Ok, that title makes this post sound like a real bummer. But stick with me!
I like to incorporate fun into all aspects of life; otherwise things just feel like a chore to me. One of the ways I do so is to follow silly food themes throughout the week, my favorite of which is "Meatless Mondays". While I sometimes include fish on the no-meat list, I truly try to eliminate meat from my diet at least one day of the week. Today, with the negative temperatures and the ability to work from home, I decided to try out a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks.
"It's All Good" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen is a gem of a cookbook-it's filled with delicious healthy recipes. Some people get their undies in a bunch over Gwen's cookbooks, saying that she's completely clueless when it comes to the average American's food-budget/ability to buy "specialty" items/etc. I honestly take every recipe with a grain of salt and instead of griping over ingredients I don't know where to buy, I look at the list and think "how can I adapt this recipe to fit my life"?
I have to say that using both this cookbook and Gwen's first book, "My Father's Daughter (Amazon Link), I have discovered ingredients that are now a staple in my kitchen (OMG Vegenaise). I have learned recipes from her books that I love to cook and love to share (her buttermilk pancake recipe is gold and I'll never make pancakes from a box mix again).
Today I used a recipe from Gwen as the base for an Asian-inspired vegetarian plate. Buckwheat soba noodles are easy on your digestive system and are just as tasty as regular pasta.
I recommend giving this a shot-it's healthy, tasty, and filling without making you feel like a whale.
Buckwheat Soba Noodles and Tofu
Adapted from "It's All Good", Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Scallion Broth recipe
-1 package extra firm tofu, pressed dry and cut into squares
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-2 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar/maple syrup to make this vegan)
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
-1 tsp crushed garlic (Trader Joe's jar of crushed garlic changed my life)
-1-2 Tbsp of finely shredded ginger (I use a Microplane grater, seen here)
-4 scallions, roughly chopped
-2 cups of spinach or any green vegetable you have around (my personal favorite for this dish is broccoli). I recommend steaming your vegetable first to get it soft, unless it's spinach in which case it will wilt in the pan during step 2.
-1 to 2 handfuls of shiitake mushrooms, roughly diced and steamed
-4 ounces of buckwheat soba noodles (can be found in the Asian aisle)
1. Tackle the first bunch of ingredients. Mix together everything but the tofu, then pour over tofu slices in a shallow dish. Let marinate at least 15 minutes; longer is great but not necessary.
2. Throw together the second bunch of ingredients in a pan with some olive oil and saute combined.
3. Heat another small pan with water.
4. Drain and spread the marinated tofu on a greased baking sheet and turn on your broiler to high. You want to reserve the extra marinade for later. Put tofu in for five minutes; check and stir on the pan and repeat in 3-4 minute increments until brown and crispy on the edges.
5. When that small pan of water is boiling, put in your soba noodles for 3 minutes (or whatever the package says) to cook.
7. Put your broiled tofu, reserved marinade, and cooked noodles into the pan with the veggie mix from step 2. Mix it all up, let heat through for a minute or two then transfer to your plate and enjoy!