February 09, 2009

Tofu and veggies in ginger-garlic sauce

I love cookbooks, and even though I own a lot, there are always more I want. But, recently, something happened that made me ask this question: "What might make you suspect you own too many cookbooks?" We had been to the library a few weeks before, and brought home several cookbooks to try. We made a couple of dishes from them, and found one book in particular very appealing. Then, as I sat reading in the living room one evening, my husband walked into the room carrying our favorite of the borrowed cookbooks. "We own this," he said. "Huh?," I responded. "We own this cookbook. I just found it on the shelf." Yikes. I really should try to use our cookbooks more often, or at least get a grip on which ones are on the shelf.

So when I needed something to make for dinner did I turn to one of my many cookbooks for a recipe? Nope. I found an interesting mushroom recipe in my collection that I'd clipped from Better Homes and Gardens back in 2007, but had never made. (attributed to Catherine Wilkinson) I've adapted the seasonings and expanded it from a mushroom side-dish into a main dish that includes veggies and tofu.

My son and I cooked dinner together with me doing the cutting and him doing the cooking. I precut and measured all the ingredients into little dishes, just like the TV chefs, and cooking was fast and easy, just the way I like it. What a team! The dish was wonderful, and I think it's one I'll make often.

Tofu and vegetables in ginger and garlic sauce (serves four)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi) or 1/4 to1/2 teaspoon Thai red curry paste* (optional)
  • 12 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (or portabella or shiitake)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (I used 2)
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into narrow strips
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 6 to 8 ounces tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • cooked brown rice (I used basmati)
  1. Steam the broccoli and carrots briefly in a small amount of water in a covered pot until the broccoli turns bright green and is crisp-tender. Uncover and set aside.
  2. Heat the margarine and oil in a large skillet. Add the tofu, green onions, cilantro, ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and chili-garlic sauce. Add the broccoli and carrots. Bring to boiling, turn down heat and simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
  6. Serve over cooked rice.
*Thai red curry paste can be very hot so use discretion. If using this, you might want to start with 1/4 teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like your food.

Just want to mention that the weather has certainly taken a turn for the better here in southern Wisconsin. Over the weekend the thermometer soared into the 40s (: D), and combined with the sunshine, it felt like spring to us. But what do we know? We unbutton our coats when it hits 30! (Not me, of course. I admit that 30 feels pleasantly balmy, but I still require appropriate clothing. I keep my long underwear on until at least March.)

In addition to the great weather, I had another pleasant weekend experience. My friend Claire won two tickets to the operetta Candide, by being the first person to call in to a radio station, and she invited me along. (Don't you sometimes wonder who those people are that win the radio call-in contests?) We had dinner together and then attended the performance, which was wonderful and hilarious. What a great evening — and I stayed awake for the whole thing.


  1. Looks gorgeous, loads of my favourite things in there :)

  2. It looks so yummy! That's so fun that you cook together. You do make a great team! :D

  3. Thanks! I wish we cooked together more often.

  4. ooooh yum! i cannot wait to make this

  5. I hope you like it as much as we did.

  6. This gave me some ideas for fun variations on a staple in our home. I'll try to add the cilantro/curry/lime sometime!

  7. This looks delicious, and I think I have about 1/3 cup of coconut milk leftover in my refrigerator!

  8. I love ginger, garlic and lime together.

  9. I would have to make this without tofu and extra broccoli to take its place. It sure looks yummy, esp. since you made it with your son.

    I thought you were going to be like me with all the cookbooks. I recently went to a bookstore and discovered I already had all the vegan cookbooks they were selling!

    So proud of you for staying awake thru the opera.

  10. I think cashews would be a good substitute for the tofu.

    Just wait a little and there will be great new cookbooks published.

    I'm proud of me for staying awake, too. It was wonderful but really long. I couldn't believe there was a second act!


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