Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry Soba Noodle Tofu Salad

If I’m going to enjoy tofu, it HAS to have been frozen, thawed, and pressed before being seasoned and cooked. Freezing tofu changes the texture into something I almost find enjoyable, so there’s always a block sitting in our freezer. This cold soba noodle salad with tofu, locally grown carrots, peppers, and tomatoes, and fried garlic is well worth repeating.

Here’s how I made it.

First, the thawed tofu needs to be pressed to expel excess liquid. I usually wrap it in a few layers of paper towels and gently squeeze it, being careful not to squeeze too hard and tear the block. Then it’s ready to be cut into bite-sized pieces and marinated. I chose a dry rub since it was going to be fried. Wet marinades make for quite a mess when it hits hot oil. Lesson learned!

The tofu was generously seasoned with Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry from Savory Spice Shop and then pan fried in peanut oil until crispy on all sides. The secret to getting a nice crust on each side is having a hot pan, hot oil, and not checking the food to see if it’s cooked, but waiting until it’s fully seared before flipping it. The chef-husband had to lecture me a few times on this before I listened, and what a difference it makes! Gone (hopefully) are the days of tofu sticking to the pan and breaking apart when it’s flipped, leaving smaller pieces to burn and stripping the tofu of it’s coating (read: flavor). After each side gets a crust, just remove them and let them cool.

Next, a chopped carrot and green pepper from the Boulder Farmer’s Market went into the peanut oil pan to heat them ever so slightly. I boiled soba noodles according to the instructions on the package and then rinsed them in cold water to keep them from cooking, fried some garlic until crispy, chopped a jalapeño, and sliced a tomato.

I tossed the cold noodles with sesame seeds and the carrot and pepper pieces, and then drizzled some toasted sesame seed oil, fresh squeezed lemon, soy sauce (I prefer the unpasteurized Nama Shoyu brand), and a little local honey. Finally, I added diced jalapeño and crispy fried garlic for an extra crunch and kick.

Spice Club

The first rule of Spice Club? Talk about Spice Club!

That’s the first thing I read when opening one of my envelopes containing three months of seasonings and recipes as a sample of the new Savory Spice Shop Spice Club.

What is Spice Club? It’s a monthly spice subscription service that delivers you a different handcrafted seasoning and an herb or spice with a recipe featuring the selected seasonings and spices. Found yourself in a recipe funk and don’t know what to make? Try out something new that was just delivered to your door. I like this idea!

Southern Spain Pinchito Spice

Above is a photo of one month’s Spice Club delivery. It’s a bag of Southern Spain Pinchito Spice, which I’ve never tried but have always been curious about trying, and a bag of Crushed Aleppo Pepper, which I always keep in my pantry and welcome the refill. The recipe card is for Grilled Pinchitos with Yogurt Lime Dipping Sauce. One side of the card explains the spices, and the other has a recipe that can be made with beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or as a vegetarian fare.

We’re really looking forward to exploring these new spices, so stay tuned to see what we make here at home.

In the meantime, check it our for yourself on Savory Spice Shop’s Website. I think my holiday shopping just got a little easier this year!

Maple Masala Pecan and Szechwan Peppercorn Crusted Tofu

The first thing Sean said upon tasting the Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans by Olomomo Nut Company was that they’d make a great crust to something. Indeed they did with the addition of Szechwan Peppercorns from Savory Spice Shop.

Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans and Szechwan Peppercorn Crust

He ground them in our mortar and pestle, and then crusted some extra firm tofu that had been (of course) frozen, thawed, and pressed. The tofu pieces were crusted and pan fried in peanut oil until oh-so-gorgeously golden brown.

Crusted Tofu

These were a perfect accompaniment to sautéed greens and brown rice. Nothing fancy, but a somewhat effortless great meal thanks to the maple masala crust.

Pumpkin Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s one of my favorite Moosewood recipes.  They’re called “Sweet Pumpkin Cookies” in their New Classics Cookbook, and I’ve been baking them for years. As it’s pumpkin season, I picked up a local pie pumpkin and roasted it for this recipe rather than purchase canned pumpkin. Here are Moosewood’s ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped toasted peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

I made a few changes for this batch- rather than one cup of sugar, I used 3/4 cups evaporated cane juice and 1/4 cup maple sugar, I used 1/2 cup peanuts, and skipped the raisins. I like the addition of maple sugar (which you can find at Savory Spice Shop) because maple makes most things better.

Preheat oven to 375

In your KitchenAid mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the pumpkin, egg, vanilla, and mix well. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to your mixer and mix until a gorgeous batter is formed. Mix in your nuts and chips, and be patient- don’t eat it all raw.

Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and allow a little space for the cookies to spread while baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until they’re slightly brown on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack, and dig right in.

These cookies are very flaky and I often refer to them as delicate. They’ll store better in the fridge than in a cookie jar on the counter.

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