Blogs, Recipes

Spicy Tofu Tacos

Spicy, crumbly, and packed with protein and fiber, these tasty healthy tacos are ready in less than 30 minutes!

It’s super easy to make these delicious healthy tacos! Just crumble up a block of extra-firm tofu, coat it in spices, and then bake  in the oven. The crumbles darken and get dry and crunchy. Just layer on a tortilla, with your favourite toppings. 

These tacos are spicy! You will want a refreshing glass of Scout and Cellar FIDDLENECK MUSCAT BLANC, it’s sweet with hints of mango, pineapple and honeysuckle. It’s the perfect pairing for these spicy tofu tacos!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon lite maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 14-16 ounce extra-firm tofu, patted dry

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and chili powder. 

Now crumble the tofu into the bowl with your hands, and mix together using a large spoon until well combined.

Spread the tofu mixture evenly on the parchment lined pan. 

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then give it a little stir and bake for 15 more minutes, until the tofu is golden, crispy in places and chewy.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately in corn/flour tortillas with desired toppings.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

Homemade Mac & Cheese

As many of you know, I joined the initiative #EducateYourself. I knew some but I am learning so much more. As a foodie, I wanted to learn more about the Black Culinary community, this is where I learned about James Hemings and his brother. 

The story of James Hemings is  fascinating, here’s a little taste. 

In the 18th century, James Hemings was one of America’s most accomplished chefs. He was also Thomas Jefferson’s slave. Hemings grew up as a household slave in Monticello, Jefferson’s Virginia estate. He could read and write and Jefferson trusted him. So when Jefferson sailed to France in 1784 to become America’s trade minister, he brought Hemings with him. While in Paris, Hemings was trained in the art of French cooking. He studied first with the caterer and restaurateur, Monsieur Combeaux, apprenticing with pastry chefs. After three years of study he became the head chef at the Hôtel de Langeac, Jefferson’s residence that functioned also as the American embassy. Here his dishes were served to international guests, statesmen, authors, scientists, and European aristocrats.

In 1796, James Hemings was freed by Jefferson on the condition that James would train his younger brother to replace him as chef in the Jefferson household. In 1802, Jefferson served a “macaroni pie” at a state dinner, more than likely prepared from a recipe by James and cooked by his brother. Since that time, the dish has been associated with the United States. Unfortunately, no written record of the Hemingway’s mac and cheese survives.

Enslaved chefs played a huge role in refining some of America’s current staple foods, like mac and cheese.

If you want to learn more about James Hemings. Check out: Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America written by Thomas J. Craughwell . There’s even a children’s picture book, My Name Is James Madison Hemings written by Jonah Winter. 

Here is my Mac & Cheese recipe, inspired by the 1824 cookbook “The Virginia Housewife” written by Mary Randolph. It is believed that  Randolph’s recipe may have been one of James Hemings creations.

Pair this Mac and Cheese with Scout & Cellar 2019 Fiddleneck Chardonnay, Lake County, California

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter, to grease the dish
  • 16 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Italian cheese blend. shredded
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder

Topping:

  • 1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ tsp Smoked paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″). Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  

While pasta is cooking, mix all 3 cheeses in a large bowl. Remove ½ cup of the mixed cheese and set aside, you will use this for the topping. 

Drain the pasta and drizzle olive oil over the pasta and combine to keep from sticking.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand. Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  

Slowly pour in the 2 cups of the milk, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  

Next, slowly pour in the 2 cups of half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.

Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened. 

Lower the heat and stir in seasonings and whisk together. 

Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  

Stir in the rest of the cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  

Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  

For the topping, mix the 1/4 remaining cup melted butter, remaining cheese and crushed crackers together in a bowl; scatter the cracker mixture evenly over the macaroni.

Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the top is lightly golden brown for about 15 minutes.  

Recipes

Dutch Oven Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? 

Even if you’ve never made homemade bread before, this homemade crusty bread is for you. It’s the perfect beginner recipe because it only requires 4 ingredients, there’s no kneading, and 95% of the work is hands-off. This recipe delivers delicious flavor, and a slightly crisp crust.  Not to mention the loaf is as big as your head… Brian and I had some fun taking pictures of how big it turned out. LOL

You can also add herbs and seasonings such as garlic, rosemary, dill, chopped onion, jalapeño, shredded cheese, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, etc. Get CREATIVE!

So let’s get right to it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water 105 degrees F

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. 

Optional: If you are using herbs and seasonings add them to the bowl and combine with flour mixture

Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.

Let dough sit covered at room temperature for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours (or at least 1 hour before you want to serve) preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or a baking dish) with a lid in the oven while it is preheating. 

While the oven is preheating, transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a ball, adding a few tablespoons more flour if needed. The dough should still be slightly loose. Then cover it with a floured towel while the oven is preheating.

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Remove the lid and spray the dish with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

Gently put the dough ball into the baking dish so it’s evenly distributed.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Recipes

Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Pancetta and Walnuts

Ravioli stuffed with a fresh pear and cheese filling and sauteed in a buttery sauce with crispy pancetta, this ravioli recipe is a fancy dinner made easy!

The sweetness of the pears complements the salty and creamy cheese filling of these easy ravioli. It’s sweet and savory, my two favorite flavors! 

As you know by now, I love making homemade pasta and that doesn’t stop with the basics like spaghetti and fettuccine – I also enjoy making homemade ravioli. 

First, you will want to make the filling. 

Peel and core the pears. Then using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl and combine. Add ¼ cup of  the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set to the side. 

If you are making your own pasta, which I highly recommend, follow my Homemade Pasta recipe blog post. 

If you don’t want to make your own pasta dough, you can also use store bought wonton wrappers to cut down on time.

Roll pasta dough into long strips.  I used a pasta machine attachment on my stand mixer to make it easier.

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis or wonton wrapper. Place on a prepared lightly floured cookie sheet. 

This is a ravioli cutter, I purchased from Williams Sonoma.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air. 

Repeat this process until all ravioli is made.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

In a large pot of boiling water, add ravioli and once they float to the top, cook another couple of minutes, save about ¼ cup of the water and drain the rest. You will want to use the reserved pasta water to help thicken the sauce later.

For the sauce, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and garlic. I love shallots, while similar in taste to an onion, I think they have a bit more “refined” flavor and are more delicate, and softer. 

Once the shallots and garlic are slightly brown, add in the chopped pancetta. Pancetta is an Italian salami made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. You can find pancetta in the deli at most local grocery stores, like Publix. If you can not find Pancetta, bacon will work too. Cook the pancetta until crispy. 

Add the stuffed ravioli to the same pan, and coat with the buttery sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time into the pan, this will thicken the sauce slightly. Continue to sauté the ravioli for about 2 more minutes, you want to heat the ravioli all the way through. Lastly, stir in the chopped parsley. 

Place the cooked ravioli on a plate, spoon the buttery sauce over the top and sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts. Yum! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 lb. Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
  • 8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fresh pasta
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl. Add the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller: Using the roller attachment, roll the pasta into a thin sheet and cut into 12-inch-long pieces.

Hand method: Roll out the pasta and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. 

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis. Place on a prepared floured tray.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air.

Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ravioli to paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. In the same pan, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ravioli and gently stir to coat with the butter. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to create a sauce. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley.

Transfer the ravioli to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.

 Inspired by Lidia Bastianich