Thursday, September 13, 2007

Recipes – Two Salads and Pesto, and a Meme

I made Chase two salads Sunday night he could make into sandwiches or wraps and eat between classes this week.

Blackened Tofu Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods Market “Blackened Chicken Salad”

1 lb. tofu, cut into 4 slices
1/3 cup Cajun seasoning*
1 cup shredded carrots
½ medium red onion, finely diced
3 green onions, including tops, thinly sliced

¼ cup miso mayo (or your favorite vegan mayo)
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. olive oil
¼ cup Italian dressing (I use Kraft fatfree)

* Cajun seasoning:
I used a combination of a spice mix called Cajun Dust...

… and added in about a teaspoon each of onion powder, cumin, dried basil, and dried oregano. The Whole Foods Market cookbook has a great saltfree recipe.

First, blacken the tofu:

Coat the four slices of tofu in the seasoning. Place in a hot nonstick pan. After four minutes, turn the slices over and cook another four minutes. Remove to a plate to cool. Don’t move the slices while cooking. Let them blacken. This is how they will look:

I know it doesn’t look terribly appealing, but it’s really delicious and lots of fun to make.

While the tofu is cooling, make the dressing. Just mix everything together and adjust to your taste. (I have never liked mayonnaise. If you like it, add plenty. I didn’t really like my dressing until I added in the bottled Italian, and I only added it because the tofu sucked up what I had originally made. I’m going to try using a cup of soygurt for my next batch.)

When the tofu is cool, cut it into bite size pieces and put it in a large bowl. Add in the carrots and onions and mix together. Add the dressing and coat well.

I had a taste and thought it was really good. I asked Chase on Monday if he had a tofu sandwich with him and he said no because he ate it all Sunday night! Needless to say, he loves it and wants more.

Kasha Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods Market “Wheat Berry Salad”

1-1/2 cups kasha, cooked in 3 cups broth for about 20 minutes, and cooled
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 can red beans (kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 T. olive oil
salt to taste

Mix all together in a big bowl.

That’s it. This was my first time to use kasha. I know it’s eaten like oatmeal for breakfast, but I must say that Chase and I both thought it tasted like mashed potatoes! I told Chase it would also be a good idea to fill corn tortillas with the kasha salad and top it with some salsa like enchiladas, and I was so proud – he said, Mom, I already did that!

Now, especially for Vicki, the recipe for Smoky Sundried Tomato Pesto.

This recipe was given to me by a former Casa de Luz chef at a cooking class. She now works for the Blossoming Lotus in Kauai. She used 4 smoke-dried tomatoes in her recipe. As far as I know you can only get smoke-dried tomatoes from Boggy Creek Farm here (check out the recipe ideas). They are $7.95 for a 2-ounce bag! I came up with an easy, perfect substitute.

½ sweet yellow onion, chopped
12 sundried tomatoes
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprika)
dash of salt

Put the above ingredients into a sauce pan and add enough water to cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water evaporates.

Combine in a food processor with 1 cup toasted almonds (or walnuts or sunflower seeds), 1 teaspoon salt, and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or water) to desired consistency.

In class, the chef also made a Pepita Cilantro (or Basil) Pesto, which was also fabulous, and served the 2 pestos on stacked polenta rounds. One round with a thick layer of red pesto, then one round with a thick layer of green pesto, and then topped with mushroom gravy. All I have is a sad little cellphone pic of my attempt at home, but you can get the idea.

I’ll bet just one round of polenta with the tomato pesto and a mushroom sauce would be just as wonderful.

I know this is already a long post, but I gotta play the name game meme since VeggieGirl and Emmie tagged me.

1. Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.

2. When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.

3. At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.

4. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them ,they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

5. If I’ve tagged YOU (the bloggers that I've tagged are listed at the end), please join in on the fun!


D – DOING something – always. I am restless and find it very difficult to relax. Remember, I suck at yoga. I don’t believe in wasting time or “doing nothing.” Whatever I do has a purpose and is never done half a**. I am intolerant of laziness, especially at the office.

I – IN NEED OF A CHALLENGE. I thrive on it. If there’s a deadline at work – great. It can’t be done? Let me try. I guess I’m competitive, but mostly with myself. I don’t need to be the best at anything. I just need to do it the best I can do it. I LOVE weight training. I think it’s way cool to lift weights so heavy I have to strap myself down so I don’t come off the bench.

A – ADORE ALL THINGS AUSTIN. I was not born here, but I was totally raised here. I am casual, easygoing, eclectic, just like this great city. I love all my food markets and I love that food critics loath chain restaurants and support our local chefs. I’m proud to be in the same community with the University of Texas, Michael Dell, and Lance Armstrong. It’s so cool. KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!

N – NOT SPONTANEOUS. I bet you’re not surprised. I have never “lived for the moment.” I am the most regimented person I know. Everything I do is done according to the plan, routine, list, or calendar and it's terribly upsetting to me if things don't go according to plan. (Yes, blogging was on the list for tonight.) But I’m not completely boring - I do pencil in time for fun and even a little sleep.

N – NETI POT! My new favorite thing and man I hope it continues to work. If you suffer from allergy or sinus problems, this is the cure. It’s a salt water nasal irrigation which I would have never done until someone told me to think of it as taking in the salty air as you walk along the beach. I got Chase into it too and he loves it. Check it out.

Now I must tag 5 people. I tag:

Amey, Vegan Eats & Treats
Laura, Eden in the Kitchen
Erica, She Sees Color
Judy, Judy’s Pages


Emmie said...

It's really nice to get to know more about you. I was looking at one of those neti pots not long ago but didn't get one. I don't know, it sounds a bit icky to me, but the again, not ever rinsing is probably ickier.

Oh, the blackened tofu salad is definitely going on my 'must try' list. It looks delicous.

VeggieGirl said...

haha, your traits from "D," "I," and "N" sounds like me too!! So fun to learn more about you - you're such a lovely person, and your blog continues to inspire me post after post. That blackened tofu and kasha salad look INCREDIBLE, and the sundried tomato pesto is a blessing, because I've never seen sundried-tomato pesto in stores that DIDN'T contain dairy. yum!! thanks for the recipe :0)

Kati said...

Those salads both look awesome, Diann. It's been fun learning more about you, as usual - you are one nifty lady! I am also a devotee of the neti pot - that thing works wonders.

bazu said...

What a great meme read! I can't believe that it's already been a year since we "met", but I love learning more about you!
Oh, and thanks so much for the kasha recipe- I have a bunch of kasha sitting around, and was trying to figure out something to do with it.

erica said...

Oh my goodness, this looks like a complicated meme. Thanks for tagging me (it's fun!). I have to say, even though I don't think you meant to imply that yoga was wasting time, that yoga is *never* a waste of time!

Vegan_Noodle said...

All those salads look awesome...Chase is so lucky!

I enjoyed reading your meme. The first two really come across in your always have tons of amazing food to show all of us that lurk around your blog. And that competitive spirit sure came out when you delivered the winning (and super yummy) recipe for urban vegan's dessert contest.

And yes, please keep austin wierd. Us Houstonians need an escape every once in awhile. Ar you planning on going to the LSV chili cook-off in November?

aTxVegn said...

Erica, I would NEVER consider yoga a waste of time, and I know I need it to help me relax and to stretch out from all the weight training. If I had you (or Kati or Amey) to instruct me, I'm sure I would love it.

Noodle, yes, the chili cookoff is already on my calendar! Are you coming? Vegan*asm says she's going. We could all hook up!

Candi said...

You tofu dishes look great! And the WF salad too!

I liked reading about you in the meme! You pencil in some sleep? haha!

urban vegan said...

Blackened tofu looks amazingly tasty--that's hwo it's supposed to look ;)

As always, I am leaving your blog hungry.

Fun to learn more about you.

Monika K said...

I have friends that live in Austin and the last time I was there they took me to the whole foods market downtown - talk about drool worthy! I couldn't believe how much stuff they had; I wandered from station to station trying to take it all in and eventually bought some fresh fruit and cashew stir-fry from the deli section. What an experience - I would LOVE to have something half as cool here in Alaska.

Midwest Vegan said...

I loved learning more about you. Although, I agree with the other comments that some of your traits do come through your posts so it feels like we "know" you already.

Isn't it fun when our kids do what we want them to do, even before we've mentioned anything? I always love it when my daughter's one step ahead of me.

Jody from VegChic said...

What great looking salads! I made blackened tofu once and it was really great, I should make it again some time.

Thanks for sharing more about yourself!

Vivacious Vegan said...

THanks for sharing! I love Meme's where we learn more about each other.

You're the second person this week who has mentioned a neti pot to me. I have terrible allergies (to my cat - go figure) and have trouble breathing. I'm going to give this a try.

Kim said...

That blackened tofu salad looks amazing! I am going to make that tomorrow as I have some whole wheat wraps that are in the fridge waiting to be used! Thank you for sharing!

LK said...

The kasha salad looks good. Where do you buy kasha? We've never tried it.

aTxVegn said...

LK - I got my kasha from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. You must try it!