ASIAN TOFU HOT POT WITH SOUR AND SPICY BROTH

Instead of the traditional food blog accompanying “here’s what it looks like” picture, you’re getting a picture of a soy bean plant I drew. TADAAaaah.

Not only is this a simple “put it all in the pot” and let it simmer while you wander away to watch Jeopardy or chip golf balls or whatever kind of dish, but it’s also a restorative, healthy, my-body-is-a-temple-except-for-all-that-booze-and-cheese-I-ate soup for when you need to feel like a billion dollars in a real jiffy, so here we go.

INGREDIENTS

8 cups vegetable broth
Dollop red chili paste
Dollop chili paste with garlic
Bunch scallions or small white onion, sliced finely
Creminis or shiitakes, buffed with a paper towel and chopped up
Large bunch snowpeas, rinsed and cut in half
6 oz firm tofu, drained, dried, and diced
Jalapenos, deveined and diced
Bok choy leaves, rinsed and chopped
Fat knob fresh ginger, minced
Rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Coconut oil
Few drops sesame oil
Lime juice

METHOD

In a big ol’ pot, heat a little coconut oil over medium. Throw in the scallions, both chili pastes, garlic powder, ginger, sesame oil. Warm through a few minutes, add the mushrooms, and continue to saute. Add all the stock, and bring to a boil slowly. Take the heat down again and pour in the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar (to taste, really). Next go in the snowpeas and bok choy. Turn the heat down further to simmer while you get on with frying the tofu.

You could put the tofu directly into the soup without dressing it up like this, and sometimes I do, but since it soaks up flavor like a sponge, I find it’s exponentially more awesome to put a little fry on it before it goes in. Healthfully, of course. While soup’s simmering, heat a tiny bit of coconut oil in a small pan over medium high. Fling in a few scallions with some garlic and your diced jalapeno and a little soy sauce and your tofu. Toss it in this spicy, fragrant mix for a few minutes before dumping the whole pan’s contents into the soup. Let it all simmer for about a half hour. Take off heat and serve with fresh cilantro and a lot of lime juice. Noodles or rice would also be great as well as other veggies with a Far East kinda feeling. The recipe is very forgiving, as you should forgive yourself for eating whatever you ate or drank to precipitate this austere meal. Look no further! A cure is here. Give it all over to the hot pot. There you go.

 

 

PANCAKES SO FLUFFY

Possibly due to my obsession with Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos I can only see these babies each one as a tiny universe; light, airy, studded with a thousand tiny stars winking up at you from the plate. These pancakes are magical, easy, and you probably already have all the ingredients at home.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup bread flour

3 heaped tsps baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp granulated sugar (1/2 tbsp for savory style pancakes)

1 egg (let warm to room temp)

1 1/3 milk (also let warm to room temp)

3 tbsps salted butter (melted)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract for sweet breakfast pancakes (omit for savory pancakes you plan to stuff with pork and cheese)

METHOD

First, take out the egg and the milk so they can warm up. This step is worth it because the pancakes are SO MUCH FLUFFIER this way. Next, pop the butter in the microwave or over the stove top to melt. In a large bowl sift together the flours and baking soda and salt and sugar. Sift them again. Set aside for a moment. Next, crack the egg into a small bowl and beat lightly, just to break the yolk a bit. Add melted butter to the egg and beat lightly again. If you’re using the vanilla, add it to the milk and then pour both into the egg and butter mixture and beat lightly again, so it’s all incorporated. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and whisk until just smooth, try not to over-whisk or your batter will be dense. The batter will be pretty runny, almost like a crepe batter, but it’s ok. These are going to be awesome.

Heat a tiny slab of coconut oil over medium in a small frying pan. Using a small ladle or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter into the hot pan. Each pancake should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Cook on that side for a few minutes, until the edges go a bit opaque. Flip carefully and cook for another few minutes on the other side, watching the steam rise from all the lacy holes you’ve created by making such a light airy batter. When both sides are golden and star-studded, move to a plate (or eat them all standing up one by one as you make them, as I did). This recipe makes 10-12 smallish pancakes and each one will be even better than the last. You won’t think it’s possible, but you’ll see! We have them with syrup and honey and goat cheese and lemon and jam and parsley and pepper. We also have them with breakfast sausage and shredded pork and cilantro and fried onions and bananas and nutella. Not all at once, but, point is, now you’ll want all your other foods delivered to you on this little cloud of pancake heaven, and all of them taste marvelous.

SAM BROWN’S BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I mean, everyone says their recipe is the perfect chocolate chip cookie. There’s just no other way to express how great your cookies are, particularly when you’ve eaten a lot of them and you’re in the middle of a sugar rush. However, in this case, it’s true. We adapted this recipe from Kortney Campbell at Vegan Housewives (http://www.veganhousewives.com/best-chocolate-chip-cookies-ever); I’m sure hers were amazing but since we tweaked the recipe I can only speak for these little babies here. And these little babies were unreal. Chewy, crispy, fluffy, sweet and warm and sea salty. You can eat a hundred. They’re not even cookies. They’re cookies PLUS. Cookies with something magical; gold-plated cookies. (These cookies have no real gold in them). 

And they’re a real beauty, too, from start to finish. Download this beautiful, high-resolution photograph of the cookie dough Sam meticulously mixed for us for a super fun new phone background! I did it and every time I look at my phone I get psyched.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup tiny chocolate chips (dark, milk, vegan, whatever. Just make them tinyyyyyy)

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp fleur de sel

1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup plain, unsweet almond milk

METHOD

Sift flour, fleur de sel, baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside. No flour sifter? Wire mesh sieve or just a whisk through works too.

Cream together liquid coconut oil and brown sugar. When it’s thickened up, add the milk and vanilla extract and blend again. Pour it into the sifted dry ingredients and incorporate it slowly, by folding and pulling the mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Next, fold in the tinyyyyyyy chocolate chips. Now, I live with Sam Brown, a man who has the precision and consistency of a CIA-trained sous chef, and without whom I could not have baked these cookies. But he sure made it look easy. By now, you should have a beautiful cookie dough that looks as if it might have come out of a dream, or a fairy tale story. But it’s real. You made it. Just use the fold and pull method for a little bit, have faith, and then all of a sudden the flour and oil and baking soda and all the rest will react and bam! A dough will spring to life in your hands.

Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out small, tablespoon or smaller, sized balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet. (I never grease mine, I line them with aluminum and then I have the perfect size aluminum sheet to save them in later). Pop those round little cookie balls in the oven for 10-15 minutes and let them cool at least 5 before eating. Take pictures, because they won’t last. Make sure you have some milk in the house, soy, almond, full fat, lactaid, whatever, you’re going to want it. Bonus points if you don’t have to go out into a snowstorm to get it, like Sam did. But it’s worth it either way.