Posts tagged ‘comfort food’

April 2nd, 2012

The Tofu Switcheroo

Lasagne is a great comfort food.  How could it miss with hearty meat sauce, noodles, and melted cheese all in the same bite!  I have nothing against beef, but recent news items have made me rethink my desire to eat burgers and steaks everyday.  With that in mind, don’t tell my husband, but I occasionally substitute the beef in my lasagne with turkey.

The result?  I think the text he sent me after his first bite, said it all: “Damn, that’s good lasagne!”

Am I being greedy to think I know how to make this healthy lasagne even healthier without sacrificing taste?

How, you ask?  Tofu.  Tofu is an essential part of the Japanese diet.  We eat it everyday with most of our meals.  It can be consumed many, many ways, as is, in soup, a steak or in a casserole.  It’s popularity is simple: it’s delicious, nutritious and versatile.

Even with all its selling points, my Asian food-phobic husband doesn’t approve of this particular item.  Why?  He thinks it looks too cubic–too futuristic; something from a not too far off time where we eat capsules instead of savor meals.  To get him to eat it  I have to be sneaky creative.  Regular lasagne recipes often use a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, and parsley.  Instead, I use a mixture of crumbled tofu, egg whites and chopped kale.  I also added layers of mushroom and spinach.  Delicious! The tofu switcheroo turned out to be the perfect April Fool’s Day hoax!

 

 

June 26th, 2011

Sick food

When you are sick, you want the most familiar foods.  Once, while ill, I asked a friend to bring me some soup, but I wasn’t specific on what kind I wanted.  As I’ve learned from living in America for the past twenty years, when you’re sick, Chicken noodle is the American go-to soup.  Every friend to the sick knows this.  So what did she bring?   She brought me a spicy Korean cup of noodles.   While I’m sure somewhere in a hospital in Seoul, they’re serving these up by the cart-full–in America, not so much.  I’m guessing she just assumed I would want something Asian, but as they say, never assume!

What does your ‘sick food’ say about yourself? My husband usually asks for toast, a bagel, or simply chicken noodle soup when he’s under the weather.  Makes sense as he has typical American tastes with a Jewish twist.  When I’m not feeling well, I want what my mom used to give me when I was sick, with one exception.  Which one of the following would you guess was a craving I developed after a few years in the U.S.? udon noodles, chawan-mushi (savory egg custard) or strawberry flavor Hagen Daz.  You guessed it.  See, my ‘sick food’ tells a story too.  I was born and raised in Japan, but got to experience the best America had to offer-a delicious ice cream with a fake Danish name.

Udon and chawan-mushi are not that easy to make (especially for my Asian flavor intolerable husband), so unless I have an instant udon noodle in the pantry (I recommend this brand), I too, will have to resort to chicken noodle soup when I get sick. After all, my father-in-law always refers to it as Jewish penicillin.  I’m not sure if this claim is true, but it still is delicious.

My recipe is quite simple.

Ingredients (about 4 servings):

1 Skinless chicken breast

5 celery stalks chopped

2 med sized carrots chopped

1 onion diced

egg noodles (as much/little as you want)

dried bayleaf, black peppercorn, chicken stock (I’m in love with this one)

salt and pepper to taste

optional: parsley or dill (dry or fresh)

1) poach chicken breast in chicken stock (room temp or below), bayleaf, black peppercorn, then start the heat.  once boiled, simmer for 5 min, turn off and keep chicken in the pot

2) once chicken is cool down, drain the soup, and discard bayleaf and peppercorn, but keep the soup.  cut or shred chicken by hands to bite size

3) in a soup pan, sweat onion, carrot, celery, then add chicken stock (5 cups or more, including one used for poaching)

4) when vegetable are almost cooked, add dry egg noodles and chicken

5) salt and pepper to taste, add minced herbs, if you’d like to

I like less soup; because it’s more like meal than soup.  It’s also easier to freeze this way.