vegetable mixture in sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a half of avocado, sliced, on top. 

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen
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Entrée

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

“It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”

―Anne Lamott

I feel very adult this week. We bought a crib and we made an offer on another house and our health care got more complicated and expensive and I'm trying to read books about birth without my chest tightening so much I feel faint and that quote makes me feel better about the normality of all this. There is a beautiful mess in the figuring out of things. I'm scared. About everything, and mostly without reason, but when I do get stressed, I can typically trace it back to fear. Fear of failing, of loosing or of being in pain. My dad met with me a few nights back so I could show him my numbers for our potential house purchase and he could confirm it was a good idea... at least on paper. I think I just wanted his blessing for the biggest purchase of our lives, even if this whole thing doesn't go through. I get a lot of my worry tendencies from my dad, and it felt nice to have someone of like mind, 30 years ahead in this game, tell me it was going to be OK. Maybe we'll have super tight months or there will be a huge leak in the floor or our new neighbor will be creepy or maybe this will be the house we slowly make ours and grow old in, but no matter how the story goes, it will all be OK. How come that is so easy to overlook? Today, I will believe it.

A sweet mom-to-be asked me for a few suggestions on freezer meals she could prepare in advance while waiting for her wee one to arrive. I realized that while clicking through our site, I don't have many options. A good handful of breakfast baked goods that could freeze well, but a limited amount of stone cold meals as I look back. I had a pretty good response to the lentil meatballs from years ago which also made it into the last cookbook, so I figured I'd try something similar to that. In the same way I make my veggie patties, I start with nearly a 1:1 ratio of cooked grains and legumes (in this case, brown rice and lentils) and then I build from there. Always garlic. Usually onion, either raw or cooked. I use egg to help bind here, but I'll often use cheese for binding power as well. I blitz in a ton of herbs, a cooked vegetable and bold spices and flavor to doctor them up. For this Asian nugget, I went with soy sauce, sesame seeds and chili sauce. Miso would be great in there too but I wanted to save that for the sauce. All veggie balls need a good sauce. A veggie ball is really only good with a sauce, if you ask me, but I think you could put them along with anything that sounds good to you. 

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE // Serves 4-6

The Asian nuggets can be completely cooled and frozen in plastic bags until needed. I got about 26 nuggets. This just leaves you with needing to prepare veggies and sauce which could be whipped up in 15 minutes. 

As for substitutes, I think you may be able to replace the egg with flax meal and a little water but they may come out a little drier. To keep them gluten free, replace the panko with a coarse oat flour but note they will be more delicate to work with. If going the GF route, I would try to keep the egg in, if possible, to keep everything together. 

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 2 cups cooked and completely cooled brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked and cooled lentils (a few varieties will do though I'd avoid red and green, they get too soft)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • pinch of salt
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  •  / veggies /
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, as needed
  • 3 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces shitake mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 head broccoli
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • / tahini sauce /
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice or splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground pepper
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, onion, eggs, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce and chili paste and pulse a few times until the onion and garlic are well chopped. Add the rice, lentils, panko, cilantro, pinch of salt and pulse a few more times until just combined. You want to still distinguish nubs of rice, but it should look pasty enough that you could roll it in a ball. Let the mix sit for ten minutes. 

Roll the dough into 2'' balls and line them up on the baking sheet. Brush them with a thin coat of oil and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Bake on the middle rack for 15-18 minutes until browned and dry on the outsides. 

For the veggies, in a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the green onions, mushrooms and a pinch salt and saute for 4-5 minutes until just softened. Roughly chop the broccoli and add it to the pan along with a splash of rice vinegar and saute another 5-10 minutes until softened to your taste.

For the sauce, whisk all ingredients together until smooth and set aside. The sauce can be made up to three days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. 

Assemble your meal with a scoop of veggie, some asian nuggets and a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. 

* All photos in this post were shot with film

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen
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Side, Snack, Gluten Free

PANTRY PEANUT SAUCE

peanut_sauce.jpg

This is the peanut sauce that was intended to be easy, quick, every day sauce and then things just kept getting thrown into the blender. Lots of finger dipping, tasting...more ginger! dip. add coconut! dip. more spice! What I have below is a general recipe, but you'll need to taste and adjust as you wish. I may have lost track of a half teaspoon here or there. We didn't want it so peanuty that it resembled more of a spread for toast than an asian sauce, so the coconut milk and bit of toasted sesame oil help rein that in (see note). We like lots of ginger, always citrus, just enough spice to warm your throat and poof, a great sauce that will be used for a number or quick dishes this weekend. The photo here shows it on a simple asian sandwich with seared tofu, cucumber, carrots and scallions but I also plan on using it as a dressing for a quinoa and kale salad or making some spring rolls packed with veggies with this on the side for dipping. However you wish, meals seem to come together quite quickly with a good sauce on hand.

peanut_sauce_2.jpg

PANTRY PEANUT SAUCE // Makes about 1.5 cups

I imagine this would last a good two weeks in the fridge without comprimising too much on flavor. Don't quote me, I don't see it lasting long enough to tell, but it's an educated guess.

  • 1 cup creamy, unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • zest and juice of one large lime
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2-4 Tbsp. light coconut milk or water, as needed*
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
peanut_sauce_3.jpg

Add all of the ingredients besides cilantro to a powerful blender or food processor and run until smooth. Taste and adjust as preferred. Add the cilantro, give it another few pulses and keep in an airtight jar in the fridge.

* I used coconut milk for thinning because I had some open. It also helped cut the peanut butter flavor and made it a bit more savory. Water will work fine to thin, just expect the peanut flavor to be more forward. It will firm up a bit in the fridge, so keep that in mind while choosing your consistency.

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