Posts tagged ‘Broccoli’

June 6, 2011

Savory Broccoli and Spinach Cheesecake

WHOA! Hold the phone! What’s that I read? CHEESECAKE?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “Sonia, didn’t you just say you were going to keep your calorie intake in check and cook more light and low cal dishes for a while? And yet, here you are, making CHEESECAKE? Are you, like, out of your mind or something?

Well, not exactly! 😉 While cheesecake isn’t exactly you typical low cal dish, believe it or not, one serving of this baby will only set you back about 425 calories.

Not bad for such a rich and decadent dish. While eating it, you would never guess that it was so healthy and surprisingly light. It definitely feels super rich and creamy and oh so cheesy.

You see, I was initially planning on making a quiche, but I suddenly remembered that I had bought about a million packages of low fat cream cheese last time it came on sale (I know, I have to work on that…) and so my mind immediately went “SAVORY CHEESECAKE” and this huge grin came across my face.

Then I remembered: “-Low cal”. D’OH!

I had to think of a way to make this happen. HAD TO!

And I did!

How? I remembered that one could also use cottage cheese to make cheesecakes! Bingo, problem solved. I used one package of low fat cream cheese, one container of 1% cottage cheese and a little bit of Feta cheese for added flavour and texture.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY happy with the results. The texture is rich and creamy with nice chunks of vegetables and the pie as a whole doesn’t feel heavy at all despite being loaded with cheese. The taste? Hard to describe… but definitely YUMMY!

There’s only one tiny little detail that didn’t quite work out… the crust isn’t of the cuddly kind and doesn’t seem to want to cling to the cheese filling. That’s why I decided to garnish with arugula leaves, to hide the gap that had formed between the crust and the filling. Problem solved? Not quite that easily…

The slices are a little tricky to cut, but if you make a small “starter” indentation in the crust, the rest goes pretty good. However, once a slice is cut, the “gap” transforms into a drawbridge, so you sort of have to hold it in place with a toothpick.

Not sure how to solve that problem… I will have to think of something… Edible superglue?

Anywho, that won’t stop me from making this wonderful savory cheesecake again, or even from bringing it to an eventual party. I am truly happy with this experiment and the way it turned out.

And, now that I’ve got a good base, I can play with different flavour combinations!

Oh! food, how I love thee!

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp oranic no salt seasoning
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 140g spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 250g low fat cream cheese
  • 500g 1% fat cottage cheese
  • the zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
  • 100g Feta cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS
(serves 6)

Crust

  1. Whisk flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk oil, yogurt and egg; pour over flour.
  2. Stir to form fairly smooth dough.
  3. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes.
  4. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-13 inch disc. Fit into 9 inch spring form pan, letting excess hang over edge. Set aside.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion, bell pepper and seasoning over medium heat, until fragrant and onion becomes translcent, about 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking for another minute or two.
  3. Add water and balsamic vinegar. Cook until all water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add chopped spinach and nutmeg. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Scrape the sides once or twice during process to make sure all cheese is well incorporated.
  5. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, Dijon mustard and give a quick stir.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth between each addition. Add the egg whites and take the mixture for a final spin.
  7. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add crumbled feta and creamy cheese mixture. Fold delicately until well combined.
  8. Transfer this mixture into the reserved crust. Immediately put in the oven and lower temperature to 325F.
  9. Cook for 55-60 minutes, until cake is set.
  10. Allow cake to cool completely before unmolding.
  11. Garnish with arugula leaves right before serving.

May 26, 2011

Broccoli, Tofu and Almond Stirfry

Broccoli was on sale last week and I impulsively bought 3 bunches without having a clear plan as to what I was going to do with all that!

Luckily, my daughter spent the week-end at home and ate a whole bunch to herself (she loves broccoli!) but that still leaves me with 2 bunches that need to be utilized somehow. I hate wasting food. That is something I do not do. So I HAVE to think of ways to use this broccoli. Sure, I could make a soup, but I don’t really feel like eating cream of broccoli right now. I might not have a choice though, so don’t be surprised if you see that make an appearance on the menu next week! 😉

I also happened to have a block of extra firm tofu lying around… Broccoli goes well with tofu and almonds, so I decided to make some sort of an uncomplicated stirfry. There is not much to this recipe, really. It’s veggies, tofu, almonds and tamari sauce.  I didn’t want no fancy shmancy sweet and sour sauce in this one, I really wanted to taste the ingredients for what they truly are.

I have to say, mission accomplished!

This was super quick and easy to make and it tasted super great! What more could you ask for? Rice, maybe!

But you see, I was cooking for one and wanted to use up a good amount of that broccoli, so I decided not to have a side of rice, but you could very well serve this with a side of brown basmati rice, if you wanted to!

Great!  That brings me down to a bunch and a half… does anyone have any good recipe inspirations that would utilize A LOT of broccoli? 😉

INGREDIENTS
(serves 1 as is or 2 with side of rice)

  • 225g broccoli florets
  • 150g extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 20g sliced almonds
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced diagonally
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 2 tsp tamari sauce
  • A drizzle of sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Press your tofu to remove excess water. To do this, wrap it in paper towels and put some weight on it, such as a heavy skillet; leave it be while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, about 30 minutes, then cut it into 1″ cubes.
  2. Steam your broccoli over salted boiling water for a minute or two, just to get the cooking process going. Be careful not to overcook it. It still has to be very crunchy and a vibrant green color.
  3. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in large skillet and heat over high heat. When it’s really hot throw in the tofu cubes and turn the heat down to medium-high.  Let it form a nice golden crust before you start flipping it. Cook your tofu from 5-10 minutes, until nice, crispy and golden on all sides.
  4. When tofu is done, add sliced almonds and saute them for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown. Remove tofu and almonds from pan and set aside.
  5. Throw in your vegetables and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add tamari sauce, sesame oil, tofu and almonds.
  6. Give that a good stir and serve as is or with cooked brown basmati rice.

May 11, 2011

Spicy Peanut Tofu Pad Thai

I’d been in the mood for a good Pad Thai ever since I’d seen Heidi’s post a couple of weeks ago.

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to try the super cool sweet potato noodles that I’d found back when I went to the little Asian Market near my parents’ place, you know, the one where I always end up spending too much money.

I’m not sure just how nutritional those noodles are, really… but they are just unbelievably cool! They’re very similar to the more popular cellophane noodles (in fact, I suspect they might be the exact same thing, I’ve seen them both referred to as Jap Chae. I will have to research that!) and chewing on them feels like you’re eating gelatin! I absolutely love that chewy texture!

I meant to use Heidi’s recipe as is, but soon realised I would have to make a few many adaptations. For one, there was no time, or lime, to marinate the tofu. I would have to do without. And two, the shrimps were frozen solid… oops!

Now, I wouldn’t exactly call my adaptation an absolute success. While it tasted very very good, I didn’t care much for the egg. Let’s just say that it wasn’t visually pleasing at all. Next time, I will definitely leave it out.

Also, the dish turned out wayyyy too dry. Next time, I will double the amount of sauce.

The tofu cubes, however, did not disappoint. I really wish I would’ve had time (and lime) to marinate them. It must make them insanely good. Next time, I will marinate my tofu.

One thing I did learn while making this pad thai is that it is possible to pan fried tofu and make it to be as good as the deep fried stuff. You just have to be patient. Very patient. Just as with a piece of meat, you have to leave it alone and let it form a crust. Don’t play with it. Throw it in the pan, leave it be until it willingly comes off the pan. If you have to force it, it means the crust is not done forming and you will just break the cube. When the first side is crusted, flip the cubes and let a second side crust. Then, and only then, will you be able to start sauté it to get to all the other sides.

Spicy Peanut and Tofu Pad Thai
Adapted from Food Doodles Recipe
(Serves 2-3)

  • 175g sweet potato noodles (or any noodles you like)
  • About 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g firm tofu
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (save some to garnish)
  • 125g broccoli florets
  • 1 egg, beaten (I’ll leave that one out next time)

Sauce (I’ll double the amount next time)

  • 15g fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • ½ cup water

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp peanuts, crushed
  • Green onions, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Start by wrapping tofu in paper towels and put some weight on it, such as a large can; leave that be while you attend to other things.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions (if you are lucky enough to have instructions on your package) then rinse in cold water and set them aside to drain. While the noodles are cooking, prep your other ingredients.
  3. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in large skillet and heat over high heat. When it’s really hot throw in the tofu cubes and turn the heat down to medium-high.  Cook your tofu from 5-10 minutes, until nice, crispy and golden on all sides.
  4. While the tofu is happening, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Set aside
  5. When tofu is done, remove from pan and drizzle a bit more olive oil. Throw in the garlic, carrots and broccoli. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, then add the beaten egg and green onions. Stir and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until egg is completely cooked.
  6. Stir in sauce and continue cooking for about 1 minute, until the mixture thickens. Throw in your cooked noodles and mix until well combined.
  7. Transfer to serving plates and garnish with toasted peanuts and green onions.