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Archive for March 2nd, 2009

What is Kuzu?  Amazingly, I had some in my cupboard.  There didn’t seem to be an expiration date so I assumed it was good. Course it could have been one of those products in my cupboard that was purchased before the producer was required to put expiration dates on food. Wasn’t that before “Leave It To Beaver” came to TV?  Back to the original question.. What is Kuzu? 

dscn0276 Kuzu is a thickening agent.  I will quote right from the back of the package, distributed by Mitoku Co. at www.mitoku.com.

“…a choice starch derived from the roots of one of Japan’s most tenacious and vigorous wild plants….. the roots are crushed, repeatedly washed to remove impurities, then the white starch is naturally dried for over 90 days.” 

“Use….to thicken sauces, soups and broths, puddings, pie fillings and shortcakes toppings.  Kuzu must be well dissolve in cold water before adding to hot liquids.”

I used my Kuzu to make myself a wonderful Vegetarian dinner of “Baked Tofu with Mushrooms and Scallions”.  I took the recipe from “The Kripalu Cookbook” by Atma JoAnn Levitt and modified it.  My version went something like this:

  • 14 oz Lite Firm Tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 1 TBS kuzu dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 6 peeled and sliced baby bella mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place the prepared tofu in an oiled baking dish – large enough to keep the tofu in one layer.

Put the ginger, wine, tamari, vinegar, and 2 of the chopped onions in a pot on stove. Bring to a boil. Add Kuzu and stir until translucent and thickened. Add the mushroom and pour over tofu. Put in the oven for35-40 minutes. *Use less ginger if you don’t want quite a strong ginger taste.

As a side, I used the same pot used to make the sauce above, added washed and halved fresh brussel sprouts with some water. Boil for about 5 – 6 minute. I put them in an oven proof dish which was drizzled with EVOO, added some peeled and sliced mushrooms, pepper and salt and roasted on 425 for 20 minutes.

dscn0279 Although the tofu was not crispy, the dish was very tasty. I think I’m beginning to really enjoy tofu in a variety of ways and not simply “crispy”. 

What about that pic?  I’m trying to get better but I really don’t think I have a photographers “eye”.    I contacted a great source, Mr. Michael Ray at Food Photography Blog for some helpful tips. 

Have a super duper night all!  I’m off to watch “The Dog Whisperer”  Sshhhhh!    ….Sweet dreams.

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Don’t you just love finding those little orange sections when you split your orange in half?  They are so sweet and, for some reason, more fun to eat.

oranges

Yes, it is Monday once again.  Good things happening this week in Utica. It is the annual Heart Run and Walk to benefit the American Heart Association.  I’m looking forward to working at the Utica Road Runner table at the Expo on Friday from 9 – 11 AM.  I haven’t decided whether I will run the 5 mile, 3 mile, or walk with Shane on the 3 mile walk.  I’m waiting to see what the weather is like because last year, I ran the 3 mile in the pouring, cold (let me emphasize.. COLD) rain.  It wasn’t really that much fun.  Ted  said he may do the walk with Shane as well and that would be a lot of fun. 

This morning, instead of running to keep in the mood for the coming weekend, I decided I was getting “stale” and needed to switch it up a bit. I rowed for 20 minutes and ran for 10. Did a really good chest and bicep workout. I used heavier weight and tried to vary the exercises a bit. Not by much, we don’t have a lot of variety with our equipment.

Breakfast, following my prework out shake of 1 scoop VPX, was 1/2 and orange, 1/4 cup Cream of Rice cooked with a Vanilla Maple Tea Bag for flavor. I added some dried cranberries and a spoonful of my VPX with FUZE post workout shake to cool it down.

cream-of-rice

Not sure what’s on the agenda for today, but inevitably I can’t put off rewriting that QC manual forever so if nothing urgent comes up, that’s on the list.

You all have a great Monday and if you’re in the area, PLEASE let me know if you are doing the Heart Run and if I will see you at the table on Friday morning. I’d love to say “hi”.  🙂

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