RECIPE: Ginger Peach Tofu Dinner

The origin of the Cultivating Heaven blog was my blog, Heavenly Cooking, where I collected and commented on my family’s favorite Vegetarian and Vegan meals.  I’ve been into a Veggie lifestyle throughout various spans of the past 17 years and raised my two-oldest children as Vegetarians back when few around me had heard of such a thing.  In 1995 I even managed to have one of my recipes featured in Vegetarian Times, which gave me confidence in my ability to prepare delicious Veggie cuisine.

But what I admittedly didn’t understand was that Veggie doesn’t automatically equate with healthy.  I was conscious of protein in-take and organic when we could afford to be,  there were times when I even grew a good portion of what we ate, but I didn’t start grasping “Healthy” until about two years ago.  That’s when I started experimenting the Alkaline diet and incorporating raw foods that weren’t just straight from earth and vine, but actual compositions of raw ingredients.  I deleted my old way of doing things and started this blog.  And although I recently expanded Cultivating Heaven into a vessel that holds more than just a single aspect of my life, I still intend to share stellar recipes on occasion.

Case in point.  The other night I made what my DH calls “the best tofu he’s ever ate”.  That’s saying a lot because we love tofu at my house!  In fact, DH still raves about the teriyaki tofu I served him the first night we met!  I call this stellar because it’s both healthy and crazy-delicious!!

[NOTE: INGREDIENTS ARE LISTED IN THE ORDER USED; SOME INGREDIENTS APPEAR MORE THEN ONCE ON THE LIST]

INGREDIENTS:

*     1 15 oz can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

*     2 tablespoons olive oil (best if cold-pressed)

*     1 teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 teaspoon chipotle powder

*     juice of ½ lemon

*     8 oz. extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed

*     1 tablespoons ginger pulp

*     1 tablespoon sesame oil

*     1 tablespoon tamari or Braggs

*     2 teaspoons sirachi

*     1 tablespoon coconut oil

*     1 large sweet onion, diced

*     1 teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 cup peaches, fresh or frozen

*     ½ cup water

*     2 tablespoons honey

*     1 tablespoon ginger pulp

*     2 teaspoons sirachi

*     ½ teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 tablespoon organic sherry

*     juice of ½ lemon

*     1 large roasted red pepper, diced

*     3 green onion, thinly sliced

*     several tablespoons raw almonds, thinly sliced

*     prepared brown rice or a light quinoa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. While the over preheats, rinse and dry chickpeas with a towel.  Spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil.  Evenly sprinkle on the salt and chipotle powder.  Squeeze the juice from ½ the lemon over the oiled and seasoned chickpeas.  Set aside.
  3. Next, get the tofu ready to put into the oven with the chickpeas.  Usually I press my tofu well, but not for this recipe.  This allows it to have the same baking time as the chickpeas without drying out.  Just put the whole tofu block into a small baking dish.  Put the designated quantities of ginger, sesame oil, tamari and sirachi on top of the tofu.  Using the back of a spoon, rub it all together and then down the sides.  Flip over, and then over again, so that the mixture is generally spread around.  This dish has several steps, so make it easier on yourself by taking short cuts like this.
  4. Put both the chickpeas and the tofu into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  5. While these are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a skillet and get your onions sautéing.  Don’t forget to salt them.
  6. While the onions are working toward the right translucency, start the ginger-peach sauce.  I used peaches I’d frozen from the summer glut.  They were already peeled and halved, and I didn’t bother to break them down any further.  After they’ve cooked awhile a few good mashes with a steel or wooden masher will sauce them just fine!   Just pour the water over the peaches, toss in the honey, ginger, sirachi, and salt, give it a few stirs, and bring it up to a low-simmer.  You’ll want this to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When the onions just start to stick, deglaze the skillet with the sherry.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until any liquid is more of a sauce-like consistency.  Remove from heat and set-aside.
  8. When your chickpeas and tofu are out of the oven, give the peaches a few good mashes, if they require it.  Add in the juice of ½ lemon, roasted red peppers, and the sautéed onions.  Heat through.  As this is heating, cut tofu into cubes.  It will be hot but shouldn’t require much handling.
  9. To serve: Make a nice mound of rice or quinoa in a bowl or on a plate.  Top with a portion of the tofu.  My family is seven strong, so I divide the tofu into 8 portions, leaving a portion for my DH’s lunch the next day.  Cover the tofu portion with several tablespoons of the ginger-peach-veggie mixture.  Garnish liberally with roasted chickpeas, green onion slices and a generous spoonful of almonds.  AMAZING!!

Tangy BBQ Sauce

I serve this on Boca Burgers topped with a slice of melted Munster, or use it in place of Asian-spices when making Baked Tofu.  However, if you happen to be a meat eater this is a great tenderizing sauce that requires no marinating time and bakes wonderfully-thick.

INGREDIENTS:

* 4 tablespoons organic butter

* 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcester sauce

* 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

* ½ tablespoon ginger pulp or finely grated

* 2 teaspoons Braggs

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon ground mustard

* ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

* the juice of ½ of a medium-sized lemon

* 1/3 cup or equivalent of your favorite sweetener, such as a natural brown sugar

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 cup organic ketchup

DIRECTIONS:

1.      Melt butter in a saucepan.

2.      Mix in remaining ingredients up to (but not including) the ketchup, whisking to incorporate.  Simmer on medium-low five minutes.

3.      Whisk in ketchup.  If the sauce will be baked in the oven as part of a dish it is ready to use.  If the sauce will be used as a condiment, then continue simmering for approximately 30 minutes.

4.      Serve and Enjoy!

5.      VARIATION:  This is also great with the addition of ½ of a sweet onion, minced; Or try omitting the mustard for more of an Asian inspiration!

Moroccan-Inspired Marinade

I have been making this marinade for years.  Originally I used it to marinade cubes of extra-firm tofu before broiling them to make appetizer “bites”, but lately I’ve been using it to marinade veggies and sometimes tempeh, often to serve over couscous…

INGREDIENTS:

* 8 tablespoons olive oil (best if cold-pressed)

* 4 tablespoons Braggs

* 3 tablespoons raw honey

* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

* ½ tablespoon fresh ginger pulp

* 4 cloves garlic, minced

* ½ teaspoon real salt

* 1/8  fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1.      Whisk all ingredients together.

2.      Seal with whatever is being marinated and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

3.      Suggestion:  This recipe is easily doubled.  Use half as a marinade and the other half as a sauce or dip!

Peasant Soup, Thai Style

This is a wonderfully rich and delicious soup that is another favorite in our house! Of course this is great with a nice, grainy bread on the side, or you can do what I do and turn into a hearty meal by serving over cubes of Baked Tofu!

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 sweet onion, chopped

* ½ stick of organic, all-natural butter

* 3 stalks of celery, chopped

* 3 carrots, chopped

* 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 teaspoon ginger, pulp or minced

* ¾ cup brown rice

* ¾ cup of crunchy peanut butter

* 2 tablespoons white miso paste

* 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder

* 1 tablespoon Braggs

* ½ Tablespoon Mochiko flour

* ¼ teaspoon chili powder

* 4 cups water

* 1 14 oz can of coconut milk

* 3 green onions, thinly sliced

* Cilantro (optional)

* Crushed raw peanuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add onion and butter to a large pot or deep sauce pan. Sautee until the onion just starts to hint at translucency.

2. Add celery, carrots, garlic, and ginger, and stir around for a minute or two.

3. Add the rice. Stir around for another couple of minutes.

4. Add peanut butter, miso paste, and everything else up to the water. Stir to incorporate..

5. Mix in the water. I start out by adding a bit at a time to get everything nice and blended. Simmer for 45 minutes on low-medium heat.

6. Add coconut milk. Heat through.

7. Serve garnished with thinly sliced green onions, sprigs of cilantro, and crushed raw peanuts.

Coconut Baked Tempeh

This is a family favorite. If I go too long without making it my daughter will start dropping reminders.

Serve over Baked Rice and topped with Black Bean Salsa for a complete meal.

INGREDIENTS:

* 16 oz tempeh, defrosted and sliced into strips

* 14 oz coconut milk

* 1 cup favorite stock

* 1/4 cup unsweetened, natural shredded coconut

* 3 tablespoons white miso

* 2 tablespoons or equivalent of favorite natural sweetener, such as natural brown sugar or brown rice syrup

* 1 tablespoon organic coconut butter

* ½ tablespoon Bragg’s

* 1 teaspoon ginger pulp

* 2-3 cloves minced garlic

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place slices of tempeh in a 9×13 glass pan. Set aside.

2. Combine all remaining ingredients until blended well. Pour over tempeh and bake at 425° for 45 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Much of the liquid will be absorbed.

3. This is good for many applications, but at our home is especially favored as described above!

Thai-Inspired Salad Dressing


INGREDIENTS:

* 2/3 cup plain yogurt

* 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

* 2 tablespoons or equivalent of favorite natural sweetener

* 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar

* 1 tablespoon Braggs

* 2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste, pulp, or minced

* ½ teaspoon red chili paste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine ingredients one at a time, stirring after each until you have a smooth and creamy dressing.

2. We like this best at room temperature, but the flavors improve the longer it sits so I usually make up the dressing and then set it aside while preparing the salad. However this is also just fine out of the fridge the next day, and will really pack a flavor punch!