Tofu Salsa Cocktail

tofu cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

I’m always looking for cool, delicious new salads to try. I like to experiment with things I’ve eaten or seen on restaurant menus. That’s what happened here. I picked this off a menu. We were in North Little Rock, visiting our son. He said that a local restaurant, the Casa Mexicana, had some good vegetarian options. So, we went there. On the menu was something called Mexican Cocktail. It was boiled shrimp served in a mixture of spicy tomato sauce, cilantro, avocado and pico de gallo. By the time we left, I was already thinking of a way to make it better. That’s how this recipe came about. Mix some up and have it for your July 4th celebrations. It’s cool and refreshing. And yummy. Oh so, yummy.

The ingredients –

ingredients

the ingredients

You’ll need firm tofu, an onion, 2 tomatoes, 2 avocados, a jalapeno, lime, cilantro, tamari sauce and ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The secret to a great salsa!

Open the tofu and drain out the water. Sandwich the tofu between 2, paper towel lined plates and put a weight on top. Press it for at least 30 minutes. You gotta get that excess water out.

press tofu

tofu press

Get out a big bowl. This makes 8 cups of cocktail, so go large. Core and chop the tomatoes.

chop tomatoes

chop tomatoes

You want at least 2 cups. 3 cups is better. If you love tomatoes, that is. We love tomatoes!

tomatoes

3 cups!

Dump them into the bowl. Dice up 1/2 cup of onion and add it to the bowl.

diced onion

half an onion

Chop up 1/4 cup of cilantro and dump it into the bowl.

cilantro

1/4 cup of cilantro

Now, about the jalapeno, if you like it hot, just dice up the whole thing. If you like flavor without the burning tongue, seed and devein the jalapeno. Dice it up and add to the bowl.

jalapeno dice

diced jalapeno

Measure out a tablespoon of tamari sauce (or Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce) and dump it in, too.

tamari sauce

tablespoon of tamari

Squeeze out 1 cup of ketchup and, guess what? Right, dump it in the bowl. We’re all about the excitement here.

ketchup

1 cup of ketchup

This is where we’re at so far.

salsa mix

Almost done

Now, because avocados are tricky – they like to turn brown on you – we waited to add them. So, dice up that avocado!

diced avocado

it’s avocado time!

And toss it in the bowl!

cocktail mix

add the avocado

Add in some salt and pepper, too. We haven’t stirred the mess up yet, because now, were going to squeeze the lime juice over the avocado, to keep it from browning. It’s lime time.

lime juice

Squeeze the juice over the avocado

Now, now, you can mix it up.

salsa cocktail

Mix it up!

Time for the block of tofu.

tofu

block of tofu

I know, I know, it doesn’t look like much, does it. But you just wait! It’s going to be amazing. OK, cut it in half, width-wise.

tofu halves

2 halves

Then, cut each half into 1 inch cubes.

tofu cubes

cube the tofu

And, add it to the bowl.

tofu cocktail

Here’s the tofu!

Mix it up, so that all the tofu is coated with the salsa cocktail mixture.

tofu salsa cocktail

fold in the tofu

Cover it up and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. Longer is just fine. Remember, you squeezed that lime juice over the avocado, so it won’t turn brown. When you’re ready to serve, put 1 1/2 cups into a pretty glass, top with a cilantro leaf and eat! I used these margarita glasses. So cute! And there you have it. Tofu Salsa Cocktail. Created from a listing in a restaurant menu. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Enjoy!

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktails

Tofu Salsa Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A refreshing blend of spicy salsa and tofu for a perfect appetizer.
Ingredients
  • 1 – 16 ounce package of firm tofu
  • 2 – tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 – jalapeno, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari sauce
  • 2 – avocado, pitted, then cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu and press between two plates for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
  2. Core the tomatoes and chop them. You want at least two cups. Place in a large bowl.
  3. To the bowl, add the diced onion, chopped cilantro, diced jalapeno, ketchup, tamari sauce, cubed avocado, and lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, combine well.
  4. Cut the tofu block into 1 inch cubes. Add to the bowl. Fold the tofu into the tomato mixture until all the tofu is coated and it is well blended. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Makes 8 cups.
  5. Spoon cocktail mixture into pretty glasses, garnish with additional cilantro and serve.
Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms

date and walnut stuffed mushrooms

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms

This isn’t your ordinary stuffed mushroom. It’s extraordinary! This is a vegan alternative to those cheese stuffed globs that everyone else makes. Make this and you’ll be extraordinary, too. The crunch of the walnuts, the savory tarragon and the sweetness of the dates will tantalize your taste buds. Your mouth will love you for it.

The ingredients:

stuffed mushroom ingredients

Stuffed mushroom stuff

You’ll need a couple dozen whole mushrooms, walnuts, some onion, panko bread crumbs, tarragon and some diced dates. You’ll need some wine, too. The kind really isn’t important, so get what you like. I’m using Marsala just because it’s what I had.

First off, wipe the mushrooms off with a damp paper towel. Then, break the stems off and set them aside.

stemming mushrooms

remove the stems

Get out a large skillet and heat it over medium. Toss in the walnut halves.

toasting walnuts

toast the walnuts

Toast them for a couple of minutes. Then, remove them to a cutting board. Let them cool a bit, then chop them into smaller pieces. Dump the pieces into a large bowl.

chopped walnuts

chopped walnuts

Dice up that sweet onion.

diced onions

diced onion

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and scrape the onions into the pan.

cooking onions

cook the onions

Cook them a couple of minutes, while you are chopping up the mushroom stems.

chopped mushroom stems

chop the stems

Now, add the chopped stems, along with that wine, to the cooking onion.

cooking stems

add stems and wine

Let the whole simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until most of the liquid had evaporated and the stems have cooked.

cooked stems

stems are done

Turn the stove off and let the pan cool a bit. While you’re waiting, chop up some tarragon,

tarragon

chop up the tarragon

and add it to the walnuts bowl.

walnuts and tarragon

walnuts and tarragon

Pile in a half cup of date pieces, some panko, salt and pepper. Pour the mushroom stem mix into the bowl, too.

stuffed mushroom mix

stuffed mushroom mix

Mix it all up.

Preheat the oven to 375º. Get out a 9 x 13 baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Or foil. Whatever you have, is what works best.

baking sheet

get the pan ready

Stuff the mushroom caps with a very generous tablespoon if filling. Mound it up and pack it tight.

stuffing mushrooms

stuffin’ the ‘shrooms

Line them up on the baking sheet until you run out of mushrooms or stuffing, whichever comes first. This is when I notice Punky, the kitchen kitty is here to supervise. Am I doing a good job, Punky?

kitchen kitty

Punky cat supervises.

When your tray is ready to bake, drizzle the mushrooms with a little olive oil.

oil topped mushrooms

drizzle with olive oil

Bake for around 20 minutes. You want the mushroom cooked but still firm.

baked mushrooms

all baked.

Take them off and arrange on a pretty tray. Garnish with some chopped parsley, if you are so inclined. I was so inclined.

Walnut and date stuffed mushrooms

Walnut and date stuffed mushrooms

They’re slightly sweet, a little savory, a bit crunchy and a whole lotta good!

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18 to 24
 
A full of flavor, vegan stuffed mushroom that's easy to prepare.
Ingredients
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages of whole white mushrooms
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • ¼ cup Marsala or other wine.
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ¾ cup panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a 9 x13 rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the stem ends of the mushrooms. Chop stems and set aside.
  3. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove and spread out on a cutting board and let cool slightly. Chop walnuts into smaller pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped tarragon to the walnuts.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add in the diced sweet onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the ¼ cup of Marsala and the chopped mushroom stems. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the mushroom mix to the walnuts in the bowl. Blend in the dates, panko, salt and pepper.
  6. Place a generous tablespoon of stuffing into each mushroom cap.
  7. Place stuffed mushrooms onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Remove to platter. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

Goat Cheese, Fig & Honey Flatbread

Goat Cheese, Fig & Honey Flatbread

goat cheese fig flatbread

Heaven on a flatbread.

The good people at Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads were kind enough to reward me with some coupons after I submitted a fan picture to their Facebook page. I raced to the store and used those suckers up! Now, I was faced with coming up with a spectacular way to use them. If my family’s lip smacking sounds were any indication, I nailed it. I think you’ll like this offering, too.

Assemble the cast. I am using brown turkey figs you can use whatever you want. Just use fresh not dried.

goat cheese flatbread ingredients

Waiting for good things to happen.

Open the flatbread and remove the sauce. You don’t want to use it for this. I take a sharpie and write – pizza sauce – on it and toss it in the freezer. In about 11 years, I’ll dig that one and all the others out of the bottom of the freezer and throw them away. But, I had good intentions!

Slide the flatbread into a pan.

Stonefire flatbread

Ready for broiling.

If you have a pizza stone, use that. The flatbread is already cooked and browned a little, but we want more color than that. Turn your broiler on and broil both sides of the flatbread until they are toasty brown and crispy. It will only take a couple of minutes per side.

browned flatbread

Crispy!

While that’s toasting, slice the figs into quarters.

Sliced figs

Slice ’em up.

I ended up taking the stems off, too. They were just too woody.

Now, if you are the champ of multi-tasking, go ahead and toast the pine nuts in a dry, non-stick skillet.

toasting the pine nuts

Ready to toast.

If you are like me, do it first thing, so you don’t forget about it, leave the room and run back in when you smell burning nuts! Not that we ever mention that incident……  When they are nice and browned, they’re ready.

Toasted pine nuts

Awesome.

Dot the top of your flatbread with all that goat cheese creaminess.

crumbled goat cheese

Just dotty.

Let it sit a bit to warm up, then smooth it all around.

Spreading warmed goat cheese.

Spread it out.

Cover it completely.

spread goat cheese

All covered.

Next, spread all those figs around on top. If one or two happen to get eaten in the process, we won’t mention it.

goat cheese and figs

Get figgy with it.

Sprinkle the toasted pine nut over it.

pine nuts figs goat cheese

Ready to broil.

I carried mine over to the oven on its pizza pan and then I slid the flatbread on the top oven rack.

Broiling flatbread

Under fire.

Let it broil for around 10 minutes. You want it to brown up a bit more and to let the figs soften. Lift up one edge and slip the pan back under it. If you have a pizza peel, use that! I can’t believe that I don’t have one yet. I am the Queen Of Kitchen Gadgets! Hmm, Mother’s Day is coming up. I see a gift giving option in my future. Anyhow, back to the flatbread.

Slide it out of the oven and set it on a heat proof surface. Drizzle the top with the honey.

goat cheese and fig flatbread

Oh, honey!

Slice it up and enjoy. Great appetizer, brunch item or perfect for any buffet!

goat cheese and fig flatbread

Have a slice!

You know you want some!

goat cheese and fig flatbread

::::faints::::

Recipe!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Goat Cheese, Fig & Honey Flatbread
Author: 
Recipe type: yummy
Cuisine: Easy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A tasty balance of sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy, all on a hand held flatbread.
Ingredients
  • 1 Stonefire Flatbread thin pizza crust – reserve sauce packet for another use.
  • 8 oz. fresh figs - sliced into quarters.
  • 4 oz goat cheese – cut or crumbled into cubes.
  • ¼ cup pine nuts – toasted
  • 3 Tablespoons honey for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Toast pine nuts in a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat until lightly browned.
  2. Preheat broiler on high.
  3. Remove flatbread from wrapper and place on pizza pan*. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from broiler, turn flatbread over and broil the other side for an additional 4 to 6 minutes. You want a nice, crispy, browned crust.
  4. While flatbread is broiling, slice figs into quarter sections. Cut the little stems off if needed.
  5. Remove the flatbread from the oven. While still hot, dot with the goat cheese. Once softened, spread out over the surface.
  6. Spread the quartered figs out in an even layer. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
  7. Return to broiler and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your oven cooks. You want everything to be heated through and the figs to soften slightly. Remove from oven and place on serving platter.
  8. Drizzle with the honey.
  9. Cut into 12 slices and serve!
  10. * NOTE: You may use a pizza stone if you have one. Just remember to preheat the stone at the same time you preheat the broiler. You also can just slide the flatbread directly onto the oven rack.

Goat Cheese, Fig & Honey Flatbread

Portable finger food!

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

sweet mini peppers

A peck of pretty peppers

You’ve seen them in stores. Those brightly colored little sweet peppers. So colorful. Just crying out for you to buy them. We had been slicing and adding to our salads because they are loaded with vitamin C. That’s it. Nothing else.

I was flipping through an issue of Cooking Light magazine and BAM! There on page 62 was my salvation. Stuffed mini bell peppers! Stuff them!

stuffed mini sweets

Snack time!

Who’d have thunk it? Not me. Stuffing was for jalapeño poppers. But, lately, the jalapeños have been a little too hot for my tastes. So, I hustled out and got some of those sweet peppers and stuffed them. Such cheesy, creamy & crunchy goodness. No more scorching off my taste buds!

This recipe is so versatile. You can grill them, bake or broil them. Or if you just need a few, do like me and pop them into the toaster oven. Provided that you have a toaster oven.

Gather your ingredients.

ingredients for peppers

The ingredients.

Set the cream cheese so it will come to room temperature.

Get out a baking sheet and line it with foil. If you have one, place a cooling rack inside the pan. Those little pepper halves like to flip over on their sides. Then, all the yummy filling oozes out and we can’t have that.

pans foil

Foiled pans.

Cut the peppers in half and scoop out the little seed pod.

pepper halves

ready to stuff

Dice up the scallions and cilantro. Add them into a bowl, along with the cream cheese and sour cream. Squeeze half a lime over it and mix it up.

chesse pepper stuffing

Pepper stuffing

Using a small spoon, stuff the pepper halves with the cheese mix and place on the prepared pan.

stuffed mini peppers

Ready to bake

Now, you can grill them, broil them, or bake them. Your choice. Since I was making a small batch, I just used my toaster oven. I did remember to close the door after I took the picture.

peppers in toaster oven

Toasty goodness.

Recipe time!

baked stuffed mini peppers

Ready to eat.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
 
Brightly colored little sweet peppers, stuffed and baked to perfection.
Ingredients
  • 12 to 16 of sweet mini peppers
  • 4 oz low fat or neufchatel cream cheese – softened.
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds.
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ lime
Instructions
  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil. Place a wire rack inside to help keep peppers stable.
  2. Slice the mini peppers in half and remove seeds.
  3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, scallions and cilantro on a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over it. Mix until well combined.
  4. Divide cheese mixture among the pepper halves.
  5. Place filled peppers on prepared baking sheet.
  6. For crispy, crunchy peppers, broil for 5 minutes until browned.
  7. For a more tender pepper, bake at 350º for 20 minutes.
  8. These can be prepared in a toaster oven, set at the same temp, using the same times.
  9. Or, place on grill and cook till done.
  10. adapted from the May 2012 issue of Cooking Light.