Tofu and Broccoli with Hoisin-Ginger Sauce


First some fun news. We’re going to be testing recipes for Robin Robertson‘s next cookbook! There’s not much more we can say about it right now but we’re really looking forward to it. Helping Robin with her next book reminded me of a time long ago when we reviewed one of her previous books on our first blog. One of the recipes we wrote about was the Tofu and Broccoli with Hoisin-Ginger Sauce. Looking back at our Eat Air blog from that time brings back a lot of memories because that was when Darlene was pregnant with our first child. Now that kid is not only old enough to help in the kitchen but even to use a knife (albeit with lots of our supervision). Yikes!


I thought he might enjoy this recipe and he certainly did. I dialed back the heat and kept it pretty mild but it still had a little kick from the ginger and he picked up on that. He still cleaned his plate though so we were happy. The recipe is really simple – mainly a tofu and broccoli stir fry with the addition of scallions and fresh ginger. The sauce is a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, water and a little chili paste. Delicious! We definitely shouldn’t wait almost 8 years before making this one again!


Apple and blackberry grunt

appleblackberrygrunt01I love fruit desserts and in particular ones with apples. We are getting apples from our CSA fruit share and the kids love baked apples with cinnamon. I thought about making a pie but decided I wanted to make something easier and quicker. I then thought grunt. Lovely little flour dumplings in steaming fruit. Yum! The name is really fun also and you know that is what is really important. At least for kids that is the case anyway. So I had the brilliant idea of making the grunt in the Instant Pot. I wasn’t sure if I could do it all one step or if I would have to first make the filling and then add the batter. Well, only one way to find out. It turns out I can add everything at once. So this experiment anyway was a success. I made an instant grunt. If you don’t have a pressure cooker then you can definitely make this the traditional way by cooking the filling first and then adding the batter. It is really quick though to make in the Instant Pot so you may want to buy one just so you can make instant grunts. Feel free to add any fruit you like also. I have plans for many more versions of this one. Also you can add more or less sugar. I had really tart apples and blackberries so I added a bit more. On to the recipe.

Apple and blackberry grunt


6 cups peeled and slice apples

2 cups frozen or fresh blackberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour

3/4 cup water

Dumpling Batter

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup ground oats, 1/2 cup ground buckwheat groats, 1/2 cup white whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup nondairy milk

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all of the filling ingredients to the Instant Pot or a pan and mix well. If you are using regular pan then heat the filling on the stove until it is bubbly and the apples have softened. Mix the dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a measuring cup. Add the wet to the dry and mix. The batter should be fairly thick. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the filling covering the top. If you are using the instant pot then add the batter on top of the uncooked filling. See the lovely photo below. Cover and cook for 4 minutes using the manual setting on low pressure and use a quick release. If you are using the stove top then cover the pot and steam for 14 minutes until the dumplings are firm. Enjoy! Darlene



Ikarian Stew


A while back I read this fascinating article titled “The Island Where People Forget to Die“. I’ve read other articles more recently about what have been dubbed the “Blue Zones” – places in the world where people live extraordinarily long lives. These places have a few things in common, one of which is that their residents tend to eat a mostly plant-based diet. When another article about the Blue Zones came out recently in the New York Times I was intrigued by the description of the Ikarian Stew, especially since we’ve been getting fennel from our CSA and I’m never quite sure what to do with it. I found the recipe easily on-line and made it for dinner last night. It was super simple and really delicious. And it was a great way to use some additional CSA veggies, like onions and tomatoes. I cooked this in the Instant Pot – 18 minutes on high pressure – and it came out perfect but the stove top method is simple as well. I have to admit, a half cup of olive oil seemed like a lot so I didn’t use that much but still it was great. We enjoyed ours over whole wheat penne and I’m sure we’ll be making it again!


Southwest Lentil Stew


Our seven-year-old loves chili so I make some version of it quite often. I love using our Instant Pot for this type of stew but if you don’t have a pressure cooker this can easily be done on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It’s tomato season and we’re getting lots of fresh tomatoes (along with onions and peppers) from our CSA but you could use a medium can of tomatoes as well. I pureed the tomatoes in a blender before adding them but it’s not necessary.

What you need:

1 Tbs. olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

6 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 cup diced seitan

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. dried marjoram

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. lime juice

1 cup brown rice

1 cup brown lentils

3 cups water

What you do:

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add onion and bell pepper. Cook for a few minutes then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, mix well then cover and bring up to pressure. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes and allow for a natural release. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simmer over low heat on the stove top, covered, for about an hour. We garnished ours with avocado slices and fresh oregano. Also note that we make these types of meals mild for the kids but feel free to add as much hot sauce as you want either during cooking or when serving.


Brunch (with Peach Beignets)


Yesterday we had some friends over to watch the penultimate stage of the Tour de France and we all enjoyed a delicious brunch. The tofu scramble and roasted vegetables were good but what really came out well were the peach beignets. Credit to Darlene for coming up with that idea. I’m not sure how authentic they were but they sure did taste good. I ended up using my tried and true recipe for Apple Uglies but instead of apples and cinnamon I used some nice local peaches we’ve been getting from our CSA. I cut back on the sugar a little too since the beignets got a generous dusting of powdered sugar at the end. The main modification to the recipe that I needed was to add a lot of extra flour since the peaches were so juicy. And rather than making each piece of dough into an oblong shape I rolled out the dough and cut it into squares beignet-style.


I posted my basic tofu scramble recipe a long time ago on our previous blog and this one was similar. Instead of onion I used a leek from our CSA and I also added a shredded carrot, mushrooms and kale. The roasted veggies were all from the CSA – red potatoes, purple potatoes, beets and bell peppers. These were coated with olive oil, salt and some fresh herbs from our garden (thyme, oregano, rosemary and lavender) and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. All agreed it was an excellent meal!


Happy 4th!


We definitely had to put our new grill to use on the 4th of July! I had never tried freezing tofu before but I heard that doing so can give it a chewier texture so I gave it a whirl. I drained two blocks of tofu then put them in the freezer overnight. I took them out this morning and let them thaw then drained them on a towel. Then I cut each block into 8 pieces, brushed them with homemade barbecue sauce and put them on the grill. I’m still learning about grilling and I had some hot spots in my fire so some of the tofu got a little too charred but still it was good. And freezing did give it a firm texture that help up well to grilling. On the side we had coleslaw and potato salad, made with cabbage and some nice red potatoes from our CSA.

I kind of winged it in making the barbecue sauce but it came out really well so although I didn’t write anything down I’ll approximate it here from memory. I just mixed all this stuff together in a small saucepan and simmered on low heat for about half an hour:

3 Tbs. tomato paste

1/2 c. water

1 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 Tbs. molasses

1 Tbs. agave

2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. onion power

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

You could definitely add some cayenne or hot sauce too but I kept it mild for the kids. I made this up as I went along so if you try it you should definitely experiment with different proportions to suit your fancy.


It’s Grilling Season

I finally got myself a proper grill! I had a tiny portable one that I used occasionally in the past but even that I haven’t used in several years. Last month I built a deck off our back door from the kitchen and once that was done I set my mind to getting a grill since I finally had a nice place to put one. Here’s the kid, quite proud of himself after helping me assemble it. It’s nothing fancy, just a basic Weber charcoal grill, but I’m really looking forward to getting some use out of it this summer.


I decided to Christen it with that quintessential American grill fare, the burger. You know, a typical burger with lentils, mushrooms, walnuts and kale. OK, maybe not so typical but still very tasty. I used Scott Jurek’s recipe because I’ve made these burgers in the past and I knew they’d be firm enough to stand up to grilling. (Incidentally, if you haven’t heard, Scott Jurek is in the midst of attempting a speed record on the Appalachian Trail.)


The kale and onions in the burgers were from Bellair Farm CSA and on the side we had roasted potatoes and a slaw with red cabbage and carrots, all from the CSA also. And we topped the burgers with lettuce from our garden so there’s lots of local produce on this plate!



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