WELCOME TO AUTUMN HARVEST

CurryCoconutStew - Copy (791x900)

Times flies and it seems like it was only weeks ago that I highlighted foods for late summer, but time marches on and it is definitely time to focus on autumn foods that are considered most appropriate for nourishing and balancing the body for optimum health. As in the other seasons, take your cue from what is newly harvested and in the market: Apples, pears, squashes, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, and other forms of cruciferous vegetables are plentiful. Since the weather has definitely become colder, we are craving warm soups and stews. Chinese herbalists also recommend pungent and spicy foods that are “warming” to the body as well as whole grains like brown rice, couscous, and quinoa.

This Curried Coconut Stew is just right for this time of year. For this recipe, I use tofu, carrots, green beans, and butternut squash, but don’t hesitate to add or substitute sweet potato and other types of squash such as acorn and delicata. Serve it with a whole grain on the side and you have a filling, sumptuous meal that will satisfy even the carnivores.

 

Curry Coconut Stew with Fresh Herbs   6 servings   

1 square extra-firm tofu, about ¾ pound) cut horizontally into 1-inch slabs

2 medium red onions, peeled, ends trimmed and cut into small dice, about 3 cups

1 ¼ pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded, (or one12-ounce package)

½ pound (or 12-ounce bag) trimmed green beans, cut on the diagonal in half

Curry Seasonings:

2 ½-inch slices fresh ginger, peeled, about the size of a quarter

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Sauce (combine all in a small bowl):

1 ½ cans l(13.5 ounces each) light  unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons fish or soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

 

1 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 pound baby carrots

½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves (optional)

 

1. Wrap the slabs of tofu in paper towels and set a heavy weight, such as a heavy skillet, on top and let stand 15 minutes to remove excess water. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Cut the butternut squash into 1 ½-inch squares.

2. Drop the Curry Seasonings into the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a metal blade while the machine is running. Turn the machine on and off to chop the seasonings evenly and mince to a coarse powder.

3. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or a Dutch oven over medium low heat until very hot, about 20 seconds. Add the Curry Seasonings and diced onions and cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat and stirring with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes until the onion is tender and the seasonings are fragrant. Add the Sauce and bring to a boil. Add the tofu, c, squash, and carrots and stir to coat the vegetables with the sauce. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is al dente.

4. Add the green beans and stir. Continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the green beans are tender. Sprinkle in the fresh basil (if using) and toss lightly for a few seconds to coat. Scoop into a serving dish or serve from the casserole with rice or another whole grain.

Curry Coconut Stew with Fresh Herbs

Curry2

6 servings   

1 square extra-firm tofu, about ¾ pound) cut horizontally into 1-inch slabs

2 medium red onions, peeled, ends trimmed and cut into small dice, about 3 cups

1 ¼ pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded, (or one12-ounce package)

½ pound (or 12-ounce bag) trimmed green beans, cut on the diagonal in half

Curry Seasonings:

2 ½-inch slices fresh ginger, peeled, about the size of a quarter

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Sauce (combine all in a small bowl):

1 ½ cans l(13.5 ounces each) light  unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons fish or soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

 

1 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 pound baby carrots

½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves (optional)

 

1. Wrap the slabs of tofu in paper towels and set a heavy weight, such as a heavy skillet, on top and let stand 15 minutes to remove excess water. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Cut the butternut squash into 1 ½-inch squares.

2. Drop the Curry Seasonings into the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a metal blade while the machine is running. Turn the machine on and off to chop the seasonings evenly and mince to a coarse powder.

3. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or a Dutch oven over medium low heat until very hot, about 20 seconds. Add the Curry Seasonings and diced onions and cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat and stirring with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes until the onion is tender and the seasonings are fragrant. Add the Sauce and bring to a boil. Add the tofu, c, squash, and carrots and stir to coat the vegetables with the sauce. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is al dente.

4. Add the green beans and stir. Continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the green beans are tender. Sprinkle in the fresh basil (if using) and toss lightly for a few seconds to coat. Scoop into a serving dish or serve from the casserole with rice or another whole grain.

Saucy Garlic-Roasted Pork with Broccoli Slaw

Hoisin Roasted Pork with Slaw2

4 to 6 Servings

 

1 ½ pounds boneless pork tenderloin or center-cut pork loin, trimmed fo fat and gristle

Marinade/Sauce: (mix together in a bowl)

¾ cup hoisin sauce

5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

½ cup water

 

1 bag (9 ounces) shredded broccoli slaw (3 ½ cups)

1 ½ cups grated carrots

½ pound angel hair pasta

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.

2. Put the trimmed pork in a bowl. Spoon one-third of the Marinade over the pork and spread to cover the surface. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and set aside. Place the pork and its marinade in the prepared pan and roast, periodically spooning the marinade on top, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove and let cool slightly. Cut across the grain, into thin slices. Pour the remaining marinade/sauce into a small saucepan and set aside.

3. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots and blanch briefly for 40 seconds. Remove with a handled strainer and place in a colander. Refresh under cold, running water, and drain again. Bring the water back to a boil again and add the noodles. Cook a bit less than the package instructions indicate, until al dente. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Drain again and using kitchen shears, cut into 4-6-inch lengths. Toss the noodles with the toasted sesame oil and arrange on a deep serving platter or in a bowl, leaving a slight well in the center.

4. Bring the remaining marinade/sauce mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Keep warm in the saucepan.

5. Arrange the broccoli slaw and carrots in separate piles over the noodles, reserving a few of the shredded carrots to garnish. Place the slices of roasted pork in the center and drizzle a bit of the warm sauce over the slices. Sprinkle the top with the reserved shredded carrots and pour the remaining sauce in a bowl to serve. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

 

 

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2014.

Foods for “Late Summer” and Autumn

Hoisin Roasted Pork with Slaw2

The Chinese believe that there are foods that correspond to each season, nourishing the body for optimum health. But unlike the western calendar, they also believe that there is another season besides summer, autumn, winter, and spring. And that is precisely the time of year we are enjoying right now which is “late summer”.

Late summer is the transitional time between summer and fall. It is the beginning of harvest time. Ripe fruits are falling to the ground and vegetables like squash and pumpkin are growing big and plump. Since Asian cooks believe that the best foods that can be eaten are freshly picked or killed it makes sense that this is the time of year to feast on apples, tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. We can still eat lightly, but as the weather turns colder, it’s time to strengthen the body with slightly heavier and more “yang’ or heating, robust foods that will “warm” the body. In addition to seasonal vegetables, whole grains such as millet, barley and chickpeas are recommended. Pungent herbs such as basil, mint, and cilantro, plus curry, hoisin and black bean sauce not only provide flavor, but they protect the body against the seasonal dampness.

Accordingly, I like to make this Saucy Garlic-Roasted Pork with Broccoli Slaw. (See the recipe below.) In this particular version, I use roasted pork (tenderloin or center-cut pork loin), but if you aren’t very fond of pork, you can easily substitute, chicken breasts, scallops, or tofu and revise the cooking times accordingly. Like most of the other recipes in Simple Asian Meals, this dish is a meal by itself. There are angel hair noodles on the bottom (Once again feel free to substitute another type of noodle including whole wheat, spinach, rice, soba, etc.) with shredded vegetables on top. Using shredded broccoli slaw cuts the preparation time and unlike the cabbage in cole slaw mixes, broccoli remains crisp-tender even after stir-frying. I like to remove the raw flavor by briefly blanching the broccoli slaw for 30 seconds in boiling water, refresh it in cold water, it is delicious with the pungent, garlicy hoisin sauce. Enjoy!!!

Saucy Garlic-Roasted Pork with Broccoli Slaw  4 to 6 Servings

1 ½ pounds boneless pork tenderloin or center-cut pork loin, trimmed fo fat and gristle

Marinade/Sauce: (mix together in a bowl)

¾ cup hoisin sauce

5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

½ cup water

 

1 bag (9 ounces) shredded broccoli slaw (3 ½ cups)

1 ½ cups grated carrots

½ pound angel hair pasta

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.

2. Put the trimmed pork in a bowl. Spoon one-third of the Marinade over the pork and spread to cover the surface. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and set aside. Place the pork and its marinade in the prepared pan and roast, periodically spooning the marinade on top, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove and let cool slightly. Cut across the grain, into thin slices. Pour the remaining marinade/sauce into a small saucepan and set aside.

3. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots and blanch briefly for 40 seconds. Remove with a handled strainer and place in a colander. Refresh under cold, running water, and drain again. Bring the water back to a boil again and add the noodles. Cook a bit less than the package instructions indicate, until al dente. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Drain again and using kitchen shears, cut into 4-6-inch lengths. Toss the noodles with the toasted sesame oil and arrange on a deep serving platter or in a bowl, leaving a slight well in the center.

4. Bring the remaining marinade/sauce mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Keep warm in the saucepan.

5. Arrange the broccoli slaw and carrots in separate piles over the noodles, reserving a few of the shredded carrots to garnish. Place the slices of roasted pork in the center and drizzle a bit of the warm sauce over the slices. Sprinkle the top with the reserved shredded carrots and pour the remaining sauce in a bowl to serve. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

 

 

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2014

Rainbow vegetarian salad topped with a spicy tahini dressing

rainbowsalad

Serves 4 

Sichuanese chefs make a popular spicy sesame dressing for noodles and salads. Traditionally, the sauce is made with toasted sesame paste sold in Asian markets. For convenience sake, I’ve developed a recipe where I substitute tahini paste or peanut butter, which is much more readily available, but no less delicious. Serve at room temperature or prepare in advance, refrigerate, and serve slightly chilled.

 

TAHINI DRESSING:

1 4-inch piece fresh ginger

7 cloves garlic

1 cup sesame tahini paste, mixed thoroughly to combine the paste with the liquid

1/ 4 cup soy sauce

1 /4 cup toasted or dark Asian sesame oil

1/ 4 cup sugar, or to taste

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 1 /2   tablespoons unseasoned Asian rice vinegar

3 /4 teaspoon hot chile paste or crushed red pepper

10 tablespoons water

 

 

In a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade, chop the ginger, garlic, pulsing until chopped finely. Add the tahini paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, chili paste or hot pepper and blend until smooth. Pour the water down the feed tube while the machine is running. Taste for seasoning, adding more sugar if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl

RAINBOW SALAD:

1 14-ounce squares extra-firm tofu, sliced through the thickness in half

1 1 /2 tablespoons soy sauce

3/4  pound snap or snow peas, ends snapped and veiny strings removed

8 ounces whole wheat linguine

1 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil

4 carrots, grated or 2 cups shredded  

3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into thin slices

1 1/ 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

1. Wrap the tofu sections in 1 layer of paper towels and place in a pie plate or any large flat pan. Place a flat cookie sheet on top and a heavy pan on top as a weight. Let sit 20 minutes to press out the excess water, discarding the paper towels and drying the tofu. Rub the surface with the soy sauce.

2. In a large soup pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add the snap or snow peas and blanch for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out and refresh in a colander under cold, running water and drain. Bring the water back to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for about 11 minutes over medium heat, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Drain thoroughly and toss with the sesame oil. Transfer to a large round serving bowl and arrange evenly with a slight indentation in the middle. Set four to five red pepper slices aside for the garnish.

3. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the drained tofu and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 12 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1/ 4-inch thick slices.

5. Arrange the blanched snap peas, shredded carrots and red pepper slices in separate concentric circles over the noodles, leaving a well in the center and arrange the fried tofu slices there. Sprinkle the top with the reserved red pepper slices and serve with the spicy tahini sauce.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

CHOOSE SECTION