Tag Archives: tofu

Harissa Spiced Tofu Bowl with Cured Lemon Cous-Cous and Herbed Yogurt

9 Mar

YUM. A colourful and spicy triumph. This whole dish was inspired by an experiment with preserved lemons (which I made ages ago) yet mysteriously had not been enlisted to bolster any recipes. They are my new favourite ingredient. I love Middle Eastern flavours.  It may be my favourite kind of food (after Indian, obvs), and something I’d like to experiment with much, much more.

All of the elements of this dish worked together beautifully. The tofu was spicy and chewy, the couscous fluffy and savory, the avocado rich, and the tangy herbed yogurt tied it all together seamlessly.

20140309-235243.jpgThis was also my first time making Harissa paste. It is a Tunesian hot pepper paste that is usually made with fresh hot red peppers. I didn’t have any of these on hand, so I substituted them for dried chili powder and smokey paprika. It was pretty easy and packed a huge punch of flavour. I can’t wait to try it out again (with fish, with chicken, with chickpeas, and and and…)


Harissa Paste: 

  • 1/2 half teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (crushed or shredded)
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Mix.

I then coated the tofu cubes with the spice paste and let it sit for 1 hour (the longer the better). On an oiled baking sheet I baked the tofu with lemon slices at 350 for about 45 minutes. (I really like baked lemons, bothvisually and for a cleansing, sour finish to the meal!)


Meanwhile, I prepared the cous cous and yogurt.


Moroccan Spiced CousCous

  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • red pepper, sliced
  • 2 small dates, chopped (or substitute raisins or dried apricots)
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon cured lemon rind (chopped finely)
  1. In a small pot, bring 3.5 cups of salted water to a boil (optional: use vegetable or chicken stock). Once boiling point is reached, add two cups of couscous and remove from heat. Add one tablespoon olive oil and cover tightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, fry onions until soft (about 6 minutes). Add spices (minus the parsley) and fry over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes) mixing well. Add some coconut oil if the pan gets too dry. This should form a nice paste.
  3. Once couscous is ready (about 5 minutes) remove lid and fluff gently with a fork. Add to frying pan and mix wit onion and spice mixture. Add raw tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, lemon rind, dates and parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Mix well.

This made for awesome leftovers.

“What is cured lemon rind?” I hear you wondering. It’s basically lemons pickled in their own juice with lots of salt and a few spices. You only use the rind for flavour, and a little bit goes a really long way to brighten up any dish.  I was inspired by Chuck Hughes’ Food Network show Chuck’s Day Off, which I love. He put it on fish, and made it look so sexy (the fish I mean).


You should try it out!

Cured Lemons:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1.5 cups course sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 4 kefir lime leaves

Read more 

Cured things make me happy. Listen to this song while making these for a double whammy.

Now onto the easiest/yummiest concoction…

Herbed Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or one clove fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilntro
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch brown sugar, to taste

If you do nothing else, make sure you include this yogurt. It made the meal, in my opinion!


To serve, pile all elements haphazardly into one bowl. I served with a dollop of garlic hummus, avocado, sesame flat breads and fresh cilantro.


And that’s how we do March.


Food and Frivolity, 2013 in Photos and Recipes

30 Dec

It was rare for me to conceptualize my life in arbitrary segments of time (i.e. Jan-December, 2013) before I started blogging, but there’s something nice about documenting time in this way. It feels organized. It feels official.

Although I already sorta knew it to be true, writing this post has made me realize what a fun year it has been. Which is a lucky thing, is it not?

I’ve chosen to share some of my favourite recipes of each month (note: there was a rather large summertime gap in posting (May-September) but as you will see I was clearly busy travelling and carousing).

Besides, it’s been quite some time since I’ve injected some “mostly” into Food, Mostly.

So this is my 2013 roundup. These are my highlights. A virtual time capsule on my tiny corner of the internet. Let’s begin.


In the middle of a frigid Canadian January, I turned 27. I got an amazing gift that day, a gorgeous Cannon G15 camera from Scott, which I believe has helped the blog photography tremendously (see below photo- post new camera. Terrible! Although I’m still no expert).

January birthdays are a bit bittersweet. There are no fun birthday BBQs or camping trips, inevitably, there is always a snow storm. However, having a birthday at this time does make the month a little brighter and breaks up the winter tedium a bit! At least for me. Suckers.

This recipe for potato leek soup surprised me at how tasty it turned out to be. I remember that this was my first time cooking with leeks. I bought them mistakenly thinking they were anise. Ha. Anyway, the  result was awesome.



February stands out only a little. There was a huge snow storm that cancelled classes.  I did a sugar-free, gluten and dairy free cleanse. And instead of studying I made these black bean, walnut and mushroom burgers. This recipe is  hands down my most popular in terms of hits and searches.

There are a whole lotta people out there cooking veggie burgers at home, apparently.20131230-190344.jpg

20131230-191011.jpgI enjoyed watching this neighbourly act transpire spontaneously. I wasn’t much help, I guess.


Hmmm….looks like I didn’t post anything in March! Must have been consumed with essays. We were also getting ready to move. Next.


This dish was apparently made in March(that’s the old kitchen!), but posted in April. It was a recipe created by a friend of mine, who makes excellent Indian food. In 2013, I have followed suit in experimenting with Indian cooking. I think curries are my favourite thing to make now. Here is the recipe that started it all: Erin’s Chana Masala.


 May was a doozy! Here’s when I took a long summer’s nap from blogging (tsk tsk). It was a busy month. My cousin Mark got married in Arlington, TX. We went down for the wedding and took a side trip to Austin and San Antonio. There was a lot of eating, drinking, exploring and shenanigans.

Absolutely loved Austin. I’d like to go back again sometime for a music festival or two. The food, notably the Mexican, Tex-Mex and BBQ was outstanding and seemingly endless.

Here’s my little bro at his first baseball game. Red Sox versus Rangers. Rangers won!


Scott, giving JFK the business


Contemplating getting tattooed over margaritas (always wise). Did we or didn’t we?? Hmm…


Favourite thing we ate in Austin, the enchiladas verdes gratinadas from El Naranjo, 85 Rainey Street. This resto started as a food truck that became super popular. God, I love me some tomatillo salsa! Cute backyard patio in a cool neighbourhood, where all the old historic bungalows have been turned into bars and restaurants. Kinda reminds me of Markham Street in Toronto. But way better.


Here we are off Rainey Street at G’RajMahal (great name), an outdoor Indian restaurant in a converted garage slash tent compound (91 Red River) . I believe the kitchen is actually a food truck. We were joined by our local tour guide, April. I have no recollection of what we ate, just that it was awesome and we were stuffed and we brought our own booze. Then we went to a bar that had $5 beer/ tequila shot combos. Hence the nervous faces in the middle lower photo.


If May wasn’t exciting enough, Scott turned 30, and our friends Mike and Brittany visited from California/Utah. We spent a week hanging out in Toronto, and had a big backyard birthday party. Because it was Brittany’s first time North of the border, we brought them to Montreal too. I didn’t take a lot of pics in Montreal for some reason(too drunk?) . We rented an awesome Air B n’ B apartment in Le Plateau, and spent every night chilling on the back patio enjoying  beverages purchased from the local dépanneur. A novelty which never ceases to amaze visiting Ontarians.


Here they are humouring an aggressive street performer. This was eventually abandoned because after about twenty minutes,  nothing much was happening, except for this manic man running around making racist jokes in a French Canadian accent. Au revoir.


It was so nice to spend time with these two. We were sad to say “farewell”.


The highlight of June was Field-trip, an outdoor festival at Fort York put on by Arts and Crafts. The highlights were hometown bands, Timber Timbre, Feist and Broken Social Scene, who played one of my all time favourite albums You Forgot It In People front to back. It was an awesome day.




We drove to The Windy City for Pitchfork Music Festival. I fell in love with Chicago. Musical highlights included Joanna Newsom, Bjork, MIA, Killer Mike, Blood Orange and Phosphorescent. Also getting caught after the show one night in one of the most epic rainstorms was memorable (in a good way). Drenched. I must admit, Pitchfork puts on an awesome festival. Good sound, good crowd flow, decent food, and it is the perfect size (way more chilled out than Bonnaroo). Only downside is no in-and-out privileges, which would have been ideal. I’m dying to go back to Chicago.

20131230-192717.jpg Frickin’ love that bean thing!





Must also include this kale taco salad that had spicy peanuts and cranberries in it from Antique Taco, (1360 N Milwaukee Ave). We returned two days in a row just for this ridiculousness!


Also in July, my beautiful friend Grace had her baby shower. Here she is about to burst. Soon her baby, River, would join us in this world.



August was rather uneventful. Although I did host a clothing swap, which has become one of my absolute favourite things. The thrilling thing is you never know what you’re going to get. Some winners! Some duds! Some wildcards! All for free! I’ve found some of my favourite items this way.

I should have taken more photos of the food. These gals didn’t skimp. We had quite the feast.

September was my triumphant return to blogging! These Bourbon-Miso pork chops shoved themselves into the limelight. Delightful. I made them twice, the second time for my mum on the eve of our quick four-day trip to the beautiful Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We stayed in the Privilige Aluxes Isla Mujeres, a stunning resort. The island itself is tiny, only 7 kilometers long. We, along with other silly tourists,  drove around on golf carts. It was fun.


Another September highlight was the labour day weekend we spent at Scott’s grandparents chalet at Beaver Valley with Mike and Kiara. Fun and games, is what it was. And wine.



October was a productive month in the kitchen. I think my favourite post was this Persian Eggplant Stew. It renewed my faith in eggplant.

Was my best ever month on Food, Mostly. My average daily views doubled that of my previous best month (January, 2012). Exciting!

My favourite part of November was cooking this Indian feast for friends that helped us move way back in April. It was labour intensive, but I think really elevated my skill in cooking Indian food. I’ve included my recipe for chicken Vindaloo.

We had Scott’s family over a few weeks later, and I replicated and tweaked some of the recipes I used. With practice the cooking was more effortless and the result was, dare I say, even tastier?





It was cold and icy, but Christmas was toasty and warm.

My favourite December recipe was hands down this vegan “Butter-Chicken” with fried tofu. So easy and so delicious. I’ll definitely be making more of this in the new year.


Upon reflection, I’ve been very “in the moment” this year. Maybe too much so. I don’t think I really realized how good 2013 was until right now. Good friends, good family, good food, good fortune.

What more could a girl ask for?

Thank you for reading. I hope you continue to follow along and share my posts! It makes my day!

Happy New Year Y’all!



photo 1

Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu

3 Dec


I realize that my blog has been rather meat-centric lately. Although I’ve had some vegetarian posts here and there,  it has been awhile since I’ve shared any vegan dishes.

I’m certain come January when I’ve had my fill of Christmas-y cheese puffs, sausage rolls and pâté that I will concentrate on super healthy, veggie-filled recipes again.  That’s the plan. 

So, this one is for you in mind, vegans. And for me, a little head start on 2014.


To continue on with my Indian kick, I present you with…

Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu 

  • 1 fresh green chili (I used jalapeno)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat is best)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying spices and tofu)
  • dash liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Cut tofu into thick slices and press between paper towels to remove moisture for about 20 minutes, while preparing the sauce. Top with something heavy, like a cookbook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan at medium-high heat melt coconut oil and add 1 tablespoon garam masala. When it begins to puff and bubble, add garlic, ginger, chopped green chili and tomato.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining spices and cook another few minutes until well mixed and fragrant.
  4. Stir in tomato paste, and then tomato puree. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add coconut milk, sugar and liquid smoke.
  5. Using a hand blender, blend sauce so that it is creamy and smooth, and all the spices are incorporated. Simmer until liquid has reduced about 1/4 (25 minutes or so). Add fenugreek leaves.
  6. Meanwhile, in separate pan, fry tofu slices in hot oil with salt until browned and a bit crispy.
  7. Remove from oil and chop into smaller bite sized pieces. Add to sauce.
  8. Serve curry with basmati or naan, top with fresh cilantro or more dried fenugreek leaves.
  9. Enjoy!

As for you meat eaters, fear not. This recipe is a real spicy, rich, hearty winner!

The sauce makes a great base, that would be good with almost anything; chicken (duh), chickpeas, tempeh or even pineapple. This recipe is pretty quick and easy as far as curries go. It smells amazing while it’s cooking and makes a pretty decent yield.

On a side note, in terms of views, November has high and above exceeded October (my previous best)  on Food, Mostly. It is super exciting to see the blog growing, slowly and steadily. I really appreciate all the sharing and comments from you guys. I love the engagement (that’s the whole point!), so if you like what you read, I encourage you to keep writing and sharing. It makes my day!

A sincerest,  “Thank You”


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