Hello! It’s Melissa.
This is the “recipe” for one of Matt’s favorite lunch foods I make – a tofu and rice salad. I say “recipe” because I made it up and I make it different every time; no specific quantities are required and it’s perfect for tailoring to your preferences. The ingredients I used make a decent sized salad – usually 5 or so meals, so adjust as needed.
1.5 Cups of Uncooked Rice
2 Packages of Extra Firm Tofu/Oil/Salt (or…just buy the pre-fried tofu at Uwajimaya’s that is super delicious and way easier, and cheaper…)
(Mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions are also good additions…)
For the Sauce:
Tamari (GF Soy Sauce)
Brown Rice Vinegar (Doesn’t have to be brown rice, that’s just the kind they sell at TJ’s)
Sweet Chili Sauce
Hot Chili Oil
Brown Sugar (usually I would use honey, but we were out, and this was still tasty)
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2) Rinse the blocks of tofu and wrap up in a towel to soak up the extra water (let sit about 10 min…)
3) While you’re waiting, start cooking the rice.
4) Chop the tofu into cubes, and arrange on a baking pan that has a silpat or was coated in nonstick spray.
5) Drizzle oil (I used olive, sesame would be tasty too..) over the tofu and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6) Bake in the oven until the tofu is crisped to your preference (usually 20 minutes on each side…)
7) While the tofu and rice are cooking, chop the baby carrots into disks and defrost the peas by heating them in sesame oil in a pan. (Sometimes I cook the carrots a bit with the peas and some Tamari to add a little flavor, not this time though…)
8) Combine the rice, tofu, carrots, peas (and whatever else you like) into a big bowl.
9) Make the dressing: Unfortunately, I don’t have any exact measurements for the dressing, but I’ll tell you the process. To make a delicious Asian sauce, you need a balance of salty, spicy, sweet and tangy. I start with a base of Tamari (salty) which is the ingredient that I put the most of in the sauce. Then I add a couple of glugs of Rice Vinegar (tangy) and a little Hot Chili Oil (because I don’t like too much spicy). Then I add a little Sweet Chili Sauce (sweet). I’ll add a little sesame oil to give the sauce some depth. Then I taste – What does it need? If it feels a little bland, maybe it needs a little more Chili Oil. If it’s too heavy tasting, it needs a little more rice vinegar or some lime juice for zing. This time, I needed a little more sweet, so I tossed in some brown sugar (a little bit of a random choice for sweet, normally I do honey, but we were out…). Just continue adding ingredients little by little to the dressing and keep tasting until you like it – and then it’s perfect!
10) Dress the salad and taste! Being the sauce lover I am, I usually drizzle a little Sweet Chili Sauce on each individual serving I eat.
11) I like my salad warm (but maybe that’s just me…), but it’s tasty cold too!
(I apologize for the not-that-appetizing photo…it’s not a very pretty salad, and I haven’t mastered the art of food photography yet…)
A couple weeks ago, Kaitlin and I found a recipe for Balsamic Candied Strawberries on pinterest (Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2010/09/balsamic-toffee-strawberries.html)
We were intrigued, so we decided to try them. They were….interesting. They weren’t balsamicy enough for my taste, and they kind of challenging to eat (the strawberries disappeared and the candy coating became a big chewy blob). Because the Strawberries were so sweet, within an hour, they had dissolved the candy coating, so they were just sugary, slightly tangy strawberries. Now, Kaitlin and I are no expert candy makers, so their lack of perfection could have been entirely our fault. We had some extra candy coating, so we toasted some pecans and coated them in sauce.
However, we (Kaitlin) took some beautiful photos of the process. So while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend making them, it’s still fun to share the pics: