Thanksgiving Bacon and Apple Stuffing

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Hello all! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, especially because it often overlaps with my birthday! Anyway, I am always excited to start thinking about Thanksgiving foods, like bread stuffing. This stuffing recipe is intended as a side dish all its own, as it uses added liquid and it’s baked separately. However, you could use this to stuff your turkey, omitting the liquid and baking time and simply adding the dry ingredients to your bird instead. Either way, this stuffing is packed full of fall flavors. Use this recipe as a guide – adapt the stuffing for flavors you have or want to include.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of bread
  • 3 – 4 pieces of bacon (optional)
  • 1 small onion (about 1/3 cup, diced)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 oz mushrooms (about 6 button mushrooms)
  • 1/2 tsp each fennel seed and coriander seed
  • 3 dried red chilis (optional)
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, a mixture of rosemary, sage, and / or parsley
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the bacon pieces to a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it is starting to get very crispy. If you are omitting the bacon, use 1 tbsp. olive oil for the following cooking steps that use bacon fat.

Meanwhile, dice the onion and celery. Dice the mushrooms separately. Cut all of these into the size pieces you prefer – I like a large dice, where the vegetables are about 1/2″ square. Remove the bacon when it is crispy, and crumble it into a large mixing bowl. Add the onions and celery to the pan where you were cooking the bacon, and cook in the bacon fat until the onions are starting to get translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions and celery and add them to the mixing bowl.

Add the mushrooms to the pan with the leftover bacon fat, and cook them until they are just beginning to shed their water and wilt – about another five minutes. Then, remove from heat and add the mushrooms to the bowl.

While you wait, cube the bread into about 1/2″ inch cubes (or smaller if you like) and add these to the mixing bowl. Cube the apple and add along with the cranberries, apple cider vinegar, stock, pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir to mix.

In a dry skillet, toast the fennel seed, coriander seed, and dry chilis for about 30 seconds over high heat, or until they are fragrant. Remove from heat and grind these in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Turn out into the mixing bowl.

Mix everything together and spread into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, then remove and check that the bread has absorbed a lot of the liquid and is crispy enough to your liking. I like my stuffing a little moist, so I stopped here – if you’d like it drier, bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve, or keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quick Tempeh Bites

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Hello again! I’ve been on a short hiatus – Jake and I have been doing some traveling this month, and I have also been experimenting with recipes for the pumpkin challenge – more on those in a later post! For now, here are some quick tempeh bites for lunch or a snack to share. Sometimes when I am working from home I am in the mood for a warm lunch, but something quick to keep my energy going. This was a perfect quick meal, and it is really flexible towards whatever veggies you want to include. You can add a side of rice and kimchi or other pickled vegetables, like radishes or carrots.

Serves 1.

Ingredients

  • about 4 oz. tempeh (half a package)
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup vegetables like red bell pepper, green beans, carrots, etc – something with a little crunch
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • pinch chinese five spice, or substitute cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

Cut the tempeh into small bites of whatever size you’d like to eat. I cut mine into about 1/2″ dice. Add these to a skillet over medium heat with a little bit of oil, the soy sauce, and the sugar sprinkled over top. Stir this occasionally so they don’t stick to the skillet while you prepare other ingredients.

Dice your vegetables (I used some leftover red pepper I had, but any vegetables with a little crunch will do) into a dice of a similar size as the tempeh. Set aside. Slice the green onions thinly, using the white and tender green parts, set aside.

Now, your tempeh should be browning and will have absorbed most of the liquid in the skillet. Add the diced vegetables and stir them into the tempeh to incorporate. If you think the tempeh seems too dry, add another dash of soy sauce. Add a sprinkle of five spice, if you are using it – I like just a bit of this, so just be careful to taste after you add a bit to see if you’d like more. Cook everything together until the vegetables have just started to wilt and the tempeh is a nice brown color. Remove from heat to a plate and top with the green onions and cilantro.

Pumpkin and Tofu Potstickers

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I have made a few batches of potstickers now, and they are a little time consuming but not too complicated to make, and delicious! I made these potstickers with some pumpkin puree (for the pumpkin challenge!) and it added some great flavor while fitting in with other ingredients perfectly. Try these out as a way to make a comforting dumpling at home, made as a seasonal October treat!

Serves 4 – 6, makes 50 – 60 potstickers

Ingredients

  • 10 – 12 oz extra firm tofu (pressed to release its water)
  • 2 large shallots (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 large carrot (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper (like jalepeno – more mild – or bird’s eye – hot)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp five spice
  • 3/4 cup peas (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet soy sauce
  • 12 oz shitake or button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 – 70 round wonton wrappers
  • sesame and canola oil for cooking

Instructions

Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees F. Dice the tofu into a 1/2″ dice and toss in about 1 tsp of sesame oil. Bake on a sheet while you prepare other ingredients, until lightly browned and slightly crispy.

Dice the shallot, carrot, chili, ginger, and celery into a 1/4″ dice. Saute these vegetables over medium high heat with 1 tsp. sesame oil, sugar, sweet soy sauce, and five spice until the shallots are translucent and carrots are beginning to soften. Add the peas and pumpkin and cook for about two minutes more until peas soften and the pumpkin is mixed well with the other ingredients. Remove from heat into a large mixing bowl.

Clean the mushrooms and cut into 1/4″ dice. Saute the mushrooms with the salt, light soy sauce, and the garlic (peeled and crushed) until the mushrooms have broken their water – about five minutes over medium high heat. When they are lightly cooked, use a slotted spoon to add the mushrooms to the mixing bowl.

Remove the tofu from the oven and dice up into a slightly smaller dice. Add to the mixing bowl and stir to combine all ingredients evenly.

Stuff potstickers with a heaping 1 teaspoon of the filling. To make the potstickers, hold the wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand and put the spoonful of filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in water and wet the inside (filling side up) edge of half of the wrapper in a half crescent shape. Fold the wrapper in half, pressing the filling in with your fingers and pressing the edges of each wrapper together, wrinkling the edges until they stick. Keep the folded potstickers on a lightly oiled baking sheet while you are waiting to cook them. I like to make about 20 potstickers and then start to cook them, folding more as I wait for the batches to cook. Stuffing might be slow at first – but it will be easier as you go along!

In a large nonstick skillet, pour about 2 tsp of canola oil and heat over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry about 8 – 12 potstickers (whatever will fit comfortably in the pan, don’t overcrowd it) for about 1 – 2 minutes until the dumplings are starting to be lightly browned. Then, pour in 1/3 cup water and cover the skillet – steam the dumplings until all the water has dissipated, then turn out the potstickers onto a plate and cover with foil to keep warm while you cook the rest of the dumplings. It’s okay if your lid can’t completely cover the skillet – set a lid inside the skillet to at least cover the dumplings.

Serve warm with soy sauce as a dipping sauce or a dipping sauce of soy sauce, green onion, and sriracha. Enjoy!

Grapefruit and Arugula Salad

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This is simple salad has nicely balanced flavors, and I made it as a satisfying but light lunch for one! While you are peeling the grapefruit, use a small paring knife to cut away the outer skin and pith.

Serves 1.

Ingredients 

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 naval orange
  • 1/2 cucumber, about 3 inches
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 3 large basil leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/8 tsp each of sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 radishes (optional)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

Peel the grapefruit and orange, using a sharp knife to remove the skin and white pith. Peel the segments over a bowl until you can easily wiggle them loose. Place in a salad bowl.

Peel the cucumber and dice into a 1/2″ dice. Add to the bowl.

Roughly chop arugula and basil. Rinse and dice radishes. Combine these and the rest of the ingredients in the salad bowl and toss to mix. Enjoy as a light lunch!

Pumpkin and Bean Nacho Dip

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For the fourth year in a row, Jake and I are embarking on the Pumpkin Challenge! During the month of October, we try to eat pumpkin in some way once each day, as a way to explore one of our favorite foods. We’ve found a lot of interesting foods over the years – some are easy, some are complicated, sweet, or savory. To start, here is a yummy layered nacho bean and pumpkin dip – happy October!

Serves 4 as a generous snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (or one 16 oz can) of cooked black or kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup tomato
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup pickled peppers
  • 1/4 cup jalepeños, onions, and carrots en escabeche (substitute 1 jalepeño)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp each of coriander seed, cumin, oregano, and unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp each allspice, chipotle chili powder, and cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/2 cup cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese to top

Instructions

If you are starting with dry beans, place about 1 1/4 cup of dry beans in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and boil until the beans are tender. This can vary from 30 – 45 minutes depending on how dry your beans are, just check until they are completely soft every so often.

Preheat the oven or a toaster oven (if your baking dish will fit) to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients. Dice the tomato, escabeche, and pickled peppers to the size you like, I like about a 1/4″ dice. Dice the onion and divide the diced onion in half. Combine the cooked beans, half the onion, the tomato, escabeche, peppers, corn, oregano, the lime juice, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a square baking dish – stir so the ingredients are evenly distributed.

If you have whole allspice, cumin, and coriander seed, place these spices in a dry skillet and toast for about 30 seconds over medium heat until they are fragrant. Use a mortar and a pestle or spice grinder to grind into a paste. Otherwise, use powdered spice. In the same skillet, add a tsp of olive oil and the rest of the diced onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion is starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, then combine onions, pumpkin, coriander seed, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small mixing bowl. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed, then pour over the vegetables into the baking dish, using the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture.

Grate the cheese and sprinkle it over top. Bake the dish for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has started to brown. Now the cheese will be lovely and gooey and the flavors will have baked well together! Top with some sour cream and cilantro if you like and enjoy this dip with tortilla chips! I think it would probably also be good with some extra rice wrapped up in a burrito.