Tofu Rice Bowl

Most nights I do not cook from a recipe, but just make simple dinners that require little prep. Behold – the tofu rice bowl! This is the easiest dinner in the world, and really not a recipe – but when I posted this pic on instagram people asked for the ‘recipe’ so here it is:

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Side note: in reviewing the evidence, only two people asked for the recipe, and only six even ‘liked’ the photo, but let’s not go there.

– Brown rice from the ricecooker (we got an exorbitantly expensive Zojirushi rice cooker for our wedding and it is truly life-changing). If I had to make the rice myself like a caveman, this probably would not happen, at least not during the week.

– Sauteed onion and mushrooms and kale (and kale at the end for last 2 min)

– In a separate pan (booo for more clean-up) I pan-fry a little thinly sliced tofu in olive oil

Throw it all together – add a drizzle of olive oil/lemon juice/soy sauce/salt and it is delish!

The idea came from my hero Heidi at 101cookbooks – see her recipe here. If you have nori and avocado – even better!

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup from 101 Cookbooks

I have stalked Heidi’s blog, 101cookbooks, since the day I found out blogs existed. And I’m talking stalked to the point where I convinced her to come eat lunch with me at Google (and did not take a photo…biggest regret of my life). She has amazing vegetarian recipes and photos, plus she’s the nicest person ever. And yet somehow it took me gosh knows how many hears to actually make one of her recipes. Well, now I have a newfound obsession.

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The first recipe I tried was the coconut red lentil soup – and it was so good I made it two weekends in a row. It is the perfect warm soup for this time of year when it starts to get chilly. The best part is that it gets better the second (/third) night, so I made a big pot on Sunday for a Monday night dinner party, thus solving my ongoing dilemma/nightmare of what to cook for a weeknight dinner party that starts at 7pm, when I get home from work at 6pm. Answer: this soup. (Or if you really want to avoid stress, try NOT inviting 6 people over on a Monday night, but that’s another story). Also – one of the guests is vegetarian so I could not do my usual roasted chicken/Fred’s steak party. Even though I rarely cook meat at home, I realized I always serve meat when we’re having people over because I have no great alternative. So this was a good excuse to find a vegetarian meal that can be cooked ahead of time for a group.

I served the soup over brown rice with salad on the side, plus a little bread and cheese plate to start. I would say it’s better for a non-dinner party night since not everyone loves lentil curries as much as me, but hey, I was in a bind!

Notes on this recipe:

1. I skipped the golden raisons. Whole Foods did not have them, and the farmers market only had jumbo-sized golden raisons which seemed like a bigger raison commitment than I was willing to make. Plus the idea of serving soup with raisons to company was adding to my nightmares. And in conclusion, the soup was just fine without them.

2. I also did not have enough tomato paste and probably only added half the amount which was also fine.

3. I used Whole Foods brand coconut milk.  Normally I hate using anything in a can but I couldn’t think of an alternative, and the coconut milk added a great flavor and creamy texture. Will work on avoiding the can next time.

4. I added lots of carrots, probably double or triple the recipe. I love carrots.

5.. Wow, too many notes but, one last thing – I could not find the split yellow peas so I found something similar looking which happened to be split garbanzo beans at Whole Foods, and it was perfect. Moral of the story – an all out hunt across San Francisco for yellow split peas, which is what I would normally do, was not necessary and probably saved this soup/my life.

Okay, that’s all for now. Enjoy this yummy soup!

Slow cooker lentil stew with tomatoes and eggplant

Hubs in London. Every good recipe needs a photo of this guy!

I ate at a great vegetarian restaurant in London, and the best part of our meal was this eggplant/lentil stew. I was determined to recreate it when I came home but couldn’t find the perfect recipe online, so I winged it a little and was shocked when it worked. I used a combination of this recipe and this recipe, and simplified it a ton (no tomato paste, no purees, no cans…).

Slow cooker lentil stew with tomatoes and eggplant

– 1 yellow onion – chopped
– 1 large eggplant – peeled and chopped
– 1.5 lbs of tomatoes (I used dry farm early girl tomatoes, probably about 10 of them) – quartered
– 1.5 cups of lentils
– 2 cups of water
– mix of spices
– 1 clove of garlic, peeled (optional)

Sautee the chopped onion in olive oil (use slow cooker pot is possible – less to clean) until onions are soft. Remove pot from stove and add chopped eggplant, quartered tomatoes, lentils, and garlic. Cover with about 2 cups of water (approx – I didn’t really measure this). Season with spices (my sister-in-law brought me some amazing spices from her last trip to the middle east, so I just threw them all in. There was some saffron, cumin, curry, chili powder – anything in this realm would be great and all depends on your taste). Cook in slow cooker on low for 4 hours. I was short on time so I cooked it on high for 2.5 hours and it turned out perfectly – it’s a very forgiving stew.

Remove garlic cloves and serve in your favorite Simon Pearce bowl with a poached egg on top.
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Or two eggs if you are my hubs.

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You would think we would try not to spill eggs/lentils all over white bowls before photographing – keepin it real here. Best part is it tastes even better the next night, and the night after that so WOOHOO – perfect warm and healthy weeknight meal / lunch leftovers.