Two For The Price of One

My last post discussed FINALLY going to places that have been on “the list”. You know, that list of restaurants you make that you intend to visit in the near future? The one that keeps growing? The one where Juniper and Ivy was added to it before it even opened in March, but have yet to go? (Side note, I do have reservations there in a couple of weeks – FINALLY! I briefly digress.) That list that continues to grow, but you find yourself, once again, at Pizza Port in OB ordering another delicious pie and a pint? Please tell me you do so that you make me feel better.

I try very hard not to be that way with the dinners I make at home, but there is a particular comfort in making a dish that you know what you need, the steps you need to take, and that it will turn out to be a delicious meal while you watch Brian Williams deliver the news in yet another stunning tie. We love Brian Williams in my house.   I won’t say who loves him the most. So back to the dinner recipes!   With the heat San Diego has been experiencing, it has been hard to think of new and refreshing meals. Grilling or sautéing chicken (because I don’t want to leave the air-conditioned comfort of my house) and serving it over a salad is getting SO played.

I fell in love with this recipe that was emailed to me by Food and Wine. The recipe online is not complete for some reason, so the one below has my changes and additions. If you would like to see the original recipe, go to http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tomato-and-peach-salad-with-crisp-tofu. It is so refreshing, and you can easily play around with the ingredient list if there’s something you want to add or delete. I would really hesitate from deleting any items. I ended up not using all of the dressing that I had made, so dinner for the following night was already on my mind.

First Night: Tomato and Peach Salad with Crisp Tofu

  • 2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2  tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons canola oil or grape seed oil
  • 24 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained well and cubed
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 peaches, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  1. Put the serranos in a small heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil with the vinegar, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the brine over the serranos and let stand for 15 minutes, until cooled to room temperature. If you are not a huge fan of heat, you can easily omit this ingredient.  However, the sweetness from the peaches and the peppery quality of the arugula tastes awesome with the candied Serrano. Another option, you could finely chopped the chiles and add them to the dressing in order to spread the “heat wealth”.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, mustard and 6 tablespoons of the oil. (Here is where you could add the chopped serrano, if you so desire.)
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the tofu, season with salt, and cook over moderate heat, turning, until crisp, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.  (*Add only enough tofu to the pan so that it can properly brown.  Add more oil if needed between batches.)
  4. Once the tofu has cooled, place the tofu in a large mixing bowl.  Add the tomatoes, peaches, arugula, and basil.  If you didn’t add the serranos to the dressing, add those in at this time.  I added about half of the chiles.  I like things spicy, but I want to taste my food as well! I also added some of the serrano brine.  The amount of the Ginger Soy Dressing you can add really depends on you.  I used about 2 Tablespoons. Gently mix all of the ingredients together.  (*The amount of tofu I sautéed may be more than you will need.  However, if you have leftovers, add it to a salad the next day for lunch:)

 

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A week earlier I noticed, and clipped, a recipe in the local paper. I used that recipe as a springboard for the salad I made last night using the leftover dressing from the Tomato and Peach Salad with Crisp Tofu (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/09/get-fresh-cool-ideas-cucumbers/).

Second Night: Megan’s Quick Chilled Shrimp, Cucumber and Soba Noodle Salad

  • 6 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp (bought uncooked shrimp from Trader Joe’s and sautéed)
  • 1½ cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup (or more) mint
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • sliced serranos left over from the previous evening’s dinner
  • Left over dressing from previous evening’s dinner. I used about 2 Tablespoons of dressing, but you can add as much or as little as you like.  My husband and I eat large portions, so the recipes above were enough for the 2 of us. If you are cooking for 1, I would still make these portions and then you have lunch for the next day or two.

 

  1. Cook soba noodles as directed on the package. If you are like me and buy your shrimp frozen and raw, cook shrimp, let them cool and add to a large salad bowl. If you buy them precooked, just go ahead and add them to the bowl as is. Add cooked and cooled noodles to the bowl. Add cucumbers, carrots, mint, cilantro, scallions, serranos (if you like a little heat), and as much dressing as you like. Mix all ingredients together.

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On a final note, even though it feels like a nice Summer day in the Sahara Desert, Fall is quickly approaching.  Ever since I became a coffee drinker, I haven’t been able to enjoy what used to be a favorite beverage of mine, Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  It just tastes too sweet and fake.  I had a free beverage coming my way, so I decided to try an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte (Venti because it was free, of course.) but opted out of the 6 shots of flavor (Can you imagine???), and I requested just one flavor shot.  Also, I requested non fat milk and an extra shot of espresso.   Perfection.  The only problem is that it was probably a $6 drink, so I will have to wait for another freebie before I order another one!

 

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It’s like a thesis on the side of my beverage!

Enjoy the last few days of Summer!  Take Care and Happy Eating!

 

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