takikomi gohan – brown rice with tofu, zucchini, eggplant, shiitake

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This was a spur of the moment meal that I started at 9:00pm Sunday night. I don’t recommend doing that since I added too much liquid to my rice cooker and after two-and-a-half hours, it still hadn’t beeped. I finally checked on it close to midnight and the brown rice was finally done. Learning from my mistakes, what I believe should be a faster recipe is below.

brown rice with tofu, zucchini, eggplant, and shiitake

ingredients

  • go of brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8-10 shiitake, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
  • water

directions

  1. Put rice in rice cooker and enough water for 2 go according to your rice cooker’s specifications. Add all other ingredients.
  2. If your rice cooker has a brown rice setting, switch it to that, and press start.
  3. When your rice cooker beeps, it’s done! (You may want to check on it after an hour and see how it’s doing, and then every half hour after that. The vegetables will add extra liquid as they cook down, so make sure you don’t make the mistake I did of putting enough water to compensate for all the ingredients.)

grown up bento, part 1

School started last week which means it’s back to either packing lunches or running across the street to Wendy’s or McDonald’s. I’m trying to stick with the former so I bought myself some cute bento boxes in the hopes that this will help me be creative and excited about packing a lunch, even when my schedule begins to get really crazy. Since I’m following the Vegan Before 6 plan, each lunch needs to be vegan also. So far, I’ve made it a whole week, so that’s progress!

Here is what I packed this week:

Day One 

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1 – Corn salad – fresh corn, cooked edamame (soybeans), cucumber, peach, and tomato. Chop everything up and dress with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. (Could also add fresh cilantro or basil, fresh mozzarella or feta if non-vegan, experiment with the spices. Get creative!)

2 – Leftover fried tofu from Mad Mex (that’s a bit of vegan sour cream you see in the picture), and honey dew melon

Day Two

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1 – Maple Glazed Tofu with homemade guacamole and refrigerator pickles. There’s a multigrain tortilla hiding under the wax paper below the tofu. I put the guac, tofu and pickles in the tortilla at lunch time. (For guacamole – combine one avocado, juice of one lime, and 1-2 garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. Can also add red onion, cilantro, tomato, tomatillo, etc. For refrigerator pickles — recipe is here on my blog) 

2 – leftover corn and edamame salad from yesterday, and mango and cantaloupe chunks.

Day Three

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1 – leftover guacamole from day two. Under the guac is a multigrain tortilla. The greens are leftover from dinner at a Japanese restaurant the previous night. They’re dressed with sesame oil.

2 – leftover maple-glazed tofu from day two and chunks of cantaloupe. I made a wrap again with the tortilla, greens, guac, and tofu.

Day Four

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1 – cantaloupe chunks and cucumber sticks (I grow Japanese cucumbers in my garden — they’re long and slender, have no seeds, the skin is thin and tasty, and they are burpless. Much crisper and tastier than your average cucumber. Very similar to Persian cucumbers, only about twice as long.)

2 – leftovers from the Japanese restaurant two days earlier – fried rice and zucchini, and seaweed salad (I ordered the seaweed salad appetizer specifically so I could have leftovers for lunch. I knew that it would be too much food with my entrée but I was trying to be proactive).

My bento boxes are made by Bentgo. Each container has a lid and they stack on top of each other. There’s a plastic fork, knife, and spoon that fits in between the two containers and there’s an elastic strap to hold everything together. I got a great deal on Groupon for them, and I love the colors!

corn and zucchini quinoa salad

Tomorrow night is the first rehearsal of the season for the Pittsburgh Camerata. This is a professional choir I sing with in the city. We’re having a “rehearsal camp” this weekend, and one of the great things about this group is that besides being great singers, most everyone is a great cook as well. Anyway, we’re having a potluck before rehearsal tomorrow night and I of course have to bring something with lemons in it, so I’m planning to make a corn and zucchini quinoa salad.  The recipe comes from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food with some substitutions.  I’m using quinoa instead of orzo because I really enjoy the versatility of quinoa, not to mention it’s a very healthy grain and gluten-free for those who need to worry about such things.

ingredients

  • 6 medium zucchini, diced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • juice of 3-4 fresh-squeezed lemons
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 cups crumbled feta

directions

  1. Place zucchini in a colander and toss with salt. Place colander in sink and let sit 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare quinoa according to package instructions (I like to throw it in my rice cooker). The general rule of thumb for cooking quinoa is one part quinoa to two parts water. Transfer to a large bowl after cooking.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add to quinoa along with zucchini, 3 tablespoons oil, onion, jalapeño (optional), and lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. Stir in basil and feta. You may want to hold off on adding any salt until after you stir in the feta since it can be pretty salty.