Category Archives: Appetizers

Spicy Cold Tofu Tacos

One of my favorite food cultures in the world is Korean.  With the introduction of peppers via Japan via Portugal they developed one of the most unique and delicious flavor profiles in the world.  One of the best things in the world is Gochujang, it’s a red pepper paste mixed with glutinous rice and fermented soy beans(miso).  It can be found in a lot of Korean cooking, and for good reason, it has a nutty earthy heat to it with a palate pleasing texture.  Korean food also gained a spot in my heart for their ability to make tofu taste amazing, and today’s tacos are based off a marinated or braised tofu dish called dubu jolim (or jorim, have seen it both ways).   When making this with friends for a taco night, we decided it wasn’t salty enough, but adding more soy sauce could over power the flavors so we added crumbled cotija cheese and it really turned it into something amazing.  These Korean inspired delights are vegan and vegetarian friendly, but I guarantee carnivores will destroy them also!

 

tacos nomnomnom2

 

SPICY COLD TOFU TACOS

TACO INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package – Small Corn Tortillas
  • 8oz – Firm Tofu, 1″ cubes
  • 2 – Green Onions, white and some green parts sliced thin
  • 1/3cup – Crumbled Cotija Cheese (feta may be substituted)

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • 2tsp – Sesame Oil
  • 1tbsp – Soy Sauce
  • 1tsp – Grated Ginger
  • 2tsp – Grated Garlic (2 smaller cloves)
  • 2tbsp – Gochujang (Korean pepper paste, no substitutions, available in Asian Markets, Kochujan in Japanese markets)
  • 2tbsp – Kimchi Liquid
    • Garnish – Kimchi sliced into ribbons
    • Garnish – Green Onion julienne
    • Garnish – Chopped Cilantro
    • Garnish – Lime Juice

    spicy tofu tacos

RECIPE

  1. Spread tofu out on paper towel or tea towel and cover with more towels and drain/dry for about 5 minutes
  2. Combine all ingredients and whisk until Gochujang is fully dissolved and garlic/ginger are well incorporated
  3. Place tofu in a mixing bowl with cotija cheese, cover with sauce and fold very gently, then sprinkle with green onions, drizzle with additional sesame oil if you desire
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat and toast tortillas lightly until pliable
  5. Place 1tbsp of the tofu mixture in tortilla, top with garnishes of your choosing, and enjoy!
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How to Make Tzatziki

Tzatziki aye?  That yogurty delight commonly found on your falafel or gyros?  That’s right, it’s a traditional Mediterranean mezza side dish.  Mezza are the small plates that accompany your main dish, they can be anything from fresh and/or pickled vegetables, dips like hummus or baba ghanoush, and fried or baked breads.  It’s similar to Banchan in Korean culture where you can find kimchi, japchae, and various other marinated/pickled veggies, fish cakes, so on.  All that you really need to know is that they’re one of the best things that ancient cultures have offered to food in all of history.  It pairs well with a multitude of of dishes as either a dip or a sauce, and it’s very similar to the Indian dip/sauce raita which is done with toasted or fried cumin and mustard seeds.  It’s very simple to make, it takes less than fifteen minutes to finish, and could just be that missing component of your grilled sandwich with feta and green olives.  Just saying. . .

garnished with green onion, and pickled carrots
garnished with green onion, and pickled carrots

TZATZIKI

INGREDIENTS

  • 1qt – Greek Yogurt
  • 1 – Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1tbsp – Salt + 2tbsp more
  • 2 – Lemons, Juiced and one of them zested
  • 1/4cup – Fresh Dill, Minced
  • 2tbs – Cold Pressed Olive Oil
  • 3 – Persian Cucumbers, 1/4″ Diced (you want about 3/4cup)
  • 2tsp – Ground White Pepper

RECIPE

  1. In food processor or blender combine the following – yogurt, garlic, 1tbsp salt, lemon juice – pulse for 20 seconds until garlic is thoroughly blended
  2. Dice cucumbers and place in a strainer over a bowl, sprinkle with the 2tbsp of salt , stir and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Squeeze out the juice and taste, if too salty sprinkle with some cold water and squeeze again, but don’t mash.
  3. Pour the yogurt into a mixing bowl and fold in the dill, cucumber, white pepper and salt if needed, as well as half of the lemon zest
  4. When serving sprinkle a little olive oil and the remaining lemon zest with a little mince of dill

Spicy Edamame Dip

Many of you may not know this, but I haven’t eaten solid food in a month.  That’s right, I did a juice diet for 28 days in January and lost 25lbs doing so, and for the past two days I’ve been eating again.  It’s amazing, I missed it so much.  As I’m transitioning into real food again I’ve been doing some vegan cooking and tonight I share a delicious bean dip my friend and I made.  Edamame beans are a great source of protein AND they operate as an amazing dip, BUT when you bring add tofu to said dip you get a really smooth velvety texture and another level of soy flavor depth.  I’d been greatly missing spicy so we added a couple complimenting hot sauces, spices, and ghost pepper salt.  We finished it off by slowly drizzling in some delicious cold pressed olive oil and flavor balance was achieved.

edamame dip2

SPICY EDAMAME DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2lb – Edamame Pods, Frozen
  • 1/4lb – Tofu, Firm
  • 1tbs – Cholula Hot Sauce
  • 2tbs – Pepper Plant Garlic Chipotle Hot Sauce (it’s really an incredible hot sauce)
  • 1tsp – Scorpion Salt (ghost pepper salt, if not available use an additional tsp of each hot sauce)
  • 1/2cup – Olive Oil
  • 1 – Medium Vine Ripe Tomato, Rough Chop
  • 1 – Garlic Clove, Minced (you want 1tsp of mince)
  • 2tbs – Salt
  • 1tsp – Coriander, ground
  • 1/2tsp – Cumin, ground
  • 1tsp – Apple Cider Vinegar
  • GARNISH – Thai Basil, Mint chiffonade and Green Onion, sliced (you can sub traditional basil, but only a tiny itty bit as it’s stronger)
Sauce in progress
Sauce in progress

RECIPE

  1. Sprinkle edamame with water and cover with paper towel, microwave for two minutes
  2. Remove from microwave, cool 5 mins and take out of the  pod
  3. Combine the following in food processor or blender – tomato, tofu, garlic, edamame beans, vinegar, and both hot sauces
  4. When beginning to thicken start drizzling in olive oil, you’ll probably only need a 1/4 cup, but it’s good to have a backup if it’s too thick
  5. When the texture is smooth and like a loose dip add the cumin, coriander, salt and taste.  Adjust accordingly, transfer to a bowl, chill thoroughly, and make sure to check your seasoning as cooling can weaken salt.  Garnish with mint, thai basil, and sliced green onions.

Stir-Fried Tofu w/ Brown Garlic and Mandarin Chili Sauce

Two things inspired this dish, well three really, but two people.  The first is the site Blogging Over Thyme, who I follow on facebook and she had posted an article about Grilled Asian Tofu Bowls, and the second inspiration is my coworker/classmate Aurora who’s vegan, and the third inspiration was. . . what I had in my fridge.  None-the-less, these things are what made this fast stir-fry come together, and it was really tasty!  The sauce has its roots in Korean and Thai cooking with a take on a Thai citrus+lemon grass pairing and Korean with a faux gochujang (chili paste+Korean miso+Sesame Oil).

Stir Fried Tofu - Photography by Nick Kern
Stir Fried Tofu – Photography by Nick Kern

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 – Large Cloves Garlic, Roughly Torn Into 6 or 7 Pieces
  • 1/3 – Package of Firm Tofu, cut vertically into 5 or 6 1/2″ strips
  • 1/2 Cup – Broccoli Slaw Mix
  • 1/4 Cup – Shredded Carrots
  • 1 TSP + 1 TSP – Ground Lemon Grass
  • 1 TSP – Red Miso Paste
  • 1 TSP – Sriracha Sauce
  • 1TSP + 1/2 TSP – Sesame Oil
  • 2 TSP – Veggie Oil
  • 2 TSP – Salt
  • 1 TSP – Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 TSP – Black Sesame Seeds *OPTIONAL*
  • 1 TSP – Green Onion, Chopped *OPTIONAL*
  • 1 – Mandarin Orange or Clementine
  • 1 TSP – Mandarin Orange Zest
  • 1/4 Cup – Water

RECIPE

  1. Zest your orange
  2. Combine the 1 TSP sesame oil with the veggie oil in a small saute pan
  3. Heat it to high heat
  4. Salt your tofu chunks well
  5. Add 1 TSP lemon grass to the hot oil, stir it for 2 seconds, then add your tofu, placing it all in the pan
  6. Then add your garlic around the tofu in the oil
  7. Let them sear about 3-4 minutes per side, shaking the pan every minute or so to make sure the tofu isn’t sticking, after both sides are seared, plate your tofu slices
  8. Keeping the garlic in the pan (it should be quite brown now), add your broccoli slaw and carrots
  9. Saute 2-3 minutes until it’s tender crisp, just barely getting soft, then squeeze on the juice of half the mandarin orange
  10. Saute another 2 minutes
  11. Place the sauteed veggies on top of the tofu and the garlic around the base of the tofu
  12. In the pan add the water, sriracha, miso paste, 1/2 TSP sesame oil, crushed red pepper, zest, and the juice of the other 1/2 of mandarin orange.
  13. Bring to a boil, reduce until sauce consistency (about 3 minutes), add the lemon grass, stir to combine, and take off heat.  Taste and correct the seasoning
  14. Drizzle the sauce all over your vegetables and tofu
  15. Garnish with black sesame seeds and green onions!

This one was really fast to come together as there isn’t much prep, but it has a ton of flavor!  It’s got a bit of ingredients for the sauce, but all of which can be found in Asian Markets.  I hope you “On the go” people like this one as I made it in about 7 minutes total from start to finish, so I’d expect it to take the normal person about 10-15 minutes tops.  Also, you can just boil a package of ramen noodles, strain them, and stir fry them, put them under the tofu if you want to make it more substantial!  So hopefully you all enjoy this vegetarian and vegan friendly meal that’s filling and delicious!

Salmon Sashimi in Spicy Lemon Soy Sauce

 

In Los Angeles there’s a magical place called Mitsuwa Market, and at Mitsuwa Market there is this wondrous thing known as Sashimi Grade Fish.  This fish is so fresh that it’s allowed to be eaten raw and has passed the USDA’s painstaking investigations into freshness.  Every sushi article you’ve read on Eating in Bed was made possible by Mitsuwa Markets fish section, I’ve done this several times and have never had any food born illness.  YES, I’m trying to put you at ease and inspire you to make your own sushi and sashimi.  And as it’s Health Month here at Eating in Bed, what could be better than raw salmon with its protein density and healthy surplus of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  If at all buy the wild salmon because it has lower mercury levels.

Now about the food, this is a really light and simple dish, you could do it as an appetizer but it was my entree last night.  It’s just super thin slices of fresh salmon in a salty, acidic, spicy soy sauce.  Extremely simple with bold pronounced flavors!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2lb Salmon Filet – Sashimi Grade
  • 1 Packet of Wasabi (about 2 tsp)
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • Thinly Sliced Green Onion
  • 1/2 Tsp Honey (warmed)

 

RECIPE

  1. Use a very sharp knife and slow the salmon extremely thin, hair thin if possible
  2. Stack your sashimi slices on top of each other
  3. In a small serving bowl, mix together the liquid ingredients
  4. Form the salmon slices into two stacks
  5. Place both stacks in the soy sauce
  6. Garnish with thin slices of green onion!

After a long day of working and after eating too much unhealthy food over the past few weeks, I really wanted something that would be light, above all else, and flavorful.  I personally prefer the flavor of raw fish to cooked fish, and salmon is one of my favorites.

This dish was the perfect level of lightness with a brilliant tart salty flavor from the soy sauce.  Please try this and let me know what you think!  I would love to hear some feedback!

Lobster Ceviche w/ Avocado

Topped with Avocado and Dill
Photography by Steven Perkins

As you may have guessed, I’ve been on a bit of a seafood kick, and my roommate had some lobster that needed to be cooked, so we used the shells in the seafood stock, and he used some for lobster omelets, and I used some for this lobster ceviche dish!  Wow, was it good.  It itself was light, flavorful, perfectly cooked with great soft texture and bright acidic bite that was balanced by the creaminess of the avocado with the delicious crunch from the garlic rosemary cracker.  This is an appetizers that’s amazingly easy to make and will knock the socks off whomever you’re trying to impress!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Lobster Tail (1/4lb)
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/4 Grapefruit
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Dill Weed
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Garlic Rosemary Crackers
  • 1/2 Avocado

 

RECIPE

  1. Remove the lobster from its tail shell, and save the shell for when you make Seafood Stock!
  2. Throw the lobster in a ziplock or airtight container
  3. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and grapefruit into the ziplock
  4. Add in 1tsp of dill and black pepper in the ziplock
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  6. Pull the lobster from the bag, it should be red on the outside
  7. Chop it into bite size pieces (you’ll notice there are portions that aren’t fully opaque yet, this is fine
  8. Put it back in the bag
  9. Refrigerate for another 20-30 minutes
  10. Remove the lobster from the liquid, and put it in a bowl
  11. Make super thin slices of avocado
  12. Place a cracker on the plate
  13. Top with lobster, then avocado
  14. Sprinkle with dill and black pepper
  15. Enjoy!

 

This was a really delicious appetizer, it’s light but really flavorful.  It has everything but kick, which can be made up for with optional dices jalepenos or a dollop of sriracha.  The crunch was really satisfying, and the citrus will blow you away, especially the grapefruit, because it’s not going to be the level of bitter I’m sure you’re imagining.  It’s more of a light playful tartness to the acidity, and you still get a clean lobster flavor by the end of chewing.

 

This is one of the more awesome things I’ve cheffed up, and I really hope you enjoy it.  I would love to hear your thoughts, as always, so be sure to comment!

Roasted Pasilla Peppers Stuffed w/ Red Snapper Pico De Gallo

A variation of Chile Rellenos

 This past weekend was quite a few friends birthdays!  In fact it was a quadruple birthday party, and I decided to bring wine and make food.  One of my favorite comfort dishes is Chile Rellenos, but I wanted to make a lighter version, so I decided to so Red Snapper Pico De Gallo Stuffed Peppers.  It’s a light refreshing younger brother to the Relleno, there are strong flavors from the crunch of the onion, the bright lemon juice, the delicious meaty texture of the snapper and the texture of the roasted pepper.  These make a great light appetizer if you can find small pasilla or poblano peppers and would be great in jalapeno peppers if you’re not afraid of the heat!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Red Snapper Filet (Deboned)
  • 8oz Pico De Gallo (Premade)
  • 6 Small to Medium Pasilla Peppers
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Butter

 

RECIPE

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  2. Char the skin off all the pasillas (either over a gas stove or an oven on broil)
  3. Peel off the pepper skins
  4. Chop off the tops of peppers and remove seeds/membrane
  5. Set peppers aside
  6. Using your chefs knife, dice the snapper roughly
  7. Heat a pan to medium-high heat
  8. Add 1 Tbsp Butter
  9. Once melted, added the red snapper
  10. Sprinkle with salt, and pepper
  11. Saute until red snapper becomes mostly opaque (4-6 minutes, don’t worry about fully cooking it as it will be finishing in the oven)
  12. Set snapper aside and squeeze lemon juice over snapper
  13. Sprinkle snapper with paprika
  14. Pour pico de gallo into a bowl
  15. Add in the lemon dressed snapper and hand stir until combined
  16. Place peppers in baking tray
  17. Stuff the peppers 3/4 of the way with the snapper pico de gallo
  18. Put the peppers in the oven
  19. Roast 10-13 minutes until all ingredients are heated through
  20. Remove from oven and serve
  21. Serve with a dollop of sour cream with a little orange zest **optional

 

These light bites will go great at any party!  It’s hard to portion them if your peppers are too big(as you can see from my photo).  I would love to see how it looks inside some jalapeno peppers, so if you make this recipe, please share your photos and your comments!