I've been putting my food blog-reading and Pinning to good use lately, trying out several new recipes, with varying degrees of success. Here are two that fall in the "success" category - definitely good enough to make again!
First up is Spicy Sriracha Grilled Tofu, from Bon Appetit via The Bitten Word (love the title of that blog, BTW). M. and I are relatively new to the Sriracha team - we discovered it's deliciousness a few years ago at a local Noodles and Company, where the tables are graced with their own bottles of the stuff, and we learned to use it to garnish all sorts of asian and cream-based pasta dishes (with a firm, but not-too-heavy, hand!). We are converts, and have a bottle of our very own living in the fridge now. Mac 'n Cheese just isnt' the same without it now!
Spicy Sriracha Grilled Tofu
1 14-16 ounce container extra-firm tofu
3/4 cup Sriracha
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds plus more
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white miso paste
3 chopped scallions plus more
2 garlic cloves
Cut tofu into 1" blocks. Drain well on paper towels.
- My variation on this is to place the block of tofu between several layers of paper towels, and top with something heavy to press the water out. Change towels once. When you think you've gotten all the water out, or you're just tired of waiting, then cut the tofu into 1" blocks. Make sure to cut the blocks big enough that they won't fall through your grill grate.
Put Sriracha, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, soy sauce, and white miso paste in a blender with 3 chopped scallions and garlic cloves. Blend with water until smooth. Reserve a cupful for dipping; marinate the tofu in the rest overnight.
- I didn't have any sesame seeds on hand when I prepped the marinade, so I added a dash of sesame oil instead. I think it worked very nicely - there was a yummy hint of sesame, but not overwhelming. Also, I found that the amounts made for A LOT of marinade - you could probably reduce the ingredients by 1/3 and still have plenty for the recipe. Looking at the pictures on The Bitten Word, though, I probably added more water during blending than the authors did. I don't really know how much water I added - maybe a cup? Possibly less? Whatever the amount, it worked well - the marinade was thin enough to coat the tofu nicely and to use for drizzling at the end, but not watery.
Shake off excess sauce and grill tofu, brushing with sauce. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and scallions.
- As noted in the original blog post, make sure you oil your grill well before starting. I used a heavy dose of cooking spray. M. (who did the actual grilling) reported that he still had some trouble with sticking, but no tofu chunks were sacrificed to the grill flames. We did not brush on more marinade during the grilling process, but I drizzled a little on after the cooking was done. Also, by this time I had successfully purchased sesame seeds (already toasted, FTW!), so I sprinkled them on (and the scallions) per the instructions. I heart sesame seeds.
The result was a) pretty; b) flavorful; c) SPICY!
We ate the dish with a glass of milk. M., who is not a tofu lover, ate all of his portion. There were no leftovers, and I've since made the dish again (with the leftover marinade from the first time), testaments to the success of the recipe. If you like spice, make this! You won't regret it. Unless your children are freakish, they won't eat it, of course - plan something simple and easy to serve them instead (PB&J, anyone?).
Next up is Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans, from Eating Well. I like this recipe because it is quick and simple to prepare (and also it tastes good, natch). You could fancy it up (and add a bunch of time to the prep process) by making your own gnocchi, of course, but I was more than happy to follow the recommendation to use shelf-stable gnocchi from the grocery store. I struck out at my usual grocery store, though, and had to go to another one to find them. But find them, I did!
Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
From EatingWell: January/February 2009
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi, (see Tip)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
6 cups chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
I followed the recipe exactly (with one exception), so I have no real tips to pass on. I've made the dish twice - the first time I used baby spinach because I couldn't find any chard (neither of the two grocery stores I went to had it! Chard Shortage! The panic!), and I added in some greek olives (the one change I made). The olives were nice, but not necessary, and I didn't add them the second time. The second time I managed to score myself some chard. I think I preferred the chard a little over the spinach, because it stays a little firmer on cooking, and doesn't clump together as much. Both versions were great, and M. has insisted this become a go-to meal. The kids wouldn't touch it - the first time I served it, Lucy and I had a stand-off over the tiniest, most miniscule piece of gnocchi, which she ABSOLUTELY refused to try. Even with the promise of dessert (cake!) if she just put the frackin' thing in her mouth. No deal. Finn ate a tiny nibble at my insistence (and to score dessert), but wouldn't touch more. The second time around I didn't even bother, I gave them leftovers. But unlike the tofu dish, this one might have a shot with other, slightly more adventurous kids - maybe even YOUR kids. After all, what's not to love about gnocchi? Potatoes and pasta, for the love of God! Winning combination.
Picture time. First up is the spinach version:
And here is the chard version:
They look remarkably similar, I realize. And perhaps not the prettiest dish, but tasty? Yes!
And since I'm on a roll with the food photos, you can see the labor of love (literally) I slaved over yesterday, in preparation for the kids' Valentine's Day parties on Tuesday:
This is one recipe I'm SURE the kids will eat!