Tag Archives: Indian food

Foodie Gifts!

Our families spoil us, and we spoil each other. I wanted to share some of the food-related gifts I am really excited about. You may just want to spoil yourself or some other food geek with them, too.


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, but I really wanted a new ice cream cookbook. On a whim I added this to my wish list, after hearing a lot of buzz and reading great reviews. I almost always test out cookbooks from the library these days, so I don’t know what I was thinking. Now that I have the book it is blowing my mind, and I’m already trying to figure out how often we can make ice cream without it affecting our health. Once a month? Twice? It is hard to narrow down just a few recipes to mention: Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk. Baked Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt. Scarlet & Earl Grey. Bangkok Peanut. Ylang-Ylang with Clove & Honeycomb. Berry Crisp Ice Cream! I could keep going and going. This book is a revelation.


India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant

Last year I started to dabble in cooking Indian at home, mostly from library books. I don’t even know where to begin with this gigantic book, but it is spectacular. The sections are different colors of lightweight newsprint, separated by gorgeous, glossy photo pages. Levi was just telling me how much he is craving Indian food. I do believe 2012 will be the year we eat a ton of it.


mason jar stamp

Can’t you just picture the adorable tags and labels I am going to make with this stamp?


Homemade Soda by Andrew Schloss

Now this book I did test out from the library, and deemed it worthy of taking up valuable shelf space in our little house. I love that recipes include different instructions for just making a syrup to mix with seltzer OR actually brewing. Some recipe highlights: Coffee chocolate stout. Fermented honey soda. Original orange crush. Chamomile lavender kombucha. An entire section on shrubs and switchels! And herbal/healing waters! I’m think we’ll be trying the lavender grape migraine mitigator.


Silhouette Salt Mill from Crate & Barrel

Our pepper mill broke awhile back and we have searched to the ends of the internet for an affordable, aesthetically pleasing replacement. In the very long interim, we have been refilling Trader Joe’s mills (not intended to be re-usable) until they break (which is often). Finally, we found something cheap that will hopefully hold up. The salt and pepper mills look identical, but actually have a tiny “S” & “P” on the metal piece at the very top.


Schmidt Brothers 15-piece Downtown Block

I have hemmed and hawed about getting a couple really fancy knives that individually cost more than this entire set, and finally decided to try out a decent set of knives and a sharpener. These won’t actually be in our kitchen until February, so I’ll have to report back!


OXO Food Mill

I can’t wait to see what Jess makes with a food mill, something we found would come in really handy in 2011.

Did you get any great food-related gifts this year? Do tell!

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Vegan Tofu Royale: Indian tofu in tomato-cashew gravy

It’s no secret we are obsessed with this shahi paneer recipe from Show me the Curry. This stuff is magical. Don’t get me wrong, some of the magic comes from the paneer, but most of the magic comes from the sauce. It’s a rich and flavorful tomato-cashew gravy. Shahi means royal, and is this sauce ever royal. So I’m just gonna roll with it and call my vegan adaptation Vegan Tofu Royale.

While we do eat dairy, we don’t eat it daily and we don’t generally keep dairy milk in the fridge. After wasting leftover milk a few times, I started using light coconut milk in place of milk. It tasted even better, which inspired me to try this paneer dish 100% sans-dairy.

Vegan Tofu Royale

1 pound extra firm tofu*, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ cup raw cashews
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 small onions, finely diced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds and membranes for mild heat)
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place cubed tofu in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and the lemon juice. Toss to combine, until coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet prepared with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle generously with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.

In a small sauce pan, combine cashews and coconut milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, sauté the onions over medium-high heat until they begin to dry out. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper and cook 2-3 more minutes.

Add tomato sauce and stir well. Cook, stirring frequently, until the oil begins to separate. While the tomato sauce is cooking, put the coconut milk and cashews in the blender. Vent the blender lid and place a towel over the top. Blend until the cashews are completely smooth.

Once the tomato mixture is ready, add spices and mix well. Pour in the cashew mixture and stir. Before adding the water, you can use it to get the remaining cashew cream from the sides of the blender. Just place the water in the blender, cover tightly with the lid and shake.

Finally, add the water, sugar, and about a teaspoon of salt to the pan. Stir while bringing the mixture to a boil. Add the baked tofu and stir to combine. Salt as needed to achieve the perfect balance of salty-sweet.

Makes 6 servings (one scant cup each). Serve over about a cup of rice with a generous side of peas.

*If your tofu is packed in water, press it. Don’t know how? Get directions here. We usually opt for high protein tofu in the vacuum-sealed, clear plastic packaging without water.

Note: If you enjoy dairy and are heading over to make the original recipe with paneer, might I suggest using ghee in place of the 2 tablespoons of oil you use to cook the sauce? You won’t regret it.

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Filed under food, recipes