BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘tofu

Final Salad Days of Summer

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Tri-colored beets (golden, candy-striped Chioggia and plain red) salad I topped with goat cheese and maple syrup-candied chopped almonds.

I’ve been falling in love with salads again as I frantically try to cook up the summer’s bounty before the chill sets in here in Maine. In  Oregon and here, September is prime salad-making time. You’ve got just about every fresh, locally-grown vegetable at your disposal.

I’ve brought salads to several events of late, so I’m in a groove. And rather than bring the same old dressed lettuce, I’ve sought out variety, recipes that really test our sense of the word “salad.” I love how deliciously broad a category it is.

Take, for example, otsu: the tangy, gingery cold soba noodles tossed with toasted tofu, cucumber, scallions, toasted sesame seeds and shredded carrot kraut (last ingredient my addition). I gladly stumbled upon the recipe in popular food blogger Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking book, a thank-you gift I received for judging a hazelnut cooking competition. Swanson’s technique of roasting the drained tofu cubes in a dry non-stick pan (or well-seasoned cast iron skillet) was a revelation to me. Finally crispy cubes of tofu that didn’t require additional oil. I might use this technique to prepare tofu for a stir-fry or simmer sauce, to give in a more satisfying texture. Be careful not to overcook the soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) here…those thin suckers cook up quickly.

Other salads I made this week included a visually-grabbing tri-colored beet salad with cut blanched green beans and yellow tomato. Tonight, I was inspired by the Samin Nosrat‘s grilled pepper and corn salad. It came out more like a liquid-y salsa, but a nice acidic complement to greasy ribs we picnicked on from a surprisingly authentic BBQ place in nearby Bath (great domain name, Beale Street!). The liquid leftover from the salad would make nice Bloody Mary’s. Nosrat’s recipe calls for pre-pickling the onions in red wine vinegar and pressing garlic with salt into paste for dressing–techniques I recognize from my beloved Tamar Adler. Which isn’t surprising, I suppose, since both women worked at Chez Panisse. Must have learned the techniques from Alice Waters.

Written by baltimoregon

September 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Chinese Take-Out Made at Home

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Sweet-and-Sour Tofu: Our New Guilty Pleasure.

Greasy fried sweet-and-sour Chinese dishes have never appealed to me. The closest I get is repeat ordering our beloved sesame tempeh at our local China Delight (though even that was too battered and heavy last time we brought some in). So I don’t know why Ivy Manning’s Sweet-and-Sour Tofu recipe intrigued me. Some perverse fascination with the 50s housewife-type ingredients–ketchup, distilled white vinegar, canned pineapple, ground ginger instead of fresh?

But there’s something so fun and addictive about this easy recipe. And Manning’s recipe, with its bell peppers, pineapple juice instead of syrup, and only lightly fried nuggets, is infinitely healthier than take-out, not to mention you won’t have to worry about MSG. We’ve made it twice now. Let’s just say it’s a winner with my husband, known to still have the appetite and tastes of a 10-year-boy. Instead of reconstituting Asian store fried tofu cubes I use more healthful soy-marinated (but still fried) ones from our First Alternative Co-op (10 percent off as today was member day). The sweet-and-sour sauce lacquers but doesn’t inundate the chewy, spongy squares.

Written by baltimoregon

January 13, 2010 at 12:11 am

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