quinoa cakes

quinoa cakes (1 of 1)

quinoa cakes (1 of 1)Ok, so remember when I was obsessed with kale and everything kale?  Well, I’m still pretty obsessed with kale, but now I’m obsessed with quinoa as well.  I have figured out my favorite way to eat quinoa, and that is warm, liked warmed up in patties or a cereal rather than cold like in a salad.  I’ve made more quinoa dishes in the last few months than I have in the past year that I’ve been blogging.  First, there were these quinoa patties.  Super yummy, easy to make and healthy.

quinoa patties

Then I tried quinoa for breakfast with steel-cut oats and goji berries. Say what, quinoa for breakfast?  Oh yes, try it!  It’s my new favorite way to start the day.  It’s a power house of a breakfast.

hot quinoa and oat cereal with goji berries

Now, I ventured into a crispier and cheesier quinoa cake.  Hey, I was thinking of my kids here, because they were not the biggest fans of the other quinoa patties. Kid verdict?  Zoe liked them better than the other ones, (that’s a step in the right direction, still working on her) and Eli LOVED them, so I would say that this recipe was a success. Dry toasting the quinoa before simmering it in the broth adds such a depth of flavor, and the quinoa gets all browned in color and forms into these tiny little balls. The mozzarella cheese gets all melty and crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. These cakes remind me in a weird but healthier way, of mozzarella cheese sticks. I know that’s a strange way to describe them, but they are crispy, cheesy and chewy cakes. I mean who said that healthy foods have to taste healthy, right?  Just give them a try and if you like quinoa and cheese, then you will love these.

… 

Read More »

spaghetti squash tacos

spaghetti squash tacos

spaghetti squash tacosI know there are many of you who have been patiently waiting for this recipe ever since I showcased it in my weekly menu post last week. Thanks for being so patient and I hope that these tacos make your wait worthwhile. I love it when I find a new family approved and easy weeknight meatless dinner (that was a mouthful). It’s so nice because I try and strive to have at least 2-3 meatless dinners a week, if possible. I want to make meatless nights fun and tasty and full of variety for the family, not boring and something that no one looks forward to. I truly have found the best recipes since I started my meatless search, and these tacos along with my Paul McCartney refried bean tacos are keepers!

Paul McCartney's refried bean tacosI was originally hesitant to try these tacos because even though I like spaghetti squash, I don’t LOVE it as a substitute for good old pasta, (I’m truly a carb girl) and neither does my family. We eat as a substitute once in a while because its healthy.  So, I finally picked up my reserved copy (after months of waiting) of Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook from the library. I opened it up and this particular recipe grabbed my eye. Deb’s photo was amazing and really made me want to eat these tacos. I also loved that Deb was not a huge fan of spaghetti squash being a substitute for pasta either. She did feel differently about spaghetti squash when she made these tacos though. The squash really captures all the flavors from the chili spices and lime and it pairs wonderfully with all the toppings, plus it looks so pretty. I felt that if Deb and I were both in agreement that spaghetti squash is not a great substitute for pasta, then I might agree with her about these tacos, so I was game to give these a try.

… 

Read More »

mashed potatoes with kale

mashed potatoes with kale

mashed potatoes with kaleI’m sorry that I’m not doing my regular weekly dinner menu post, but this considered a vacation week, so I’m kind of taking a vacation from cooking (until Thanksgiving that is). I’m also in the process of moving my site over to Wordpress, so I’m going to be busy working on getting that up and running with the help of my HTML goddess Wendy, thanks Wendy!  I can’t wait to move over, as I’m feeling limited on blogger and have finally decided that it’s time to make the move!  I promise to have my weekly dinner menu up and running next Sunday.

If you love kale and mashed potatoes, then you will love these.  Zoe and I were looking through Sprouted Kitchen’s new cookbook one afternoon where she saw the photo of these potatoes. She bookmarked the page, and told me that I had to make them.  I think her love of potatoes comes from John, as he loves any kind of potato dish. I honestly love what a foodie my daughter has become.  She would have never asked for potatoes with kale a year ago, (come to think of it, I don’t think I would have either) but our tastes change and grow, and now she and I both love kale.  

… 

Read More »

kid friendly caesar salad

photo[3]

Moms, do I have caesar salad recipe for you.  This is one of Eli’s favorite salads now and he literally requests it daily.  He eats a whole plate full, even when I sneak some lacinato kale in the salad.  I told him the other night as he scarfed down a plate full of salad that he just polished off about 1/4 a head of kale. His jaw just about slammed down on the table.  He said he didn’t even know there was kale in the salad, he thought the dark green leaves were darker romaine lettuce pieces. The dressing is what makes this a kid friendly salad (no anchovies or raw egg) or should I say adult friendly as well. You can make it more of an adult salad by adding some kale as well as multigrain croutons. To keep it truly kid friendly, I would just serve the dressing over some romaine leaves and make up some sourdough or french bread croutons.  BTW, I don’t always add croutons to the salad, so don’t feel the pressure.  We usually just have this salad as a side to our meal sans the croutons.  I just don’t always have time to whip up a batch of croutons during the week.

… 

Read More »

quinoa patties

quinoa

Happy day after Halloween!  Are you all candied out?  Are you putting yourself on a diet of kale salads and quinoa dishes till Thanksgiving? I’m not going to go that far, but I do need some sort of cleanse from all the sugar I’ve been eating lately. It’s not candy that I need a break from, but baked goods. I have been baking way to many pumpkin muffins, cupcakes and bundt cakes lately, and I need to stop!  Maybe with all of this new candy in the house, I won’t be asked to bake anything. I think the trick-or-treat candy will give me about a week off before the kids start getting sick of it and start asking me what I’m going to bake up. 

… 

Read More »

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basilHere’s an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will enjoy, and the best part is that you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Yes, you heard me right, dinner in under 30 minutes. What mom or dad doesn’t like that?  Another great thing about this pasta is that it’s made with fresh and whole ingredients, so you can feel good about feeding your family a quick and easy dinner.

The heirloom tomatoes topped with parmesan and mozzarella taste like mini pizzas, but without the crust.  My kids even begged for thirds on the tomatoes.  I used heirloom tomatoes, but you can also use beefsteak, roma or vine-ripe tomatoes, whatever tomato strikes your fancy.

These tomatoes would also make a great side dish or appetizer.  I think they would even taste great topped on a pizza crust with some pesto or olive oil as the base sauce.  OK, I think I just created a new recipe for pizza Friday.  I love when that happens!

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil:

recipe adapted from real simple
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2-3 large heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - If your kids are not fans of spicy things, than I would go with the 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or julienned, plus more for serving
Cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
While your pasta is cooking, turn on your broiler and slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the tomato slices in a single layer. Sprinkle each tomato slice with the following ingredients in the following order:
  • salt 
  • pepper -you don’t have to add this to the kid’s tomato slices
  • grated parmesan 
  • mozzarella cheese

I would top each one with an even amount of both cheeses.  
Why not get the kids involved and have them top their tomatoes with the cheese, its like topping a pizza.  Its fun and gets them excited to eat tomatoes.

Broil the tomatoes until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t these tomatoes look insanely good?

In a small saucepan or sauté pan, heat the 3 tablespoons oil with the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add the garlic oil, 1/4 cup torn or julienned basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper to the cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Serve the pasta up into individual bowls and top each bowl of pasta with the cheesy tomatoes, some fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.

The tomatoes are filling, so 2 tomato slices per bowl is plenty, but you may want a third, and that’s ok.That’s it folks.  How easy was that to throw together?  If you’re making this into a two-nighter meal, then you will want to make up some fresh cheesy tomatoes the next night.  I served this pasta up two nights in a row. It was super simple, as I just had to throw the tomatoes together while the pasta was re-heating. 

If your kids love pizza and pasta, then they will love this recipe.  

cold soba noodles with miso tofu and summer vegetables

cold soba noodles with miso roasted tofu and summer vegetables
cold soba noodles with miso roasted tofu and summer vegetables

Welcome to marinmamacooks.com!  I finally have my own domain, yeah!  I’m a real blog now, (just kidding, kind of) but it’s a big step for me and I do feel a bit grown up.  I lost a couple of things in the transition like my pin counters, but these things happen and it’s pretty minor in my opinion.

One of my favorite sources for new recipes are magazines.  I love opening one up and looking at all the gorgeous pictures and tempting recipes.  I use to love reading In Style, Oprah and magazines like that, but now I love to ready cooking magazines (I guess I’m getting older).  I currently have a subscription to bon appetit and Martha Stewart Living.  I’m like a kid in the candy store each time one of them arrives.  There’s just something about getting a magazine in the mail.  Cooking magazines are great because they usually focus on seasonal recipes and ingredients.  I hate when I look at a cookbook and crave a recipe only to find that the ingredients are not in season. 

I saw this recipe in the July issue, and it spoke to me.  It looked so fresh and simple, the perfect summer meal.  The recipe did not call for the miso tofu, I added that in to give it some protein and keep it a vegetarian recipe.  You can make this without the tofu and it tastes wonderful.  The cutting of the vegetables was a bit labor intensive, but that was the only thing that took time.  I’m sure there is an easier way to dice up the veggies, and if you have any, send them my way.  I do sometimes find it a bit therapeutic to cut up a bunch of fresh vegetables, it just depends on my day.  Feel free to use any vegetable in the below recipe. This dish is a great make-ahead meal for those busy summer nights.  
Here are my leftovers the next day at lunch!  Yum!

cold soba noodles with miso tofu and summer vegetables:

recipe adapted from bon appetitmiso tofu recipe from Eating Well
serves 4-6

for the miso tofu: 

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

for the soba noodles:

  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar – I used brown rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil – make sure you get toasted sesame oil 
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper – sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles (Japanese-style noodles)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems – these add amazing flavor to the dish, so this is a must
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush on some olive oil. Make sure that you coat it well, because if you don’t, then the tofu will stick to the baking sheet. I used my olive oil cooking spray.  

Drain the tofu and wrap it in some paper towels and gently press out the excess moisture.  Cut the block of tofu into square cubes like the picture below.  I cut the block of tofu into 8 slices and then cut those in half to get these squares. It really doesn’t matter how you cut up your tofu, just make sure they are cut into even pieces.

cubed tofuCombine the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons miso and the 2 cloves minced garlic in a large bowl, and use a spatula to mix it together. It will resemble a thick paste.

miso paste with lemon and garlic_Add the tofu squares to the mixture and gently toss to coat. It may not look like there is enough mixture to cover all of the tofu, but there is.

Spread the marinated tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
miso roasted tofu
Bake the tofu on the middle rack, turning two or three times during baking, until browned. About 18-20 minutes, or until the tofu is browned on all sides.
Tip: You can make this tofu up ahead of time, (like the day before) and just re-heat it for a few minutes in a 250-degree oven.
miso roasted tofu
While the miso is baking, wash and slice up the vegetables and set aside.In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, sriracha and toasted sesame oil.Throw the matchstick sliced vegetables into a large bowl, top with the dressing and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain.  Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add them to the bowl with the vegetables.  Add in the scallions and toss them with noodles.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve up the noodles into individual bowls and top them with the sesame seeds, cilantro stems and warm tofu.  
Tip:  Store the tofu separate from the noodles, so they don’t get soggy.
cold soba noodles with miso roasted tofu and summer vegetables
Like I said earlier, you can make this with or without the tofu or even add chicken if you like.  We all loved this dish and will definitely make it again. It was so simple to throw together and gave us great leftovers.  
cold soba noodles with miso tofu and summer vegetables

Serving Size: serves 4-6

cold soba noodles with miso tofu and summer vegetables

Ingredients

    miso tofu:
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Soba noodles:
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar - I used brown rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil - make sure you get toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper - sliced into matchstick sized pieces
  • 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles (Japanese-style noodles)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems - these add amazing flavor to the dish, so this is a must.
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush on some olive oil. Make sure that you coat it well, because if you don’t, then the tofu will stick to the baking sheet. I used my olive oil cooking spray.

Drain the tofu and wrap it in some paper towels and gently press out the excess moisture. I cut the block of tofu into 8 slices and then cut those in half to get these squares. It really doesn’t matter how you cut up your tofu, just make sure they are cut into even pieces.

Combine the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons miso and the 2 cloves minced garlic in a large bowl, and use a spatula to mix it together. It will resemble a thick paste.

Add the tofu squares to the mixture and gently toss to coat. It may not look like there is enough mixture to cover all of the tofu, but there is.

Spread the marinated tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the tofu on the middle rack, turning two or three times during baking, until browned. About 18-20 minutes, or until the tofu is browned on all sides.

Tip: You can make this tofu up ahead of time, (like the day before) and just re-heat it for a few minutes in a 250-degree oven.

While the miso is baking, wash and slice up the vegetables and set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, sriracha and toasted sesame oil.

Throw the matchstick sliced vegetables into a large bowl, top with the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain.

Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add them to the bowl with the vegetables. Add in the scallions and toss them with noodles.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve up the noodles into individual bowls and top them with the sesame seeds, cilantro stems and warm tofu.

Tip: Store the tofu separate from the noodles, so they don't get soggy.

Like I said earlier, you can make this with or without the tofu or even add chicken if you like. John and I loved this dish and will definitely make it again. It was so simple to throw together and gave us great leftovers.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/07/cold-soba-noodles-with-miso-tofu-and-summer-vegetables/

Ina’s summer garden pasta with video tutorial

Ina's summer garden pasta with video tutorial (1 of 1)-3
Ina's summer garden pasta with video tutorial (1 of 1)-3
Ok, here is my first attempt at a “homemade” cooking video.  When I say first attempt, I mean first attempt.  Zoe and I pulled this together yesterday afternoon, and there weren’t any re-takes, we shot and edited with what we had.  I’m proud to say that this video was filmed and edited by my 12 year old daughter, Zoe. Yay Zoe!  Zoe is always shooting videos with her friends, and editing up a storm, so I asked her if she might want to earn a few bucks by filming some videos for the blog this summer. I think she did a wonderful job, and all in all, for our first video, I think it turned out pretty good.  Making your first video is like putting together your first blog post or posting your first photograph.  It can be a bit intimidating, but you have to start somewhere, so here you go.  The video has a cute ending, so stick with it.

I hope you enjoyed the video portion of this recipe (geez, I sound like a stewardess on an airline). For those of you that want the classic recipe post, I have added that as well below.

I seriously love Ina Garten, and have quite a few of her recipes on this blog. Her recipes are easy to follow and perfect for the “everyday” cook. This pasta one of my favorite summer pastas, as the ingredients are simple and fresh and the flavors are amazing. This pasta is the perfect make-ahead meal. The tomato marinade take literally 5 minutes to assemble and it can sit out anywhere from 4-10 hours at room temperature. The longer it sits the better. It’s also the perfect meal to serve up at a dinner party, because it’s virtually a one-bowl meal (less dishes to clean up) and so easy to prepare because all you have to do is throw in the capellini right before serving (the capellini only takes 3  minutes to cook). Instead of slaving over the stove, you can spend quality time relaxing with your friends. Now, that sounds great to me!

Ina's summer garden pasta with video tutorial (1 of 1)-4

Ina’s summer garden pasta:

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Serves 6

NOTE: I cut the tomato portion of the original recipe in half, as 4 pints of tomatoes were a bit too much for us, and my kids really don’t want a bowl full of tomatoes. 
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 large or 6 medium cloves) 
  • 10-12 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta or capellini
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Below are the ingredients that you will need for the tomato marinade.
Wash up the cherry tomatoes and basil.  Cut the tomatoes in half.  
Slice up the basil into thin strips.
 Combine the cherry tomatoes,1/2-cup olive oil, minced garlic, chopped basil,1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1-teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine.  
Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.  
Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the capellini and cook according to the directions on the package (be careful, as it only takes 2 to 3 minutes to cook capellini pasta).  

Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes.  Give the pasta a toss and then add in the 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese and mix together.  
Serve up the pasta in large bowls and top with some Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Ina's summer garden pasta with video tutorial (1 of 1)-3
Another thing I love about this pasta is that you can usually get two nights out of it (at least in my family).  Serve this up with some crispy garlic bread and you have the perfect simple summer meal.  

 I chose not to speak in the video because honestly, I’m not ready to do that yet.  Every time I hear myself on video I cringe.  I say the words “you know” and “like” too much, so I have to work up the confidence to do a talking cooking video! 

Ina’s summer garden pasta with video tutorial

Rating: 51

Serving Size: serves 6

Ina’s summer garden pasta with video tutorial

NOTE: I cut the tomato portion of the original recipe in half, as 4 pints of tomatoes were a bit too much for us, and my kids really don't want a bowl full of tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 large or 6 medium cloves)
  • 10-12 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta or capellini
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Instructions

Wash up the cherry tomatoes and basil.

Cut the tomatoes in half.

Slice up the basil into thin strips.

Combine the cherry tomatoes,1/2-cup olive oil, minced garlic, chopped basil,1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1-teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.

Just before you're ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the capellini and cook according to the directions on the package (be careful, as it only takes 2 to 3 minutes to cook capellini pasta).

Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Give the pasta a toss and then add in the 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese and mix together.

Serve up the pasta in large bowls and top with some Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/07/inas-summer-garden-pasta-with-video-tutorial/

kale, pluot and ricotta pizza

kaleplout
ISO: 400  A: f/1.4   S: 1/160

We’re getting creative with food lately in the Grandy household, as I don’t want to be dragging the kids to the grocery store every day (I mean it is summer, come on).  So, I find myself scrounging the pantry and fridge for some new and tasty lunch and dinner ideas.  Zoe has been super helpful at creating some fun pantry lunches. She made a cheese quesadilla with salami in it last week, and she’s been awesome at packing leftovers for lunch to take to her intense dance camp. Eli just happily eats whatever combination Zoe and I throw at him. He’s not a picky eater at all.

I took a look in my fridge, and I of course had some kale, (remember, I am kale obsessed) and some leftover ricotta from this amazing grilled kale and ricotta salad I made last week (recipe later).  I had a big bowl filled with nectarines, pluots, (a plum-apricot hybrid) and plums.  I always keep some whole-wheat naan bread on hand to make mini pizzas with or to serve alongside a kale salad for dinner. I thought to myself, why not create a mini lunchtime pizza with the above ingredients.  
Don’t you love it when you get creative, and end up coming up with something so delicious? Sometimes those are the recipes that turn out the best because there is a sense of pride in the effortless creation. 
This is an aesthetically beautiful pizza.  The crispy green kale contrasts so beautifully with the pinkish red pluots.  The heat slightly wilts and chars the kale and really brings out the green color.  I think this pizza would be a beautiful appetizer as well.  
ISO: 400  A: f/2.2  S: 1/100

 

kale, pluot and ricotta pizza:

  • 1 slice whole wheat nann bread 
  • ricotta cheese – approximately 2 tablespoons, it’s really based on taste and personal preference
  • 1 dinosaur or lacinato kale leaf – de-stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pluot or plum, sliced thin - I used a red pluot
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Spread a layer of ricotta onto the nann bread.  
 
In a small bowl, toss the sliced kale and pluots with the teaspoon of olive oil. 
Top the pizza with the marinated kale and pluots.
Bake at 425 for about 7-10 minutes, or until the crust is browned.
 
Slice up and enjoy.  I paired this pizza with my lacinato kale salad, and it was the perfect healthy lunch.
ISO: 400  A: f/2.2  S: 1/80
You could also throw this combination on top of a regular pizza crust to make a larger dinner sized portion, just make sure to increase the quantities of the other ingredients.  
If you don’t have ricotta on hand, you can try another soft cheese such as goat cheese. 
I think I am going to pick up some pizza crust, and make this for dinner next week for John and I.  Come to think of it, my kids might even like the sweet combination of the pluot and the tartness of the kale.  I will give it a shot and let you know their opinion!
 
So, this was my first attempt at taking photos at home with the Aperture setting. I had a lot of photos that I discarded and though I didn’t necessarily get the perfect photo (one without any blurring, the crust is blurred in some spots), I feel proud that I keep the camera in manual mode and didn’t give up and go to an automatic setting.  My next step is to figure out how not to get a blur in my photo.  Maybe I need to work on the focus, or turn up the ISO or drag my tripod out of the garage and start using it.

Here is my how I set up the pizza to be photographed.  As you can see, I have tons of natural light with the french doors, (almost to much, I think).  I used a black foam board for the background as well as on the right side (opposite side of where the light was coming in from).  The black helped to create a mood, and to showcase the colors on the pizza.
I will explain more about boards and such in part 2 of my food photography workshop.


Cheers folks!

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu (1 of 1)-2

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu (1 of 1)-2I’m so excited because I have found another kale salad that I love just as much as my lacinato kale salad. Wendy, Debbie & Amanda, you have to try this. This is going to be another weekly go-to salad for me. I love this salad so much that I ate a whole head of kale on Friday as well as made a fresh batch up for dinner on Saturday, and had leftovers for lunch on Sunday. It was a kale filled weekend for me. This salad is great on its own, but top it off with the miso roasted tofu and you have yourself a substantial lunch or dinner. Did I mention that this salad is also kid and hubby approved?

This is also another great make ahead salad. I do prefer to eat it fresh or within the hour of tossing it up, but it tasted amazing as leftovers the next day and even holds out to day 3 (actually my hubby likes it better the next day, go figure). I re-heated the leftover tofu in a pre-heated 250 degree oven for just a bit, and then topped it on the leftover salad. You don’t even have to re-heat the tofu, I just did because I wanted to. It tastes great, all warm on the cool salad.

miso tofumiso roasted tofu:

Recipe from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals
makes 14 square cubes
printer friendly recipe

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, miso – see picture and note below
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Below is a picture of miso. You can find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store usually by where the tofu is kept. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds flavor to dishes such as soups, sauces and salad dressings. It is high in protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s available in different colors, white, yellow, red & brown. If you want a milder flavor then go with yellow or white. If you want a stronger flavor then go with a red or brown miso. The lighter the color, the milder the flavor. I chose this yellow chickpea miso because I wanted a milder flavor and this version is soy-free.
DSC_0203Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush on some olive oil. Make sure that you coat it well, because if you don’t, then the tofu will stick to the baking sheet. I used my olive oil cooking spray.

Drain the tofu and wrap it in some paper towels and gently press out the excess moisture. Cut the block of tofu into square cubes like the picture below. I cut the block of tofu into 8 slices and then cut those in half to get these squares. It really doesn’t matter how you cut up your tofu, just make sure they are cut into even pieces.

cubed tofuCombine the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons miso and the 2 cloves minced garlic in a large bowl, and use a spatula to mix it together. It will resemble a thick paste.

miso paste with lemon and garlic_Add the tofu squares to the mixture and gently toss to coat.  It may not look like there is enough mixture to cover all of the tofu, but there is.

Spread the marinated tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

miso roasted tofuBake the tofu on the middle rack, turning one to two times during baking, until browned, about 18-20 minutes, or until the tofu is browned on all sides.

miso roasted tofuYou can really do so much with this tofu. You can throw it on any other salad of choice, eat it on its own or top it on your favorite pasta. The choices are unlimited.  We love it topped on some cold soba noodles with summer vegetables.

cold soba noodles with miso roasted tofu and summer vegetablesWe also love it in a vegetarian banh mi sandwich.

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise
Oh, I forgot to mention that Eli loved this tofu (not the salad, but we are working on that).  Zoe love’s both the tofu and salad.  She is really turning into my kale gal.
miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

miso kale salad:

Recipe adapted from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals
Note: This is not a make ahead dressing, as it does not sit well on it’s own. I would make it up and then toss it with your kale. Once mixed with the kale, it sits well.
printer friendly recipe

  • 1 bunch (whole head) lacinato/dinosaur kale, curly kale or red kale, large stems removed, thinly sliced – to see a step-by-step demonstration on how to de-stem and slice kale – click here.
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons miso
  • 1 clove garlic, minced - I used 2 medium cloves and it tasted great
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, miso and garlic in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.
Make sure to whisk the ingredients together well. The dressing will be a bit thick and pasty.

miso dressingPut your sliced and de-stemmed kale into a salad bowl.

Pour in the dressing a bit at a time (see my note below) over the kale, and mix well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing.  I actually massaged my kale a bit so the kale really absorbed the dressing.  You don’t have to go crazy massaging this kale salad.  When I say, “massage” your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.  You will notice that the kale reduces in size quite a bit, and what seemed like a mess of kale is now 1/2 of what it was.
Note:  Add the dressing to taste.  Some heads of kale are smaller than others, so just use the amount of dressing for the amount of kale you have.  The first batch I made had less kale so I only used 3/4 the amount of dressing I made.  The second batch I used had a bit more kale, and I ended up using the whole amount of dressing.
Add the 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and toss to coat.
Top the salad with some roasted tofu, or not.  The kale salad is great on its own as well.
This salad is creamy and bowl licking good.  It’s the perfect meal for any vegetarian or non-vegetarian.  
Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Be sure to store the tofu and kale separately.
Got leftovers?  Just re-heat the tofu in a 250 degree oven until warmed. This salad tastes great day two and even day three.
You can also make a kale caesar salad wrap. Just top a whole-grain tortilla with the leftover kale salad, the warmed tofu and then smash an avocado on top and wrap it up. It’s just a fun and different way to enjoy this salad.
kale caesar salad wrap
Like kale salads?  Then you need to try my  lacinato kale salad.  This salad has turned kale haters into kale lovers.
lacinato kale salad video
kale and ricotta salata salad
kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar

Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos

Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos

Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos One of my challenges is to find some new meatless dinner recipes that the whole family will enjoy, besides your typical pasta.  Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta, but I want to offer other meatless alternatives for the family.  I’ve been trying to cut back on our meat intake to just a couple of days a week, and it’s been easy to find recipes that John and I like, but it’s been a bit harder to find recipes that the kids will enjoy as well.  

I recently picked a new favorite cookbook called, Meat Free Monday, and came across this refried bean taco recipe from Paul McCartney.  It was said to be one of his favorite recipes, so I decided to give it a try.  

So how did these tacos go over with the family?  The kids & hubby rated them a thumbs up!  I rated them a thumbs up as well due to the taste factor, but also because I had dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.  These tacos are the perfect weeknight meal because everything can be made and assembled in less than 20 minutes, and chances are you have most of the ingredients on hand in your pantry. Double thumbs up to Paul! 

Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos

Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos:

recipe from Meat Free Monday
serves 4-6

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounce can of refried beans or a 17 ounce box - the Fig beans come in a 17oz box and I used the whole box – I also like and most often use Amy’s Organic Refried Beans.
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped – I used Italian plum tomatoes
  • pinch or two of sea or kosher salt 
  • 1 package of whole grain corn tortillas or taco shells – Paul used hard taco shells in his recipe, so feel free to use hard taco shells
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 lime
  • *Optional – 1-2 teaspoons hot chili sauce – I did not add this because the kid’s do not like things to spicy

Below are most of the ingredients you will need to make the tacos.  
I really love beans from Fig Food Company as they are organic, and come in BPA free packaging.  I have a stocked pantry full of their cannellini, garbanzo, and black beans.   
You can find these beans at most Whole Foods.  
Update:  I’m finding that these beans are becoming hard to find, so I often use Amy’s Organic Refried Beans.
Below are the three ingredients you will need for the actual filling, so easy!
First, chop up your onion, and then de-seed and chop up your tomatoes.
 Not sure how to de-seed and chop an Italian plum tomato?  I will show you how.  
Cut your tomato in half lengthwise. 
Then quarter it.
Take a small knife and scoop out the seedpod.
 Lay the tomato skin side down and cut into thin strips lengthwise. 
It’s much easier to cut tomatoes on the inside than the outside.
Cut the strips crosswise into small pieces.
Heat up the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  
Add the onion and cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently until the onion is soft but not colored. 
Stir in the refried beans.  Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook until heated through.  Season to taste with some salt.  
If you like your tacos spicy, add the 1 to 2 teaspoons of chill sauce to the refried bean mixture.
John wanted a bit more spice so he diced up a jalapeno pepper and topped his taco with it instead of making the mixture spicy for the whole family. 
Below is a picture of the refried bean mixture.  
I know it’s not the prettiest picture, but I wanted to show you what it looks like.
Its time to heat up your tortillas.
You can heat up the tortillas 2 ways.  
Throw the tortillas on the grill, and grill them until slightly charred and pliable, about 20
seconds per side.
Don’t feel like turning on the grill?  Then turn on your stove.  Set your burner to low and put the tortilla on top of the grate and cook for about 20 seconds per side.
You don’t have to heat up the soft tortillas, but they taste so much better when you do.
Now comes the fun part, assembling the tacos!
Top each tortilla with the bean mixture and then add your favorite fixings.
Make sure to squeeze some fresh lime juice on each taco.
Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos
Here’s what we topped our tacos with.
I topped mine with Monterey jack, sliced avocado and cilantro. 
The kids topped theirs with Monterey jack, sour cream and cilantro.
John topped his with Monterey jack, some diced jalapeno, sliced avocado, sour cream and cilantro.
We paired the tacos with some roasted asparagus (surprise, surprise).
Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos
These were so good that I had some leftovers for lunch the next day. I paired the tacos with some strawberries and blueberries fresh from the farmers market, so good!
Paul McCartney's refried bean tacos
Do you try and have a meatless day during the week?  If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?

Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos

Rating: 51

Serving Size: serves 4-6

Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounce can of refried beans or a 17 ounce box
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped - I used Italian plum tomatoes
  • pinch or two of sea or kosher salt
  • 1 package of whole grain corn tortillas or taco shells - Paul used hard taco shells in his recipe, so feel free to use hard taco shells
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 lime
  • *Optional - 1-2 teaspoons hot chili sauce - I did not add this because the kid's do not like things to spicy

Instructions

First, chop up your onion, and then de-seed and chop up your tomatoes.

Not sure how to de-seed and chop an Italian plum tomato? I show you pictures in the post, but also explain how to below.

Cut your tomato in half lengthwise.

Then quarter it.

Take a small knife and scoop out the seedpod.

Lay the tomato skin side down and cut into thin strips lengthwise.

It's much easier to cut tomatoes on the inside than the outside.

Cut the strips crosswise into small pieces.

Heat up the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently until the onion is soft but not colored.

Stir in the refried beans. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook until heated through. Season to taste with some salt.

If you like your tacos spicy, add the 1 to 2 teaspoons of chill sauce to the refried bean mixture.

Its time to heat up your tortillas.

You can heat up the tortillas 2 ways.

Throw the tortillas on the grill, and grill them until slightly charred and pliable, about 20

seconds per side.

Don't feel like turning on the grill? Then turn on your stove. Set your burner to low and put the tortilla on top of the grate and cook for about 20 seconds per side.

You don't have to heat up the soft tortillas, but they taste so much better when you do.

Now comes the fun part, assembling the tacos!

Top each tortilla with the bean mixture and then add your favorite fixings.

Make sure to squeeze some fresh lime juice on each taco.

Here's what we topped our tacos with.

I topped mine with Monterey jack, sliced avocado and cilantro.

The kids topped theirs with Monterey jack, sour cream and cilantro.

John topped his with Monterey jack, some diced jalapeno, sliced avocado, sour cream and cilantro.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/06/paul-mccartneys-refried-bean-tacos/