Made with organic soybeans, fresh and local Ingredients

Monday, January 28, 2013

Potato Tofu Casserole

by Francine

photo via
Think potatoes, think casserole, and think winter. Right? Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap because people equate them wtih 'empty carbs', fattening, etc. Not so. It's the stuff you ADD to potatoes or the stuff they're cooked IN that is fattening. Potatoes are full of nutrition, relatively cheap, and there are so many ways to eat them!

Low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium (important for controlling high blood pressure), and manganese. Incidentally--potatoes have more potassium in them than bananas, especially if you keep the skins on. Which you should--not only for the potassium, but also for the other health benefits.

Now considering that potatoes grown conventionally have residues from 37 pesticides, according to the USDA Pesticide Program, you can see why I'm advocating (like I usually do), you choose organic. And remember--if you don't want to go 100% organic--because of cost, convenience, availability, or whatever else--you don't have to. Just choose wisely. With potatoes--it's important to go organic. With avocados--not so much. There is definitely a different level of saturation according to what kind of produce, where grown, etc.

So getting back to the issue at hand, which is the potato tofu casserole, let's get going:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Mix together in a bowl:
3 cups potatoes, mashed (personally I like skins on, but you can remove or go 1/2 and 1/2)
1 1/2 lbs. tofu, mashed
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Saute together:
2 TB oil (try canola or sesame)
1 medium onion, chopped

When onions are limp, mix into the potato-tofu mixture. Spread into an oiled 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish, and sprinkle with paprika (and/or a little cayenne). Bake for 35 minutes.

Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Krazy Kale

by Francine
photo via
It's winter and in many areas of the world--winter vegetables rule the dinner table. As well they should. Packed with nutrients and amazing flavors, it makes so much sense to eat what is in season in your area--fresh and available to you without adding to the carbon footprint (in this case fuel necessary to transport the food your way). 

As a kid I remember eating kale as part of the notorious school lunch. It was canned. Even the thought of it now, so many years later, brings up that hideous tinny taste that had infiltrated the kale. So I grew up with a 'bad taste' in my mouth regarding kale. Fortunately I ate some fresh kale as an adult and I've loved it ever since--along with chard, beet tops, collard greens, spinach--i.e. all those amazing leafy greens. 

Let's zoom in on kale for a minute. In an article on kale is referred to as the 'queen of greens' and one of the healthiest vegetable on the planet. (Maybe that school I went to as a kid had a dynamite dietician who was in the know about kale--but canned?!) The article goes on to say that "choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol." Now if that weren't enough (and it already is for me), here's what you get in one cup of glorious kale: 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium daily requirement, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It's also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. 

The article on is worth reading in its entirety and I urge you to do so, because there is a wealth of other information, including that kale interferes in calcium absorption (so don't eat it at the same time you're eating calcium-rich foods like yogourt, for instance). According to a study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cited in that webmd article, eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant K "can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer." (K is also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese, btw.)

Sold on kale? Check out this delightful recipe from Alice Currah's blog, which includes kale AND . . . tofu!:

Kale Mabu Tofu
What you need:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 – inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 pound medium firm tofu, cut in 3/4-inches cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oyster flavor sauce
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian garlic chili sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 cups baby kale leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
How to make:
  1. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet or wok and heat on medium-low heat.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for about half a minute, just enough to soften the garlic and for it to be aromatic.
  3. Add the pork, breaking it down with a wooden spoon, and cook until brown.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tofu.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce, miso, soy sauce, and garlic chili sauce until completely mixed.
  6. Add the sauce to the skillet. Stir the pork and tofu in the sauce and cook for 2 minutes, just enough time for the sauce to coat the sausage and absorb into the meat.
  7. Stir in the chicken broth.
  8. When the broth begins to bubble in a light simmer, add the kale leaves.
  9. Stir the kale in the mabu tofu until it is barely wilted.
  10. Transfer the mabu tofu and some broth over 2 or 3 brown rice bowls.
  11. Top off with additional garlic chili sauce for more heat.
  12. Garnish with scallions.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Cloves--an overlooked spice

by Francine

Around the holidays, my yoga teacher read to us from a page she had copied from one of the health and nutrition journals she subscribes to. I was amazed to hear that according to a study (in which 1,100 foods were tested) cited in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cloves contain more than 3 times the amount of antioxidants than the nearest competitor--dried oregano. Who would have thought? Apparently, this all-too-often overlooked spice combats oxidative stress in the brain and may help dispel 'brain fog.'  That's not all.

Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin K and C and omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of calcium and magnesium. Cloves also have a significant amount of protein, iron, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and hydrochloric acid.So with this in mind, why relegate cloves to pumpkin pie?

Here's a tasty tofu/clove combo posted on (they have wonderful other recipes, btw) that is sure to please. And notice turmeric and lemongrass, two other mighty powerful and tasty herbs that are so good for us. Enjoy!

  • Lemongrass Tofu

    12-14 oz tofu, drained
  • 3-4 tsp minced fresh lemongrass (usually pretty easy to find in better groceries, Asian markets, or farmers markets).  Peel outer layers of 1 stalk, grate or mince bottom white part
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tamari 
  • 2 Tbsp water 
  • 2 tsp roasted red chili paste 
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 2 t sugar  
  • 1 t salt 
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 

  • How to make:
    Cut tofu lengthwise into thirds. Place on an absorbent kitchen towel and cover with an additional towel. Place a heavy pan on top, and allow to sit thirty minutes to remove moisture. Transfer tofu to a cutting board and cut into 3/4" cubes.
  • In a large bowl or glass container combine lemongrass, garlic, say sauce, water, red chili paste, turmeric, sugar and salt. Add tofu cubes, and carefully toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to marinate.
  • In a large wok or sauté pan, heat oil over high heat. Add tofu and cook 10-15 minutes, shaking pan every minute so tofu doesn’t stick, until golden brown on all side.
  • Add red pepper flakes the last few minutes and serve hot
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Get Corny

by Francine

photo via
Hope your holidays were fun, warm, and all the things that holidays should be. There's a reason people call it the holidaze, to be sure, however. I don't know. There's just something that happens around the last week of December--everyone buzzing around buying gifts, preparing for gatherings, meeting expectations, and somehow it's only natural that we are all seeking perfection--not so much in others, but in ourselves. And who is harder on themselves than we are ourselves, right?

Well, now that we're well ensconced in 2013 (such a strange sounding year, somehow), let's get cookin' with some down home cornmeal muffins. . . with a little tofu thrown in. Now the recipe calls for soft tofu, so it's best to use that kind. Tofu Yu tofu is fabulous for all kinds of dishes, but the tofu we make (unless it's a special order) is not the soft kind--the kind often referred to as 'silken' tofu. In this recipe, you can also use 'regular' tofu--just make sure it is not the firm type that Tofu Yu prides itself in, because it is the preferred consistency for so many Asian dishes.

A word(s) about cornmeal, according to
  • Research has shown that yellow cornmeal is rich in antioxidants known to prevent cancer, macular degeneration and cardiovascular disease.
  • The fiber in cornmeal helps promote colon health and prevent constipation.
  • The fiber in cornmeal lowers cholesterol levels.
  • Corn meal is gluten-free.
  • Corn meal is beneficial for managing diabetes.
And did you know it's loaded with potassium (think controlling blood pressure), calcium (think strong bones and teeth), and vitamin A (good for the eyes).

Check out this very easy-to-make recipe:

Preheat oven to 425 F

Mix together:
2 cups cornmeal (organic)
2 cups unbleached (organic) whole wheat flour (or for slightly lighter muffins--a combination of white and whole wheat, OR pastry flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Blend in a blender until smooth and creamy:
1/2 lb. soft tofu
1 1/2 cups water

Pour into bowl and then stir in:
1/4 cup oil
3 TB honey or molasses

Str the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until moist. Fill oiled muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Delicious served with cream cheese and preserves. And of course, a bit of butter melted inside a hot muffin is something that will melt the most dour frame of mind. 


Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler