52Weeks · Asian · Vegan

(To)Fu Fighting

Marinated Tofu with Rice Noodles

This is a slightly (two weeks) late entry for 52weeks, however it was cooked in time so hopefully it will still count ūüôā¬† When I saw the challenge was for marinating I drew a blank at first, since most vegetables aren’t prime candidates for marinating.¬† While some, like carrots, do alright others tend to fall apart and become a messy yet tasty disaster.¬† Since I still have a fair amount of cherry tomatoes and peppers left, I decided that I needed to marinate either tofu or eggplant and that it was going to have a slight Asian influence.

When Joe and I were in Austria one of our meals had included marinated tofu, the fact that it turned out to be a citrus marinade did not take away from how delicious it was.¬† Knowing that it could be done gave me the confidence needed to try it myself, after recruiting one of my sisters to find tofu since my local stores were out of it.¬† Armed with the extra firm tofu I started to plot out how I could get the tofu to retain the flavor of the marinade without falling apart the moment it hit the wok.¬† I knew that I would need to drain and press the tofu before starting to get out all the water and from there divided the tofu in half to try two methods for the actual marinating step.¬†¬† I’m only going to post the instructions for method 2, since that method worked FAR better than the other.

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I have a feeling there are other methods out there for marinating tofu, but I have to say this worked rather well.¬† The tofu had a strong taste to it while remaining as firm as possible for tofu.¬†¬† I’m looking forward to trying out some pre-made marinades and finding out how well those work as well!

Home Cooking

No Other Place

Balsamic Eggplant with Rosemary Polenta and Dill Sauce

I mentioned before that when Joe and I were in Austria for our honeymoon I was blown away by all the vegetarian restaurants and options available. ¬†I had accepted that this trip would be filled with cheese sandwiches, potatoes, and garlic soup and was okay with that…more than okay with that in the case of the garlic soup. ¬†However we were able to find plenty of places offering us an Austrian take on vegetarian food. ¬†Our lunch at Nice Rice was one such¬†occurrence, and I was sold the moment I saw polenta listed on the menu. ¬†One of my earliest food memories is of my Grandma making her cabbage and polenta, stirring and stirring the polenta to make sure it was perfectly creamy. ¬†There was a large polenta-free gap during my college years, until I finally had my own kitchen and set out to recreate this delicious side dish. ¬†While I have experimented with garlic polenta and cheesy polenta, I hadn’t explored much in the way of adding herbs. ¬†After this amazing lunch in Austria I can promise that will no longer be the case.

This recipe does have a fair amount of components, but the dill sauce can be made ahead of time as can the salad and salad dressing.  I also used my mandolin in order to speed up the eggplant cutting process tho there is no easy/quick way to make the polenta short of buying pre-made.  I prefer to use Indian Head brand for my polenta, their old fashioned corn meal has always come out perfectly for me.  The only change I make to their instructions is subbing in 1/2 cup of milk for some of the water in order to keep it more like Grandma use to make.

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I serve this with the salad in the same bowl in order to keep it as close to the original meal as possible.  Sure enough as soon as I had the first bite I was flashing back to Vienna and remembering once again how amazing our honeymoon was.

Italian

Work It

Spinach with Roasted Tomato Pizza

I’m writing this, listening to the rain come down, hoping that all the nasty weather will clear up before our flight leaves. ¬†Things have been a little stressful leading up to this trip, making me even more thankful for the timing. ¬†I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to avoid temptation on this trip but I just don’t see that happening, so hopefully all the walking will maybe cancel out the chocolate. ¬†There will also be some changes to DancingVeggies once we get back, but nothing too dramatic. ¬† The good news is that you expect more vegan recipes, including raw-vegan recipes. ¬†I will also be adding some fish to the menu, and removing most of the dairy recipes. ¬†I’m still not sure how everything is going to play out, but that’s okay!

This recipe is unfortunately on the list of things that I will be avoiding going forward. ¬†I will miss my cheesy delicious pizza, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with flatbread recipes and other things that are pizza-like but not quite pizza.

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The trick with this recipe is cooking the crust as quick as possible so that the tomatoes keep as much shape as possible. ¬†I have been making tomato and spinach pizza for years, but recently decided it needed a new kick. ¬†By pre-roasting the tomatoes with rosemary it really adds a new layer to the pizza, which is another reason why it’s important to bake the crust as quick as possible. ¬†I’ve also tried this recipe with basil and oregano but for now rosemary is the winner.

Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Falling Down

Pasta Primavera

Spring time is…fresh vegetables, gorgeous greens, and thunder storms. ¬†The rain this year has been rather constant which is probably why my garden is still alive at this point. ¬†I’m hoping that will still be the case when Joe and I return from our honeymoon. ¬†My little sister will be staying with the fur children while we are gone, and will also be monitoring the progress of our garden. ¬†I’m hoping that by time we return the carrots will have sprouted and that the squash will have doubled in size.

This recipe is essentially a salute to everything I love about spring, simple crisp and quick to make. ¬† Originally I wasn’t going to include the tomatoes, since they aren’t a spring vegetables, but I couldn’t resist the heirloom hothouse cherry tomatoes at the market. ¬† The burst of red among the greens created the perfect POP of color, so in the end I’m glad that I caved to temptation.

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This is one of those recipes where so any different vegetables could be used, based on what is in season.   During the summer I tend to replace the asparagus with various types of summer squash, again adding bright pops of color to an already colorful dish.

I’m happy to report that I do have a number of posts all set to go for once we head over the pond! ¬†I can’t wait to see my family in Vienna again, and I’m also looking forward to my first time in London. ¬†I follow a number of UK-based blogs and seeing all of the Jubilee themed¬†posts that are popping up is making me all the more excited for that part of our honeymoon!