Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Klunker's insanely easy teriyaki sauce

Klunker's insanely easy teriyaki sauce

It is recipes like this one, that make me stop and ask myself "WHY DO I EVER MAKE HARD RECIPES?" (and then I remember that cooking makes me happy and I love to cook hard things too)
But this recipe really is so easy and makes amazing teriyaki sauce.  I love teriyaki sauce so much.  It can be used in so many things, like mushrooms (always my first choice), or noodles or tofu......the list goes on and on.
This recipe makes enough for a few servings.  I just jar it up and in the fridge it goes.  Keeps for about 2 weeks, but I dare you to try and keep it there that long. :)
**Just a side note.  This does have brown sugar in it.  Don't be alarmed by it, this is meant as a condiment, you are not eating the whole recipe in one sitting***


1/2c water
1/4c low sodium soy sauce (use GF if needed)
1 tablespoon mirin (if you don't have, don't stress)
1/3c brown sugar (you could also use date sugar or maple syrup)
1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed and minced fine (if you have a zesting micro plainer, use that)
1/4 tsp. fresh, minced ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients above.  Whisk until well blended.
Place saucepan on stove and set to medium high heat.  
Bring to a simmer, stirring often.  Cook at a simmer for 2 minutes, and remove from heat. 
Stir one more time, and let sit.  As it cools, it will thicken.
Transfer to a small glass jar, and let cool completely.  Then, into the fridge, or onto your favorite meal.  
I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I did.  My wife and kids even enjoyed this over udon noodles. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thai pumpkin soup

Thai pumpkin soup

I was looking for ideas today, since tonight I start my work week again.  What did I have in my fridge that would be enough for my 10 p.m. dinner?  Well, as I looked closer, I saw all the fixings for a good Thai soup.  
My local store just happened to have key limes this week, and I love how sour they are.  It was a good finishing for this soup.  I also had a jar of green curry paste.  A few bunches of rice noodles and I was pretty much set.  But did I want tofu or something else?  It had to be good and filling.  Enter the star of this soup, my Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash).
One thing I love about this squash is no need to peel.  The peel is edible and as we all know, the peel of most things has a lot of nutrients.  I think it adds a lot of contrasting colors too.
So, here is a picture of most of the ingredients. (I didn't take a picture of the soy milk, broccoli, and spinach)

1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1c shredded green cabbage
3c water
1c kabocha squash, cut into small, bite sized pieces (1 inch)
3 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 small mushrooms, cut into quarters
1/4c green Thai curry paste (either store bought, or you can make your own)
1c baby spinach, washed and left whole
1/2c broccoli florets (bite sized)
2 servings of fine rice noodles (dried)
1c soy milk or any unflavored plant milk
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
2 tsp. sugar
Juice of 2 small key limes or 1 regular lime
1 cup cilantro, cut roughly

Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  When the pan is good and hot, add the onion and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the cabbage and saute another minute.  Add the water, squash, green onions, mushrooms, and stir well.  Add the curry paste and stir until it is mixed in.

Bring to a boil, and cover.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Allow to simmer for about 15 miutes (check after 12 minutes, it depends on how small you cut the squash)
When the squash is soft, add the spinach and broccoli, stir well.  Let cook for 2 more minutes.  
After 2 minutes, add the dry noodles and mix in.  Let them cook for a minute or two, until soft.
Add the coconut extract, sugar and milk together and add with the lime juice and cilantro to the soup.  Stir well, and cook 1 minute.
Take off heat and serve while hot.
Serve with a squeeze of lime.
You could add some grilled tofu.  Serve with a side of rice. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Klunker's crunchy cauliflower bites

Klunker's crunchy cauliflower bites

I know the trend for a long time (for plant based eaters) has been the cauliflower "wings".  
I am so obsessed with Asian food right now, I never even gave them the time of day.  They always looked good, but I just never tried.
Today I went to the fridge to see what I could make for lunch.  I had a big salad already made, but I wanted more.  I saw the cauliflower and decided to day was the day to jump into the ring and make these crispy bites.
***I did not take pictures along the way, I was not making this to post originally, so I will give you the recipe and instructions, and then the next time I make them, I will update the blog with pictures.***


1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut down into bite sized pieces 
1/2c rice flour (I used white, you could use brown)
1/2c water
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup no oil panko bread crumbs (for GF, use 1 cup of corn flakes, crushed small)
Hot sauce of choice (amount will really depend on how spicy you want)

Preheat your oven to 450°.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or better is a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, water, garlic powder, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  It will be a thin batter.
In a large (1 gallon) zip top bag, place the panko bread crumbs (or crushed corn flakes)
After breaking down the cauliflower, place all the pieces in the batter.  Mix gently (you don't want to break) making sure all the pieces are completely coated.  You want them drenched.
After you are sure all the pieces are well coated, remove the pieces from the batter and onto a cooling rack, or even just a colander and let drip/drain for a couple minutes.
Place the pieces into the panko/corn flakes bag and seal the bag.  Gently shake the cauliflower to coat well.  You want to be gentle but make sure all the pieces are well coated.
Removed the cauliflower from the bag one at a time and place on your baking sheet.  You want one layer.
Place into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Some of the edges will brown, but that is fine.
After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place into a large, clean bowl. (just clean the one you had the batter in)
Cover with desired amount of hot sauce and gently toss to coat well.
Place back on the baking sheet and bake another 10 minutes or a little longer if not crispy enough.
Remove from oven and let cool for a minute and serve.  As they sit for a minute they will crisp up even more.
Serve as is, or with your favorite dipping sauce.
I hope you give these a try and enjoy them as much as I did. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Okara patties

Okara patties

Okara!  What in the world is it, and why am I making patties out of it?  
Well, lets start with the fact that I have started making my own soy milk.  I don't use it often, so I thought it would be a good idea to start buying the dry beans, and making small batches of milk.  That way I don't waste all the soy milk when I buy it in a big box.  
When you make the soy milk from scratch, it has amazingly different flavor.  It has such a mild and creamy flavor.  
One of the results of soy milk, is the pulp left over.  This pulp is full of nutrition and flavor. It is called okara.  Here is the nutritional info on it. (for this I entered 1 cup, the amount for this recipe)


1c okara
1c cooked rice (white or brown)
1c chopped mushrooms
3 stalks of green onion, sliced thin
1/2c rice flour (white or brown)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tablespoons sweet potato starch (or corn starch, or tapioca starch)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2c nutritional yeast
1/2c panko bread crumbs (make sure they are oil free)
1-2 tablespoons water if needed

Optional sauce:
1/4c low sodium soy sauce
1/4c maple syrup
2 tablespoons mirin
(instructions at the end)

Combine all the above in a large bowl (except the water) and mix well (squish and mix) until it well combined.
You want the consistency to be like a well mixed meatloaf.  If it is dry, add the water, one tablespoon at a time.  You want to be able to form nice patties that are moist.
I was able to get 9 patties, they were about 3 inches around.
In a large, nonstick saute pan over medium high heat, dry fry the patties.  You want to "fry" for at least 4-5 minutes per side, or until nice and golden brown.
You can remove at this point and serve on a bun, or you can take it one step further.  With the patties in the hot pan, pour the sauce recipe above in.  Move the patties around well.  Turning and flipping to make sure all the sides are covered.  This will add a wonderful, umami taste.  Remove from the pan and serve.  These will keep for a couple days in the fridge and can be warmed up.
I hope you can give this one a try, with a less used ingredient.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Klunker's black bean fajita soup (slow cooker)

Klunker's black bean fajita soup (slow cooker)

Today was a great day with my kids, and I wanted to keep playing.  But I had to think about dinner too.  So, I got my slow cooker out, and decided that dinner can cook itself, and I can keep playing with the kids.
I had some red and green bell peppers in the fridge that needed to be used.  I love fajitas, and since I was making dinner in the slow cooker, I turned it into soup.  
It has a little spice to it, but you can adjust it up or down as you want.  The best part is you can just dump it all in and go about your day.  Now, I know there is a large number of you that have the Instant Pot, so I have included instructions for that too. :)


2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (this is optional, you can include liquid if you want)
1 can of RoTel® 
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
3 cups veggie broth
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped small
1 red bell pepper, washed and chopped small
1 green bell pepper, washed and chopped small
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt (optional)
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika 
1/2-1 tsp. chipotle powder
4-5 corn tortillas 

Get all of your prep work done (picture above).  Then, like magic, dump it all into the pot of your slow cooker (except the corn tortillas) , stir well (make sure all the spices are mixed in).

I put on high for 1 hour to get it warmed up, and then low for 6 hours.  You can put on high for 4 hours too.  If you are making it in the IP, place everything in the pot (except the tortillas) and put lid on.  Manual pressure, 7 minutes, natural release.

For the crispy tortillas on top:
-Heat oven to 400*
-Stack the tortillas on top of each other
-With a sharp knife, slice the tortillas into thin strips
-Spread the strips onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone pad
-Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Check often, you don't want them to burn.
-When they are golden brown and crispy (they will crisp up more when you take out of the oven) take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
-Place on your soup and enjoy.  

You can also garnish your soup with avocado, lime juice and some plant based sour cream and chopped cilantro.
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious soup!

Klunker's garlic and basil mushroom noodles

Klunker's garlic and basil mushroom noodles

Sometimes I go into the kitchen with no clue! Today was one of those days.  I knew I was hungry for something savory and full of good taste.  I just got a huge supply of mushrooms, and so that is where this recipe started.  I then saw the Thai basil I picked up at the Asian market, and that came out too.  I have a year supply of udon noodles, so the recipe came together.  
Now, you could sub some things here.  You can use regular basil, any kind of mushroom, and any long noodle.  (spaghetti, linguine)
Here is a picture of the ingredients
10 medium size mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
2 servings of udon noodles (or your choice of noodle)
1 cup of Thai basil (or any basil), roughly cut up
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoons mirin (if you don't have mirin, you can use 2 tablespoons rice vinegar with 1 tsp. sugar)
2 tablespoons water

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Boil the noodles for the instructed amount of time.

When the noodles are cooked, drain and run cold water over them until they are completely cooled.  Leave in the colander to drain well.
Place a large saute pan or wok over medium high heat.  Let heat up for a minute or so, until very hot.
When hot, place onions in and saute.
 Saute the onions for about 2 minutes.  Then add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
Next, add the mushrooms.  Mix the water, sugar, soy, mirin and mix well, then add also.  Turn the heat down to medium.   Saute for about 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms have begun to wilt.  
After 8 minutes, add the drained noodles in.  MIX WELL.  You want to make sure every noodle is covered in sauce. 

Finally, add the basil and mix well.  Cook another minute and you are done.
Serve alone, or with a side of rice.
 You can garnish with extra, fresh basil if you want more basil flavor. 
I hope you enjoy this recipe. :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dau Hu Sot Ca (Tofu in Tomato Pepper Sauce)

Dau Hu Sot Ca (Tofu in Tomato Pepper Sauce)

While I am at work during the night, I sometimes have some free time to explore new recipes online.  Most of the time I am looking at recipes full of oils and added meat/dairy, and wondering how I can transform them into a plant based recipe that will taste amazing.
I also spend most of my time and effort doing that to Asian dishes.  I love the food and people and really think I was a chef somewhere in Asia in my past life.
I usually cook food from Korea, China and Japan.  They are my staple (well, rice is really my staple, and everything else is on the side).  Today I wanted to expand my taste buds and see what other great dishes are out there.  I thought I would start with an easy dish, and it comes to us from Vietnam.  
I apologize for not having detailed pictures along the way, but this one is easy enough that you can do it without.
Here are the ingredients and you will see just how simple great flavor can be.


1 12oz block of firm or extra firm tofu.  Drained and sliced into 12 even cubes. (dry the pieces on some paper towels)
1 14oz can of chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped up small
3 green onions, cleaned and sliced thin
2 heaping tablespoons of sambal oelek (chili paste)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black is ok too)
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

Place a large, nonstick saute pan over medium heat.  Let the pan heat up for a few minutes.
Add the tofu pieces, and let brown up on all sides.  This will take about 12-15 minutes.  Take your time and let each side get nice and golden brown.  With no oil, it takes a little longer, but it is worth it.
When all the sides are golden brown, remove the tofu (carefully) and set on a plate.  Don't place in bowl, you want them to stay crispy.
In the same pan, over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Stir often, you don't want the garlic to burn.
Add the can of tomatoes, with liquid and the sambal oelek, and stir well.
Next in the pan is the pepper and soy sauce, stir well.
Allow this mix to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 10 minutes, add the tofu and the green onions and stir around carefully, making sure to coat each piece of tofu.
Let simmer another minute, and serve.
If you want, you can add the tofu in and let simmer a little longer, and it will absorb more of the flavors.  I did this and enjoyed it both ways.
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Klunker's sweet and spicy cauliflower

Klunker's sweet and spicy cauliflower

If you follow my blog for even one day, you realize that my heart and soul is in Asian cuisine and culture.  I have been cooking mostly Asian food, and I don't really see this stopping anytime soon.  
I usually will pick a country for the day, and cook food associated with that area.  I investigate the flavors and traditions, and sometimes cook very traditional meals, and sometimes I write a new recipe inspired by the flavors of the region.  
Well, today was my Vietnam inspired day, and I made a lot of food.  Most of them were traditional, this one was not.  This one was my own, and it came to me while I was trying to sleep after my 12 hour graveyard shift.  I had to write it down so I could get some sleep. Then, I woke up early enough to be able to make it.  I am happy to report that it came off without a hitch and turned out amazingly well.  My daughter (who loves spicy kimchi) liked this one too, so I knew it was a keeper.
The ingredients are simple, the cooking time is minimal, and it will be a great addition to some steamed rice.

Ingredients: (serves 2 as a side, or 1 as a meal)

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, washed and sliced into strips
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin (half moons)
2 tablespoons water (for sauteing)
2 green onions, sliced on the bias, very thin (for garnish)

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice (I use the juice from a can of pineapple, make sure it is 100% juice, no sugar)
2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
combine together and mix, set aside.

Place a wok or large nonstick pan over medium high heat and let it get hot.
When it is hot, add the onions, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring the whole time so they don't burn.

After 3 minutes, add the garlic and peppers.  Saute another 3-5 minutes, or until they start to soften.

Finally, add the cauliflower, and saute for 3 minutes.  Then, add the 2 tablespoons water and cover.  Let steam for about 5 minutes.  (NO PEEKING)
After 5 minutes, take the cover off, and add the sauce you made. (*note* if you want a thick sauce, you could add some corn starch to the sauce mix)

Allow to boil for about 2 minutes, and take off the heat.  
Serve over rice, or on its own.  Garnish with the thinly sliced green onions.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.  Please give me feedback if you liked it or not. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mini pineapple upside down cake

Mini pineapple upside down cake

I cannot believe this is my second recipe that involved a dessert.  I am not a baker.  I don't know why, I just don't usually enjoy it.  But here we are, another baked dish, and I am so happy about it too.  
My friend Marylou got a hold of me, and asked if I could replicate a recipe, but make it McDougall friendly.  Well, I had to pretty much re write the whole thing, but I am sure glad I did.  Thank you Marylou for the great idea, and I hope you enjoy this one.

(this recipe will make 24 mini cakes or 2 eight inch cakes)

1 can of pineapple, chunks or rings (20 oz.)

1/2c aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpea's)
1/2c unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2c + 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/2c + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4c pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple, make sure to get pineapple in 100% juice)
1c almond milk (or any plant milk)

3 1/2c unbleached white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

OK, first thing to do is turn the oven on to 350°.
Now, lets prepare the muffin tin/pan.  If you have silicone, all the better.  If not, it will work fine.  

Pour 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar into a small bowl, also 1 tablespoon maple syrup.  Now, with a small spoon, distribute the maple syrup and sugar onto the bottom of each tin. (see below)
Now, place your pineapple round or if you are chunks, place them on the bottom, on top of the sugar. (I did not use cherries, I don't like them, but if you want one, just place in the center)
Set pan aside.
In a mixing bowl (preferably a stand mixer, but can be made with a hand mixer too) combine all the wet ingredients, and with the whisk attachment, or regular beaters if you are using a hand mixer, mix on high for 5-7 minutes.  It will be very frothy.  
While it is mixing, combine the dry ingredients, and mix well with a spoon or whisk.
After the wet ingredients are frothy, start adding the dry, slowly, or you will wear it.
When it is all combined, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides from time to time.  Then mix on high for 30 seconds.

Now, with a 1/4c measuring spoon, fill each muffin slot to 3/4 full.  This recipe will make 24, so if you have two trays, all the better.

Place in hot oven, and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Now, mine had a few that made little volcanoes and made a hole through the middle.  I didn't mind, it filled the whole inside with yummy goo
When they are done, remove from oven, and with a small paring knife, cut around the edges to loosen. Then, place a cutting board over the top, and carefully, with mitts or oven pads, flip over.  Tap each muffin cup with a wooden spoon, and carefully pull the tray off.  If there are one or two that stick, loosen a little more and try again.
If you are making the 8 inch cakes, distribute the syrup and sugar on the bottom of each pan, and place the pineapple evenly on top of it.  Then fill each pan 3/4 full and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Then, as above, invert onto a cutting board.
Let cool completely, and then store in an airtight container.
I hope this works out for you all as good as it did for me. :)