Not Just Tofu

Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Recipe: Simple Swiss Chard Saute

In Cooking Tips, Food, Recipe, sides on June 14, 2013 at 12:37 am

Are you tired of eating spinach? Have you had your fill of kale? I know I was in search of another green fix.  I use leafy greens as a source of protein, antioxidants, calcium and iron since I am known not to eat enough of any group.  If you are a vegetarian, leafy greens are your best friend because they provide a great amount of protein along with beans.  In my research, I also found out that Swiss Chard is full of vitamin K. Vitamin K is good for muscle and bone growth which concerns me especially because of my Lupus.  Vitamin K is also essential for maintaining cell growth.  You can have a vitamin K deficiency but you can turn that around by adding vitamin k dense foods such as Swiss Chard, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Kale.

So my question is, how many of you have tried Swiss Chard?  At the farmer’s market, I would pass this colorful stemmed bouquet because I never tasted it.  Finally at Trader Joe’s, they had a bag of washed and chopped rainbow Swiss Chard that look manageable. I thought “how hard can it be?”  Come to find out, it’s pretty simple.  A few cloves of garlic, lemon juice and you got a pretty tasty side. Lesson learned: don’t be afraid of new produce.


  • 1 Bag of Swiss Chard, chopped and watched
  • Juice of 1/2 of  lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in saute pan
  2. Saute garlic until fragrant (make sure not to burn)
  3. Add Swiss Chard and saute
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over hot greens
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Cook till tender to the bite

Recipe Referral: Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I love watching Pioneer Woman on Food Network.  Ree Drummond makes her rural life look so appealing.  I especially love that her kids are foodies and seem to eat anything she puts on the table.  That life is so contrary to my suburban NJ lifestyle and my kids rarely eat my new recipes.  The appeal of her recipes has secured her a spot on my DVR and on Sunday mornings I indulge myself by watching back to back episodes.  One Sunday, Alvin and I watched Ree bake a cobbler but it did not look like that juicy gooey style cobbler that I was used to.  This was a blackberry cobbler that had a cake-like texture that made my husband say hmmm.  So I took note and the next thing you know I was making my own version.

At the time of this recipe, fresh blackberries were not in season. Since Alvin loves fresh blueberries, I took create license and substituted them for the blackberries.  I also am not the best baker even after taking my baking class, I still take the easy way out when I can.  So instead of using self-rising flour I used good old Bisquick baking mix.  Even after all the swapping, the dessert came out perfect.  I have tried to make the cobbler using canned peaches but that came out pretty mushy inside.  The next time I bake this cake-like cobbler I hope to use fresh peaches.  For all of you baking challenged dessert lovers, this is a recipe that you have to try.  Wish I had a picture, but it doesn’t last that long.

ree drummond

Ree Drummond

Click on the link below to try Ree’s original recipe:

Recipe: Indian Cauliflower Fritters

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm
Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflower Fritters

Indian food may be some of the most vegetarian friendly food around.  I love it because it is full of spices and doesn’t mean spicy but complex.  I also like the fact that those complex flavors can transform even the blandest of foods into something both meat-eaters and vegetarians will eat.  I started making these fritters after a friend told me that he went to a local Indian restaurant, Chakra (Paramus, NJ) had cauliflower that “taste like chicken.”  In an effort to recreate the experience, I started researching “Indian fried cauliflower” on You tube, blogs, Indian cookbooks.  Based on my research, I created my own version with what I had available on hand.

When I first made these fritters it was based on Gobi Manchurian which is the fritter with a spicy sauce.  My family doesn’t really care for the spicy sauce so I make sure the batter is extra flavorful by using the garam masala.  Garam Masala is a blend of spices including coriander, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, and cinnamon.  You could try to make your own but I suggest you find a local Indian market and purchase one.  If you don’t live near a local Indian market, McCormick and Whole Foods also sell their version.  It has a beautiful aroma that is familiar with Indian Fare.  I think Garam Masala is the star of this dish.


  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Oil for frying (Olive Oil not recommended)


  1. Mix flour and cornstarch together.
  2. Stir in the water until the batter is similar to loose pancake batter
  3. Add in the remainder of the ingredients except for the oil
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom frying pan
  5. Dip the florets into the batter, shaking off the excess batter
  6. Slowly place the florets in the oil, making sure the pieces don’t stick together
  7. Turn the florets over half-way for even cooking
  8. Remove florets when the florets are golden brown.

Tip:  Reheat at high temp (400) on a cookie sheet for 5 -7 minutes.

And the Church Ate Vegetarian

In Editorial, Event on June 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm


How often do you hear that the whole church meal was vegetarian? At my church, it is not rare but the norm for the church meal to be totally meatless. Why you ask? Seventh-day Adventists believe that the body is a temple and the best way to maintain the temple is through a vegetarian diet.

I would say that at least half of the faith practices some type of vegetarian. Some are pescatarian, they eat all but non scavenger fish in there diet. Others are vegan, exclude all foods that come from animals such as eggs and milk. Then you have flexitarians, people whose diet is mostly plant-based but occasionally meat. The other half live like me and eat non scavenger meats and exclude pork, rabbit, shrimp, lobster, etc…

The church lunch is where the kids are first introduced to the concept of a meatless plate. Instead of meat, we are served meat substitutes such as Loma Linda’s prime steak which is a vegetarian patty serves with a gravy and sauteed onions and peppers. We were also introduced to “loaf” which is a loaf made out of ground up nuts (so good). They were served with familiar sides like macaroni and cheese, West Indian rice and peas, and vegetables. Thank God my church had really great cooks. This is how generation after generation we are able to instill a healthy consciousness about food. It is not rare to look around our congregation and meet a young vegetarian. The general population of young people is not overweight. It just proves that starting young helps to keep them healthy.

We have stuck to our beliefs even when it comes to serving the community. The community I think appreciated the change from the norm. They appreciated the mock turkey; it was served with real stuffing and cranberry sauce. We have hosted 2 vegetarian cooking classes that teach about basic and intermediate vegetarian cooking. I personally taught one myself. It is there that I decided that I wanted to take cooking to the next level. Today at lunch, we served an Asian based meal of fried rice, vegetable lo mein, egg rolls, mock beef and broccoli and mock chicken stir fry. Both parents and kids alike ate the meal without asking for chicken. My point is that it can be done if done well.

I just love the fact that I am a part of a faith that takes their temples so seriously. The fact the youngest to the oldest enjoys a well cooked vegetarian meal, makes me smile. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I enjoy people eating well. Getting in the kitchen is the only way to change the way we see food.

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