Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

April 18, 2012

Heidi’s (Mostly Not) Potato Salad

This past long weekend was a whirlwind – spring cleaning, gardening (more on that later!), catching up with friends, cheering for the marathon runners. It was also the hottest weekend we’ve had since August, bringing about cravings that don’t normally hit until mid-July. I found myself waking up with strawberry-banana smoothies on the brain and spent every evening on my back deck, a cold Grey Lady in hand.

Typically, my summertime cravings for anything cold and juicy (enter giant bowls of watermelon and popsicles for dinner) lead to an all-out aversion to any sort of food prep. As soon as I walk into my inferno of an apartment, any desire I had to turn on the oven washes right out of me.  Luckily, our apartment managed to stay spring-like in temperature this weekend and fueled my drive to flip through my cookbooks and find the perfect salad.

It is rare for me to stick to a recipe. Usually, a recipe is used more as a flavor and proportion guideline. I find myself trading certain ingredients for those that are more appealing to my palate or, more likely, for what I already have in my pantry. Time and again, though, I have found that there is very little that I want to change in Heidi’s recipes. Super Natural Everyday has become an essential part of my kitchen and is a fabulous way to pull yourself out of a food rut.

The photograph alone for Heidi’s Mostly Not Potato Salad was enough to push me out the door to TJ’s, in search of leeks and whole-grain mustard. While this dish does require a bit more prep time than, say, your typical green dinner salad, it came together in under 30 minutes and I hardly broke a sweat. With this salad, I only took liberties with the actual size of some of the veggies (shortcuts are the only way to go sometimes!) and, without chives available in my kitchen, turned to thinly sliced green onions instead.The perfect salad showcases something soft and something crunchy, as well as a beautiful marriage of sweetness, acidity, and saltiness. Heidi’s potato salad? Perfection.

Mostly Not Potato Salad

from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
  • Big handful of green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural cane sugar or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into tiny cubes
  • 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, or until just fork tender. 30 seconds before the potatoes are finished, add the green beans. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the following: mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small non-stick pan, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil over a medium flame and add the chopped dill. Saute until fragrant, then add the chopped leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until just golden.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, leeks, celery, cucumber, tofu, green onions, and dressing.

This salad was delicious slightly warm but was even better the next day after being chilled overnight.

While summer will be welcomed with open arms, I hope to handle the heat in my kitchen for at least a few months more…

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April 3, 2012

Back at It! Plus, Chili Rubbed Tofu and Mango Avocado Salsa

Hi, friends! Did you miss me?

Only kidding =) I have missed you all more than I can say, though. Are you ready to start again? I think that I finally am. When I decided to take a break from HAP, I knew that I hadn’t done all that I had hoped to do with this blog but I wasn’t sure when I would be ready to pick things up again. You see, I had always envisioned HAP as a wonderful extension of my everyday life but it had instead become a burden. And the thought of a blog, a lovely little hobby, serving as a burden when there are so many true burdens out there? So silly!  I needed a moment (or nine months of moments) to set this glorious beast of a hobby aside and get focused. You have all been in that same place, I’m sure. The happy news? I am more focused and more centered than nine months ago, have found some direction in my life (which we all need, some more than others), and am really excited to cook with you all again. Let’s do it to it!

HAP’s first birthday has come and gone but a belated celebration is better than nothing, yeah? A year ago my love affair with mango began when Whole Foods had a killer sale on the fruit. Guess what was on sale again this year?

A slight twist on my mango salsa from last year, I decided to make a sweet and tart variation starring lots of fresh mango, crisp and spicy red onion, and perfectly creamy avocados. At the last minute I added diced cucumber, really because I had it on hand, and it married with the other textures beautifully.

I paired this salsa with tofu that had been rubbed in a chili powder and spice mixture and seared in a non-stick pan until beautifully brown and crispy. Originally, I had set out to make Kathy’s Chipotle Citrus Superfood Tacos  but my pantry seemed to have about a third of the necessary ingredients and I had to go my own way. Hey, you do what you can with what you have, right?

Chili Rubbed Tofu

Serves 2

In a small bowl, mix the following. Feel free to adjust the proportions to your liking!

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

This was enough rub for half of a block of tofu. Please double the spice mixture for a whole block!

Method:

  • Slice your tofu as follows:
  1. In half width-wise. Set aside one half and only work with the other.
  2. Take your half and slice it into thirds lengthwise.
  3. Slice each third diagonally to end with 6 triangles total.
  • Blot each triangle very well, absorbing as much moisture as you can.
  • Carefully rub the chili powder mixture onto both sides of each triangle.
  • Add all six triangles to a preheated nonstick pan and cook over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Flip and do the same to the other side.

While the tofu sears, you can prepare the salsa.

Mango Avocado Salsa

Mix the following in a large bowl:

  • 2 large, ripe mangos, medium dice
  • 1/2 large red onion, small dice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • lots of fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

I chose to add the avocado when I ate. Otherwise, the avocado will turn brown and look completely unappetizing!

I layered my salsa and tofu on a wide bowl with some barley at the bottom. Brown rice was my original plan but I was all out and barley offers that same chewy texture.

Thanks for sticking with me after this long and much needed break. I’m striving for balance in this next phase and hope to always find the joy in Happyaspie. See you soon!