Monday, March 30, 2009

Gado Gado (gah-doh gah-doh)

Last week my friend Alison and I went to the Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa's book sale. This book sale was dreamy--a HUGE room full of all sorts of wonderful books--we were in heaven. Among the books were lots of great cook books (YAY!) and I happened to pick up The New Moosewood Cookbook. If you don't own this cookbook walk, nay, RUN to the nearest bookstore and get it!!!
The first recipe I made from the Moosewood was a traditional Indonesian dish, Gado Gado. The Moosewood describes it quite perfectly:
"An Indonesian extravaganza: Yello rice on a bed of spinach, covered with vegetables, tofu, and hardboiled eggs. A gingery peanut suace gets drizzled over the top, and crucnhy, flavorful "final toppings" add a delightful finishing touch. AND IT'S ALL QUITE EASY-EVEN FOR BEGINNERS! HAVE FUN WITH THIS!"

Start with a bed of spinach and yellow rice (just add tumeric to your boiling rice to make it yellow)

Then top with veggies, tofu, and eggs.

Finish by drizzling with the most awesome peanut sauce ever and top with coconut flakes and crushed peanuts. There will seriously be a party in your mouth. This is a MUST try meal for my food lovin' friends. :-)
Peanut Sauce (The New Moosewood Cookbook)
Makes 2 cups
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 heaping tablespoon grated ginger
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used rice vinegar and it tasted just fine)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
Crushed red pepper to taste

- Put everything is a blender (I used a hand blender) and puree until smooth. If it's too thick, add a little extra water.

- Drizzle over your Gado Gado. ENJOY!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kitty Cat, Tofu, and Cous Cous

Pictured above is our new kitty, Grace (I've taken to calling her Grace Face). We adopted her on Wednesday and we absolutely adore here! She's the sweetest little thing who loves to cuddle, have her belly rubbed, and sleep with us in our bed.

We were a little worried about Grace and Arlo, but so far things are great with them. Grace loves to sleep in the basement so when she's hanging out down there we get Arlo out of her cage. During the day we keep the door to Arlo's room shut; I don't even think they know that the other one exist.

For supper I made marinated tofu and served it over a bed of blanched and sauteed kale. We had yukon gold potatoes with red onions as a side.

Marinated and Baked Tofu

( I didn't measure my marinade ingredient, so amounts are an estimate)

Tofu, drained and cut into card deck sized pieces

3 tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon Sesame Oil

1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar

1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

Garlic, chopped

- Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic and pour over tofu strips. Marinate for 30 minutes or longer for even better flavor.

- Bake tofu in oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

The other night I prepared an awesome Cinnamon Moroccan chicken with cous cous. The recipe can be found here on I added pecans to the apple and golden raisin mixture and mixed it in with the cous cous. I seriously could've eaten an entire gallon of the cous cous, it was that good!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Evening Rocked

This weekend has done an amazing job of lifting my spirits and awakening me. The temperatures soared to the mid-60s and beckoned many Iowans outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. I went for a jog with Alison in the morning, enjoyed an Irish meal at my employees house in the afternoon, and relaxed with my amazing husband this evening. Jake and I cooked up some sesame encrusted tuna steaks and garlicky green beans with almonds. We enjoyed our meal outside and lingered for a bit while drinking wine and beer over great conversation. Does it get much better than that? I don't think so.
Pictured above is the really tasty sauce we put over our tuna steaks (see recipe below)

Searing our tuna over white hot flames.

The finished product was quite beautiful and really tasty.

Sesame-Crusted Tuna with Carrot Ginger Sauce(

1 medium carrot (2 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh peeled ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Coarse salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds, preferably mixed black and white
4 tuna steaks (each 6 to 8 ounces)

-In a blender, combine carrot, ginger, scallion whites, vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, 3 tablespoons canola oil, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides of blender jar as necessary (add up to 1 tablespoon more water, if necessary, to adjust consistency). Season with salt.
-Place sesame seeds on a rimmed plate. Season tuna steaks with salt, then press both sides of the steaks into seeds to coat.
-Heat remaining tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fish in skillet 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare (if steaks are particularly large, cook them in two batches).
-Serve fish topped with sauce and sprinkled with reserved scallion greens.

CHEERS! to an amazing evening.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Filling (and really darn good) Pasta

A few weeks ago I whipped up a lunch with some random things I had in the refrigerator and pantry and I came up with a tasty little pasta dish that had kale, chickpeas, olive oil, and garlic in it. Tonight, I recreated the dish but added a spicy/zesty red sauce to it. One word: AWESOME!

That bowl of goodness you see above contains:
Whole Wheat Penne
Crushed Red Tomatoes w/ olive oil, crushed red pepper, crushed garlic, salt and pepper
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Boil penne noodles.
-Sautee kale and chickpeas in olive oil with garlic and salt.
-Combine crushed tomatoes with olive oil, red pepper, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat.
-Toss everything together with the pasta and grate fresh parmesan cheese on top.
Beware: This is a very filling meal!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Awesome Tuna Salad and a 20k Run

I have officially signed up to particpate in a 20k race on May 30! My friend Alison and I are doing it together. and we're using a 12-week training plan that officially starts tomorrow. I'm excited, nervous, and a tad bit crazy for spending money to run 12.4 miles!! I can't wait to share my training journey with my blog readers.

On to supper....

This tuna salad was WOW! I got the recipe inspiration from a recipe.
This is a protein-packed meal containing both northern white beans and tuna. Served over a bed of spinach leaves, it's a filling yet really healthy meal.
Tuna and White Bean Salad

1 package tuna

1 can northern white beans, drained

2 stalk celery, finely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup green beans

fresh basil - to taste
~1-2 tablespoons olive oil

~1 tablespoon white basalmic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Spinach or another yummy green
Cook green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water then chop into bite size pieces.

Combine all ingredients and mix together. Serve over a bed of fresh greens.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring Fever

A beer and grilling--it doens't get much better than that.

Add some ribeye steaks (seasoned with salt and pepper only)

Grilled zuchini, eggplant, and green beans

And, you have yourself one delicious spring-time meal. We Iowans cherish our 50 degree days in early March. :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I have managed to catch the sick germs that have been floating around work and I feel miserable. When I feel miserable all I want is as big bowl of healthy soup. A couple years ago my Aunt Connie and Uncle Mike gave me a recipe book called The Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup. All of the recipes in the book look amazing and it was hard to choose one to make. I finally settled on a classic Italian Ribollita.
"Ribollita is like minestrone, but includes beans instead of pasta. In Italy, this is traditionally served ladled over bread and a rich green vegetable."

This soup is full of good for you veggies and lots of flavor. The recipe calls for pesto and lucky for me I had a few pesto cubes left in my freezer (you can see the little guys in the picture above) You can find my pesto recipe here.

I sauteed some arugula and spinach to serve the soup over. The arugula added a great peppery taste. Kale would also be a great addition. Rather than serving over bread, I just served the bread on the side.

The soup was perfect and made me feel better (at least for a little bit).

Ribollita (Adapted from The Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery stocks, sliced

1 large zuchini, thinly sliced

Green beans, trimmed

14 oz. can crushed tomatoes -- I used fire roasted

2 tablespoons pesto

3 cups vegetable stock

14 oz. can Northern White beans or Cannellini beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

- Heat oil in large saucepan or dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, garlic, celery, and onion and fry slowly for 10 minutes. Add the zuchini ad green beans and fry for 2 minutes longer.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, pesto, stock, and beans and bring to a boil. Lower the hear, cover and simmer for ~ 25 to 30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve over greens.