Sheet Pan Crisp Tofu and Sweet Potatoes

I’d had a sweet potato in my house for a while that I needed to use. This recipe looked interesting, so I borrowed Ian’s non-broken oven to make it. The results were mixed. The recipe is very sloppily written and the proportions of sweet potato to tofu are very off. But the flavors were good. I’d make it again, fixing the instructions and the proportions.

The recipe doesn’t call to oil the pans before putting the tofu or sweet potatoes in them. This. seemed like a big mistake to me so I oiled them ahead of tie.

It’s very unclear in its instructions for preparing the tofu. It says “Toss half the mixture with the tofu, then toss in cornstarch”. I’m really not sure how you are supposed to “toss” cut tofu without breaking it. And there’s only a tablespoon of cornstarch in the recipe, which is not enough for a block of tofu in any format. I ended up using my mother’s tried and true method for making baked tofu. I dipped the slices in the liquid mixture and then dipped in the cornstarch. I needed to use more cornstarch than the recipe called for- maybe 3 tbsp? Despite this major glitch, the tofu was super tasty. I’d definitely make it again. But it was gone long before the sweet potato. I do not buy that this recipe makes 4 servings as it says. In my experience, no matter what it say on the package, a block of tofu makes 2-3 servings, depending on the appetite of the people you’re serving. Next time I make this I’d 1.5 the tofu. The recipe also doesn’t mention flipping the tofu, which I did half way through.

Do not skip the scallions in vinegar. They make the dish. So simple and so tasty. I also think some sesame seeds sprinkled on top would have been good as well. I’d add them next time.

Rice Noodles with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Mint

Finding a recipe that both Ian and I can eat right now is nearly impossible, since we are both dealing with very restrictive medically prescribed diets. Add my vegetarian diet, his gluten free diet, plus both of our lactose intolerance, and there’s nearly nothing we can both eat. I was intrigued by this dish since it uses rice noodles instead of flour noodles, but incorporates Italian flavors rather than the usual Asian flavors I associate with rice noodles.

I’ve made it twice now. The first time I did quite a bit of tweaking based on what we had in the house and Ian’s restrictions. The second time I stuck to the recipe. I liked my first version much better. Both Ian and I really loved it and had multiple additional helpings. I think the original recipe is too low on veggies and I like a basil/mint mixture better than mint alone. I’ve also found it’s much better with cherry tomatoes than with large tomatoes or canned. Whatever version you make, this is a simple, quick, weeknight dish. I made simple pan fried tofu for a protein on the side and Ian ate it with chicken. Here’s my adjusted version:

  • 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2garlic cloves (to taste), minced (optional)
  • 1.5 pound zucchini, cut in ΒΌ-inch dice
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt to taste (I use about 1.5 tsp)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 7 to 8ounces thin rice sticks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, torn

I follow the instructions from the original recipe. If I leave out the garlic for Ian, I just skip that step. I honestly didn’t notice a big flavor difference between having the garlic and not having it. I think the key to the flavor of this recipe is really high quality ingredients, since it’s so simple. Great olive oil and sweet cherry tomatoes really make the dish. I also like spaghetti style rice noodles better than the fettuccine ones for this dish because they have more bite.

Summer Squash Capponata

Now that I’m a gardener, every summer I find myself scouring the internet for novel things to do with zucchini and summer squash. This recipe from the New York Times looked interesting. I love olives and capers, and since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I liked that it included eggs as a protein source.

The recipe was simple enough to make. It does use quite a few dishes and pots, but isn’t super time consuming. I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spice. And I used white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar since that’s what I had. And finally, I used maple syrup instead of sugar so that Ian would eat it (turns out he’s off maple syrup now too so that was a bust). Since the recipe give no guidance on salt, that required quite a bit of trial and error to get right. And the step where you pre-soak the capers seemed pointless to me since I ended up adding a lot of salt after.

In general I object to recipes that don’t offer at least a salt range. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this recipe. It was definitely better after it had marinated at least a day. I recommend turning it occasionally to ensure it marinates throughout. Without the red pepper flakes, it was just the tiniest bit on the bland side (maybe I’d try paprika next time?). But overall, this was a hit. I happily ate it all week without complaint. And Ian’s mom Sally ate Ian’s portion and said she liked it a lot. I’ll make this one again for sure, maybe with just a bit of tweaking on the flavors.

Tomato Salad with Cucumber and Ginger

Since my garden is overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes right now, I’ve been looking for salad recipes to keep up with the onslaught. This very simple Asian salad recipe seemed promising since it would use both veggies as well as my end-of-season basil.

Indeed, this was a real winner. After the mushy cucumber disaster of the cucumber avocado salad, I just made the dressing ahead of time and chopped the cucumber and tomato I needed for a single meal. This strategy worked well. I used Thai basil, which was quite yummy as well. I added Marinated Asian Tofu from Veganomicon to make this a meal. And voila! A very simple tasty fresh lunch was born. I’ll definitely make this again next summer.

Pan-Seared Summer Squash with Garlic and Mint

It was my turn to make the food for my monthly dinner with my neighbors. I was making Asian marinated tofu from Veganomicon and needed a side to go with it. I had planned to make sesame cucumber salad, but found I didn’t have enough cucumbers in my garden. I’ve got a lot of summer squash and mint in my garden right now and my sister has told me repeatedly that she really likes this recipe from Fresh Food Fast. So even though it really wasn’t on theme with Asian tofu, pan-seared summer squash for the win!

If you’re like me and don’t have a griddle, searing the summer squash in round cast iron pans is a bit time consuming. But other than that, this recipe is really easy and comes together fast. I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spicy foods. I cut the olive oil in half and the salt by 3/4, which meant I added 1.5 tbsp olive oil and 3/4 tsp of course salt. I think if I was making this for myself instead of guests I’d just use 1 tbsp of oil. But the result was really tasty and my neighbors loved it. One recipe was the perfect amount for three people (plus a 3-year-old who had 1 bite). Surprisingly, it went really well with the Asian tofu, and my neighbor discovered that is was delicious with the tofu on buttered ciabatta to form a funky bahn mi as he called it. Honestly, the funky bahn mi sandwich was so good I’m already craving it again.

Pan-Seared Summer Squash w/ Garlic & Mint

Zucchini-Scallion Chickpea Flour Pancakes

When I was in Germany visiting my sister and her family, Rose made a vegan version of these pancakes (since my mom is vegan and the original recipe has egg). They were so tasty! And since it’s zucchini season in my garden, I thought I’d try to make them.

I made Rose’s original version from her blog with buckwheat flour and egg. Super easy and yummy. Rose made them with dal for dipping, which was surprisingly tasty. But since I’m currently trying to eat low FODMAP, lentils were off the table. Instead, I made them with a cold east African soup from The Ethnic Vegetarian. The combo worked really well!

I made the batter over the weekend and just cooked up the number of pancakes I wanted to each each day right before I ate. This worked really well and I had no issues with the batter keeping all week.

Ian is nervous about eating buckwheat flour, so next time I’m going to try to make a version without the buckwheat and report back. I really liked the buckwheat flavor but I don’t think it was absolutely necessary for the texture.

Corn and Green Bean Salad with Tomatillo Dressing

I didn’t plant tomatillos this year. But two volunteer plants sprouted up and they have been super prolific. So I found myself with more tomatillos than knew what to do with and looking for something other than enchiladas to do with them. I found this recipe for a summer salad with tomatillo dressing on the New York times.

This was super easy to make, and really yummy. Since it uses the broiler, it doesn’t heat up the house too much. I left out the cheese and found I didn’t miss it. Since I’m eating low FODMAP right now, I used half a deseeded jalepeno, which added flavor but not spice. Again, I didn’t find that the lack of spice messed up the recipe at all. This is definitely something I’ll make again. I was eating it as a main course and found their serving sizes were off. I doubled the recipe and I think I got 3 or 4 meals out of it. So next time if I want to eat this all week I’ll make it as a side or triple the recipe. I found adding avocado made it more of a meal and was extra tasty.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014218-corn-and-green-bean-salad-with-tomatillo-dressing?action=click&module=RecipeBox&pgType=recipebox-page&region=tomatillo&rank=0

Sesame Cucumber Salad

It’s the time of year when my garden is overflowing with cucumbers. I made this impromptu salad and brought it to a communal dinner. It was quite a hit and I enjoyed the leftovers the next day as a snack.

1/2 inch piece of ginger, graded

3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

3 large shallots

4 medium cucumbers

2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Combine the ginger, garlic, oil, salt, and vinegar.
  2. Cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise, thinly slice
  3. Thinly slice the shallots
  4. Combine and vegetables
  5. Add the sesame seeds.
  6. Let sit for at least an hour before serving.

Green Tacos

I needed to use up kale from my garden before it went to seed. And I was in the mood for tacos. So I decided to try this recipe for sweet potato and kale taco filling. The recipe calls for grated sweet potatoes. I was a little skeptical of this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was great in the tacos. The recipe is super fast and easy and very tasty. I made it with this tempeh chorizo recipe and kidney beans. The combo was great. I’ll definitely make this again. In fact I already bought another sweet potato!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/green-tacos

Tempeh Chorizo

I’ve really been enjoying tempeh recently. So I decided to try a tempeh chorizo recipe. The recipe uses chopped walnuts along with tempeh for a somewhat crunchy texture. I’m not sure that real chorizo is crunchy, but I enjoyed the texture in my tacos. I made this along with kidney beans and this veggie filling recipe. The combination was quite yummy. My only issue with this recipe was that it ended up somewhat sweet, which I didn’t like. I suspect cinnamon was the culprit. So I’ll leave it out next time. Also, I used tomato paste and a tsp of agave instead of ketchup since I don’t eat ketchup. I guess the agave was a mistake. Next time I’ll just use the tomato paste.