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Posts Tagged ‘cucumber’

Do you like sushi? We sure do! I wish we could go out for sushi more often. Unfortunately we don’t have a sushi place very close to our house. Plenty of New Mexican food, but not a lot of Asian options available, let alone gluten free Asian options.

Of course since my husband is vegetarian we like a lot of vegetarian sushi; cucumber rolls, avocado rolls and before I became intolerant to eggs, tamago nigiri (sweet egg omelet). (I also learned that the tamago often have soy sauce in them, which typically isn’t gluten free.) Now I have branched out from only eating the vegetarian rolls and I like Spicy Tuna and Philadelphia rolls too. My husband will also often get the Green Chile Tempura rolls (only in New Mexico!), which unfortunately are not gluten free.

But simple sushi at home? Yes you can! A few months ago I saw a recipe for sushi rice salad on Dana Treat’s blog, Treat Yourself, and knew I had to try it. We have made sushi rolls before but they are quite a bit of work so I thought this might be easier. And it was! These ‘scattered sushi bowls’ do have an actual name, they are called Chirashizushi.

Below I have adapted her recipe to better suit our tastes. One particular change I made was to broil the tofu. I like tofu fairly dry and chewy. You could also try dry-frying it. We also felt like there was too much of the vinegar-sugar sauce for the amount of rice, so we upped the rice quite a bit.

Sushi Rice Bowls

Adapted from Dana Treat, Treat Yourself

Serves 4-6

2 cups long grain rice or brown rice, uncooked

8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

finely chopped pickled ginger

green onions, thinly sliced

shredded carrots

cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 sheet nori (seaweed), cut with kitchen shears into small pieces

avocado, chopped

toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

1 tsp. wasabi paste

3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. soy sauce, gluten free

2 tsp. pickled ginger juice

Start cooking the rice in your rice cooker or on the stove.

Turn on broiler. Cut tofu slabs into small 1/4-1/2″ cubes. Place in a greased, foil-lined baking dish. Place under the broiler for 10 minutes, stir and broil for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool. (Don’t place your rack too close to the broiler as you don’t want the tofu to burn but instead dry out and firm up. Your oven may be different from mine. Check your tofu frequently until you know how it does under your broiler. My oven is feisty. Also, I cooked up the entire pound of tofu and put half in the frig for something else. Pictures below.)

When the rice is finished cooking, transfer to a large, shallow bowl and spread out to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir rice vinegar into sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir often, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour over cooled rice, drizzle oil over rice and stir gently to mix.

Mix together dressing ingredients. Add more wasabi if you wish. (My husband does not like too much wasabi, just a tad so you taste it. This is surprising coming from He-Who-Loves-to-Sweat-While-Eating.)

Spoon rice into bowls. Top with remaining ingredients and a couple spoonfuls of the dressing. Enjoy!

Notes:

* Rice vinegar, pickled ginger, nori and wasabi can be found in the Asian food section of most large supermarkets. Also, toasted sesame seeds can often be found there in large containers for a cheaper price than in the regular spice section.

* I have also made a Philadelphia Roll version of this before by adding tiny bits of cream cheese, cucumber and chopped smoked salmon instead of the cucumber, carrots, green onions, avocado and tofu. I have also been known to add chopped tomato. Yum!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Thanks, Amy! And also, Gluten Free Wednesdays over at The Gluten Free Homemaker.

 

Tofu cubes before they went under the broiler.

 

 

Broiled tofu cubes.

 

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This week’s theme is SALAD over at The Gluten Free Menu Swap. And our lovely host is Heather at Celiac Family. Thanks for hosting, Heather! Salads are great this time of year because you don’t have to heat much of anything up and you and your kitchen can stay cool! And it is going to be red-hot here in the Albuquerque area again this week, so salad is a great idea.

I had already been thinking about making a cold rice salad after seeing this one over at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice last week. And this past weekend we had Moroccan Chickpea Salad, which I love! It makes a lot and is great leftover too, in fact we had some tonight. Some other salad ideas for you: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad, Wild Rice Tabouli, Taco Salad, Lentil Salad Provencal.

In other meal planning thoughts, I know we still have Swiss chard growing strong and I need to use some more up. We are also headed out to dinner with some friends at a gluten-free friendly restaurant this weekend. It is one I have never been to before, Casa Vieja, but they list gluten free options on their menu so hopefully it goes well! I am sure it will, other celiacs I know have been there and they say it is very gluten-free friendly. Perhaps another Restaurant Review is in order?

So with that in mind, this is the plan for the week:

Italian Rice Salad with some added white beans

Black Eyed Peas with Swiss Chard perhaps with a side of rice or polenta

Mediterranean Salad with added salad greens

So, yes, only three meals planned for this week since we will be eating out one evening and the other three evenings are saved for leftovers. With only two people in the house, we have plenty of leftovers usually, and I enjoy not having to cook every night. If we need to we always have our emergency go-to foods, like plain-old spaghetti or a chickpea curry, or a Trader Joe’s something-or-other in the freezer, just in case.

In other exciting news, I bought myself an ice cream maker this weekend! I have been coveting them for a couple of months now, especially the recipes over at The Whole Kitchen and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. And we just happened to stop in Bed Bath and Beyond, and oh, surprise, they had just the one I wanted! (They had previously been sold out.) And I had a 20% off coupon. Yeah! So, this week, ice cream is on the list too! And since it is my husband’s birthday week, he gets to choose the first batch. And he chose Peanut Butter Cup. I will be sure to let you know how it turns out!

Also, next week, I am hosting the Gluten Free Menu Swap and the theme is cucumbers! I have about five cucumbers ready to be picked and they are just going to keep on coming, so please, post (or send) cucumber recipes! Even if you don’t have a cucumber recipe, please join us, we’d love to have you! The ‘rules’ and all the info is over here at Gluten Free Goodness.

This post is also cross-posted over at Org Junkie where you will find hundreds, literally, hundreds of other meal plans for inspiration.

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Another great, light summer salad. When I made this recently I asked my husband if this pasta salad reminded him of anything. Nope. For me it has memories of an old apartment back in Chicago where we would sit on our back deck in the summer evenings to eat dinner and to try to catch a breeze as the apartment did not have air conditioning. We had a couple of window air conditioning units but we preferred to be outside. The deck faced north and stayed pretty cool, plus there was a nice little garden below us and squirrels across the way to entertain us. We spent many evenings on this deck. And for some reason I have vivid memories of eating this salad on that deck. Perhaps we ate it a lot in those two years that we lived there? I don’t know, but it’s a great dish to add to your repertoire.

Spicy Ginger Noodles

Adapted from Vegetarian Times magazine

1 pound of pasta *

1 large cucumber, partially peeled, seeded and sliced

carrots, sliced, in an equal amount as cucumber

2-4 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro

Dressing:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce *

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp chili oil*

2 cloves garlic

1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and cool. Chop vegetables and place in bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into cooled pasta and vegetables.

Notes:

* We prefer Tinkyada brown rice pasta or Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta (I think they are the same product actually, just repackaged for TJ’s). I use either the spirals or penne and, in a pinch, the spaghetti. Just be sure to use lots of water to cook the gluten free pasta and don’t overcook or it will turn to mush!

* Be sure the soy sauce is gluten free if you are cooking gluten free.

* You can probably omit the chili oil if you can’t find it. I can usually find it in the Asian food section of the large grocery stores. One bottle lasts a long time as you only need a little bit each time.

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I originally found these recipes in one of those free magazines you can pick up at the health food stores. There were a couple of recipes that we tried from this one cookbook and I thought they were so good that I was inspired to buy the cookbook from which they were from. But I am not as enamored with the cookbook as with these specific recipes. If you are a flexitarian or carnivore, you may appreciate the cookbook more as there are a lot of meat based Thai dishes. I also need to pull the cookbook back out and look through it again.

The tofu dish we have had quite a few times before and we really like it. As usual, I added more vegetables to this recipe. I also changed the sauce slightly from the original.

This was the first time I made the cucumber salad and my husband dug into that right away. He gave it ‘two thumbs up’ before I even got sat down in my chair. I’ll admit that I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it while I was making the tofu.

Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Rice

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp canola oil, divided

1 pound of extra-firm tofu, sliced

3 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups baby carrots, sliced into thin slivers

1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

2 cups french green beans, fresh or frozen, in 1-inch pieces

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp black pepper

Turn on rice cooker. Slice tofu into 8 slices and place between the layers of a clean, dry towel. Place something heavy on top and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Slice each tofu slice into 8 squares.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large wok or skillet. Carefully add tofu – it will splatter. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and let cook for 3-4 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel covered plate.

Add 1 tbsp oil to hot pan. Add shallots and garlic. Stir fry for one minute – careful not to burn the garlic. Add the carrots, bell pepper and green beans. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and let cook for a couple more minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp. Add tofu back to pan and cook until heated through. Serve with rice.

Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp rice vinegar, gluten free

1 tbsp soy sauce, gluten free

2 tsp sugar

1 large English cucumber, sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

Mix together vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except peanuts, and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve topped with peanuts.

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