12 Sep

Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant

It’s time for another Eating the Alphabet recipe link-up where each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, legume, or whole grain from a different set of letters of the alphabet.

So far I’ve done:

(A or B): Buttercup Squash and Artichoke Pasta
(C or D): Grenadian Oil Down with Cassava (Favourite)
(E or F): Homemade Fig Newtons (Favourite)
(G or H): White Chicken Chili with Hominy
(I or J): Juniper Berry Bechamel
(K or L): Kamut Brioche
(M, N, or O). Caramelized Onions

This month we focus on P, Q, or R. My ingredient of choice: Pomegranate

Pomegranate: Super healthy, super annoying to prepare

Pomegranates are native to Persia but now grow in many regions of the Middle East as well as Southeast Asia, Southern Europe, and North Africa. Right now, we’re at the very beginning of pomegranate season, and as the winter approaches you’ll be seeing them more and more in the grocery stores.

Pomegranates are really cool because you actually eat the seeds. They’re called arils and are surrounded by a delicious little bubble of sweet juiciness.

Pomegranate (2)

Unfortunately they are kinda a bitch to actually separate from the pomegranate rind. Some people do this in a bowl of water, but I find that a bit messy so usually I cut the pomegranate in half, then score the rind of each half with a knife a few times before holding the pomegranate half over a bowl and whacking the the rind with a back of a spoon until all the seeds come out. I guess this process is kind of messy too.

But once you do get the arils out they’re like pretty little rubies. Delicious little rubies.

I like to eat them with a spoon.

Pomegranate (6)

There has been a lot of hype about pomegranate’s ability to reduce heart disease risk factors but the efficacy hasn’t been proven through enough research to really say, one way or another.

But, they’re fruit so of course they’re healthy for you! They are really high in vitamin C and fibre. But only if you eat the whole seed (don’t be thinking you’ll get fibre from certain heavily marketed juices)

The Recipe

Pomegranate Eggplant (2)

And now that I’ve touted the benefits of eating the whole pomegranate aril for optimal healthiness I’m going to fail to take my own advice and offer up a recipe that uses Pomegranate Molasses instead.

Pomegranate Molasses is super concentrated pomegranate juice, boiled down until it makes a thick syrup with the consistency of molasses. It’s actually more tart than it is sweet with a really strong pomegranate flavour. It is used pretty heavily in Middle Eastern cooking (you can find it at your local Lebanese grocer. Probably next to the Date Molasses).

This recipe comes from the cookbook Super Natural Every Day. I bought the book not too long ago and all the recipes that I’ve made from it have been really good so far—simple to put together and very flavourful.

Here I used tofu instead of the tempeh that is called for. The dish works really well because the pomegranate molasses gives it a tart sweetness and the eggplant and sweet potato have a soft but slightly chewy texture and the feta cheese on top really brings the dish together.

Pomegranate Eggplant (3)

Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant

Ingredients

1 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 c pomegranate molasses
1/3 c olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1” cubes, (8oz)
1 block of firm tofu, drained and cut into 1” cubes
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1” cubes
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c feta cheese, crumbed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Smash the salt and garlic into a paste with a pestle and mortar or with the side of a knife plate. In a small bowl whisk this garlic paste together with the pepper flakes, pomegranate molasses, and oil.

Stir together the eggplant, tofu, and sweet potato on a baking sheet or in a baking dish large enough to arrange them in a single layer. Zest the lemon over top. Pour 3/4 of the the oil mixture all over the veggies, toss to combine, and spread into a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through baking, until the sweet potatoes soften.

Serve topped with the cilantro and feta and a drizzle of the remaining pomegranate glaze.



(Click for more info on Eating the Alphabet)


26 May

food journal 26/05/11

Breakfast

-leftover vegan oil down from dinner last night

Vegan Oil Down

Lunch

-leftover vegan corn and black bean chili from dinner on Tuesday night ( love my leftovers)
-2 spinach fatayer (recipe)

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Snack

– Gala apple with a tsp of regular peanut butter (not the natural stuff, unfortunately)
– a bit of Granola, unpictured

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Dinner

Two weeks ago I went to a local burger place and had a terrible terrible veggie burger and I was really disappointed. Tonight`s dinner more than made up for it (and this is why I prefer to eat at home)

Tofu Slider

Tofu Slider with Peppers and Onions on a Homemade Spelt Bun with a side of roasted broccoli.

In the sandwich was:
– a spelt bun that I baked
– tofu marinated in Saw`s Sauce from my Alabama care package and then pan fried
– sauteed red and yellow pepper and red onion.
– Dijon mustard
– Spinach

I had two of these though the first was so messy to eat that I just at a deconstructed version the second time around.

Tofu Slider

 

Dessert

– 2 snickerdoodles (plus some cookie dough) that I made for Matt to bring to his Track Meet in London tomorrow.

Snickerdoodles

 

All in all: 2254 Cals; 40% fat/ 50% carbs /10% protein

Workout

Leg Day 😛 I hate leg days. I skipped the abs because my abs are still sore from yesterday’s Jackie Warner workout.

image

17 Apr

Pecan Crusted Tofu with Oat Salad

Matt and I watch a lot of Top Chef. A lot. We just finished watching Top Chef All Stars and right now we’re watching Top Chef Canada and Top Chef:Just Desserts (which we didn’t watch when it aired). Besides Planet Earth, Top Chef is pretty much the only thing we like watching together.

I recently discovered that Bravo has a bunch of recipes from the show on their website so now I have a whole new list of recipes to try out.

Last night we cooked a recipe from one of my favourite chefs: Carla Hall

The recipe was Pecan and Oat Crusted Tofu on an Oat and Lentil Salad. Seeing ‘oats’ come up twice in the recipe name pretty much sold me on the recipe, plus it’s vegan and sounds healthy.

Pecan&Oat Crusted TofuMatt putting the topping on the tofu cubes.

That recipe was a recipe for chefs, not home cooks. It was the kind of recipe that made you appreciate the concept of mise en place. No one (besides Martha Stewart and my brother-in-law) uses mise en place at home. There were so many components and each dish and I found myself doing the same things two or three times which could’ve been avoided if the recipe were better written or if I had all my components prepped. I’m going to stick with blaming the recipe.

Pecan&Oat Crusted Tofu

In the end, despite about 2 hours of work and overcooking the oats and lentils to oblivion, the recipe turned out really good. I would definitely make it again. I was thinking of leaving off the oat and pecan crust from the tofu, but that was the BEST part. Yum.

Luckily there’s lots of leftovers so I’ll be eating this all week long.

Pecan&Oat Crusted Tofu


Bikini Living Check In:

Bikini Eating:

I didn’t journal my food on Saturday but I’m back at it today. I’ve been spending too much time baking cookies and sweet bread which I indulged in yesterday.

Bikini Fitness:

Yesterday I did a short 55 minute yoga podcast from Eoin Finn. I fell asleep in savasana. Pure Bliss.

(Training Schedule)

Bikini Confidence:

This weekend I love my new hair cut. It’s been about 7 months since my last cut so my hair really needed it. It’s bouncy, I love it.

Before:

Before Haircut

After:

After Haircut

And my flair is the awesome colour and detailing of this Esprit top. Sometimes I feel that the cut of it makes me look like an expectant mother, but today it made me feel pretty.

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28 Jan

Food Blog Friday: Perfect Baked Tofu

It is Food Blog Friday!

There was a block of tofu in my fridge begging for some attention. After an extensive search through the endless possible tofu recipes I settled on this simple one from Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point. Perfect Baked Tofu

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I was looking for a good marinade for tofu that was a bit sweet but also spicy so the inclusion of honey and chili powder in this one caught my attention. Caitlin touts this as her go-to recipe which, to me, means it must be good

The Perfect Baked Tofu recipe called for marinading 1 inch cubes of extra firm tofu in a mix of 2T olive oil, 2T honey, 1/2 each chili powder and pepper, 1t paprika, and 1 T sesame seeds.

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I substituted chile pepper infused olive oil for the extra virgin olive oil for an extra kick and I completely forgot about including the sesame seeds (hence the importance of mise en place). I was surprised that there was no salt included in the marinade so I added a pinch of sea salt just to enhance the flavours.

There was no specification on whether the tofu should be baked covered or uncovered so I opted to keep it uncovered. I baked it at 375 and it took about 40 minutes in my oven.

The end result was awesome. Definitely one of my favourite tofu marinades yet. This is a really great recipe when you just want to eat tofu. Not blend it into a smoothie, or scramble it, or turn it into a burger. Just Tofu. I ate it over a bed of cooked barley and wheat berries and loved it.

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I will definitely be making this one again so I give it:

3 Spoons!

Find the recipe for Healthy Tipping Point Perfect Baked Tofu here.


Food Blog Friday recipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons

0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon  –  I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect

27 Oct

legs and tofu

I haven’t written much about my weightlifting in a while. I’ve still been doing it regularly but I haven’t come up with anything new.

Next week, though, I’m going to put together a whole new routine, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, I’m really impressed that I continue to gain more strength in my legs. While my upper body strength has levelled off in the 3 months since my last check-in, my lower body continues to improves.

For instance, today I finally got my leg press over 400lbs. I pressed 410lbs for 6 reps on my final set of the exercise. I was pretty ecstatic.

leg press

(source)

No, that is not me in that picture. Maybe one day I too will hit the gym in a string bikini.

…maybe not.

Dinner tonight was some delicious crispy fried tofu with a warm soy dipping sauce.

tofu

The recipe can be found here. Next time I will cube the tofu like the recipe recommends so that there is more crispy surface area.

While I liked the tofu, I found the sauce to be way too salty for my tastes. I probably wouldn’t make the sauce again, but the tofu was a winner!

tofu (2)

13 Apr

day 77: ‘futatta

I’m still in the process of reintroducing foods into my diet after my 3 week cleansing diet. Today I reintroduced soy products to see if I have any sensitivity to them.

I’ve been hearing a lot of negative things about soy products lately.  It’s interesting to note that non-fermented soy contains  anti-nutrients that can block the digestion of protein, block the absorption of minerals, and interfere with thyroid function. Check out this great post by nutritionist Joy McCarthy that rounds up several articles about the health effects of soy products. But, I’m not too worried because I don’t eat or drink a whole lot of soy anyway.

So, in my attempt incorporate soy into my diet today I decided to do something about the lonely block of silken tofu sitting in the back of my fridge. I came up with this delicious vegan version of a fritatta. I’ll call it a ‘futatta. It came out a bit watery, but it tasted quite a bit like fritatta.

‘Futatta

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 10 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg silken tofu
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried chives
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400deg.

In a pan heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and the red pepper and cook on medium high heat until tender. Add the tomatoes and olives and warm them.

Oil a glass pie dish and add the sautee mixture to the dish.

In a blender blend all other ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour on top of the veggies in the pie dish and spread out with a knife or spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and set.


In other exciting news: today is my puppy’s first birthday. Happy Birthday Bagigis!!