Monday, February 27, 2012
Green beans, tofu and chocolate truffles
Over the past week or so, I have enjoyed revisiting a few older recipes. The boys love it when I go through this phase as I always give them the chance to request meals that they cherish. My son (who shall be known as "the young man" from this point forward, thanks Cindy) surprised me with a request for a green bean and tomato side dish we all used to love but I have not made in recent years.
We watched Jamie Oliver make this side dish of beans and tomatoes on one of his TV shows a long time ago and were intrigued with the combination of these simple ingredients. When I tried the recipe, it became a household favourite that remained on regular rotation for many years. Jamie didn't include any herbs in his recipe and somewhere along the way I decided that I liked it more with some fresh basil which is how I make it these days. It is a fairly quick side to prepare with the only downfall being that it uses more than one pot.
After deciding that I would appease the young man further by serving mashed potatoes with the beans and tomatoes, I wanted to include a bit of protein to round out the meal. I purchased a grill pan towards the end of last year on the spur of the moment as I had been thinking about buying one and found one on sale. It has been a fabulous tool for making tofu bacon but I hadn't put it to the tofu steak grilling test yet.
It took a while to decide on a marinade for the tofu as I wanted to use one with lighter flavours rather than something that would be too overpowering or spicy. After going through several cookbooks, I finally settled on making a teriyaki marinade from Vegan Planet. The man and young man can either love or hate tofu so they eyed their steaks off with initial scepticism but after tasting it they declared that the tofu was excellent as was the rest of the meal.
Valentine's Day is not usually a celebratory event on the calendar in our house but this year we cheated and had an indulgence on some delicious assorted truffles. It was purely because I was the lucky winner of this adorable box of Sjaark's vegan chocolate truffles thanks to Mandee of Cupcake Kitteh. If you would like the details of some online stores where a range of Sjaark's chocolates can be ordered from, head over to this post at Mandee's blog.
Teriyaki pan-grilled tofu (Adapted from Vegan Planet)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
350g firm tofu, drained and pressed
Whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Cut the tofu into 3 thick slices, place in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Allow the tofu to sit for about an hour, flipping the slices over after about 30 minutes.
Heat a grill pan and spray lightly with olive oil. Cook the tofu for about 3 minutes on each side or until slightly browned on each side.
Green beans with tomatoes (Adapted from Jamie Oliver)
250g green beans, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g fresh tomatoes, chopped or 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
10-12 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the beans in a saucepan with some salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 7 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic. Fry for about 30 seconds or until the garlic is sizzling, then stir through the tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes, the tomatoes should be completely soft and broken down after this time. Stir through the green beans, basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.