Sally’s “Fish,” Chips and Vegan Tacos

It all starts simply here: making Tofu Cheese

My friend Sally has a beautiful blog called Home Sweet Orange where she writes about the beautiful things she loves, especially her love for the sweet, simple life she and her husband share.

Her post on Vegan “Fish,” Chips and Tacos was so inspiring for its creativity and sense of play that I asked her if we could repost it here. Of course she said Yes, because that’s way she is: generous, kind, easy-going, peaceful.

If Sally were a season, she would be summer, which is perfect given that her cool recipes perfectly balance the heat of the season. Providing refreshing nourishment, they are ideal for summer “al fresco.” In fact, the Baja “Fish” Tacos are so right for the season that a variation will be featured on our Summer Ayurveda Class Menu. 

Sally Tinker Smith

At our house, when my husband slathers red miso on the tofu and begins the process of making tofu cheese, it’s the beginning of a string of favorite meals! The tofu cheese itself is a fermented wonder, tasting a lot like feta, and it’s great crumbled over salad or as a veggie sandwich spread.

“fish” & chips
Here’s where I come in. I slice the tofu cheese into sticks, dress them up with a spicy breading and bake with french-fry-sliced potatoes, for fish-n-chips. The tartar sauce brings it all together. I go for ketchup on my potatoes, but the Mister goes for straight tartar sauce all the way around. Recipes follow.
baja “fish” tacos

A couple of days later, it’s fish taco time! Find yourself some simple corn tortillas made with just cornmeal, lime and water. Toast over an open flame. Add a fish stick or two, tartar sauce, green tomatillo salsa, shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime. Tonight we had cilantro on hand, and if avocado is in season, these tacos are even more perfect with guacamole.

“fish” tacos
In November, Torrey and I stopped in at Native Foods for “Baja Surf Tacos” when we were studying Permaculture together up in Laguna. They’re made with battered tempeh, and I love them too! Even better when your friend brings limes to share!

TOFU-CHEESE FISH STICKS (adapted from Shmooed Food)

1/3 cup fine organic cornmeal
1/3 cup ground raw almonds
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dulse flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Cut tofu cheese into sticks/fingers. Dip them into a shallow dish of plain almond milk, and coat with thoroughly mixed dry ingredients.

Place sticks on baking sheet. Bake for total of 30 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes. You can sprinkle with olive oil to make them more crispy.

TARTAR SAUCE

1/2 cup Vegenaise
1 tablespoon dill pickles, finely chopped
1 tablespoon stuffed green olives, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Mix it all up and refrigerate for a bit before serving.

Clicking on Sally’s link above, “making tofu cheese,” will take you to Recipe Renovator” where our friend Stephanie Weaver gives graphically detailed instructions according to Sally’s husband Jeff for making the tofu cheese. Please let us know if you try it and what you think.

Thanks Sally!

Namaste ~ 


A Super Bowl of Beans

Nazik’s Moroccan Beans

This Sunday we are hosting a reunion for the graduates of our Mastery of Life and Yoga Teacher Trainings. Over the years we have seen over one hundred people complete these trainings, and it has been a joy to watch each one of them reclaim their heart and shine their magnificence into the world.

We feel so blessed to be part of the empowerment of so many good and loving people and look forward to seeing them again. Unfortunately, though, some will not be able to make it as we unwittingly scheduled our Mastery of Life Reunion on the same day as the Super Bowl!

Paul Amato, Deep Yoga Teacher and Integrative Health Coach, is one who wrote to say that he won’t be able to join us. In his case, he has a long-standing commitment to cook for his friends on Sunday. We will miss Paul and the others who can not make it. So I wanted to offer them, and all of you who are looking for a super healthy way to feed your super friends this Super Bowl Sunday, a gift from our kitchen ~ my friend Nazik’s incredible Moroccan Beans.

I fell in love with these beans the minute I first laid eyes on them many years ago. The beauty of the beans sparkling with Marrakesh spice, the Mediterranean fragrance of garlic, onion and pepper, the texture and consistency of its Tangiers taste, and the Sirocco warmth it gives the belly inspired me from the first, and has continued to charm ever since. This dish definitely comes from Morocco with love!

Peppers add bite

It is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, because it it will complement anything, it is hearty enough to replace chili, and it can stand on its own. You can also make it the night before, or early in the morning, for less fuss on the day.

For family and friends in Chicago ~ this is especially great for winter days when blizzards keep you home. The ingredients are usually on-hand, the spices will thaw you from the inside, and, served with a chunk of whole grain bread or steamed brown rice, it is packed with protein and fiber to give you the fortitude needed to cope with epic weather conditions. Besides, with a name like Nazik’s Morrocan Beans conjuring images of  balmy, blue-skied, orange-scented, exotic, distant, desert lands it is sure to warm and inspire.

Chicago’s famed blizzard of ’67

NAZIK’S MOROCCAN WHITE BEANS

2 cup White Beans, preferably Northern or Cannellini, soaked
3 tablespoon Ghee
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
6-8 Garlic Cloves, peeled and whole
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and whole
1 Red Onion, peeled and whole
1 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
1/2 tsp. Celery Seeds
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Clove
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Asafetida (optional)
Fresh Mint (optional)

Soaking Beans

Melt the ghee (Earth Balance or Safflower oil is fine) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sprinkle in the cayenne. Stir or spin the bottom of the pan to swirl the oil with the cayenne. Add the rest of the spices, except the salt and asafetida. Sauté for one minute. Add the garlic cloves and swirl. Drain the beans and add to the pot, stirring to coat the beans with the spicy oil. Add the onions and 7 cups of water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer. Stir occasionally until beans are tender, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

Once the beans are tender, spoon out a few, let them cool and give it a taste. If it is not spicy enough, melt a tablespoon of ghee (or any oil) in a small saucepan with another dash or two of cayenne. Let this heat for about one minute, then pour onto the beans and stir. I usually do this anyway, because I like to sauté a pinch of asafetida (hing) in melted ghee, always, before pouring into any cooked bean mixture I make.  It aids digestion ~ and with beans every little bit helps!

In the Pot

Whether it is for Super Sunday or any winter day, this is a simple recipe yielding a big, satisfying meal. We serve it with Naan, so the kids can scoop the beans into a “Moroccan Burrito.” I like to garnish each bowl with fresh mint to sustain the sultry Moroccan feel, but also to cool the palate between bites, because these beans are Sahara hot.

Our Super Bowl of Beans

These beans are like a girl’s best friend ~ easy, reliable, sometimes spicy, always comforting. So it is not a surprise the recipe comes from an angelic friend from the north of Africa.

Nazik lives in Tangiers, where she paints, writes and, one hopes, cooks. She is an amazing artist, with a beautiful heart that could light a desert night. Her sweetness reminds me of The Little Prince.

St. Exupery’s Little Prince

Nazik has written a really cool book called Say It Again that teaches English through colorful, dynamic images. If you are interested, or could help her find a publisher, please email her at freenazouki@hotmail.com. When you do, of course please let her know how you like her beans!

Whole Food’s Website offers the basics

Whole Foods has a handy website full of cooking how-to’s. Click on the image above to find this photo heading their suggestions for the basics on beans, including soaking times, water-to-beans ratios and more recipes for these delicious, nutrition-packed legumes.


Channa Masala

Chick Peas in Masala Sauce

My husband Bhava and I are going to India in February/March to teach at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. A group of wonderful, heart-centered Yogis are coming with us for a twelve-day Retreat, including 4 days of Ayurvedic treatments on the banks of Ma Ganga.

It is such an honor to take people “home” to the source of our practice, to meet wise sages and saintly swamis, to bathe in the healing waters of the Ganges, and to dwell for a time in the pure possibility of such enduring peace.

For this opportunity we feel humbled, blessed and deeply grateful.  Jai Guru!

This past weekend, we hosted a dinner for those who will be traveling with us. We wanted to give them an idea of what to expect and help them to prepare, both physically and emotionally. With my most fabulous husband’s help, I prepared our favorite dishes from a typical meal they might enjoy in India.

Fortunately, the dinner was appreciated. Two of our guests even said that they would become vegetarian if they could eat like this everyday. I am not sure if they knew just how that motivates me! Since I stopped eating meat at age 16, I promised I would never proselytize, but who does not see the reason in Paul McCartney’s statement ~

“If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”
*

So, when a flurry of requests erupted at the end of the evening, of course ~ despite an impossibly full week ~ I enthusiastically said, “Yes, I’ll post the recipes.” I love cooking, I love blogging, but mostly, I love it when people taste and feel the love that is in their food. So, yes!

We enjoyed a number of dishes, in the Indian Style. Of them, Channa Masala is the simplest and quickest to prepare. Since we are soon to depart, rather than typing it out, I encourage you to try this great recipe,  similar to the one we made, from my favorite Ayurveda recipe book,  Eat, Taste, Heal.

eat taste heal
You can use any Korma and Garam Masala spice mixtures. If you can’t find Korma, use Curry powder. If you can’t find Garam Masala, just make it by mixing cinnamon, coriander, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper: a little more of the first three, a little less of the last three.

You can serve Channa Masala with rice, or with Chappatti or Naan. If you can’t find these Indian breads at your local market try an Italian flat bread. Garlic was the favorite with our guests!

I hope you enjoy this protein-packed meal.

To your Good Health ~ Namaste!

~

I invite you to join me, Friday January 28th, from 6-9 pm, for a class on “Stoking the Fires: Ayurvedic Cooking in the Winter Season” to learn to prepare at home fresh Garam Masala and Korma Powder used in these recipes.

Sadhvi Bhagawati with Children at the Ashram
Sadhvi Bhagawati with Children

For a great close-up on what to expect in India, please read our beloved friend Sadhvi Bhagawati’s article, “India: Let It Inside You.”

Linda McCartney

Paul McCartney’s wife Linda was an original food pioneer who turned her passion into a food brand. Her family has maintained her company and a website where you can find her recipes for wholesome cooking. With so many delicious recipes like these available today, you might succeed in convincing your friends, too!