Dinner last night was a noodle salad with tofu, red pepper, and snow peas, dressed with a peanut sauce. I also had some roasted cauliflower with cilantro dressing.
Both were really good, and were what I had in mind when I thought of avoiding "fake meat". I wish I'd given this whole thing more thought before I dove in, because I feel like every evening I've been scrambling to come up with something meatless to make. If I were carnivorous, it'd be easy to just slap a piece of meat on the grill and do some veggie sides, but without that fallback, it's tough. I guess the flip-side of that is that it forces you to be more creative with your meal planning.
Anyway, the kids were eating dinner with their mom, so it gave me a quiet evening by myself to cook solo and listen to music, dork around on the guitar some, and basically relax.
I need to get some new music, though. I bought the Hold Steady's Separation Sunday the other day, and I think I've listened to this song:
about 8 millions times already. But it's a great song, and if you've never checked out the Hold Steady, you really should. I saw them last fall on a double bill with the Drive-By Truckers and they both absolutely killed.
Both have new albums either out (DBT) or coming out soon (Hold Steady). Unfortunately, neither will be at Bonnaroo, but then again, the Gossip will (and they apparently are great live), so I guess things even out in the end.
The peanut sauce came from an excellent blog I read called "Thursday Night Smackdown", and the cauliflower came from the equally good Serious Eats blog).
Cold noodles with peanut sauce:
1 red bell pepper
1 cup snow pea pods
4 oz extra firm tofu
soba noodles or "good" ramen noodles (1/2 lb?) (not Top Ramen!)
peanut sauce (recipe follows)
Blanch snow peas in boiling salty water for 1 minute, and then shock in ice water. Drain and set aside.
Cut off top and bottom of red pepper, remove seeds and membranes, and cut into julienne strips.
Cut tofu into strips.
Boil noodles according to package directions, and drain and rinse with cold water.
Put in large bowl, add half of the pepper, snow peas, and tofu, and add peanut sauce to taste. Toss to combine, and use remaining pepper, peas and tofu on top.
(from Thursday Night Smackdown)
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. soy sauce
3 tbsp. mirin
1 14oz. can coconut milk
2 tbsp. chili-garlic paste
4 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1-3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. peanut butter (not the all-natural kind)
2-4 tbsp. sugar
salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and let sweat for 5-6 minutes.
Add the soy and mirin and let them reduce to a syrupy consistency. Stir in the coconut milk, chili-garlic paste, sweet chili sauce and sugar and whisk together.
Once it comes to a simmer, whisk in the peanut butter until smooth. Taste, and add rice wine vinegar to taste; you want to add brightness without turning the sauce overly acidic. Add sugar to taste; you want some sweetness but you don’t want the sauce to become unbalanced. Salt to taste.
Let simmer for a few minutes and adjust any flavor if necessary – soy or salt if it needs salt, vinegar if it needs brightening, chili-garlic paste if you want heat, and sugar for sweetness. Use on noodles, as a dipping sauce or for whatever the hell else needs some spicy peanut.
Chili-roasted Cauliflower (from Serious Eat's 'Crisper Whisperer'):
Chili-Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing
- serves 4 -
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 small bunch cilantro (leaves and delicate stems), roughly chopped
2 small cloves garlic. roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the center. Wash and thoroughly dry the cauliflower and cut into large florets.
2. In a small bowl, combine the two tablespoons olive oil, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and toss well with the oil mixture. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once with a spatula mid-roasting.
3. While the cauliflower roasts, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary.
4. Drizzle the roasted cauliflower with the dressing and serve immediately.