Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Salad with tahini-sriracha dressing


My Ph.D. thesis defense is in 2 weeks. Needless to say, this is pretty much the only thing occupying my mind these days. I've even been dreaming about my thesis at night. Like literally, dreaming about specific paragraphs in the actual document. Today I told one of my labmates about a recent dream, and he just looked at me for a minute and said "Maybe you need a break. Have you been cooking much lately?" And well, the truthful answer to that is no. Ever since I returned from Singapore & India last week (hopefully I'll be posting some recipes inspired by the trip at some point), I haven't had much time or energy to spare. But my friend is right. I do need to clear my mind. So today, I went for a nice run to take advantage of this ridiculously great weather, and then started thinking about dinner. I was in the mood for a hearty salad and I decided to try creating a new dressing inspired by this recipe on Eat, Live, Run. I started with the flavor profile in that recipe and made a dressing with tahini, white wine vinegar, sriracha, and a bit of yogurt. It was delicious. I used it to dress a nice big salad of spring mix topped with chickpeas, artichokes, hard boiled eggs, and roasted sweet potatoes. Substantial enough for dinner and very healthy - the perfect meal to fuel me up to dive back into that thesis tomorrow!

What are your favorite ingredients for main dish salads?


Salad with tahini-sriracha dressing
This dressing recipe makes enough for about 3 dinner-sized portions. Salad ingredient amounts and proportions can be adjusted to your taste.

Salad greens (I used Olivia's Organics spring mix with herbs, which I love)
Frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
Hard boiled eggs, chopped
Roasted sweet potato cubes
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1/2 tbs sriracha sauce (or more if you want)
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs yogurt
3 tbs water

Put salad greens on a plate and top with artichoke hearts, chickpeas, eggs, and sweet potato cubes. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, vinegar, sriracha, olive oil, yogurt, and water. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tofu salad sandwiches


I bet many of raised a skeptical eyebrow when you saw the title of this post. Tofu salad? Who wants to eat that? Well, I'm here to assure you, this is good stuff. When the tofu is drained of excess moisture and chopped up, its texture is surprisingly similar to hard boiled egg whites. The tofu is mixed with scallions, chopped pickles, and mustard, which packs the salad full of flavor. To hold it all together, I used mashed avocado instead of mayo, which was a very good decision, if I do say so myself =). I thought the flavor of the salad was a good match for a dark German bread that I had around - it included a mixture of whole wheat and rye flours with caraway seeds. Feel free to use regular wheat bread if you prefer. 

p.s. When you are reading this, I should be in Singapore! My research adviser has a lab there, so the trip is for work. Hopefully my thesis work will be in good shape and I'll have some free time to go eat lots of delicious food! I'm definitely thinking of the Top Chef finale that was in Singapore a couple years ago...(by the way, I wrote and scheduled this post before I left, so you aren't going to get any more details right now about what I've been doing or eating).

What country would you visit just based on the food?


Monday, January 2, 2012

Macaroni and cheese with silken tofu, carrots, and broccoli


Have you ever tried silken tofu? I first learned about it from Mark Bittman, who used it in a pudding recipe for the New York Times. Unlike the tofu that you may be more familiar with, silken tofu has a soft, smooth texture like custard and can be used as a dairy substitute. Bittman's recipe made me very curious to try it, but I'm not a huge fan of pudding, so I never got around to it. Then recently, Emily of A Cambridge Story used it to make a pasta casserole with alfredo sauce. When I saw her recipe, I knew that I wanted to do something similar to create a healthier version of mac 'n cheese (maybe healthified mac 'n cheese will become a whole category on this blog. I've already got this one). The sauce in this recipe is made of silken tofu, carrots, garlic and some smoked Gouda cheese. That's it. No butter, no milk, no cream. The tofu really gives it a velvety smooth texture that just feels creamy, and the carrots give it some good cheesy color. The smoked Gouda adds tons of flavor - Andrew even thought there was bacon in this dish. I have to admit that I get a big kick out of sneaky uses for vegetables and healthy ingredients, so I really had fun with this =).

Do you have any tricks for sneaking vegetables or other healthy ingredients into recipes?

(Do you like the new dishes that I got for Christmas? They are technically French onion soup bowls but I think they were perfect for this recipe!)