“Chinese Brown Sauce”….Um…okay…

It’s always nice to have a quick sauce to drizzle over a tofu/vegetable/rice dish and I recently came across this one, which is rather good, in one of my new Kindle cookbooks.

Now…my usual go-to sauce for this type of bowl is Kung Pao sauce from the Rebar Cookbook, which includes TWELVE ingredients (two of which–star anise and hoisin–I don’t always have on hand). It is delicious, but that’s a heck of a lot of ingredients.

Kung Pao Sauce
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 pod star anise
2 tsp sriracha (hot sauce)
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp cornstarch

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together over medium high heat until the sauce thickens. Remember to remove the star anise pod before serving!

Here’s the Kung Pao sauce served over puffy tofu, broccoli, and noodles–yum yum!

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In any event, I was pleased to discover this “Chinese Brown Sauce” recipe (don’t let the pedestrian name fool you–it’s quite good!) in the Forks over Knives Cookbook.  It takes about two minutes to slap together and is quite delicious drizzled over grilled tofu and broccoli.

Combine in a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until it thickens:

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup rice syrup (I used agave syrup)

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

2 tsp. arrowroot powder

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I also made a big pot of this Minestrone, so I’ll have lots of different soups on hand when Johnny is released from the hospital. It’s a recipe by Marcella Hazan (of butter-in-tomato-sauce fame). I’ve been searching for a new Minestrone recipe for ages, and this one looks brilliant. I did substitute kale and spinach for the cabbage, however. It’s not that I don’t like cabbage, but it can overwhelm a nice fresh soup like this….not with its taste, but with its stringy presence.

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Because the Minestrone called for only fifteen ounces of cannellini beans, and my can was twenty-eight ounces, I ended up with a surfeit of beans. Fortunately, I found this surprisingly simple (and very healthy) Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip. It’s SO simple and surprisingly delicious.

Of course, it looks exactly like my green drink and my green soup and maybe even my pesto (as you can see below), but it tastes quite rich and creamy (though definitely meant to be eaten with something crunchy, like pita chips).

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