Puff Pastry with Tofu and Spinach

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
500 g firm tofu, unpressed
30 g cashew nuts, crushed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, hot or mild depending on taste
1 teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried sage
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, or mushroom ketchup
1 cup stock
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon agave nectar
50 g fresh breadcrumbs
200 g finely chopped fresh spinach, that has been wilted and drained of any excess water.
250 g shop bought puff pastry
soy milk for brushing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions have softened.
  3. Crumble in the tofu and nuts and continue to fry for 4-5 minutes until the mixture starts to become dry.
  4. Add all of the other ingredients and keep the pan on a medium to high heat, stirring frequently, and cook until the mixture resembles a fairly dry mixture and holds together. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Roll out 250 g of puff pastry into an oblong approximately 40cm in length and 25cm in width.
  6. Place the tofu mixture in the middle of the pastry and then cut the pastry on a diagonal, towards you, so that the pastry can be plaited.
  7. Startng at the top, fold over the pastry to form a plaited effect. Moisten the plaits with a little water where they cross over. Pull over pastry left at the ends to seal the ends.
  8. Place on a baking sheet and brush liberally with soy milk and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan Life Magazine

In Pictures: Vegetarian Bento

Nine Diet Mistakes that Are Making You Tired

You eat too many refined carbs.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are metabolized into blood glucose, the only form of energy the body can use immediately. But not all carbohydrates are created equal.

Highly processed, refined carbs (e.g., white bread and crackers, refined breakfast cereals, sweets and sugary drinks) rank high on the glycemic index.

That means they cause large spikes in blood glucose followed by sharp drops, which can bring on fatigue. Sugar also blocks the activity of orexin-producing cells, brain cells that stimulate wakefulness.

For a balanced release of energy choose low-glycemic carbohydrates such as 100-per-cent stone-ground bread, 100-per-cent bran cereals, steel-cut and large-flake oatmeal, milk, yogurt, soy beverages, apples, bananas, pears, oranges, dried apricots, berries, nuts, seeds and beans and lentils.

You skimp on protein.

Protein-rich meals help you feel more alert by counteracting drowsiness that can be brought on by consuming excessive sugar or carbohydrates.

Including protein at meals also helps regulate, or slow, the release of glucose into the bloodstream. So make sure to include a source of protein, such as fish, turkey, lean meat, eggs, yogurt, tofu, legumes or nuts, at all meals and snacks.

You skip breakfast.

Studies have found that adults and kids who skip the morning meal report lower energy, poorer moods and reduced memory.

Start the day with a breakfast that delivers protein and a low-glycemic carbohydrate. Good choices include bran cereal with milk, fruit and nuts; steel-cut oatmeal topped with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt; a smoothie made with milk (or soy milk), berries and ground flax; and 100-per-cent whole-grain toast with almond butter and fruit salad.

You don’t snack.

It takes your body roughly two to three hours to break down carbohydrates in the food you eat and convert it to energy. To prevent your energy level from fading, include healthy snacks between meals.

Try fruit and nuts, Greek yogurt and berries, a bowl of lentil soup or whole-grain crackers (Wasa, Ryvita and Finn Crisp are low glycemic) and part-skim cheese.

You drink too little water.

Water in your bloodstream circulates oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and removes waste. Water is also an essential ingredient in the production of energy molecules.

Men require 12 cups (3 litres) of water each day; women need 9 cups (2.2 litres). All fluids – except alcoholic beverages – count toward your daily water requirements. That includes water, milk, unsweetened juices, tea and coffee.

You rely on caffeine to stay alert.

Cut yourself off caffeine by noon. One or two cups of coffee can boost mental alertness, but drinking more can overstimulate your central nervous system and cause insomnia. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a brain chemical that causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve-cell activity. Women of child-bearing age should limit caffeine intake to 300 milligrams per day; other healthy adults should consume no more than 400 mg daily. (One 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee has 95 mg to 200 mg of caffeine, one cup of black tea has 14 mg to 70 mg and one cup of green tea has 25 mg to 45 mg.

You sip on wine after dinner.

A nightcap or two before bed may help you fall asleep, but it disrupts sleep by causing you to wake up in the second half of the night. Even imbibing during happy hour or at dinner, without further consumption before bedtime, can increase wakefulness during the night.

Consuming more than two drinks can also steal time spent in REM sleep, the stage important for memory and learning. Plus, alcohol dehydrates you, which can worsen fatigue the next day. So, limit your intake to one alcoholic drink per day.

You don’t get enough iron.

An iron deficiency, even without anemia, can cause fatigue and lethargy.

Iron-rich foods include beef, turkey, chicken, pork loin, tuna, halibut, oysters, clams, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, soybeans, lentils, baked beans, black beans, firm tofu, cooked spinach, raisins and prune juice.

Menstruating women should take a multivitamin and mineral supplement to help meet daily iron requirements (18 mg, or 32 mg for vegetarians).

You’re running low on B12.

Too little B12 can also cause you to feel tired. The vitamin is used to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body.

B12 is found in all animal foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy), while many non-dairy beverages and soy products are fortified with the nutrient. You can also get B12 from a multivitamin or B-complex supplement.

Older adults, vegans, heavy drinkers and people on long-term acid-blocking medication are at risk of B12 deficiency. If you’re concerned you might be low in B12 (or iron) speak to your doctor about getting tested.

Source: The Globe and Mail


Today’s Comic

Quiche with Salmon

Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry Base

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
2 eggs
all-purpose flour, as needed for rolling
butter, as needed for greasing ring molds

Quiche

2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 ounces salmon filet, cleaned
4 medium button mushrooms, sliced
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup Gruyère, grated, divided
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped, divided
parsley leaves, as needed

Method

  1. To make the base, thoroughly combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. The mixture should remain cool and powdery.
  3. Add the eggs and continue mixing just until homogeneous dough is formed, taking care not to overwork the dough.
  4. Form the dough into a flat square and wrap in plastic film. Chill for one hour.
  5. Divide the dough in half (reserve the other half in the freezer for future use) and roll to a thin square on a flat, flour-dusted work surface measuring 12 x 12 inches and about ¼-inch thick
  6. Cut from the dough two circles measuring eight inches in diameter and carefully line 6-inch tart rings. Arrange the rings on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  7. Blind-bake the tarts in a preheated 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes (just until the tart shells turn a light golden brown). Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  8. To make the quiche, Arrange the sliced tomatoes on an oiled sheet pan, lightly season with salt and pepper and drizzle with an additional spoonful of olive oil. Bake in an oven preheated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes, until partially dried, but not browned.
  9. Meanwhile, season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides, and top with half of the butter. Gently roast in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, once cooled, carefully flake the salmon into bite-sized pieces.
  10. Heat a small sauté pan and lightly brown the mushrooms with the remaining butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once browned, remove from the heat and cool.
  11. Place the whole eggs in a bowl, whisking to combine. Add the milk, sour cream and salt to taste. Fold in the cooled salmon, mushrooms, two-thirds of the Gruyère and half of the chopped dill.
  12. Divide the quiche mixture among the baked tart shells (for best results, keep the shells within the tart rings during the baking process).
  13. Bake in a preheated 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes until partially set. Remove and arrange the dried tomato slices atop each quiche, along with the remaining Gruyère. Return to the oven to continue baking for seven to 10 minutes.
  14. Remove the quiches from the oven and cool slightly. Before serving, sprinkle the tops of each with parsley leaves and the remaining chopped dill.

Source: Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson


Today’s Comic

Designer Ceramic Plates