Orange Tofu (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Orange chicken was one of my favorite dishes to enjoy growing up in my family’s Chinese restaurant. Since transitioning to a plant-based diet, I wanted to recreate this popular dish and utilize tofu as the protein source. I recommend using Twin Oaks extra firm tofu because its hearty texture produces crispy cubes of golden brown tofu when pan-fried. To make the sweet and savory orange sauce, mix together orange juice, rice vinegar, tamari, and spices. Serve this simple and flavorful orange tofu over a bed of fluffy jasmine rice.


Ingredients:

16 ounces extra firm tofu
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with two tsp. water


Directions:

  1. Cut tofu into small cubes and marinate in one tablespoon of tamari for 15 minutes
  2. Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add tofu and pan fry for 10-12 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Flip tofu every 2-3 minutes so all sides can get crispy. Once tofu is done cooking, transfer to a bowl.
  3. To make the orange sauce, combine remaining one tablespoon of tamari, orange juice, rice vinegar, garlic powder, ground ginger, and cayenne pepper. Mix well so all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Add sauce to the same pan and heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and simmer for 3 minutes. Add tofu back to the pan and mix well to coat tofu evenly with sauce. Serve with rice and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Teriyaki Cauliflower Bites (Vegan)

These teriyaki cauliflower bites are full of flavor and are a healthy plant-based alternative to chicken wings. Cauliflower contains high amounts of vitamin C and is a good source of dietary fiber. Baking the cauliflower instead of frying it reduces the fat and calorie content of the dish. After the cauliflower has been baked, it becomes crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. A quick and simple teriyaki sauce made from liquid aminos, water, ginger, and brown sugar adds sweet and savory flavor to the cauliflower. Serve these teriyaki cauliflower bites as an appetizer or as an entrée with rice.

 

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
½ cup unsweetened soymilk
½ cup water
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup liquid aminos
½ cup water
½ tsp. ginger
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup green onions, sliced

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare batter by mixing soymilk, water, whole wheat flour, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Dip each cauliflower floret into the batter so the whole floret is well coated. Gently tap off any excess batter. Transfer cauliflower to an oiled baking sheet.
  4. Bake cauliflower for 20 minutes. Flip cauliflower florets halfway through baking.
  5. While cauliflower is baking, prepare teriyaki sauce by mixing liquid aminos, water, ginger, and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the teriyaki sauce. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Drizzle any leftover teriyaki sauce over the cauliflower. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

 

 

Pistachio Pesto (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Pesto is one of my favorite pasta sauces because it requires only a few ingredients and comes together in a flash. Pistachios are full of heart healthy fat and add a rich, slightly sweet flavor to the pesto. I like serving this pistachio pesto with Banza chickpea pasta, which can be found in the Co-op’s pasta section. Compared to wheat pasta, chickpea pasta is higher in fiber and protein and is gluten free. This versatile pistachio pesto can also be enjoyed with roasted vegetables, as a pizza sauce, and as a spread in sandwiches.

 

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups fresh basil
½ cup pistachios, shelled
¼ cup + 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt

 

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the food processor. Pulse for another 5-10 seconds until a thick paste forms.

 

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Mushroom and Leek Congee (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Makes 2-4 servings
Congee is a rice porridge dish typically eaten for breakfast in China and other Asian countries. Making congee is a simple process. All you have to do is boil a pot of rice and water and simmer the mixture until the rice becomes tender and silky. You can eat congee plain or add a variety of flavorful mix ins. Growing up, my mother would often make savory congee with chicken and egg. Congee is also great to eat if you are feeling under the weather because it’s light, comforting, and easy to digest. For this recipe, I added mushrooms, leeks, ginger, and liquid aminos to create a satisfying dish full of umami flavor.

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
1 inch knob of ginger, sliced
1 large leek, sliced¼ pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed
8 cups water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon liquid aminos

 

Directions:

  1. Heat Earth Balance butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of liquid aminos. Transfer cooked leeks and mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
  2. To the same pot, add rice, water, and ginger. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, add in mushrooms, leeks, and 1 tablespoon liquid aminos. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Ladle congee into a serving bowl and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Zero Waste Shopping at the Co-op

Grocery shopping is something we all do, whether it’s once every two weeks, or once a day. Zero waste grocery shopping is one of the easiest ways to make an impact! Before we start, let’s go over what you will need to have with you in order to make your shopping trip successful (The quantity of each will depend on the size of your shopping trip! This is why tip #1 is important.).

What you’ll need:

  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Reusable produce and bulk bags
  • Jars or containers

Now that you know what supplies you’ll need, let’s get started!

 

Make a List

Before heading to the grocery store, make a list! Making a list is important for several reasons. It will help you to know how many bags and jars you’ll need, it will reduce impulse shopping, prevent food waste due to over-shopping, and lower the cost of your shopping trips. Once you have your grocery list ready to go, take a look at it and decide what you’ll need for each item. For example, if you are planning to purchase rice, dried black beans, olive oil, and broccoli, you will need to decide if you’d rather use bulk bags or jars for the rice and beans, you’ll need a jar for the olive oil, and a produce bag for your broccoli (optional). Pack the correct number of bulk/produce bags and jars in your reusable shopping bags and stick them in your car/bike pannier/backpack/etc.

 

The Bulk Section

Friendly City Food Co-op has an incredible bulk section, and it is often overlooked! Many people avoid the bulk section because it is intimidating, takes a little bit longer to get what you need, or other reasons. If you are intimidated by the bulk section, I’m here to help! In order to shop the bulk section zero-waste, there are a few things you need to know. First of all, avoid the plastic bags provided for you! This is where those bags and jars you packed come into play. So, let’s say we’re getting rice from the bulk section.

STEP 1: Choose your bag or jar

STEP 2: Weigh it. If you are using a reusable bulk bag, chances are it probably already has a weight stamped or embroidered on it somewhere. Examine your bag and see if you can find it. If you can’t, take it up to the cashier and have them weigh it for you (this is called the tare in the grocery store world). You can either write the weight on the bag with a fabric marker, remember it in your head, or record it on a note in your phone. If you are using a jar, take your empty jar to the cashier and have them give you the tare.

STEP 3: Fill your bag or jar. Take your bag or jar over to the bulk section and place it under the rice (or other bulk item of choice). If you’re using a bag, it should fit easily around the opening to the rice. Pull the handle down until your bag reaches the desired amount. If you’re using a jar, it may not fit under the opening as well. This is what those handy dandy little funnels you see are for! Grab a funnel, place it under the opening to the rice, and place the narrow end in the mouth of your jar. Fill ‘er up! Once you have your rice, be sure to record the Price Look-Up Code (PLU) found on the bulk bin. It should be a 4-digit number. You can record this number on your bag or jar, remember it, or keep it in your phone.

STEP 4: Once you have all of your shopping completed, take your groceries up to the front to check out. Hand your bulk items to the cashier with the rest of your groceries. If you did not record the tares and PLUs on your bags or jars, be sure to tell the cashier what each one is. He or she will deduct the tare from the total weight so you’re not paying for the extra weight.

 

Purchase Ingredients

To avoid unnecessary packaging waste, as well as processed foods, make your own food! I recently discovered how easy it is to make tortillas, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat store-bought tortillas again! Rather than buying bread packaged in plastic, learn to make your own. The same applies for dinners, cookies, nut milks, and more! It is much cheaper to buy ingredients to make food fresh than it is to buy packaged meals and other items (and it’s fun!) In addition to bulk goods such as rice, dried beans, granola, and more, the co-op has a wide range of bulk spices to choose from! Reuse your empty spice bottles or small mason jars to purchase bulk spices.

 

The Hot Bar

Have you experienced the Friendly City Food Co-op Hot Bar and all its deliciousness yet? If not, you’re missing out! If you have, you may have noticed the to-go containers provided. In order to avoid the waste of a single-use to-go container, bring your own! Follow the same procedure you would with bulk food – take your container or plate to the cashier to get a tare, fill it up with delicious food, then head back to the cashier to check out. Don’t forget your reusable utensils as well!

 

Say No to Plastic

Take it one step at a time. If you’re not ready to start making everything from scratch, that’s completely fine! If you finish reading this and decide that you’re going to make one change, let that change be to eliminate plastic from your grocery shopping. Choose bulk over packaged, and say no to the plastic bags for bulk and produce. Many shoppers think you’re required to put produce in those plastic bags, but you don’t actually have to! You can use a reusable produce bag, or no bag at all! Chances are you’re going to wash the produce when you get home, regardless of what type of bag it was in. Choose items that are packaged in paper, cardboard, or glass over plastic.

 

Still have a question about zero waste grocery shopping? Feel free to email me at allie@bringyourownllc.com, or just ask when you see me working at the register!

 

Allie Emerick
Front End Team Member
Owner of Bring Your Own, LLC

 

Tofu Noodle Soup (Vegan)

Makes 4-6 servings

There are few things more comforting than a big bowl of hot soup on a chilly winter evening. This tofu noodle soup is my take on the classic chicken noodle soup and is loaded with nourishing ingredients. The foundation of the soup begins with a mirepoix, which is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery. These three vegetables are high in fiber and add flavor and depth to the soup. Dried thyme has long been used for its medicinal properties and adds an earthy flavor to the soup. I love adding dried thyme to soup because it gives off a wonderful aroma that fills the whole kitchen. Smoked tofu has a savory, meaty flavor and can be found in Friendly City Food Coop’s refrigerated section. It is filled with nutrients such as protein, calcium, and iron. If you’ve never tried smoked tofu, I highly recommend using it in this recipe as it does a great job substituting for chicken.

 

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tsp. dried thyme
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
8 oz. smoked tofu, diced
8 oz. dry fusilli pasta (penne pasta works well too!)
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté vegetables for 5 minutes until slightly tender.
  2. Add in dried thyme and sauté for one minute until fragrant.
  3. Add vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil. Add in pasta and reduce heat to low. Add in smoked tofu.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes until pasta is tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

 

Black Bean and Vegetable Soup (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Makes 4-6 servings
What’s more comforting than a hot bowl of soup on a cold Winter night? This hearty black bean and vegetable soup features a simple ingredient list and can be made in as little as 30 minutes. Black beans are an affordable and delicious way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet. Did you know a ½ cup of black beans has as much protein as an egg? Beans are also a great source of fiber and iron. Enjoy this flavorful and filling black bean and vegetable soup with a squeeze of fresh lime.

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. avocado oil
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. cumin
32 ounces vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced

 

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Sauté vegetables in avocado oil for 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cumin and sauté for 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and beans and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add blended soup back to the pot and mix well to combine. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the soup with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and enjoy!

 

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

 

Maple Ginger Tempeh (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Makes 2-4 servings

Have you ever wondered how to prepare tempeh? Try something new this season by making this savory maple ginger tempeh. Tempeh is made from cooked and fermented soybeans and is often used as a meat substitute. It is high in protein and calcium and has a nutty flavor. I find that steaming the tempeh for 15 minutes softens the tempeh and helps the tempeh absorb the marinade better. The marinade is made from a combination of sweet maple syrup, salty tamari, spicy cayenne, and earthy ginger. This flavorful marinade is also tasty with tofu.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon dried ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package tempeh, cubed

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Steam tempeh for 15 minutes. While tempeh is steaming, prepare marinade by whisking coconut milk, tamari, maple syrup, dried ginger, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Marinate steamed tempeh for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  4. Bake tempeh for 20 minutes. Flip halfway through.

 

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Potato and Kale Soup (Vegan and Gluten Free)

As the weather gets cooler, warm up with a steaming bowl of potato and kale soup. Creamy potatoes and tender kale combine to create a nutritious and hearty soup full of fiber and vitamins A and C. The addition of unsweetened soymilk adds richness while still keeping the soup light.

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds gold potatoes, sliced thin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, leaves removed from stems
1 ½ cups unsweetened soymilk
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add kale and soymilk and simmer for 5-10 minutes until kale is tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

The Co-op Looks Forward: The Next 5 Years

By Steve Cooke, General Manager

Just after we opened in 2011, the board of directors and a few members of the management team, including myself, spent a weekend creating a document which defines how and why the world will be different because the co-op exists. There was a very lively debate, and lots of visionary ideas were offered up, debated, tossed around and defended. Post it notes with words like sustainable, local, organic, healthy,  fair trade,  friendly, connected, regenerative, and grass-fed were stuck up on walls and voted upon to prioritize what was important to this community-focused group. When the weekend was over, we had a draft document that ultimately became our Ends Policy:

Friendly City Food Co-op exists so that the Shenandoah Valley has:
A vibrant, local economy;
Fair and friendly relationships;
Healthy, informed consumers and producers;
And a healthy environment.

This policy is more than a mission statement. It is the basis for all of our business planning and budgeting, and it guides all of our activities and operational decisions.

A vibrant, local economy means growing, creating, and sustaining jobs; circulating dollars within the Valley; sourcing as much as feasible from Valley producers while inter-connecting with local economies outside the Valley for products not produced or grown here.

In the coming 5 years, our co-op will continue growing and thriving within this community. Our goal is having one-third of our store purchases come from local vendors.

We are exploring a commercial kitchen space for use by our kitchen crew to create new value added products from smaller, “ugly” produce, and ultimately to train workers in diverting potential food waste by preserving and converting it into jams, jellies, sauces and pickles. This will reduce food waste in our area, give farmers more revenue from their produce and add jobs, all of which will improve our local economy.

In the coming year, the store hopes to launch Phase II of our expansion project which will include more space for produce, deli, grocery, and beer/wine. There will be improved classroom and meeting room spaces available for employees, owners and the public to use. The goal for completion of this renovation/expansion is the end of 2018, or 2019.

Fair and friendly relationships are the foundation upon which we build all of the other programs, and relationships within the community. “Fair and friendly relationships” are considered in a 360° manner to include: member-owners, board directors, team members, team leaders, vendors, producers, distributors, suppliers, delivery people, neighbors, business partners, business community, domestic and wild creatures. “Fair” means considerate, compassionate, equitable, and based on creating “win-win” outcomes for all involved either directly or indirectly. “Friendly” is in our name and carries special significance for this reason. Customer service can be a subjective thing as different people have different expectations of what great service entails. Our job is to discern how each individual would like to be treated and provide that type of service.

Friendly, attentive service will continue to be our standard and we will steadily raise the bar as our community learns that businesses can be engaged, conscientious and nice through our example. We will engage our community to learn how we can best serve its needs through surveys, focus groups, listening sessions and just talking to our customers.

We will introduce new Fair Trade products as available. Fair Trade is a great example of being transparent and fair with producers. Wholesale costs are slightly more than in free trade situations, so that the producers can afford access to education and health care in their communities around the globe. Purchasing from other cooperatives helps us to fulfill the Sixth cooperative principle, cooperation among co-ops, and keeps us connected to the cooperative community. As a nice bonus, many international fair trade products also come from cooperatives.

Healthy, informed consumers and producers guides our entire operation, especially in marketing and outreach efforts. Healthy consumers achieve that condition best when they have sufficient, valid resources and data on which to make good decisions regarding their physical and mental status. We believe that we should not be the judge of what is good or healthy for anyone, but rather provide objective information so they can make decisions for themselves. Additionally, we offer positive information on ways that citizens can improve their lifestyle or health condition, without attacking those who benefit from promoting unhealthy ingredients, synthetic chemicals, or highly processed foods.

We create and strengthen relationships between producers and consumers by offering our vendors time in the co-op providing samples and talking directly with our customers. This allows info to flow in all directions, so producers know what consumers want, as well as what the consumer may not want in their food or other consumer goods. Consumers should also know how their food is produced, and what the working conditions are like for the producers and their workers.

Because our producers can’t be here all the time, staff training is our best link between consumers and producers. By taking our team to visit farms, and artisanal food production sites, or bringing producers here to provide training, our team becomes more effective at conveying the high standards of quality and benefits to our local economy.

The expanded store will include a larger classroom with kitchen which means more cooking classes to empower our community to cook with local/healthy ingredients. We will continue our school visits, student and adult tours of the co-op; expand our farm tour programs, and promotion of our partnerships with local farms providing CSA (community-supported agriculture) shares.

A healthy environment has cleaner air, water and soil. Wildlife is given equal consideration to human life. Conservation of natural resources and utilizing renewable energy are higher priorities than exploiting the earth.

Promotion and support of local, organic, and sustainable agriculture will increase the availability of local, sustainable fruits and vegetables within the Valley. Re-focusing our attention on reducing food waste and promoting bulk foods, which minimizes wasteful packaging will shrink our impact on the world.

One interesting parallel is that our Ends Policy closely aligns with Triple Bottom Line business theory, in which organizations serving the public operate with more than just the traditional financial bottom line. They also monitor and measure progress towards social and environmental bottom lines.

Join us as we go boldly into the future, with our common values held high, and confident in our wisdom that our community cares about each other, our planet, and creating a sustainable future for all of us together.