Good morning! I just came back from a run. The weather was so nice! Crisp and cool summer mornings make exercise so much more bearable. At least I know I was sweating from the workout, not from the blistering heat! :D
For lunch yesterday I knew that I wanted to have some tofu. So after breakfast, I set out to slice two pieces of firm tofu and marinade them for a couple hours. Ordinarily, I would just dice them into cubes when time was up, and top them over a nice hearty salad. But then as I peered into the refrigerator, I found this, too:
Kabocha is a Japanese variety of squash or pumpkin. It has a starchy texture akin to water chestnut and a sweet taste not unlike butternut squash and sweet potato. Usually our family likes to steam kabocha wedges in the steamer tray atop the rice in the rice cooker. Plain, unseasoned kabocha is where it's at ;)
So I had my marinated tofu and my kabocha, PLUS the unbelievably mild weather, which led me to one thought, and one thought only: USE THE OVEN! My mother always complains when I roast or bake things in the summer time because she says that it's already hot enough and having the oven on will only exacerbate things. But with the beautiful weather, I thought I'd give it a go. (Besides, she wasn't home. :D)
* 2 slices of firm tofu (do not buy silky tofu; it won't hold up in the oven!)
* 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon of vinegar
* 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon of agave nectar
* 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed meal
* Any seasoning of your choice
Note: The seasoning I use is great. It has herbs, a little sea salt, and even ground flaxseed!
Directions: Mix the vinegar and soy sauce together. Add agave and then the olive oil. Sprinkle in the flaxseed and add seasoning to taste. Place the tofu slices in a bowl, plastic container, or small ziplock bag and let them marinade in the mixture for 2-3 hours. Flipping them over and redistributing the marinade half-way through is recommended.
Place the tofu onto a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (less cleanup) and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until they look brown and caramelized, turning them over once mid-way through. Then take them out, let them rest for 5 minutes for the tofu to solidify a bit.
* 1 wedge of kabocha squash (approx. 1/8 or 1/10 of an entire squash)
* Tofu marinade (see above)
Directions: Chop the wedge into 1-inch chunks and mix with some of the tofu marinade (see above). Place onto the same foil-lined cookie sheet with the tofu, 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, checking and turning them occasionally.
Mixed Spinach Salad with Tahini-Lime Hummus Dressing
* 1/2 cup of baby spinach (any greens will work)
* 1/2 small tomato
* 1 slice of red onion
* 1/4 large avocado or 1/2 small avocado
* 1/3 large carrot
* 1/2 slice of whole grain bread (I used a variety of Mestemacher fitness bread)
* 2 tablespoons of tahini hummus
* 1 tablespoon of water
* 1/2 lime
Directions: Toast the bread (I used a regular toaster, but an oven should be fine). Dice up the tomato, red onion, and avocado, and combine them with the spinach. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot to form "ribbons" to garnish the top of the salad. Rip the bread into crouton-sized pieces on top. Mix the hummus and water until it is a dressing consistency. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and add seasoning to taste. Drizzle the hummus dressing over the salad and toss together loosely.
All of the flavors came together really well. The sweet-and-sour tofu marinade paired really well with the thick and tangy hummus. All I needed was some crunch, which I satisfied with some crushed almonds!
It's funny because my mother thought the tofu looked like fish and the bread pieces like beef. Looks are deceiving, aren't they ;D
Anyhow, I'm off for some reading and movies. Stay tuned for my next recipe, a quick and delicious veggie burger wrap!