Boot Camp Recipes

Food is an important part of the dissertating process.

In the battle for time to write, we often give up on making and eating food, wholesome, delicious food. This is not a good thing for our bodies, nor our minds and spirits. So here are some recipes that are tried and tested, that are quick and simple to make, and that are wholesome and tasty.

Tomatoes in Balsamic Vinegar

Best made day before or morning of a dinner event.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Put in a bowl and sprinkle just a little sugar to draw out the sweetness.
Add a generous amount of chopped fresh basil. Toss well together.
Add balsamic vinegar - enough to liberally coat the tomatoes.
Cover tightly and let it sit - if you have time and remember, toss a couple of times.

How to serve, dress this up:

  • Enjoy as is - as a side dish. This keeps up to a week in the fridge.
  • Serve with good crusty bread, olives, and a creamy cheese with some crisp white wine.
  • Lovely with grilled fish.
  • Pour over a bed of mixed lettuce
  • Toss over a bed of aragula and spinach.
  • Serve warm over wilted spinach that has been dressed with some olive oil and salt
  • Toss with pasta and sprinkle with thin shavings of fresh parmesan
  • Mix with diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, red onions, and mushrooms and bake in an oven till potatoes are soft. 

.... as you can see the variations are endless

Grilled Tofu
Use firm or extra firm tofu. Slice into large slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with cooking foil, or just a lightly oiled baking sheet.
With your fingers, spread a pinch of turmeric and some salt all over the tofu slices, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Turn the slices over and repeat on the other side.
Broil till the tofu skins are golden - turn over the slices and do the other side.
You can make a large batch and have in the fridge to use in any number of ways through the week.

Use in a whole bunch of ways as imagination directs you ....

Some ideas:
Julienne zucchini. Hear a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, add a little chopped garlic and saute till golden. Add zucchni, pinch of salt and toss. Add grilled tofu. Mix well. While still hot, spread over a bed of chopped watercress or aragula (any salad green that has a slight peppery flavour.

Saute garlic and chopped onion till golden. Add chopped mushrooms and fresh basil. stir till mushrooms are almost cooked and add a can of diced tomatoes and grilled tofu cut into cubes. Simmer covered till all the flavours are mingled and the tofu has absorbed the tomato flavour. Serve over pasta with some fresh grated romano or parmesan cheese.

Use slices of grilled tofu in sandwiches or a wrap:

  • Rye bread - hummus, thinly sliced cucumber, tomatoes, super thin red onion slices, grilled tofu with a dollop of worchestershire sauce/mustard.
  • Tortilla wraps - hummus, avocado slices, mango slices, grilled tofu, baby spinach leaves.
  • Tomatoes, lettuce, grilled tofu slices, mayonnaise on toasted bread
  • Grilled eggplant and zucchini, grilled tofu, mustard, hummus on toasted ciabatta
  • Cut a large ciabatta loaf lengthways into 1-inch thick slices. On each slice, layer grilled eggplant, tomatoes, tofu, sprinkle liberally with a full flavoured cheese and place under the grill till the cheese melts and has brown bits. Cut across into serving size pieces.

Madeleines de Commercy
Almond Madeleines
Juliette Gutierrez made some wonderful Madeleines (Boot Camp September 9th, 2012). They are not-too-sweet-just-right for that mid-morning cup of tea or coffee before you get back to another block of writing time. 

 Rice is super easy to cook, and especially if you use brown, wild, or basmati rice, it has fewer empty carbs, and has more protein and minerals than wheat based products. It is also kinder to your digestive system.
10/04: Cooking rice 6
Cooking plain rice is really easy. AND ... rice freezes brilliantly, fluffing up as if fresh cooked when you thaw and heat them up, so make one large batch to save cooking time later. Wrap individual portions in wax paper and put these little packets into a large freezer bag so you can just take single portions out as needed.

No Fail Method to Cook Rice
Wash rice till water runs clear. Then add fresh water so that if the rice is sitting evenly at the bottom of the pot, the water you add should cover the rice up to an inch above the surface of the rice.

Cook over a moderate heat uncovered until you see no more water above the surface of the rice; if you stir the rice, you will see there is actually some water below the surface. And, the rice will still not be fully cooked, but that's ok as it will finish cooking in the next step.

Take the rice off the heat, cover the pot tightly and let the rice finish cooking in its own steam - about another 20 minutes or so. (I get the rice started before I do any other food prep or when I am having another meal or hanging out in the kitchen so that I am not waiting impatiently for rice to finish cooking). During this time the remaining water will be absorbed giving you fully cooked, fluffy rice that does not stick together. And, there will be no rice stuck or burnt on the bottom of your pot.

Now you have nice rice ... and you can use it as you like, or freeze some to use another time.
And here are some simple things to do with rice.

Fruits Legumes Courges

Rice with Roasted Squash and Cauliflower

These are very simple rice recipes - essentially a bunch of vegetables roasted, and then tossed with cooked rice. Makes a simple, satisfying, and energizing lunch when served with a salad.

I often make a large batch of roasted vegetables, and put into small containers or freezer bags as individual portions and freeze. Roasted vegetables freeze well so that when you thaw them out (even in the microwave oven) they keep their shape and taste as good.

Other ways to use roasted vegetables
Having these roasted vegetables in your freezer means you can whip up a good dinner really fast. Here are some ideas.
  1. Toss with cooked rice or pasta and eat as a main meal, with salad as a side. (Add julienne salami or ham if you like)
  2. Add a can of stewed tomatoes to make a chunky pasta sauce for spaghetti
  3. Use as a filling for pita bread or wraps
  4. Serve on a bed of baby spinach and aragula, with grated Parmesan cheese
  5. Mix with a can of tuna, a squeeze of lemon and finely chopped cilantro for a great tuna-veg salad or to use as a filling for wraps.
  6. Put in a baking dish, top with buttery mashed potatoes and bake (400F) till potatoes are brown and slightly crisp for a vegetarian shepherd's pie. Serve with a light salad.

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