Today I have something for the vegetarians: I tried my hand at tofu! And it wasn’t terrible! In my quest for a different lunch this week (i.e. not salad), I stumbled upon this tofu recipe. I have to admit, I was pretty intimated. I have only made tofu once or twice before and every time, it was pretty bad. But for some reason, this tofu recipe caught my eye and I couldn’t forget it: I started to crave this tofu, even though I hadn’t tried it.
I decided to wrap this tofu up rather than sandwich it between bread: less messy, less bread-y, and I can pack more veggies into it! It is kind of an involved process: making the tofu, making the chipotle mayo, and then making the wrap. My advice? Whip up a batch of tofu and mayo when you have free-time (like 30 minutes before you want lunch) and make enough for the week. And then revel in the fact that your lunch is tastier and undoubtedly healthier than everyone else’s at the office 😉
Sweet-n-Spicy Seared Tofu
Adapted from a recipe at http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/09/16/easy-maple-tamari-seared-tofu/
- Butt rub
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 14 ounce block extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
1) Drain the water from your tofu. Squeeze dry with paper towels.
2) Slice tofu into 3/4 inch thick rectangles. Pat each individual rectangle dry with paper towel; set aside.
3) Mix together your spice rub; apply spice rub to both sides of tofu and let sit for a few minutes.
4) Mix together the marinade ingredients. Cover the tofu strips into the marinade; set aside for 10-15 minutes.
Ok, not so pretty. But tasty!
5) Add oil to a large nonstick skillet over high heat
6) When oil is hot, add the tofu to the pan (it will sizzle loudly but don’t move the tofu around: let it sit in pan uncovered). Cook 1-2 minutes per side.
7) Remove tofu from pan; let cool before serving.
Again, not as pretty as K Blog’s. Oh well.
Smoky Chipotle Mayo
Adapted from a recipe at http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2011/09/spicy-chipotle-tofu-sandwich.html
- ¼ cup mayo or Vegenaise
- 1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce)
- 1 tbsp adobo sauce from chipotle can
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp each garlic powder, paprika, chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to tasteSpicy Chipotle Tofu Sandwich Wrap
- 1 wrap
- 2 slices sweet-n-spicy tofu
- 1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese spread
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1-2 tbsp Chipotle Mayo
- 2 planks of sweet-n-spicy tofu
- Red-leaf lettuce
- Tomato slices, chopped
- Small handful shredded carrots
- 1 green onion, chopped
- ½ avocado, sliced
- Slices of cucumber, chopped
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar/1 tsp olive oil
1) Combine ingredients for chipotle mayo and place in fridge for at least ten minutes to chill.
2) Prep all of the veggies; gently toss in vinegar and olive oil.
3) Start assembling your wrap: heat wrap for 10 seconds in microwave. Spread Laughing Cow cheese spread on wrap; top with chipotle mayo and Dijon mustard. Add lettuce, tofu, tomato, cucumber, carrots, green onion, and avocado.
Review: The texture of the tofu wasn’t bad, thanks to the chewy and slightly crunchy exterior. I found the texture of the middle of the tofu a little weird for me but it wasn’t bad in the wrap. Very good flavor: sweet and mildly spicy, with a bit of smokiness.
I loved the chipotle mayo—so good! Again, mildly spicy, very smoky; flavors similar to those in the tofu but creamy instead of sweet; it kind of reminded me of Subway’s chipotle sauce. I toned down the mayonnaise-y taste by adding more chipotle sauce and brightened the flavor with lime juice.
The wrap as a whole was excellent: a ton of flavors and textures so my palate wasn’t bored. All of the veggies “hid” the texture of the tofu (you will have to excuse me, I’m still new to the ‘fu).
One note about tofu: it is very moist. Like ridiculously moist. I used nearly an entire roll of paper towel drying it off. If you know of a better way to dry tofu, holla at me!
On a different topic, today I went back to healthy. It’s not that I haven’t been eating fairly healthy lately (bacon-piñata and epic sandwiches aside) but I have been struggling with working out. And I have been struggling with eating healthy as a life change and not as a temporary thing (aka a diet). I also get frustrated because I feel like I should be making huge strides (working out every day, never eating junk food, etc) and it’s tough and I get discouraged. So I am trying to reclaim “healthiness for life” in baby steps; one of my first steps was implementing yogurt for breakfast. I’ve read a lot about how adding low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese to your diet can aid in weight-loss but since I don’t really drink milk, I hadn’t considered it. But then I discovered Greek yogurt: 160 calories, no fat, and lots of proteins. I also discovered that I hated it: it made me gag and want to pitch it in the garbage. But after suffering through a week’s worth of flavored yogurt (strawberry, blueberry, peach, vanilla, etc), I accidentally ate the plain yogurt. And that, that one I like. It tastes a bit like sour cream, which can be off-putting, so I combated that by turning it into a sort-of-parfait. And now I have a mega-healthy breakfast that I kind of like (and being that I only kind of like it, I have been eating it for 2 weeks straight now and I’m not sick of it yet!).
Greek Yogurt Parfait
- 8 oz Greek yogurt, plain
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Handful blueberries
1) Stir honey and cinnamon into yogurt until well-mixed; add blueberries and enjoy.
Another step I am making towards healthy is a big step: 2-a-days. Basically, I am working out with Jillian Michaels twice a day between now and the end of next week. The deadline is because I am going out of town for a while; I figured that this intense period of time will be manageable because it isn’t permanent. It’s just a way to jump-start some weight-loss before transitioning into a more sustainable one-a-day workout. So I am doing Jillian’s Ripped in 30 DVD when I wake up and her yoga DVD before I go to bed. The Ripped in 30 is for body health, the yoga is for mental health. I just wanted to let you all know where it stands on my exercise; and to tell you, once again, how wonderful (awful?) Jillian’s workouts are. They are really designed to tear you down and build you up again; Jillian drives a hard workout and you hate her and your hate yourself for not being able to do it perfectly. But just when you think you can’t do it anymore, that you are going to give it, Jillian gives you an easier move to do and delivers a great motivational speech. And you find enough in you to carry on. I personally wonder if Jillian is the devil or a deity…
In my quest for a whole healthy day, I decided to make one of my favorite recipes for dinner: cod and mashed potatoes. I ran across this recipe at some point last year and The Boyfriend and I quickly made it one of our favorites. It was a bit of a hassle the first time that I made it but not that I’m familiar with the recipe, it’s pretty simple.
When writing this blog up, I realized that this is from the same source as to my favorite salsa recipe (that I will also be making this week)! Yay for Kayotic!
Steamed Cod and Taters
Adapted from a recipe at http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/steamed-cod-champ-and-mustard-sauce
- 1 ½ lb fresh cod
- 1 ½ lb Yukon gold potatoes
- ½ cup milk
- ½ – 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 spring onions or 5 green onions
- 3 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- pepper and salt
1) Peel the potatoes and boil them in lightly salted water until tender, about 25 minutes.
2) Mince the spring (or green) onions. Transfer them to a sauce pan, pour in the milk and when the potato timer has 10 minutes left, put them on the stove and simmer them over low heat for 5 minutes to soften up and heat the milk.
3) Stir heavy cream together with flour until smooth.
4) Heat broth; as soon as the broth starts to boil, pour in the cream/flour mix and stir intensely. Add water until you have a sauce consistency you like. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and Dijon mustard to taste.
5) Season the fish with salt and pepper; steam fish for 8 to 10 minutes.
Bamboo steamers are amazing–get one now if you don’t already have one. And don’t be afraid to really pack that fish in there.
6) Drain the potatoes, add the butter and mash them. Pour in the hot milk with scallions and a good bit of pepper; stir until well mixed.
7) To serve: divide the taters over the plates, top it with the steamed cod, and spoon mustard sauce on top.
***Ok, so this one is a little hard to veg-ify but I suppose if you replaced the chicken broth with veg broth, and found a good substitute for the cod (maybe roasted veggies?) than it could be done). You could even make it vegan if you used milk and butter replacements.***
Ok, I know it might sound a little weird to put fish on top of mashed potatoes and to cover the whole thing with mustard sauce. I know: it sounds a little bizarre. But don’t think of it as bizarre: think of it as exotic! And after you try one bite, you won’t be thinking of anything except how delicious it is. Talk about a party in your mouth! It’s exciting and it still tastes and feels like comfort food. Mmm…
Just like the blogger at Kayotic suggests, I always serve this with baked carrots. Besides the fact that these are delicious, the carrots are really easy to make; add that to the exotic Indian flavor and the great color pop on the plate next to the white fish and mashed potatoes, and you;ve got a hit!
My Favorite Carrots
Adapted from a recipe at http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/easy-baked-carrots
- 1 lb carrots
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Cinnamon, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, and cayenne, to taste
- Salt and pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with tin foil.
2) Peel carrots and halve them lengthwise.
3) Combine butter with all of the seasonings and garlic. Add the butter mix to the carrots; use your hands to make sure every carrot is covered. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and black pepper over the carrots.
4) Cover the baking tray tightly with aluminum foil. Place them in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
5) After 40 minutes, remove the top foil; drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil and cook for another 10-15 minutes without the aluminum foil, until they’re slightly browned and caramelized.
Before I wrap it up today, I just wanted to tell you about a few big things in my life: I have 2 job interviews this week (yay!) and I am going to a burn in Atlanta in 2 weeks (double yay!). In addition, I will be spending a few weeks after the burn in Atlanta with my mom. The last one is not really a yay but I am looking forward to spending time with my mom and my friends in ATL. Expect to see a lot more vegetarian recipes while I’m there because my mom is a recent convert to vegetarianism. So my blog question for the day is: what’s your favorite vegetarian recipe??
Until next time…