June 08, 2012

Cooked and raw food in bowls | Amazing tofu

The weather has been less than pleasant lately — sunless, chilly, rainy, blah. It seems to be June everywhere but here, or, maybe, this is what June is like here. I feel like I should be making lighter, summery foods, but keep needing something warmer and comforting. My solution seems to be cooked foods on top of raw ones, i.e., hot and cold salads. The first photo you see is of crispy tofu and steamed broccoli over raw salad greens and grape tomatoes. The salad is topped with one of my favorite dressings — umeboshi paste and tahini. (I used a simple unsweetened version, though sometimes I add other things like garlic, sweetener or nigella seeds.) I really loved eating the salad — especially the crisp and flavorful tofu.

This brings me to the topic of how to cook great-tasting, crispy tofu. I've been cooking tofu since before some readers of this blog were born — I've pressed, crumbled, puréed, fried, broiled, baked, whipped, marinated and frozen it into everything from ice cream, cheesecake, lasagna, burgers, omelets, cream cheese, pancakes, tofu turkey and tofu jerky. You name it, I've tofu-ed it. Still, when I saw a post at Herbivoracious on how to make tofu taste really delicious, I went to the blog to read it, because there is always something new to learn, or to be reminded of if you've forgotten. In Michael's tofu 101 post, he describes how to make fabulous tasting crisp and golden tofu. I followed his directions (except for soaking because I was too hungry and needed the tofu immediately). The only seasoning I used was a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt in the last few seconds of browning; I used my wok because I have a power burner on the stove that works really well. I crisped the tofu in thin slabs and cut it for the salad after it was cooked. And was it good? Oh, yes, it was amazingly good. Whether you are an experienced tofu cook or a beginner, you may learn something new — maybe a small detail you were missingabout how to make perfectly-golden, crispy tofu. (Not deep-fried!) Read more here.

The chickpeas in the bowl were toasted in a wok and combined with  kalamata olives and walnuts before being layed over a green salad and topped with avocado and tahini dressing. Oooo ahhhhh.

This is Ken's delectable chili served over — you guessed it — green salad. A few tortilla chips in the bowl would have made this great combo even better, if a little less healthy. The chili is very hearty and made with three kinds of beans and cauliflower. The original recipe contains seitan, but that's been eliminated to make it gluten-free. Still tasted great! (There might be brown rice under the chili — can't remember.)

Here are some examples of early morning hot-and-cold foods. The base of the first one is cooked oatmeal, with a topping of frozen blueberries. Yes, there really is oatmeal in there!

I call this, oatmeal a la Maud, since it was inspired by one of her combinations on Food Feud. The oatmeal is topped with fresh blueberries, frozen mango pieces, almond milk and hemp hearts. It was so chilly in the house that eating frozen mango just didn't seem right, so I warmed it slightly before adding it.
 

Finally, we have oatmeal, almond milk, dried cranberries, bananas and shredded coconut.

This has been part 1 of Food in Bowls.




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Newsflash
1. Tomorrow (6/9/12) is Mad City Vegan Fest in Madison Wis. If you are in or near the city, stop by for terrific samples, speakers and workshops. There's an impressive list of speakers, including Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and Ginny Messina, the Vegan RD. I was able to attend last year and am sorry to miss this year's event.

2. The first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest will take place on July 14, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN. Contact: Unny Nambudiripad, 612-276-2242 (office), 612-532-4239 (cell)

Twin Cities Veg Fest will be a celebration of compassionate living and will seek to inspire respect for animals and encourage a plant-based diet. Twin Cities Veg Fest will be a fun event with tons of free delicious vegan food samples, diverse exhibitors, nationally recognized speakers and a children's area.

To make the event a success, they are asking for your help spreading the word. You can learn more about the festival and see the list of exhibitors, sponsors and speakers at tcvegfest.com. Like them on Facebook  and follow them on Twitter. Please take a moment to share this information via your email lists, website, Facebook and Twitter.

3. I received a sample box from Healthy Surprise filled with cool vegan, gluten-free, healthy snacks. I'm going to do a post about this soon, after I've had a chance to sample and photograph some of the snacks, but they look good! The company has offered readers of this blog a coupon to use for $5 off unlimited orders, so if you look at their Web page and want to order something before I get a chance to write a review, here's the code: COKEASYVEGAN. Notice it says COK, not Cook. And my name isn't Lacey. (And no, I'm not an affiliate.)

29 comments:

  1. Icky weather in June is no fair! Hopefully you'll get some nice stuff soon. I always feel like warm, filling food when it's cooler out, too.

    I'm going to head over to read about making tofu... I can't eat much of it because of my thyroid but do eat it on occasion.

    Great looking salads and oatmeal. I love that you made a salad chili. Genius!

    We considered going to Madtown for the fest, but I'm just not a crowd person at all. Maybe I'll work up the nerve to go one of these years!

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    1. P.S. The link isn't working for me. :(

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    2. If you can only eat a little tofu, it should be really good! Fixed the link — thanks for telling me. I hear you about crowds — I try to avoid them, too, but I'm a sucker for a vegan festival. The Mad City event is smaller than most, but it was crowded. This year they have a lot more space so that should help.

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    3. Thanks for fixing the link! I'm showing it to Mike right now. :)

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  2. This is totally my kind of post. Everything in bowls! High raw salads! Oatmeal a la maud! Your idea to eat the fruit with hemp seeds inspired me to pull me seeds out recently too. Do you really eat the berries frozen like that? Are they still frozen or do they thaw enough?
    The chili sounds fantastic with cauliflower but I'm also totally eying the avocado bowl, wow.

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    1. Well, Maud, you know I keep telling you that this is the way I eat most of the time. I just never bothered to take photos and post about it because I didn't think it would be that interesting. You changed my mind about that. Your food always looks so good to me (except maybe the beets :) that I decided to photograph my bowls of food. Glad you approve!

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    2. p.s. The blueberries defrost pretty fast on top of the steaming oatmeal. I stir them in a little, too, and they're not frozen by the time I eat them.

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  3. It has been cold here, really; even when it was warm during the day it was down in the 40's at night, so it was cooked foot every day for dinner. Only today has it been still hot at dinnertime!

    Thanks for the tofu primer. I will never be too old to learn better ways to cook it, and I'm going to try that way.

    I'm going to take photos at Vegan fest tomorrow, and I'll post them! Wish you were here!

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    1. I thought it was really hot there! I've been a little jealous of your weather. You have electrical storms though, and we don't seem to, and I don't miss those at all.

      I look forward to seeing your photos of Vegan Fest, and I really hope you're able to spot Cadry. I told her you'd be there in the afternoon and sent her a link to your blog. Try to hear Colleen if you can — she's very inspirational. Ginny Messina, the vegan RD lives on the Olympic Peninsula, and has a great blog — I wish I could hear them both.

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  4. wow, those bowls look spectacular!! i love the variety of textures! thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I really enjoy dishes like these — so fresh and flavorful.

      btw, I've tried a few of times to leave comments on your blog but it never accepts my password. :( I'll try again.

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  5. Andrea, I find that using a tofu press works well on removing water from firm and extra firm tofu. I use the EZ Tofu Press and have good results. Your thoughts?

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    1. I have a Japanese pickle press that I use when I want to press tofu. For the recipe referred to in this post, I agree with Michael that you don't have to press extra-firm tofu. Patting it dry is important.

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  6. I would trade you weather!! It is 93 and humid and sticky and muggy and gross here. I am melting...my apt is like a sauna, lol!

    I love salads that have both cooked and raw ingredients like yours at the start of the post. So good!

    Courtney

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    1. Sticky and muggy sucks, but non-stop gray and damp isn't so great either. Hopefully we'll both have better weather soon. :)

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  7. Oh man, do your food bowls look and sound delicious!!! I love to mix cooked stuff with raw veggies and greenery. Serving stuff over greens instead of rice or something is a great way to make a meal even more healthy!! I've used that trick with my hubby, who really needs to up his raw veggie intake.

    You are definitely the tofu queen!!! I'll definitely check out that recipe! Keep on tofu-ing!!

    Oh and, yes, this is typical June in Seattle. Growing up, we always had water balloon fights on the last of school; it was a long-standing tradition. But, it was almost always raining on that day, so the water balloons hardly mattered--we got more drenched from the rain than the balloons! Good fun though.

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    1. There's something about a water balloon fight in this kind of weather that may be a little too ironic for me to appreciate. Maybe if I were 8 years old ... HA! I'm sure it would seem like great fun.

      As for tofu — I love it, but I think we barely use one package in a week — if that — unless something special comes up. Beans and lentils are the preferred foods around here. I do love tofu, though.

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  8. I love warm foods on cold. All of your dishes look delish! :)

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    1. Thanks, Angel! Salads seem to make everything taste better.

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  9. I love the idea of a "healthy surprise" box. I love that they ship to Canada even more!

    I'm absolutely terrible at eating anything in the (weekday) morning, but that big bowl of blueberries looks amazing.

    I look forward to part two of food in bowls :)

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    1. Don't you think it would be fun to receive one of the boxes as a gift? Or to get one for a road trip? They are primarily a monthly subscription service but you can order just one if you want to.

      I think I went all the way from elementary school through collage with never eating breakfast. Just couldn't face food in the morning. Then I got caught by the idea that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and started eating it. I still do most of the time, though I am not an enthusiastic preparer of food in the early a.m.

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  10. It's a tough call, but it's the first one that just pips it for me. Avocado and tahini dressing, chick peas and salad? Don't mind if I do!

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    1. There's probably a reason why that bowl appeared first — I'd be happy to eat the combo every day! I'd say you have good taste!

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  11. I'm not even hungry, but all of your bowls have my stomach rumbling! I'll have to check out the tofu 101 post. I almost always bake tofu over cooking it in a skillet (unless it's a scramble) and roast chickpeas on a baking sheet in the oven. However, with summer temperatures coming, it could be good to try some new methods that don't involve heating the oven! I often like to make bowls with hot and cold elements. The cold elements make it feel extra healthy and fresh, while the cooked elements seem more substantive and meal-like. I hope summer weather shows up soon, but if not, there's plenty waiting for you in Madison! It was a very balmy weekend there!

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    1. I like baked tofu, too, but I have to say the crispy texture and great taste of the tofu 101 was appealing.

      We had two nice days — kind of spring-like — but now it's back to the usual. I'm sure it will be HOT in Madison this summer!

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  12. I did really feel like this was a foodfeud post- albeit with a cookeasyvegan spin! I will definitely try that tofu technique, although I still have a special place in my heart for my tofu Xpress.

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    1. The Xpress definitely has its place. I still use my press, but it wasn't needed with the extra-firm tofu I used for the recipe. FF and I have a thing for food in bowls, as do many others.

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  13. Yum. I love mixing frozen and hot foods together. But, the chili and salad combo looks even better! What a great idea.

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