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Posts Tagged ‘tofu’

S&M Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on February 9, 2015 at 2:04 am

“Life itself is the proper binge.” ~Julia Child

s&m soup

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I’ve masterminded a soup that is for the brave, wacky, and tad bit suicidal parts of all us (oh, come on, don’t play coy with me). I haven’t read the Fifty Shades of Grey book (heard the writing was terrible but that’s not the point, right?) and I’m not sure I’ll watch the movie since I’m not convinced the acting will be very good. But I do recommend watching Secretary with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal for a bit of uncomfortable but fascinating entertainment in a sexy, disturbing way. Kind of like this soup.

Speaking of sexy. It didn’t used to be sexy to speak about your colon and it’s functions or contents. And while it’s still not exactly sexy, it does seem to be the hippest new topic out there. The registered dietitian’s mantra has always been “The road to health is paved with good intestines.” And now it seems that everyone else cares about their colon as well. Now it’s totally hip to eat – and make your own – fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kraut, and kombucha (this blog post brought to you by the letter “K”). Kimchi has a powerful, sour-spicy kick and I love it with fried eggs so I thought this soup was worth a try.the joy of food

Since it consists mostly of kimchi and gochujang with some tofu and scallions thrown in, this soup is kind of dark and dangerous. If the Korean spices aren’t intense enough then wait until the end when you top your bowl with a raw egg yolk. I freaked out at the last minute and tried to soften the blow by adding avocado. This soup has an oddly addictive quality to it but I’m not sure that I actually enjoyed eating it. Hence the name of the soup.

All of the gut-friendly benefits of fermented kimchi are lost in this soup recipe but that shouldn’t stop you from taking pleasure from this spicy, broth-y, brooding soup. All encounters with food need not be transactional. You are allowed to eat for pure pleasure from time to time. Stand down from the vigilance around “being healthy”. Treat yourself with kindness. But, if you want more info about maintaining a healthy gut, read on or skip to the recipe below.

Traditional fermented foods like kimchi (and miso and kraut) contain live bacteria (if not super-heated) essential for a healthy gut which in turn positively affects your immune system, endocrine system, and nervous system. For a quick summary on your gut and mental health, read Happy Gut, Happy You and for a more in-depth look at how our gut affects our mind (with links to interesting research), read this article and podcast from NPR.

Fermented and Pickled are not the same thing. Pickling often involves vinegar and sometimes sugar. Fermentation only requires water and salt and the fermentation occurs spontaneously with naturally-occurring bacteria found on the vegetables – well, really, it’s airborne and found on many things, even the glassware used during fermentation. kimchi ingredientsAdditionally, pickled products are shelf-stable through high-heat pasteurization so, even if they did have some beneficial bacteria (which they don’t), it would be destroyed by this process.

To find authentic, fermented products they must be located in the REFRIGERATED section of your market and will most likely have the words “raw”, “live cultures”, or “probiotics” somewhere on the front of the label. Read the back of the label as well for the ingredients list. Avoid sugar, MSG, and preservatives.

S&M Soup Ingredients:

1lb. silken tofu, cubed

1 TBSP raw sesame oil

4 cups cabbage kimchi, gently squeezed and chopped, plus 1 cup liquid

2-4 TBSP gochujang (what can you handle?)

8 scallions, sliced thinly

2 TBSP tamari (I used reduced-sodium)

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

6 large egg yolks (or 1 per bowl)

a shake or two of toasted sesame seeds

kimchi and gochujangHeat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Pour liquid off jar of kimchi (reserve) and coarsely chop. Add kimchi to the heated oil (first!) and then add gochujang (or it will start popping and sizzling and splattering everywhere!). Cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu cubes, and simmer about 4 minutes. The original recipe stated that the tofu will be slightly puffed and firmed up. I saw no such change in the tofu. I simply waited for them to rise to the top like ravioli. This might have been a tofu-cooking-failure but tofu doesn’t actually need to be “cooked from a food safety perspective. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.

Add scallions, soy sauce, and tofu to kimchi broth; simmer gently about 20–25 minutes. Add sesame oil. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with an egg yolk and sesame seeds. Attempt to enjoy.

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Cool, Summer-version of Pad Thai

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 30, 2013 at 4:31 am

pad thai kelp noodlesThis cold, kelp noodle salad has a terrible name. I wanted to call it “No-cook, No Peanut Pad Thai” but that was pretty lame too. The good news is, this recipe requires NO cooking or processing only soaking, chopping, and whisking. I used an alternative to the ubiquitous peanut butter to make it accessible to everyone and change up the flavor a bit. The whole point of developing this recipe was to find a use for kelp noodles other than in soups. I have been struggling with a decent avocado sauce and now feel vindicated that I’ve finally put kelp noodles to good use with this Pad Thai-inspired sauce. Insanely low-cal kelp noodles pair perfectly with high-calorie nut-based sauces. I’m not a calorie-counter but it’s just common sense not to overload your palate or belly with a cocktail of high-calorie items…let’s keep it all in balance, people.

kelp noodles

No caption necessary…the bag says it all.

Kelp noodles are practically calorie-free (<10 calories per serving), gluten-free, and raw. Just soak in water with an acid (citrus, vinegar) and they remind one of glass noodles. Kelp noodles are made from brown seaweed, sodium alginate (a seaweed-derived salt therefore high in iodine), and water. Clear in color and quite bland, they are al-dente-like crunchy until soaked. Kelp noodles are low in fiber so if you are using them in place of whole grain noodles, up the veggie content of your recipe for balanced blood sugar levels.

This recipe is vegan and I would love to call it ‘raw’ because it’s very, very close; however, for bestowing the raw title you must drop the tofu, sub agave or raw honey (but then it wouldn’t be vegan…so many rules!) for the maple syrup, and the canned coconut milk is suspect (I believe there are raw versions of coconut milk available). Anyway, if you are a raw foodie, I’m sure you are aware of the appropriate substitutions. If you are not, carry on…

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients2

Tofu, red pepper, lime, and mint.

Ingredients:

1 bag kelp noodles, soaked overnight in water and juice of 1 lime

8oz tofu, extra firm, drained, squeezed, and cubed

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup shredded/grated carrot

Handful of bean sprouts

(Experiment with the veggies: sliced snow peas, shredded cabbage, grated beets, etc.)

Pad Thai Sauce (enough for 2 batches of noodles & veggies):

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients

Kelp noodles, ground/crushed red pepper, tahini, shredded carrot, and ginger root.

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, light

3 TBSP tamari, low sodium

3 TBSP maple syrup (agave or raw honey)

1-2 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

Place drained kelp noodles, tofu, and veggies in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Combine 1/2 of the sauce into bowl of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Mix well and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds when ready to serve. Cool, creamy, and layered with flavors and textures…yum!