Archive for the 'tofu' Category

Laksa

I try to eat at least a couple servings of vegetables every day, and usually I have no problem doing that.  Saturday, however, I realized as I got into bed that the mushrooms in this soup were the only vegetable I had all day.  Oops.

I guess that’s what happens when your first meal of the day is French toast at 11 am, after a leisurely run.

…and then you decide to make chocolate chip cookies with toasted coconut in the middle of the afternoon.

We had laksa for dinner, which I hadn’t had in years.  It’s a delicious Malaysian curry and coconut milk soup that’s incredibly flavorful (and rich! If you use full-fat coconut milk, which you really should).  I adapted three different recipes and made the curry paste from scratch (not as time-consuming as it sounds).  It may not be vegetable-packed, but it is pretty tasty.

I kicked off Sunday with a 10 mile run and came home to find Mike and Ellie watching the England-Italy match.  Technically Ellie wasn’t really watching…

We were both really disappointed England lost.

I wrapped up the week with 46 miles of running (the streak lives on!) and we had a LOT of  vegetables for dinner (quinoa bowls with dragon sauce!).

Another great weekend in the books.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:87]

Tofu with Roasted Asparagus and Dill

I know it’s a totally overdone and annoying blogger move to complain about how busy you are. But it’s my blog, and JEEZ I’m busy right now. I have a marathon in 2 weeks, a huge and difficult math test to take in 3 weeks, and I’m trying to get all my kids ready for state testing at work. Plus there’s that little girl I live with who I kind of like to hang out with sometimes. I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now, but I’ll get through it. Baking helps. So does beer.

I’m incredibly grateful that it’s asparagus season, even if a bunch of organic asparagus costs as much as two lattes, I think I honestly get more enjoyment out of asparagus. At least for right now.

I pretty much never buy fresh dill because you have to commit to SO much of it, and I hate it when I only use a tiny bit and find brown slime that used to be dill in the back of the produce drawer a few weeks later. But this time, I planned ahead! I have dilled potato salad in the works which will involve all the dill leftover from this dish!

Speaking of this dish, it’s another one inspired by Super Natural Every Day. I’ve heard that if you change at least three things, you can call a recipe your own. I’m not sure if that’s technically correct in every case, but I did change the protein, the vegetable, some of the fat, and the method of cooking of one of the components, so at least a bit of this is my own (if we’re keeping score).

It’s hard to beat leeks cooked slowly in butter. They kind of smell like In-N-Out (which I guess could be a bad thing, but in this household it’s definitely a good thing). When you combine those with roasted asparagus and fresh dill, you end up with Spring in a bowl, and it’s really quite lovely!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:68]

Rice Noodle Salad with Grapefruit


I pretty much never go to the library while school’s in session. During the average week, I’d rather use my spare time for cooking, running, and hanging with Ellie. BUT there was no work and endless free time last week, so I walked down to the library with her to peruse the cookbook section.

Why I don’t have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian in my collection is beyond me. I’ve made every dinner this week from this cookbook and they’ve all been awesome.

Biryani and Urad Dal with Poppy Seeds last night. So good.

Last night also happened to be one of those nights where beer was necessary. Not sure why we had it in wine glasses, but it was much appreciated.

And now it’s pizza Friday, and I’m making Spinoccoli Pizza. Happy weekend to us all!

I made a double batch of this salad on Sunday night and we had plenty for lunches for days. Unless you’re feeding an army or you want a ton of leftovers, a single recipe is definitely sufficient. I added some pan-fried tofu to up the protein and make it more of a main dish. I can see the end of grapefruit season coming and it’s tragic, but for now, I’m eating them with reckless abandon, and they’re perfect in this salad!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:54]

(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)

Soba with Eggplant and Mango


I had two fantastic runs this weekend.  First up: 10 miles on a beautiful path with Mike and Ellie.

I woke up kind of dreading the run and I was in a pretty crabby mood, but about 3 miles in everything was good again. It was warm, my legs felt good, and it was nice to be able to run and chat with Mike (who pushed Ellie in the stroller – she loved it too!)
Afterwards we stopped at 7-11 and nothing sounded better than chocolate milk.  I guess that whole “refuel with chocolate milk” marketing thing worked on me.  It was divine.

Sunday morning there was a 5K in Golden Gate Park. It was same course as a month or two ago (when I ran 21:56), so I was curious how it would go with kind of tired legs. The weather was perfect for running (as usual) and I felt nice an relaxed the whole race. I ended up snagging a fifth place finish in 21:08, my second fastest 5K ever. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

I also finally got to meet Kristine, who totally killed it in her first 5K!

Sunday night I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, but this recipe sounded too good to pass up, and it ended up being pretty easy. I used regular eggplants, but next time I might switch to Japanese eggplants because they have thinner skin.

This recipe made plenty for both dinner and lunch the next day, and the mix of flavors was awesome: sour lime, smoky eggplant, sweet mango, and earthy soba. I added a chopped habanero pepper, but you can leave it out if you’re don’t want it super spicy.
[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:43]

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Tofu Noodle Soup with Dumplings

Ellie got her first cold last week, and of course we ended up getting it too. I hate seeing her sick, but she’s a trooper.

I felt pretty crappy on Monday and Tuesday. My throat was killing me and I had basically zero energy. Sometimes I’ll try and run when I’m sick but it just wasn’t going to happen on those days. Today I felt a little better and figured getting outside and running just might give me a little extra energy, and it totally did. Just changing into my running clothes perked me up a little bit, so I headed out for 4.5 miles and felt great. Slow, but more human than I’d felt in at least 48 hours.

On Monday, when all three of us were feeling pretty miserable, I decided to make some soup. I was trying to go for the richly flavored broth that came with the noodle soups in Thailand, except those obviously use meat. I probably should have added some vegetables (I think bok choy would be great), but it kind of escaped my mind at the time.

I sauteed some shallots, ginger, and green onions, then added the tofu and let it soak up those flavors before I added broth (and a pinch of five spice powder). The dumplings aren’t completely necessary, but they are a nice addition. I just used basic yellow noodles I found at the Asian grocery store. The addition of chili garlic sauce, in my opinion, is non-negotiable (especially for cold-curing purposes).

I’m submitting this to my friend (and fellow science teacher) Branny’s Souper Bowl. Click on that link to participate too (you don’t even need a blog!) Branny loves animals more than anyone else I know, and for every soup that’s submitted, she’s giving a dollar to the ASPCA. I’m dedicating this to Berkeley, the golden retriever my family had during my teens and early twenties. He was probably one of the worlds dumbest dogs, but he was a total sweetheart. I miss so many things about him, but my favorite thing was his full-body wag every time I walked in the door.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:37]

Coconut-Cilantro Quinoa Bowls

Welcome to the latest installment of “things to do when your due date is a week away with no baby in sight.”
1. Hit the gym. Be super tempted to stay on the elliptical until you go into labor.

2. Make bagels. Decide that while they’re pretty good, Peter Reinhart’s recipe is better, so they don’t deserve a blog post of their own.

3. Toast said bagels and top with cream cheese, capers, red onion, and heirloom tomatoes. Repeat more times than is probably healthy within a 24 hour period.

4. Practice changing diapers. Or take a picture of your husband while he practices.

5. Go see Our Idiot Brother. (It’s adorable)

6. Make this for dinner.

I hate it when people tell me “you HAVE to make this immediately, it’s SO good!!!!!!!” so I’m not going to do that to you. I will be thinking it very hard, however. It really was one of the best dinners we’ve had in awhile (yeah, I probably say that too often…)

I started with a recipe for swordfish with cilantro-coconut chutney. Obviously I don’t eat swordfish so I used slabs of tofu instead. Then I served it over quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth with a squeeze of lime. With a raw vegetable salad on the side (or mixed in), it’s a complete meal in a single bowl with a great mix of textures and flavors, and a nice amount of protein.

This was the first time I tried dredging the tofu slices in a little flour, corn starch, and salt before pan-frying them. Mike loved it, I wasn’t quite as sold, so that step is optional.

I know the ingredient list looks a little daunting because there are four different components to this meal, but it actually comes together pretty quickly.

Recipe:
(adapted from Ani’s Raw Food Asia and A New Way To Cook)

2 small red bell peppers, julienned
2 Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), seeded and julienned
1 large carrot, juliened
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch salt

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
pinch salt
juice of half a lime

a drizzle of vegetable oil
2 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)
1 tbsp corn starch (optional)
pinch or two of salt (optional)
1 lb extra firm tofu, well drained, and cut crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices

about 2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano chile, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp unsweetened, dried coconut

Start with the vegetables: Put the julienned vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a medium bowl, toss to combine, and set aside.

Bring the broth and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the quinoa, cover, and cook over low until all the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and fluff with a fork.

If you’re using flour, cornstarch and salt for the tofu, place them in a shallow dish and mix well. Dip each slice of tofu in the mixture and brush off any extra. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet, and cook the tofu slices until golden brown. Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, chile, cumin seeds, sugar, and lime juice in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the coconut milk and process until nearly smooth. Gently stir in the dried coconut, and adjust lime juice or sugar if necessary.

To assemble each bowl, put quinoa in the bottom, top with some vegetables, a slab or two of tofu, and drizzle with sauce.

Miso-Curry Roasted Vegetbles with Tofu


Let’s go ahead and file this one under “Things I never thought would go together but definitely do and I’m now borderline obsessed with.”

White miso and red curry paste. Who ever would have thought those would be so amazing together when tossed with vegetables? Oh yeah, Heidi. That woman just gets food. I’m envious.

I was looking back over my epidural post (THANK YOU for all the fabulous comments!) and realized I kind of made it sound like I’m completely uneducated when it comes to having this kid, but that’s not entirely true. While I haven’t taken a class or read a book, I HAVE been talking to my doctor, read a lot of things online, and talked to people who’ve had multiple children. So, I do really feel that I’m making an informed choice, which it may not have seemed based on that post. Just wanted to throw that out there.

In other news, I’ve been trying really hard to up my vegetable consumption lately. We had friends in town over the weekend and seriously slipped in the 5-a-day department. This dinner helped me get back on track, though, and so did kale chips.

That may be my absolute favorite way to consume vegetables. Kale + olive oil + red wine vinegar + salt –> Bake at 350 until crunchy. Amazing.

AND! Mike has decided he wants to cook more. Gee, twist my 38.5-week pregnant arm! Last night he sat down with his favorite cookbooks and found a bunch of recipes to make. I married a winner, for sure.

I made this dinner, though. And we both loved it. I adapted the original recipe to use up the zucchini I had in the fridge (and to save kale for chips). I also upped the tofu to make it more filling. I can’t wait to try the miso-curry combination on other vegetables too!

Recipe:
(adapted from Super Natural Every Day)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cups white miso
1 tbsp red curry paste
4 medium zucchini
6 small red potatoes
1 lb extra firm nigari tofu, diced
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
juice of 1/2 a lemon
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Whisk the olive oil, miso, and curry paste together until smooth.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then into 1/2″ thick half circles. Dice the potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.

Toss the zucchini and potatoes together with about half the miso mixture and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

While vegetables are roasting, heat a little oil in a skillet and cook the tofu cubes until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the pumpkin seeds.

Combine the tofu and vegetables in a large bowl and add more miso mixture to taste. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

Serve sprinkled with fresh cilantro.

South Indian Rice and Tofu Soup

This was originally a Jamie Oliver recipe for seafood and rice soup, using lots of spices and some coconut milk (but also seafood and white rice). Since I don’t eat seafood I added tofu, and I wanted brown rice instead of white. I also wanted to up the vegetable content with some spinach. I just made a few substitutions, and I’m happy to say it worked out really well.

Speaking of substitutions, the long term sub the district found for my maternity leave JUST found out she got a full-time teaching position, so they had to scramble to find another one pretty last-minute (school starts a week from tomorrow!) I am going to meet with her Monday to go over the ins and outs of my classes. I have no idea if she has science/PE/middle school/teaching experience, but I’m hoping for the best!

It’s amazing how much more productive I am when I actually have a reason to get out of bed and do something with my life. I made it to the gym by 5:30 AM the last two mornings and have been feeling fantastic. The workshop has been really awesome and I can’t wait to apply what I learned when I’m finally back to work, even though that feels like an eternity from now.

Recipe
(adapted from Jamie’s Dinners)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp mustard seeds
about 10 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
a pinch or two cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
2 tsp turmeric
a 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 lb block extra firm nigari tofu, cut into small cubes
1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for at least an hour, and drained
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2-3 handfuls fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
juice of 1 lime

Heat the oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven.

Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, cayenne, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the mustard seeds start popping and turn dark brown.

Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onions are soft, about five minutes.

Add the tofu and mix well.

Stir in the rice and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, add the coconut milk and simmer for about 20 minutes (adding a little more broth or some water if soup appears too thick).

Stir in salt to taste and continue simmering until rice is soft. Stir in the spinach and lime juice, and serve.

Kale and Farro with Marinated Tofu


Wow, what a weekend! It was exactly what a good weekend should be. Incredibly relaxing, but also just productive enough to feel like I got lots done without being stressed out.

We kicked off Saturday morning with a visit to the gym. After not going for a week and a half, as soon as Mike started getting ready I decided I wanted to give it another try, and it was SO much better than the last two visits. I rode the bike for 35 minutes and did some upper body weights. I brought water with me and made sure I was drinking frequently…no dizziness! Can’t wait to go back today!

After the gym we took a tour of the hospital where the baby will be born. I definitely feel a little bit more comfortable now that I’ve seen exactly where I’m going to go, but with less than four weeks until my due date I still don’t feel completely ready (and probably never will!)

After the hospital we were both craving Korean food, so we headed over to My Tofu House (4627 Geary, San Francisco). Their specialty is tofu soup (soon dubu) but we both ended up ordering dolsot bibimbap (rice and vegetables in a hot stone bowl). The light wasn’t very good so my pictures are pretty crappy, but the food was delicious and the service was friendly and quick.

Sunday started with pancakes, like all Sundays should.

The hospital tour really lit a fire under us to get all the remaining baby stuff we needed, so we went to Babies R Us and now have pretty much everything that was on our list. We also realized that the name we’d settled on months ago wasn’t so appealing anymore, so we have a new name in mind (but still want to wait and actually see the kid before we tell anyone).

So about this recipe… I FINALLY found farro at the co-op after months of wanting it! I’m not sure if they were always out of it before, or if they just started carrying it, but I bought a ton of it and I totally love it. It’s not as chewy as barley and is super easy to cook, plus you can pair it with just about anything. For this dinner I roasted some kale with coconut, tossed it with cooked farro, and topped it with some marinated, pan-fried tofu. Simple, healthy, and really, really delicious!

Recipe:
(adapted from Super Natural Every Day and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

1 lb extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
a big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce

1 cup farro
2 1/2 cups water
pinch salt
1 bunch lacinto (dinosaur) kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped (3-4 cups)
1/3 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil

First, make the tofu marinade. Combine the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp sesame oil, brown sugar, and 3 tbsp soy sauce in a small bowl and mix well.
Slice the tofu crosswise into 8 thick slices. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over. Turn slices to coat, cover the dish, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk together 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, and olive oil. Toss the kale and coconut together with about half the oil mixture. Arrange on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until kale is just beginning to brown (don’t let it brown completely or it will be bitter).

To cook the farro, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the farro, turn heat to low, and cover, simmering for about 15-20 minutes or until the grains are tender. Drain excess water and put the farro in a large bowl.

Toss the kale and coconut with the farro, adding the remaining oil mixture to taste.

Pan fry the tofu slices in a well-seasoned or nonstick skillet until firm and golden. Scoop some of the salad into a bowl and top with the cooked tofu.

Eggplant and Tofu in Miso Sauce

I guess I should come clean, since Mike called me out in the comments of the last post, and publicly admit that I went to Bi-Rite Creamery twice in less than 24 hours (and for those keeping count, yes, that’s 4 scoops of ice cream in less than 24 hours. Fortunately we decided that calories don’t count on your birthday weekend.)

Sunday happened to be an awesome event in the Mission called Sunday Streets, which meant that a few blocks of Valencia and 24th Streets were closed to cars. Because we were back in the neighborhood, it just made sense to go to Bi-Rite again. This time I got brown sugar ice cream with ginger caramel swirl, and cinnamon ice cream with pieces of snickerdoodle in it. There are no words.

But about this Sunday Streets business. It was such a cool event!



Apparently about 25,000 people came out to participate, including the mayor of San Francisco!

We also tried a new (to us) and outrageously good coffee shop called Ritual (1026 Valencia, San Francisco). Mike’s co-workers raved about it and it completely lived up to the hype. My decaf latte was PERFECT! It’s kind of overrun with hipsters, but I’ll let that slide…

This weekend (and particularly our dinner at Cha-Ya) really made me want to cook more Japanese vegetarian food. For the most part, it just seems so nice and light and healthy (which is particularly important after going a little overboard on ice cream and cake). I found this recipe in Color Me Vegan, modified the ratios a little bit, and added some tofu. Over brown rice and with a side of cucumber salad, it was a great weeknight meal.

Recipe:
(adapted from Color Me Vegan)

makes 4-6 servings

3 large Japanese eggplants (about 12″ long), cut into french fry-sized strips
2 14 ounce blocks extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove excess liquid
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup white miso
6 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the eggplant strips with the sesame oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until softened but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Cut the tofu bite-sized pieces about 1/2″ thick.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wide frying pan over medium high. Add the tofu (in batches if necessary) and cook until golden, shaking the pan often. Add the eggplant.

While the tofu is cooking, combine the miso, water, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

Remove the tofu, eggplant, and miso sauce from the heat and toss together. Serve over brown rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds.



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