August 17, 2010 § 1 Comment
I love trying out new items from Trader Joe’s. I guess I take it as personal challenge to try to find different ways to use their new products. As I was wondering down the aisles of Culver City’s Trader Joe’s I stopped at the sauces section to take a quick look over the shelves. I saw, to my amazement, a green curry simmer sauce. This made me so excited. When I was in Hawaii, for my friend John and Bri’s wedding, I went out to a great Thai restaurant with a group of girl friends. I was lucky enough to have ordered a delicious green curry dish. This made me want to try to experiment with the green curry sauce from Trader Joe’s. Here is the first of hopefully many experiments with this sauce.
1. Heat up a wok to a medium high heat. Add about 1 tbsp. of olive oil. While the oil is heating up, cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick rectangles. Put the tofu in the wok and cook it until it is browned on both sides. When the tofu is crispy, take the tofu out of the wok and put it on a plate. We will put the tofu back into the wok later.
2. Next, put the sliced bell pepper into the wok. Make sure you slice the peppers into thin pieces. Cook the bell peppers for about 5 minutes. Also start the water for the rice noodles.
3. While the bell peppers are cooking, cut up your zucchini. Cut the zucchini into halves and then into 1/4 inch half rounds. Cut the onion into thin strips. Put the zucchini and onion into the wok. Add in the crushed red peppers as well.
4. While the zucchini is cooking, put the rice noodles into the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package’s directions.
5. When the zucchini is about half way through cooking, add the tofu back into the wok, and add the green curry simmer sauce to the wok and reduce the heat to medium.
6. When the veggies have cooked (make sure the peppers still have a little bit of crispness to them) add the rice noodles to the wok. If you drain them make sure you do not rinse the noodles. Toss the noodles with the veggies and tofu. Let the curry sauce cover the noodles.
This noodle dish is extra special when topped with chopped peanuts. Make sure the peanuts are unsalted. You could also omit the noodles and just put the veggie green curry mixture over white rice. Try mixing in other veggies with the green curry sauce too. Next time, I want to try adding some carrots and mushrooms.
August 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
- 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Rotelle whole wheat pasta
- 1 container Trader Joe’s low-fat ricotta cheese
- 3 medium zucchini (sliced into 1 inch thick strips)
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 bag of frozen spinach (defrosted and wrung out)
- 1 cup of fresh peas or frozen peas defrosted
- Olive oil
- 3-4 pieces of Trader Joe’s cracked wheat sourdough bread
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Zest of lemon
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Homemade or home style ranch dressing (for serving)
1. Preheat your oven to 425º. Cut the head of cauliflower into 1 inch florets. Toss the florets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the florets out, in a single layer, on a rimmed baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until florets are tender and have browned in spots.
2. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a grill pan and grill up the bunch of asparagus and zucchini. When the asparagus and zucchini is cooked, be careful you still want them to be crisp, set them on a plate to cool.
3. Cook the pasta according to the packages directions. Make sure you generously salt the pasta water to add flavor to the pasta.
4. While the pasta is cooking and the veggies are cooling off, make the crouton crust for the top of the pasta. In a food processor, combine the bread (tear them into large pieces), chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Pulse until you have medium sized crumbs. Add a drizzle of olive oil and pulse 2-3 times to just incorporate the oil.
5. When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water for use later in this recipe. Put the drained pasta back into the same pot you cooked the pasta in.
6. To the cooked pasta, add the roasted cauliflower, grilled asparagus and zucchini (cut it into bite sized pieces before adding it into the pot), spinach, peas, red pepper flakes, the reserved pasta water, and the container of low-fat ricotta cheese. Mix until combined.
7. Add Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Put the pasta in a large baking dish. Top the pasta with the breadcrumb mixture, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350° oven until the pasta is heated all the way through and the crumb topping has browned (about 30-40 minutes).
I serve ranch dressing on the side for this pasta dish. If you aren’t obsessive about counting calories, a drizzle of cold ranch dressing on top of this warm summer pasta is heavenly.
July 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
Since I eat vegetables all of the time, I try to spruce them up by putting a variety of fresh vegetables in a soup, or in baked pasta, or in enchiladas, the list can go one forever. The point is, I forgot just how good fresh veggies can be on their own. These veggie kabobs make a great dinner and only needed some rice (I made coconut pineapple rice) to make a full meal. So if you want to enjoy summer, use your grill, and have a light dinner (one that doesn’t leave you comatose on the couch afterward) these kabobs are perfect!
- Various vegetables (I used peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and sweet onion.)
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp. chili sesame oil (you can use regular sesame oil, if your don’t like spicy foods)
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Soyaki
- 2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (less or more depending on your spice level)
- Zest of 2 limes
- Juice of 2 limes
- Toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle
1. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then add in the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Let all of the flavors in your homemade marinade mix together while you chop up your fresh vegetables and start your grill.
2. Cut your vegetables into chunks. You want all of the veggies to be roughly the same size, so they finish cooking at the same time. Make sure to cut your onions and peppers into large chunks because they will be the veggies that finish cooking first.
3. Once you have cut all of the vegetables, arrange them on the skewers in whatever order you want. I usually use a pattern because it looks great on the plate.
4. Put all of the vegetable skewers in a baking dish. Brush each skewer with the homemade marinade. If you have leftover marinade, pour it onto the skewers. Let the skewers soak in the marinade for about 15 minutes.
5. Put the skewers on the grill. Rotate and baste the kabobs every 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked all the way through. The timing on the vegetables depend on which veggies you used, so just check up on them and make sure they don’t burn to a crisp. When the veggies are done, use a basting brush to brush the kabobs with the marinade again. To finish them off, sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.