Monday, February 20, 2012

a happy birthday

birthday girl

Today is Rachael's 23rd birthday, and she didn't want a big party so we had the aunties over for lunch. The menu was a qualified success; Rachael wanted Asian food, and the aunties have conservative, western palates. We had rice, mapo tofu (with hardly any chile but with the rest of the seasoning intact),

mapo dofu

kai-lan (AKA gai lan, Chinese kale, or Chinese broccoli),


an apple daikon salad modeled on a salad I liked at Bako,

apple daikon salad i

and clementine cake with chocolate sorbet (I forgot to take a picture till the party was over).

cake ii

Everyone liked the rice and, somewhat surprisingly, the tofu, but the long pieces of kai-lan were a little hard for the aunties to manipulate and neither had heard of daikon so didn't want to try it. Rachael liked the kai-lan, though--she thought it was vastly superior to the baby bok choy I'd initially planned to make. 'Mommy, you could just substitute this whenever a recipe calls for bok choy!' We also both liked my salad, so I'll record its recipe in case I want to make it again.

Apple Daikon Salad
serves 4-6, depending on what else you're having

a medium, red apple, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
about 12oz of daikon, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2t yuzu juice or 1t each lime and orange juice
2t peanut oil
1t toasted, crushed sesame seeds

Mix everything together in a big bowl, then transfer to a pretty platter to serve.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

an excellent use for your stripy pan

broccolini i

I've made this recipe twice lately, because it's so easy and good! Rachael especially likes it, and always wants seconds. It's by the ever-inventive Yotam Ottolenghi and can be found here. I made it exactly as written except that I used 1lb of broccolini (AKA baby broccoli) instead of the called-for 550g of purple sprouting broccoli. I've never seen purple sprouting at a store or farmer's market around here, and think it's probably only available to those who grow it themselves. Anyway, if you have stripy pan you really should try this recipe!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

yummy, yummy tofu

tofu in a dish

If you're in need of a quick pick-me-up and have some tofu handy, you should try this super-quick scrambled tofu. It takes less than five minutes to make, from decision to in-your-bowl!

serves one
a little bit of olive oil
1/2 a carton of firm (not extra-firm) tofu, 3.5-4oz
1/8t each black salt* and turmeric
a couple of grinds of black pepper and a couple of shakes of garlic powder (I like Spike Garlic Magic)

Heat your frying pan over medium heat with a little olive oil in it. Squish the tofu through your fingers directly into the pan (you needn't wait for the pan to heat up), then add the seasonings. Stir around to get everything mixed together, then stir occasionally till it's all warm and steamy. Transfer to your dish and eat.

*You can get this at your local Indian or Pakistani store, or from Amazon.