Friday, September 30, 2011

Tomato Tofu Stir Fry

This is a dish that will always remind me of my mother. I remember when I was little, she would use a whole chicken (bones and all) and cook it with tomatoes and green onions. It was definitely one of my favorite dishes of all time. You get the nice juicy chicken pieces, especially the bones, and the tangy-ness from the tomatoes. Serve it with a hot scoop of rice and I was in heaven. My husband had never had anything like it before. I cook it a lot for him since we've been married and we can never get tired of it. Honestly, you don't even have to use chicken. You only need 2 main ingredients: tomatoes and green onions. Try it with eggs (my most favorite), pork loins, beef short ribs, or tofu. Just 2 ingredients and you can make so many different dishes. My husband loves it best when my mom uses chicken feet. Sounds gross, but it was delish! That's all he talks about. Sadly, I can't get much chicken feet here in hawaii unless I buy a live chicken. But this is a must-try will love it. It's very easy to make and very few ingredients, but tastes great. It's like tomatoes and green onions were meant for eachother...kinda like me and my husband teehee =).

Chicken Tomato Stir fry with Tofu

2 tomatoes
2 green onion stalks
1 pkg (10 oz) extra/firm tofu
4 boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp oil
2 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp sweet dark soy sauce

Prep: Skinned the boneless chicken thighs and chop them up into bite size pieces. You can definitely use boned chicken thighs and keep the skin on. You can even use a whole chicken, but boneless chicken thighs were all I had so I had to mention it.

Slice tomatoes into thin moon-shaped slices and set aside. Wash and cut up green onions to about 1/4" and set aside. Mince garlic and set aside. Cut tofu into bite size pieces and set aside.

Cook: Heat up skillet pan on medium heat with oil and add the garlic and chicken. Cook chicken until sides start to turn brown. Add in the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have released all it's juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add in green onions and stir. Add in the sweet dark soy sauce and stir until all is cooked and has come together nicely. Add the tofu last and don't stir as much so that tofu doesn't break apart. Let the tofu soak up the tomato juice for a bit until most of the juices have gone down and it's done. Serve with fresh cooked rice. (the longer it simmers, the tastier it is...but becareful not to burn it)

I do have a secret ingredient that makes my dish taste a bit different and more flavorful from my mother's, but I can't share. =)
All that it's missing is a bowl of rice
This tastes even better the next day or later on in the day. My husband literally asked me to make this dish for him everyday so he can pack some to work. I'm surprised he's not tired of eating it. Try this recipe with other ingredients that I've mentioned above. You will start to love this tomato and green onion marriage.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Pasta

I call this dish Thanksgiving Pasta, but I don't actually make it for Thanksgiving. I call this Thanksgiving Pasta because my kitchen smells like Thanksgiving when I'm cooking. Growing up, both my mom and dad cooked the turkey together. They would wake up very early to cook everything and eat by noon. We never had the traditional dinner because everything was eaten by noon, but we sure did have a great family time. Our turkey was always cooked the same way every year with 3 main ingredients: carrots, celery, and onions. Those were the 3 ingredients I used to make this pasta dish smelling like Thanksgiving morning. 

I like this way of cooking store-bought spaghetti sauce because there's more flavor to the sauce than just tomatoes. I always had a difficult time buying store-bought sauce because I can never find "the one". Of course there's new and improved tomato sauces such as portebello mushrooms, but it wasn't ever good enough for me. I wanted a traditional tomato sauce with something extra and this was it.

6 celery stalks, chopped coarsely
3 fat carrots, chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped coarsely
10 mushrooms, chopped coarsely
1 lbs cellentani noodles or any pasta noodles
1 jar traditional spaghetti sauce

In a food processor, puree all the vegetables together. You may have to add a little water to help with the puree. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed on the box.

When all the vegetables are pureed into an apple sauce like texture, heat up a pot with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and brown the pureed vegies. This process will take awhile so be patient and keep stirring. If you added water to help with the puree, it may take longer because the water will have to evaporate before the browning can begin. At this point, you may also add salt and black pepper if you like. I didn't and on't worry if alittle of it sticks to the bottom of the pot...just keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the color is like a rusty reddish brown color. This process is to bring out the most flavors from the vegies.

Once vegies are all browned and smelling great....slowly add the jar of tomato sauce. Stir slowly, scraping the bottom of the pot, and make sure it's well combined with the puree. Once tomato sauce is heated then it's ready to serve over pasta noodles.


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