Chili Garlic Bok Choy with Tofu
An excuse to make spicy food?!?!? Sign me up! I was thrilled when I saw the theme this week for /52week was spicy, as it gave me an excuse to experiment with all my chili pastes. I decided to keep the other ingredients rather basic, since the point of the dish was the sauce and not the proteins. With some of the sauces I blended all of the liquids in advance and then stirred them in, however this time I decided to add things in layers in order to have more control over the final result. With my new chili garlic paste I have three different chili based pastes, and every time I cook with them I’m amazed with how complex and different they taste.
Sesame Oil has also become my new bff, since it gives a nutty flavor to dishes without the risks of nuts. I’m also thrilled that so far I’ve been able to keep to my goal of doing as many of the 52week challenges vegan as possible. While I don’t see myself going vegan, pending vegan Ritter Sports bars, I love pushing myself outside of my normal cooking comfort zone.
Thai Basil Eggplant
Grand Ma’s Tofu
There is just something about Chinese food around the holidays, it just feels right! This week I had the added encouragement of /52weeks Take Out at Home theme. I debated about trying a thincrust pizza but forgetting to add water to the bread machine took care of that idea, so on to Chinese Food! Joe and I get Chinese food about once a month and our favorite place no longer ask us what we want, they hear my name and they know we are calling for eggplant and tofu. I had wanted to try making both of these recipes for awhile but every recipe I found online featured either pork or fish sauce and I wasn’t sure how our place does it without either of those. So I started experimenting with sauces, testing them out on soba noodles until I found the “right” combination. The hardest part was finding a chili paste for the tofu that didn’t include shrimp paste or fish sauce, but after a very long trip to the Asian grocery store I was able to locate one that was safe!
The best part about these dishes is that the sauces are so versatile, could easily switch things up and do a Thai Basil Tofu or a Grand Ma’s Eggplant. Each of these dishes would also make a great topping for some rice noodles, or just as they are.
Coconut Soba Noodles
Sometimes the best dishes are the ones that result from emptying out the cabinets and seeing what all is hiding. I was inspired by last month’s Random Recipes to continue going through my pantry as part of my fall cleaning. In doing this it turned out that I have a large collection of soba noodles, probably because I only have a few recipes for cooking them and lately fresh ginger has been scarce. So I decided to start throwing ingredients together, based on some of my favorite ingredients. The result was a very rich dish popping with flavor and crazy filling, the fact that it came together in no time at all just made it even better.
One day I’ll get better about keeping my cabinets clean, but until then I’ll be turning to quick and easy pantry cleaning recipes. I will certainly keep experimenting with the soba noodles, there are a few Thai inspired recipes I want to try as well as another Burmese noodle dish.
Thai Green Beans and Tofu
Time for another installment of Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned two (2!!!) SRC blogs, so double the fun and double the cooking. To read my other entry for secret recipe club please go here for an awesome sweet potato side dish. My first assignment brought me to Sara’s Cupcake Muffin blog. Originally I planned to go for one of the many delicious desserts Sara has, but in the end I kept going back to her savory dishes. For the longest time I thought I was going to attempt her French Onion Tart, but since I’m suppose to be avoiding rich cheeses I decided to be a good girl and avoid the dairy temptation. I checked out a few more recipes before finally deciding to try her Thai Green Beans with Tofu, which wound up being the PERFECT choice. I had to make a few changes to the recipe for dietary purposed, so be sure to check out Sara’s blog for her original recipe.
I plan on trying this recipe again with the red curry paste that Sara used, but that will have to wait until my husband is out for the evening since I could not find a peanut free version. I debated adding a yellow curry paste instead, but decided to just skip that step since I wasn’t sure what yellow curry would do to the profile. These green beans reminded both of us of our favorite take out place, except much crispier which is a huge bonus. I have a feeling these green beans are going to make frequent appearances on our menu, since they could easily be adapted to go with soba noodles or pad thai.
Would also like to take this time to wish Sara a happy birthday, though I’m not sure if I’m early or late.
I’ve mentioned before how I’m not a breakfast person, I’m more the grab a(n iced skim caramel) latte and go kind of person. However sometimes breakfast is needed, such as when you are trying to cram a million things in to one day and need the energy to get thru as much time as possible before stopping to eat. On days like that I go for things that are full of protein and low in carbs, and for an added bonus items that are low in cholesterol. It wasn’t too long ago that I turned my nose up when seeing tofu scrambles listed in the brunch section of menus, and it took til this past April for me to try my first tofu scramble. In fact, I didn’t even order it but rather tried a bite from my best friend’s plate. I was immediatly impressed by how egg-like the texture was and how I could easily have been told that it was egg and not thought anything of it. This past weekend I decided to give it a try, figuring that if it turned out horrible I had oatmeal as a backup. I knew I was successful when Joe asked how I managed to make an egg dish when we were out of eggs. Victory!
Nothing like a nice, simple, and filling breakfast to get you going in the morning! I ate mine as written while Joe added a fair amount of Old Bay to his but either way is perfectly acceptable. Siracha sauce would also go well with this scramble for those looking to add a kick to their meal.
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 🙂 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.
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!
BBQ Pineapple Tofu Pizza (w/Cauliflower Crust!)
So it’s official: Joe and I are married! While it might have rained on our wedding day, it was still amazingly wonderful and perfect and I’m still giddy thinking about our special day.
I was hoping to have posts up and running while I was out but that didn’t happen and for that I’m sorry. Hopefully I’ll be more on top of things for the honeymoon, because I have some great late spring recipes to share. While I’m still on my quest to use more local and seasonal produce, I’m also trying to reduce waste by reusing leftovers in new and (hopefully) creative ways. This recipe might not be Le Cordon Bleu quality, however it is amazing and delicious and a great way to use up leftover tofu (or chicken). I decided to clean out the cauliflower in my drawer as well after seeing more than a few recipes featuring a cauliflower pizza crust. In the end I used a modified version from Eat.Drink.Smile since I don’t have a ricer and also have a need for large amounts of garlic in my pizza.
This took care of a fair amount of the veggies in my fridge, and I have a feeling that some swiss chard (or kale) also would have gone well on this pizza. The cauliflower crust also goes great with pesto sauce, just add some feta, red onion and eggplants and enjoy a modified take on a Greek Pizza.