Sesame Maple Tofu

This one is a breeze of a recipe to pull together on a weeknight. I usually press the tofu during the day while I'm at work, then slice and marinate it for 15 minutes before searing. It's awesome with rice, or noodles, or even just served with an easy salad and a green veg. I love the subtle sweetness provided by the maple syrup. In a pinch you could use agave or honey as a substitute.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Sesame Maple Tofu

Adapted from Book of Yum

serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of firm tofu 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for cooking tofu)
Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Directions

Remove tofu from packaging and drain water. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top of paper towels, cover with more paper towels and place a second plate on top of the tofu. Weight the second plate with canned goods or other heavy (stable) items. Press tofu for at least 30 minutes (un-refrigerated is fine), or up to 10 hours refrigerated. I do this before I head out to work. Pressing the tofu removes excess moisture, allowing the tofu to suck up the flavorful marinade.

In a wide dish, mix together marinade ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic). Cut tofu block in half length wise, and diagonally in the center to create 4 large triangles (see pictures). Place tofu in marinade in one layer and marinate between 15-30 minutes. Preheat a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil over medium high heat. Gently dry off the tofu with another paper towel to ensure a good sear. Sear tofu on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot or warm. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. Just remember not to "crowd" the pan. Sear in batches so you get it right!

Cauliflower "Rice" Perfected

All the testing is done. I've made all the mistakes that you might have and now you can follow my tips and this recipe and get it right from the start. 

cauliflower rice

1. Use your food processor's shredding blade.

I started my recipe testing using the S-shaped blade (Sabatier blade, apparently that's what it's called). I had to process the cauliflower in small batches, pulse each one, then pull out the leftover larger chunks and scoop out the riced cauliflower. Then do it all over again for the next batch. It was tedious. When I switched to the shredding blade, all I did was cut the cauliflower in chunks that fit into the feeder tube, then put them all through the shredder. It was a breeze!

2. Don't let your cauliflower sit.

I'm a big fan of any do-ahead prepping. In the case of cauliflower, the less time before you cook it, the better the flavor and texture. I also found that when I "riced" the cauliflower too far in advance, I lost quite a bit of volume. Even more so than just your normal cooking-veggies-loss-of-volume. 

3. Double the recipe.

Mostly because it's so delicious, but also because like most vegetables, this cauliflower will cook down. See number 2 above.

4. Get creative.

I know you've seen the cool recipes. Cauliflower can handle some strong and interesting flavors, think buffalo cauliflower bites, cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower cheesy tots. This cauliflower "rice" can morph into fried rice with a little chicken, some peas, carrots, onion, garlic and soy sauce. Or, a pilaf, by adding some chopped dates and toasted pine nuts. 

cauliflower rice

Cauliflower "rice" pilaf with toasted pine nuts and chopped dates.

Cauliflower "Rice" (Vegan and Gluten-free)

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large head, fresh cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Cut cauliflower into small florets (sized to fit through your food processor's feeder tube). Attach the shredding blade to your food processor and feed the head of cauliflower through to "rice" it. Preheat a large non-stick saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the "riced" cauliflower over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kosher salt and check for seasonings. Serve hot or warm.

Basil Green Goddess

How many of you are swimming in basil these days? Yeah, we are too. I love pesto as much as the next gal, but isn't it really best for dressing hot pasta? Since I'm low-carb'ing it, that's not really an option. My husband came up with this idea for a basil green goddess dressing. I whipped up this yummy concoction to go over an easy side salad, but we ended up dipping our grilled chicken and garlic roasted cauliflower in it too. Our 4 year old, who isn't usually a fan of avocado, really loved this stuff. It's a quick recipe that's really creamy and satisfying (and vegan too)!

Basil Green Goddess Dressing

Basil Green Goddess-vegan

Makes about a cup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) water
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Getting the dressing ingredients ready.

Getting the dressing ingredients ready.

Directions

In an immersion blender-friendly container, add the basil, avocado, olive oil, 4 tablespoons water, vinegar, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Blend until combined. If the dressing is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Check seasoning before serving. Because avocado and basil browns quickly, eat immediately. Note, any leftover dressing will turn brown as it oxidizes. 

A healthy salad dressing that's good on anything!

A healthy salad dressing that's good on anything!