Baked Tofu & Quinoa with Chickpeas and Spinach — Koko Likes

Bought tofu, pressed it for two hours last night and soaked it overnight in a Teriyaki Ginger Sauce… following this recipe. Will take some pictures and share if we like it!

Baked Tofu & Quinoa with Chickpeas and Spinach — Koko Likes.

via Baked Tofu & Quinoa with Chickpeas and Spinach — Koko Likes.

Crêpes ala Nectarines

What is the difference between a peach and a nectarine? Fuzz! Yes, it’s true. A nectarine is a peach that through a genetic mutation produces no “hair” or fuzz. Smooth skin, juicy, sweet flesh and no fuzz…what’s not to love?

I was feeling the love when I saw them at Wegmans and put a bag in my cart with the full intent of eating them one at a time.  But despite the beautiful golden orange appearance — and the words on the bag “ready to eat” — the flesh felt hard when pressed and I couldn’t catch a whiff of the fruit so I knew they weren’t quite ripe. I put them into a paper bag and let them sit for a few days on the counter until I smelled the sweet scent so recognizable at its peak softness. I took a bite. It was juicy, but not as sweet as I would have liked.

brown sugar, butter, pinch of salt and sliced nectarines... yum!

brown sugar, butter, pinch of salt and sliced nectarines… yum!

Hmmm…what to do?

I put a few tablespoons of  butter, brown sugar, and a pinch salt at the bottom of a skillet  — and as that heated and melted, I cut up 6 nectarines into thin slices right into the pan. I turned the heat down to low and added a lid and let the fruit cook down into a sweet, juicy filling.

Pankcakes? Waffles? Both are delicious, but I wanted something lighter. So I made crêpes.

Crepes might seem a little intimidating but I think once you get the hang of them, they are fairly easy to make. Alton Brown has a great recipe on his site, so does my bible — Joy of Cooking.

I make mine like this:

In your blender,  add (in no particular order)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water (or almond breeze)
  • 2 raw eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • capful of vanilla (1/2 teaspoon)

Blend away, stopping to scrape the sides of the blender where flour may stick.

It takes no more than 2-3 minutes to get it smooth. When you are done, stick it in the refrigerator for a half-hour to rest.

Take out a small skillet and add a little fat. I often take veggie oil and melt in a tablespoon or two of butter. Then I use a basting brush and brush the bottom of my non-stick pan with the mixture before I put in some batter and swirl it around. Crepes are meant to be very thin and very light so you don’t want to have too much batter in the pan. You really have to experiment. This video shows you exactly how to make them.

The batter must be thin enough to pour to make a light pancake

The batter must be thin enough to pour to make a light pancake

I filled mine them with a little french vanilla yogurt on the bottom and the cooked nectarines inside. You can dust them with powdered sugar to give them a little extra oomph!



Strawberry Dream Biscuit

Scrumptious Strawberry Morning Dream Biscuits

Ever wake up with just one thing on your mind?


It was like that with me one morning.

I had an urge for fresh coffee and a pastry of some sort. I didn’t feel like going to the store so I looked at Joy of Cooking and saw a recipe for Cream Biscuits. I had just purchased a large container of strawberries and while I was eyeballing them in the open fridge — a thought popped into my mind. What if I combined them?

Here’s the original recipe from Joy of Cooking:

Cream Biscuits or Shortcakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream

Mix/knead/shape into biscuits.

Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes

What did I do to change it up?

I followed the basic recipe but I added a teaspoon of vanilla. (Actually, vanilla bean paste. It is thick and smells awesome and leaves little vanilla bean speckles in whatever you make. The taste is simply divine!)  Then, about 1/3 cup white sugar to the mix. I splashed in a little extra cream while mixing the dough so that I could work more easily to shape the biscuits. I cut them in half, horizontally and snuck in a layer of sugared strawberries. I painted the top of the biscuits with a little egg white and sprinkled on a tiny bit of sugar. Finally, I baked them!

The family woke up just as I was pulling them out of the oven. Devoured them in 10 minutes, flat — each and every one. I’d say they were a hit. 🙂

Sliced and sugared, ready to use.

Sliced and sugared, they macerate in their own juices.

Assembling the pastries

Split the biscuits and add a layer of sugared strawberries.


Bake until golden at 450 (about 12-15 minutes!)

Triple Treat Rice Salad

Rice Salad Redux: Triple Treat

OK, OK, I know, we talked about rice salad two months ago! But summer is the time of year where you don’t want to spend time slaving in a hot kitchen. You want to make things that can last a few days as leftovers — that you can eat on a whim.

As you know, I rarely make the same exact recipe. I vary everything depending on my mood and my desire to get in the car and supplement the ingredients I have on hand. Lazy, I know, but practical.

Well, I riffed again and this one was pretty yummy and oh, so summery that I had to share more details. I think I’ll call this one “Triple Treat.” Why? Well, there are 3 kinds of grains in this one. (And you know, if I write it down, I’ll remember that I didn’t add garlic this time and it’s still awesome!!!) Anywho…

The grains:

  • white basmati rice (about 3 cups cooked)
  • wild rice (one cup dry, about 2 cups cooked)
  • rainbow quinoa (one cup dry about 3 cups cooked)

All good rice salads start with cooked, cooled rice. I make the rice in my rice cooker (the best investment I have made over the years — I get perfect rice all the time.)  When everything stops steaming you put it in a big bowl. Then you add the eye candy. I added:

  • two big bright orange carrots chopped into tiny pieces
  • a head of celery chopped into tiny pieces
  • one half a big sweet onion chopped (tiny!)
  • a cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • a big handful of fresh chives from my garden, cut into tiny pieces with my scissors

Then the sweet stuff:

  • about 1/2 cup of raisins
  • about 1/2 cup of dried plums (tiny pieces — you can find them near the dried plums in a small canister)


  • about 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • about 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Then the dressing!

This time, I wanted a sweeter taste. So, I did this to my taste, and this is where you really have to taste and adjust as you like:

  • 3/4 walnut oil
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • few shakes of peach flavored vinegar (probably 4 tablespoons?)
  • salt (teaspoon?)
  • sugar – 1/4 cup (?)
  • squeeze of lime

I mixed the dressing up and kept adding a little salt and sugar until I got the taste I was looking for. A real mix of sweet and salty. I poured my concoction  over all the other ingredients that I had assembled in a large bowl and gently mixed it through the rice.

Rice salad usually tastes better the second day you have it. Why? The flavors meld together, the dressing gets absorbed into the grains and you can then season again with a little more salt & fresh pepper when you serve it.

Try this and let me know how you like it! It’s filling, the quinoa has protein in it and the melange of flavors will have people begging for more!