Tandoori Tofu… a delicious twist from the traditional chicken tandoori.

tandoori, tandoori tofu, tofu tandoori, tandoori tofu kebabs, tandoori tofu kebobs, tandoori tofu skewers

Too captivated by the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” that I can’t even focus on writing a blog post.  The competitors this season are all so phenomenal!  Have you been watching this show?  If so, who do you want to win?  I’m voting for Melanie!

I hope you enjoy the tofu recipe… it was a delicious alternative to the traditional chicken tandoori.

Tofu Tandoori

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sweet (not hot) paprika
1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
2.5 tablespoons lemon juice
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) box extra firm tofu, cubed

Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, then cook the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala and paprika, stirring often, until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes). Let cool completely.

Whisk in the cooled spice-oil mixture into the yogurt, then mix in the lemon juice, garlic, salt and ginger.

Coat the tofu in the marinade, cover and chill for at least two hours.

Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave one side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Take the tofu out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the tofu coated, but not gloppy. Skewer the tofu and put it on the hot side of the grill and cover.  Cook 2-3 minutes before checking.  Turn the tofu so it is brown (even a little bit charred) on all sides.

Conversely, you can also cook this in your oven.  Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place tofu onto baking sheet, and put into the oven.  Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Turn on the broiler, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to char the tofu a little bit more.

Serve with lemon wedges, and grilled sliced onions.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Tandoori Chicken… tastes just like what you get at an Indian restaurant!

This recipe was A-MAZ-ING!!  I’ve been looking for a tandoori recipe, and have tried a few, but this comes closest to what you get at an Indian restaurant.  Now I just wish I had a tandoor oven.  But the grill or oven is totally suffice for this recipe.  I am in love with this recipe, and cannot wait for leftovers tomorrow.  Yum.

Tandoori Chicken (slightly adapted from Simply Recipes)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sweet (not hot) paprika
1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
2.5 tablespoons lemon juice
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon salt
4 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), or its equivalent, skinless, bone-in

Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, then cook the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala and paprika, stirring often, until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes). Let cool completely.

Whisk in the cooled spice-oil mixture into the yogurt, then mix in the lemon juice, garlic, salt and ginger.

Cut deep slashes (to the bone) in 3-4 places on the leg/thigh pieces. Just make 2-3 cuts if you are using separate drumsticks and thighs. Coat the chicken in the marinade, cover and chill for at least six hours.

Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave one side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the chicken coated, but not gloppy. Put the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes before checking.

Turn the chicken so it is brown (even a little bit charred) on all sides, then move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes, up to 40 minutes (or longer) depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear.

Conversely, you can also cook this in your oven.  Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place chicken onto baking sheet, and put into the oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Turn on the broiler, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to char the chicken a little bit more.

Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with lemon wedges, and grilled sliced onions.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Creamy Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

I think I over did it with my caesar salads for lunch.  I ate that particular salad for about two weeks straight.  When I like something, I obsess over it until I get sick of it.  I definitely reached that point with the caesar salads.  I think my partner reached that point even earlier than I did, but she was definitely a champ!  She didn’t complain about the salads, but I could tell that she was losing her pizazz with the daily caesar salad lunches I was packing her for work.

So here I am now, continuing on the path to expand my salad vinaigrette repertoire.  I wanted to create something with a southwestern flare.  My partner has been requesting a southwestern salad for some time now.  She’s my guinea pig for the recipes I create, and really value her constructive criticism.  So I brought her a salad at work ad it was a big hit with her.  Yay!  It went really well with a black bean, corn, tomato, avocado salad with baked tortilla chips.  All it was missing was some blackened chicken, four-blend Mexican cheese and olives to make it the perfect taco salad.

Creamy Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
2 tablespoons plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons honey (if you prefer a more tart dressing, add less honey)
Salt, to taste

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until the dressing has combined and emulsified.

Pour dressing over your favorite southwestern or taco salad.

Makes dressing enough for 4 salads.

Calories per serving: 170

Cool and Creamy Greek Tzatziki

I’m turning 32 tomorrow.  Thirty-two.  This means I’ll be eight years from turning 40.  I had no qualms turning 30.  None whatsoever because the 30s are the new 20s, or so they say.  It was a piece of cake.  Well, aside from freaking out about waking up someday very soon with wrinkles.  The day of my 30th birthday, we made a trip to Origins to replenish our day cream.  I walked in with the intention of just purchasing the one item, but as soon as I hit the door I immediately asked for the skin care line for reducing wrinkles.  The woman who was assisting us looked at like I was crazy.  Well, maybe I am a little neurotic, but that’s besides the point.  I also think the salesperson that I was just joking about the restorative anti-wrinkle stuff.  So she instead took me over to the preventative anti-wrinkle creams.  My partner told her I was having an early mid-life crisis and the salesperson soon realized that I was serious.  So over one hundred dollars later, we walked out of the store with preventative AND restorative anti-wrinkle face and eye creams.  I’m just trying to be proactive rather than reactive about wrinkles.  And of course I would like to look as young as my Mom does at the age of 55.  Sorry.  I just totally went off topic.  Getting back to turning 32…

I think turning 30 was easy breezy because I felt very accomplished in my twenties… first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in my immediate family, graduated with a doctorate degree from one of the best pharmacy schools in the Nation, completed a residency, scored the perfect job, and found my soulmate.  But as I start inching my way into my mid-30s, I’m feeling unaccomplished and unsatisfied with my life.  I need more.  I want more.  But I don’t know what it is yet.  I keep toying with the idea of something culinary.  I know this is going to sound really silly, absurd, and far-reaching, but I keep imagining myself owning and operating a food truck.  I have this romantic idea of leading a nomadic lifestyle with a food truck.  I have the concept already played out in my head, but just need more money and a food truck :)  Another idea that might be less expensive, but equally as fun is starting up a food catering business.  Something small, but fun.  I recently attended an event a few weeks ago that was catered by one of the local catering companies, and the food was just no bueno.  I spent my entire evening thinking about how *I* could have done a better catering job with the food and beverages.  Sigh.  All I know is that I need to start brainstorming soon, because I’m worried I’m going to turn 40 with no accomplishments in my 30s.

On a lighter note, I was craving a lulu burger with tzatziki sauce.  And so that is what I made.

Cool and Creamy Greek Tzatziki

2 cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced into a paste
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large English cucumber, seeded
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Strain the yogurt by pouring it into a colander containing a coffee filter for about an hour to drain out excess water from the yogurt.

While the Greek yogurt is straining, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Slice cucumbers, place into a colander, and sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Allow the cucumbers to sit for about 20 minutes to draw out excess water from the cucumbers. After 20 minutes, rinse cucumbers with water, and squeeze to get rid of any residual excess water. Drain well, and wipe dry with a paper towel.

Put cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, and dill into a food processor, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Pour this mixture into the yogurt, and mix well until everything has combined. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking (I usually like it a little on the peppery side). Cover the bowl, and allow the flavors to marry in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Serve as a dip with pita bread or chips, or with your favorite Mediterranean grilled meat. I spread (by the spoonfuls) the tzatziki into a pita pocket with lula patties, tomato, lettuce, and some feta cheese. It was the perfect pita pocket sandwich for lunch today!

Shish Taouk – Lebanese Chicken Skewers

shish taouk, chicken shish taouk, chicken kebobs, chicken kebabs, grilled chicken kebobs, grilled chicken kebabs, chicken skewers, lebanese chicken skewers, grilled chicken skewers, lebanese chicken

Spring is here!  Maybe not officially, but it seems to have finally come.  My favorite time of the year has to be Spring, while Fall is a close second.  I love when the trees and flowers start to blossom around town, and throughout the countryside.  It’s absolutely beautiful, but it wreaks havoc on my seasonal allergies.  But hey, that’s what medications are for :)  Here, I go, getting off topic again.  Anyhow, the Spring time offers the perfect weather for outdoor activities, such as cycling, running, hiking, and gardening!  The only problem with spring is that summer is right around the corner, which means hot, dry desert weather.  It can get up to 115 degrees during the hottest part of the day during the summer months.  Blech.  The thought of it is nauseating.  But the great part of spring and summer is the longer days, and the endless time spent grilling anything and everything!

My grill has been on a hiatus since late fall.  I wish I could be an avid griller all year around, but I’m just not hearty enough to grill during the dead of winter.  And plus, it’s too dark to grill outdoors during the winter months.  I suppose I could buy some lighting accessories, but I guess I’m not THAT motivated.  Besides, that’s what the broiler setting is for!  Anyhow, the weather is supposed to be in the upper 60s during the day for the next few weeks.  So it was the perfect time to redo my drip irrigation system around the front and backyard, plant some vegetable seeds and starter vegetable plants, and cleaned the grill!  Yes.  It was a busy day for me.  But I was really excited because I got to fire up the grill to make chicken kabobs as left overs for pita sandwiches, wraps, and as a topping for my lebanese fattoush salad.  Winning.

Shish Taouk – Lebanese Chicken Skewers

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic, yogurt, tomato paste, olive oil and lemon juice. Add in the dried spices, salt and pepper, and whisk together. Coat the chicken with the marinade and cover bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 8 hours. Any longer and you’ll have mushy chicken because the acidity of the lemon juice and Greek yogurt will “cook” or break down the texture of the chicken.

Thread chicken on skewers and grill or cook under a broiler. Grill the chicken over moderately high to high, or broil for about 5-7 minutes per side, flipping once, until you see visible char marks and the chicken is cooked through.

Makes 2 servings.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,482 other followers