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Cook It Kosher

I've been wanting to play around with tofu for a while now, and a stir-fry seemed like a good place to start because there are so many other textures and flavors—the tofu is but a small part. I can't say I'm completely on board with tofu's texture, but the flavor of the sauce in this stir fry is outstanding, and the tofu becomes almost like a crouton that you can either enjoy or pick out. Of course, you can replace it with chicken if you prefer.


Feel free to play around with the vegetables. You can use almost any combination with good results.


Most people typically pair stir-fry with white, brown, or fried rice, but here I've used barley. Any grain that will soak up the sauce can work and it's fun to play around with different ones—millet, farro, and quinoa will all work too.


Stir-Fry Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. tofu
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 small heads baby bok choy
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 purple onion
  • ½ cup roasted, salted cashews
  • 2-4 tablespoons oil

Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • ¼ cup honey (optional: replace with brown sugar)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 one-inch (approx) chunks of ginger

Directions:

  1. Whisk the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Press and drain your tofu. Cut into cubes and coat with the flour.
  3. Peel the carrots. Discard peels. Use the peeler to cut the rest of each carrot into ribbons.
  4. Slice the mushrooms, onions, and scallions. Was the baby bok choy and separate the leaves. Depending on the size of the leaves, you may wish to cut them.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok or non-stick skillet and fry the tofu until golden brown. Add the sliced vegetables and saute until bright and just cooked through but still crunchy. Add ¼ cup of the sauce and cook a few minutes more. Add half the cashews immediately before removing from the pan.
  6. Serve over rice, barley, quinoa or any other grain. Drizzle with additional sauce when serving (optional) and garnish with remaining cashews.

Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from a recipe on Pinch of Yum.


You may remember my fried cauliflower frenzy over the summer, where I mentioned that I had a second recipe to share down the line. Well, the time has arrived. The brightness of the lemon in this recipe is the perfect antidote to everything winter.


You'll be making your own crumb mixture with toasted bread, cornflakes, lemon zest, salt and thyme leaves.


A few tips:

  • The crumb mixture freezes well. You can make a big batch, freeze in an airtight container (or zip-top bag) and use as needed.
  • Resist the urge to bake instead of fry. I generally hate frying, but I tested this one many times in different ways and it really needs to be fried.
  • Do not use flour for the breading. Some people like to do a layer of flour, then egg, then crumbs, when breading things, but in this case it makes the breading peel right off the cauliflower. As long as you pat the cauliflower dry before dipping in egg, it will work perfectly with just the egg and crumb.

Fried Cauliflower Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • 4 slices white bread, toasted
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. Place cornflakes, toasted bread, thyme leaves, lemon zest and salt into a food processor and pulse into a crumb.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets. Wash and check for bugs. Pat dry. (Consult with your local kashrut authority for the status of cauliflower in your region, and the best way to check it.)
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl.
  4. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the egg mixture and then into the crumbs. Place the pieces on a plate or baking tray until all the pieces are coated.
  5. Heat oil in a pot and fry the cauliflower in small batches until golden. The cauliflower should be cooked through inside, and the crumbed exterior golden and crunchy. If the outside gets too dark before the middle is cooked through, you need to lower the temperature of the oil.
  6. When ready, remove the cauliflower nuggets from the pot and place on a paper-towel lined plate or pan.
  7. Serve immediately, plain or with tzatziki sauce (recipe below).

Tzatziki Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 3 Lebanese cucumbers, grated and drained
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours so the flavors can meld.

This meal can literally be on the table in 15 minutes from start to finish. While I certainly wouldn't call it "gourmet", it's flavorsome and filling, and for an after-work-and-school weeknight dinner, isn't that what really counts?


Best of all, it utilizes mostly pantry items: spaghetti (or rice), canned tomatoes, corn and olives. For the meat I used a combination of hot dogs and sliced smoked turkey breast, but leftover chicken (either diced or shredded) works well too.


If you want to spend a little extra time and up the flavor a bit, you could add 2 tablespoons for tomato paste and a sautéed onion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1lb.) box spaghetti
  • 3 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can corn
  • 6 slices smoked turkey breast, cubed
  • 4 beef hot dogs, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced olives
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Fill a pot with hot water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until tender.
  2. Drain the water and add in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook until hot. Serve.

I've long sought the secret to perfect crispy-on-the-outside, buttery-on-the-inside, oven potatoes, and now that I have it down pat, I'm ready to share.


It does involve one extra step: parboiling the potatoes before baking, but it's worth it!


The other thing to keep in mind is to resist the urge to keep checking on them and mixing the potatoes around. You want to keep them in one place to give them a chance to really develop a crust. After 40 minutes you can give them one quick flip/mix and then back to the oven. End result: perfect potatoes.




Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • optional: dried onion flakes

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Fill a pot halfway with salted water, cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt, garlic and paprika, and drizzle with 2 tbsp. oil.
  7. Bake on 450°F for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, flip the potatoes over, (add onion flakes, optional) and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp. oil.
  9. Return to oven for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are crispy and golden on all sides.
  10. Serve immediately.

Garlic bread is a quick and easy way to uplift any meal.






Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 large or 3 small baguettes

Directions:

  1. Mix the butter, olive oil, crushed garlic, parsley and salt into a paste.
  2. Make cuts in the baguette, approximately 3/4 of the way through. Do not cut entirely through the bottom.
  3. Fill each cut with the butter mixture.
  4. Wrap with foil, but leave the top open.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. Serve fresh.

Cook It Kosher features recipes from Chabad.org food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
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