Weekends spent working in our Spring garden call for easy and satisfying meals that can be made ahead and create popular leftovers for another meal too. For some, planning to serve dinner as a wrap with a cold beer is a recipe for success. That concept inspired me to revisit my baked tofu with bhutanese brown rice recipe, and this is what I came up with:
1 lb block firm tofu, rinsed
peanut sauce (recipe follows)
Ezekiel sprouted grain or whole wheat tortillas
lacinato kale, chopped
red onion, chopped
celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, grated
Heat oven to 375. Rinse tofu, cut block into 3 slices horizontally, then each slice into half to make 6 servings each about 1/4 inch thick and providing 12 g of protein. Place in square 9×9 baking pan. Prepare peanut sauce. Pour enough peanut sauce over tofu to fully cover, reserving some for serving later. Baked tofu will keep in refrigerator for 5 days, but does not freeze very well as the texture changes upon thawing.
Some days a treat is a really good thing– it could be a celebratory treat, a consoling treat, a seasonal treat. In my childhood home, my mother considered sweet treats to be a really good thing every day– we literally always had a platter in the kitchen with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge, cake or chocolates from Van Duyn’s– and an occasional apple pie. Each of the seasons had their own special treats– the first of October was the time for Kraft caramels, of course. My sister and I could pack a “goodie” into our lunch bag, have a goodie after school for snack, and for dessert every night. The only rule was “don’t pig out”. One of the good things about this tradition was we learned discretion and temperance– not to eat a treat whenever we saw one as they were always readily available.
Today I know is going to be a crazy day at the start of a crazy week, and my daughter and her partner are due to arrive for a short visit too– so this morning as I made my coffee and breakfast I decided it was a fine time for me to quickly make this nurturing treat. It’s easy to make, and comparatively healthy for a dessert– far healthier than Kraft caramels’ ingredients of corn syrup, sugar, and palm oil– and no one will know it’s made with tofu unless you tell them.
16 full graham crackers
6-7 oz melted butter
1/2 t honey
14-16 oz silken tofu
12 oz 72% dark chocolate
1 1/2 t honey
1/4 c Kahlua
Preheat oven to 350F. Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor, then add the melted and slightly cooled butter and honey. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper (optional) then press crumbly mixture against the bottom and sides of the springform pan using a flat sided 1/4 cup or so sized measuring cup. Bake 5 min, then cool.
Melt chocolate gently over a double boiler, stirring frequently. Remove as soon as melted, while still shiny– do not overheat. Cool slightly. Using a clean and dried food processor bowl (never let any water touch melted chocolate!) blend tofu to smooth consistency, then add melted and slightly cooled chocolate, honey, vanilla, and Kahlua; mix for about 1 minute until consistent color. Do not over mix. Pour into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.
It’s Spring! yet after a few days of lovely warm sunshine, it’s now gray out, cool and wet again. Sigh. Cooking with the seasons– and in sync with my internal energy levels based on my personal local environment and activity level– is harder when the temperatures whiplash up and down. With this in mind, for this meal I chose warming and grounding black beans with ginger and brown rice, paired with bright lemon and Spring asparagus. The peppery arugula was a perfect complement, and a nice stimulant to the liver for “Spring cleaning” too.
1 lb asparagus, woody ends removed then cut into 2 inch lengths
1 16oz can organic black beans, well rinsed
2/3 cup brown Basmati rice
1 lb firm tofu, rinsed and cubed
green onions, chopped
2 T fresh ginger root, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
black and red pepper, sea salt to taste
mix of baby spinach and arugula
Rinse rice, cover with 1 1/2 c fresh water and a dash of salt, bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer until water is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork. While the rice cooks, saute the tofu and chopped green onions in 2 T olive oil until the tofu is lightly browned. Set aside in a covered casserole dish together with the rinsed black beans and cooked rice. Melt 2 T butter (or olive oil for vegans) and saute the minced garlic and ginger for just 1 minute, then add asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the stems, turning continually until asparagus is just al dente– slightly browned on the outside and still a bit crunchy inside. Add cooked asparagus to the casserole dish and mix all together well. This will hold well if covered and refrigerated for 1-2 days. I served this over a bed of baby spinach and arugula, dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon.
1 lb firm tofu, chopped
1 large yam, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 6 oz can thai coconut milk
2 T maple syrup
3 T garam masala spices (see recipe below)
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup raisins
top with cashews
Saute chopped tofu in large skillet in 2-3 T olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then add in chopped yam. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, cover and steam over medium-low heat until yam is almost but not quite soft, about 5 minutes or so. Mix garam masala into 1/2 c water, then maple syrup, stirring well; add along with coconut milk to the steaming veggies. Add cauliflower, continue steaming about 3 minutes. Add chopped peppers, continue steaming about 3 minutes more. Add salt if desired. Add raisins. Serve topped with cashew pieces.
1 lb soft tofu, rinsed and mashed with fork (soft tofu is preferable to firm in this recipe)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T oregano
2 T basil or 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 to 1 t salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 t cayenne pepper if you like spicier lasagna
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
1 12 oz box of whole wheat or rice lasagna noodles
8 oz fresh Mozzarella, grated
8 oz fresh Ricotta cheese
6 oz grated Parmesan
Saute chopped onions in 2-3 T olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add minced garlic, oregano and basil. Saute 3-4 minutes until onions start to become translucent, then add chopped zucchini. Saute 2-3 minutes, then add tomatoes and chopped red peppers. Add mashed tofu, then salt and pepper, Balsalmic vinegar, stirring all together well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes while performing next steps.
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9×14 baking dish or two 9×9 square baking dishes by rubbing lightly with olive oil. Break 4 noodles to fit snugly longitudinally as one layer of noodles into pan(s). Using tablespoon spread 1/2 of Ricotta cheese onto each noodle in the first layer (like peanut butter onto toast). Top with layer of one half of spinach, then spoon one half of tofu tomato mixture on top of noodles, then a layer of grated Mozzarella, then Parmesan. Repeat with layers of noodles spread with remaining Ricotta, spinach, tofu tomato mixture, Mozzarella, then Parmesan. Bake covered with pan lid or foil for 45 minutes, check, continue cooking covered or uncovered for approximately 1 hour in total. Last few minutes should be cooked uncovered to allow cheese top to brown lightly. Makes 6-8 generous servings, freezes well. Serve with salad topped with walnuts, toasted bread with basil pesto, Zinfandel wine, good companionship.
Rich green and yellows, served on rustic brown stoneware this is a beautiful spring dinner.
1 lb firm tofu, cut into 6 servings each about 3/4 in thick
basil pesto (recipe follows)
1/2 medium sized butternut squash
1 large yellow pepper
Rinse then cut tofu into 6 servings, each about 3/4 inch thick. Place in 9×9 square pan, then spread basil pesto fully over top of each piece of tofu. Pour a little water into side of pan, so that it is barely up the side of the tofu pieces; tilt pan to disperse water carefully below/around the tofu so tofu will steam cook and not stick to bottom of pan. Bake uncovered at 350-375F for 25-30 minutes, until tofu has browned slightly and pesto forms nice crust.
Cut butternut squash into 3/4-1 inch thick half rounds. Chop large yellow pepper into thick strips. Lightly spread olive oil on baking sheet, then roast squash (sprinkled with crushed rosemary), and pepper at 350-375, checking and turning every ten minutes. Remove pepper when it browns lightly- squash will require longer roasting time.
1 brick firm tofu, cubed
1 head cauliflower, chopped then steamed. reserve cooking fluid to use to cook the rice.
1 red pepper, chopped
Bhutanese brown rice- 1 cup rice rinsed, cooked in 1 3/4 cup water for 15 min
I bought these ingredients this morning, will let you know what the instructions are after I try out my idea for sauted tofu served over brown rice with steamed cauliflower, red pepper, topped with cashew sauce.