Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cilantro Lime Tofu

Ignore this hot mess of a photo. I made it later in the evening and all natural light was gone, and all my lamps suck.

So, I'm a "gleek". Hardcore. I live for Glee. I'm not ashamed it's the highlight of my week. It's quite possibly my favorite show of all time. And that's saying a lot coming from me. I LOVE my tv shows. I didn't think anything could ever top 30 Rock, or Arrested Development, or Freaks and Geeks, but then Glee came along. And week after week it blows me away. Yes, the story lines move faster then sand (is that even an expression? It is now. It's late and I just ate alphagetti, don't judge) but the stores are some real heart wrenchers. (See Wheels and Home.) If you haven't been living under a rock, then i'm sure you have heard of it. If you live above a rock, and aren't watching it, then what's wrong with you? *
*I am in no way endorsed by Glee, or Fox at all. I'm just a die-hard gleek. 

So what does glee have to do with tofu? I'm getting there. The other day I was reading an interview with  Lea Michelle, who plays Rachel Berry on Glee. In the article she mentioned a dinner she had, "Cilantro Lime Tofu on brown rice with Kale and Black Beans". I was instantly salivating. And not just because there was a picture of Cory Montieth with the article. Although that was a contributing factor.... 

ANYWAYS onto the recipe. Which is why i'm sure someone who is reading a food blog is after. As opposed to gushing over a tv show. I loved the sound of this dish. Lime is one of my favorite citrus fruits, and i'm always looking for more ways to use cilantro other than sprinkled in salads or in guacamole.
So I set to work on this a few days later, subbing the kale for broccoli and omitting the black beans because I forgot to prepare them. While dried beans are certainly cheaper, they are much less convenient. 

Cilantro Lime Tofu

1/2 brick of extra firm tofu, pressed 
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne 
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp oil (for frying)

Cut the tofu. I made cubes but whatever strikes your fancy will work. Triangles could be fun. 
Finely chop the cilantro and mince the garlic. Add to the juice of one lime with zest, soy sauce, brown sugar, cumin and cayenne. 
Marinate the tofu in the mixture a few hours, or overnight for best flavor. Fry in oil on medium heat, until browned. Flip and continue to brown the other sides.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

spicy tofu peanut salad

Summer is here. And summer is a time for cool, refreshing food to take centre stage. With only a few scraps of veg and 1/2 brick of tofu in my fridge I decided to take this theory in place for my dinner and make a cold salad instead of my usual stir fry. The tofu and veg were put into a cool spicy sweet thai inspired salad, wrapped up with some cabbage and crunchy romaine lettuce. Perfect summer time meal for lunch or dinner.

1/2 brick extra firm tofu, rinsed (and pressed if you have the time)
1/2 cup chopped vegetables (I used carrots, celery, and yellow pepper)


3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
juice of 1/2 lime, plus zest (or 1-2 tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp-1 tbsp sriracha (depending on how much you like spice, if you are wary start with only 1 tsp) red chili flakes to taste (see above)
1/4-1/2 cup hot water

I find the best way to combine all these ingredients is to find a small jar and act like The Cars and just Shake It Up. But whisking also works. Start by adding 1/4 cup hot water, then increase if the sauce is still too thick.

Crumble the tofu in a bowl with the chopped veg. And add the sauce and mix to combine. It's better if you let it sit a few hours, or even overnight for the tofu to absorb all the flavors.
But I won't judge if you devour it right away, like I totally did.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Classy Caprese

I love italian food. It would have to be tied with Indian as my favorite cuisine. One of the many reasons I love italian is because it's kind to vegetarians. Yes, Italians do love their meat, but there are plenty of pastas and salads without. 

The other night I got to go over to a friend's for her goodbye dinner. She had a room and board situation and her landlady is an Italian who loves to cook. My friend got to eat amazing Italian food for the year she was here. After tasting it first hand the other night, I am jealous. The menu featured pasta with fresh pesto, and gnocchi with borgonzola cheese sauce. I was in heaven.
The appetizers were caprese salad and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Obviously I slid the prosciutto over to my friends plate and dived in to the caprese. One of my favorites. 
I love tomatoes, and cheese is the one reason I will never be 100% vegan for the rest of my life. So this salad is like heaven to me. And so easy to make. It's literally three ingridients.

Done. Instant deliciousness.
What really impressed me with this appetizer was it's presentation. The taste was something I knew and loved, but the way it was presented was something else. So on my weekly grocery trip this week I picked up some bocconcini and basil to accompany the tomatoes in my basket. 
What I love is that it looks so impressive but is really so easy. Perfect appetizer for a dinner party like I attended. But also perfect for a Wednesday afternoon lunch for just yourself. Because you deserve to eat pretty things even if you're all on your own and there is no one to impress but yourself. Why not work just as hard to impress yourself as you work to impress others? 
I personally spare no effort on my meals because I feel that I am worth it. It makes me sad to think that not everyone puts the care into a meal just for themself. 
But then again not everyone is a foodie with a food blog, who has to take a picture of something before they eat it. 

So if you want to make yourself feel special, all you do is slice the tomato across leaving some room at the bottom. Then stuff cheese in between those slices, top with some shredded basil, and a bit of olive oil. Balsamic is also a welcome addition in my books.