ICSA 17: Happy Happy Soy Soy

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Submitted by Kiteless

ICSA 17: Soy Battle

I make a lot of Asian food at home; Vietnamese and Thai are on heavy rotation around my house. But it was rare to see soy, especially tofu and edamame, used beyond that. So I decided to go the route of using soy in decidedly non-Asian food.

Amuse Bouche: fried tofu with Balsamico and tomato and kalamata olive relish[edit]

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Ingredients:

  • Butter and canola oil for frying
  • Extra-firm tofu
  • 2 small good quality tomatoes, peeled, cored and diced
  • a couple kalamata olives, rinsed and diced
  • Fresh basil
  • Good quality olive oil

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I know, it’s winter in the U.S., so tomatoes suck. These are the best I can find, which isn’t too bad considering. I wanted to use cherry or grape tomatoes, but all the ones I found were disgusting and moldy.

First, peel, seed, core and dice your tomatoes. Here I am filetting the tomato.

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Here are the chopped tomatoes.

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Put in a bowl. Dice the olives and add them, plus about a teaspoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil, and a little fresh black pepper if you like.

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Pick a few small basil leaves and set them aside.

Cut your tofu into slices about quarter inch thick, and cut into diamonds. Fry in a nonstick pan over medium-low pan, in butter tempered with a little canola oil. Flip when golden brown.

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Drain on a paper towel. Top with a little bit of good quality balsamic vinegar (don’t skimp), and the tomato-olive relish. Top with a sprig of basil and serve.

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This is pretty good, especially if you’re generous with the balsamic vinegar. It’s a nice combo of flavors that I never tire of: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh tomato, olive and basil.

Ham, edamame and mint pasta with truffled breadcrumbs[edit]

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What you’ll need:

  • 8 oz linguine
  • About 1/4 cup good quality chunk ham (this is Niman Ranch black forest ham, it’s yummy)
  • Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3/4 cup, finely shredded)
  • Edamame (about 1/3 cup, shelled)
  • Fresh mint (about 2 TB, chopped)
  • Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Truffle oil (not pictured)
  • Some leftover bread (not pictured)

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I forgot to take pics of all of this step, but first, grate some bread (I used a microplane). Put them in a small nonstick skillet with a little butter over low heat. Stir occasionally until golden brown. Pour a little truffle oil, toss, and cook for just 30 seconds or so. Place on paper towels to drain the excess oil, and set aside.

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Grate some cheese finely (about a cup). Cut up your ham – I used intentionally rough cuts to give it some texture. Don’t use deli ham, it won’t have the same toothsome texture.

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Cook the edamame – I buy the frozen stuff and just microwave it for a few minutes. Shell it and, if you like, remove the outer skin. It won’t taste much different, but you won’t have the slippery skin and you can see the color is much more vibrant.

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Boil your pasta in salted water. Drain, but reserve about quarter cup of water. Toss in the edamame and ham, and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and tablespoon or two of the reserved cooking water.

Toss in some freshly cracked black pepper to taste, and stir in the cheese, a little bit at a time. At the very end, chop up some mint and throw it in. You won’t need salt as the cheese and ham are salty enough.

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Plate, and top with the truffled breadcrumbs.

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This is so good. The truffled breadcrumbs add a lovely earthy crunch, the mint lightens the ham and cheese, it just all works together really well. If you skip the breadcrumbs and don’t skin the soybeans, you can do all the prep (cook and shell the beans, chop the ham and mint, and grate the cheese) while you’re waiting for the water to boil, and then while the pasta is cooking. I did this a few days ago and dinner was done, start to finish, in 25 minutes.

Tamari lamb loin with curried edamame puree[edit]

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  • 1 lamb loin (I used 2 so I could have leftovers)
  • 1.5 cups shelled and skinned edamame (1 small bag)
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Tamari
  • Curry powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

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Lightly cook 1 medium clove of garlic in enough olive oil to cover, over low heat, for 15 minutes or until soft and starting to turn lightly golden. When tender, remove from heat.

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Rub the lamb down with black pepper and tamari. Let marinate and come to room temp for about 30 minutes.

Cook and shell your edamame, removing the skins. Yes, this will take a while. Consider sitting down and watching a tv show while you’re doing this—it took me 20 minutes, exactly enough time to watch a Tivo’d Futurama. We need about 1.5 cups of shelled, cooked beans.

In a food processor, puree the beans with the garlic, a tsp or two of lemon juice, and enough of the garlic olive oil (about 3 TB) and some water (also about 2 TB) to keep it loose. Add curry powder to taste (I used about 1 tsp, I think. I just added and tasted).

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Heat the edamame puree in a small pot over or fry pan low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, sear your lamb loin over medium heat in canola oil, about 4-5 minutes per side. Keep the middle rare to medium-rare.

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Remove from heat, tent with foil, and let rest about 7 minutes. Slice into medallions, plate onto a bed of edamame puree. Top with finishing salt (I’m using Hawaiian sea salt, direct from sea salt flats on Kauai, brought back by a coworker in a plastic ziploc baggie. It’s sooooo good.) I also did a tiny microgreen salad dressed with olive oil and salt.

Eat! Yum! The tamari lends just a little flavor to the already succulent and delicious lamb loin. The edamame has a green yet earthy, bean flavor that goes well with the curry and the lamb, and the microgreens add a little bitterness and crunch.

Coconut cream tartlets[edit]

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Blind-bake your tart crusts—mine are 4”. You can make your own pie crust, or buy it from the store, or whatever. Mine are homemade (no pics of this because I feel it’s pretty basic and covered in just about any cookbook, and if you don’t know how, just go pick up the refrigerated Pillsbury stuff).

  • 6 blind-baked tartlet crusts
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 TB cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • A few drops almond extract
  • 3/4 cup (packed) shredded, sweetened coconut
  • whipping cream
  • vanilla extract
  • sugar

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Blend tofu through cornstarch in a food processor or blender until smooth.

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Transfer to a medium sized saucepan and stir in coconut. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and extracts. Let cool, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add lid and let come to room temperature (about 45 minutes to one hour).

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Pour into pie crust, and refrigerate to set.

When ready to serve, whip some heavy whipping cream with a little vanilla and sugar. Toast some unsweetened coconut in a pan or in a toaster oven until golden brown in parts. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut and serve.

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