Roasted Squash, Apple, Spinach, Caramelized Onion Pizza

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone who knows me or who reads my blog knows I love pizza. And the thing I love most about pizza is cheese. Sure, my pizza recipes are chock full o’ veggies, my crust is always whole grain (or whole vegetable in the case of cauliflower crust pizza), and overall, healthier than your typical pizzeria grease bomb, but cheese is consistently front and center. Until now.

The basis for this recipe popped up in Friday’s New York Times Cooking email and being it was from one of my favorite vegan chefs, Chloe Coscarelli, it caught my attention. What sealed the deal was everything this pizza called for was already in the fridge or pantry and there would be no need for a stop at the store to make it our Friday-night-after-work-dinner, prepared while enjoying a beginning-of-the-weekend glass of wine. I’ll stop with the hyphenated phrases now.

This pizza has no cheese, but I guarantee, you won’t miss it. The saucy white bean puree provides a tang and richness making cheese unnecessary. Yes, I said that. This cheese-is-the-best-thing-about-pizza person said that (okay, NOW, I’ll stop with the hyphenated phrases).

Experience has taught me to always read comments included after an online recipe and in this case, it brought a suggestion taking the flavors over the top. The idea of drizzling with a balsamic reduction when the pizza comes out of the oven is spot on and that made me think an additional drizzle of good quality olive oil (the kind you reserve for drizzles or dipping, not cooking) would be a great addition as well.

Most of this recipe can be made in advance, so you can eat at a reasonable weeknight time if you plan ahead. The white bean purée can be made up to a couple days in advance, the squash can be roasted the day before, and if you’re doing a homemade pizza crust, your dough will benefit from an overnight slow rise in the fridge. Even the balsamic reduction can be made ahead of time as well, and refrigerated until needed. The result is a hearty, filling, pizza-craving-satisfied meal, and you won’t miss the cheese! Enjoy!
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Roasted Squash, Apple, Spinach, Caramelized Onion Pizza

  • Servings: One 12-inch pizza
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Based on this NYT Cooking Chloe Coscarelli recipe

Garlic White Bean Purée:
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 large or two small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Pizza:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 apple, diced

Dough:
Pizza dough, preferably whole wheat (store-bought is fine, or make your own)

Drizzles:
Balsamic reduction (in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue simmering until reduced to 1/3 cup. Unused portion can be refrigerated for another use.)
Good tasting olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the Garlic White Bean Purée by blending the beans, oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add water, as needed, until a smooth consistency forms. Set aside. Can be made up to two days in advance.

Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until squash is fork-tender, turning once with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside.

Turn oven heat up to 450 degrees F. Place pizza stone in oven, if using.

While squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions until soft and lightly caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Stretch or roll homemade or store-bought pizza dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread a layer of the garlic white bean purée evenly over the dough. (You will only use about half of the purée—use the rest as a dip for veggies or pita chips.) On top of the dough, arrange the spinach, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash and diced apple. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake on pizza stone or pizza pan at 450 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, until the crust is golden. Remove from oven and drizzle pizza with balsamic reduction and good quality olive oil. Slice and serve. Makes one 12-inch pizza.

 

Crispy Tofu with Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce


I’ve had tofu so bad I wouldn’t serve it to my worst enemy and I’ve had tofu so good I wanted it all to myself and wouldn’t even share with my best friend. This recipe is the “so good you won’t want to share” kind.

The secret ingredient that makes this tofu crispy like deep fried without deep frying it is the arrowroot powder/starch/flour (all the same, just different names). It ever so slightly coats each piece of tofu and enables the pieces to crisp up and taste like you’re eating something much less good for you. The spicy sweet garlicy sauce takes things over the top.

Arrowroot isn’t difficult to find—small bottles can be found with the spices at regular grocery store and larger bags can be found in the natural foods section of well-stocked grocery stores, at natural foods stores, and online. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand. You could use corn starch if you can’t get arrowroot, but corn starch is much more processed and most likely contains genetically modified corn (boo, hiss!).

The recipe is from a cookbook I purchased after seeing the author on one of the local Saturday morning news shows. Vegan chef Tess Challis was in town to present at the Twin Cities Veg Fest, which I wanted to attend, but just couldn’t fit it into my jam-packed weekend.

One of her cookbooks is called Food Love and I looked it up online to potentially order and ended up ordering the e-version, which was only $10; I got it immediately and no trees were harmed in the process. There are a number of recipes I’d like to try and this was the first. Based on how good this was, I’m excited to make more. Enjoy!

Crispy Tofu with Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

Slightly adapted from a Food Love by Tess Challis recipe
1 pound extra firm tofu, organic and non-gmo, sprouted if you can find it

2 tablespoons tamari (darker, richer and less salty than soy sauce, and wheat-free)

1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder/starch/flour (less processed and non-gmo compared to cornstarch)

1-2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil (I used grapeseed for a more neutral flavor)

Sauce:
¼ cup sriracha sauce

¼ cup raw agave (honey [not vegan] or maple syrup would work as well)

2 tablespoons water

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Sliced green onions, for garnish

Cut block of tofu into quarters, and each quarter into two slices. Lay slices flat on two layers of paper towel. Cover with two more layers of paper towel and lay a cutting board on top. Set something heavy, like a cast iron pan or a big can of tomatoes on top and let sit 30 minutes; this will remove moisture from the tofu.

While tofu is pressing, mix sriracha, agave, water and minced garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut each tofu slice into quarters and place into a large zip lock bag. Mix tamari and granulated garlic in a small dish. Put arrowroot in another small dish. Pour tamari mixture over tofu, seal bag, and toss to coat. Sprinkle arrowroot starch/flour, in several batches, over tofu, and shake bag after each batch.

Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed or coconut oil. When oil is hot, lay about half the tofu pieces in the pan, cook for 3 minutes, turn, and cook 3 minutes more. Remove tofu to a paper towel lined plate.

Add another tablespoon oil, if necessary, to pan and when hot, add remaining tofu and cook the same as the first batch.

Serve with garlic sriracha sauce and green onions as garnish. Makes about 4 servings.

Vegan Sweet Corn Farro Risotto

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On a day of spectacular weather at a crowded rooftop brewery space, tables are shared with other beer lovers out of necessity, even if it’s not in your somewhat introverted nature (that’d be me). You discuss beer, but sometimes you unexpectedly discovered other shared interests.

While enjoying a weekend at the cabin recently, we stopped by the Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais for a beer on their upstairs deck that has a stunning view of the harbor (I can’t get enough of their Trailbreaker Belgian Wheat Beer—yum!). Sharing a picnic table, we met a friendly young couple from Minneapolis and their cuter than cute dog Brew (yes, really!). As they enjoyed the vegetarian pho new to the menu (they are vegan), we got to talking about vegetarian and vegan food. I pulled up my blog on the iPhone and showed them a photo of my vegetarian pho and they quickly pulled my blog up on their phones. We also talked football, dogs, hiking spots, the Herbivorous Butcher, and the best Grand Marais restaurants.

Our lives intersected briefly, and we’ll probably never see them again, but they will stay fondly in my memory. While mulling over a new recipe to blog, as a nod to Brew’s vegan mom and dad (got the dog’s name, but not theirs), I decided to try something I’ve never made before, vegan risotto.

The Minimalist Baker’s vegan parmesan has graced dishes from salads to pizza to garlic bread lately in my kitchen, so why not risotto? And with the weather ever so slightly hinting of fall, why not make it a little heartier and use farro instead of rice? Oh, and corn would be delicious in a hanging-on-to-the-last-vestiges-of-summer sort of way. Farro is an ancient grain in the wheat family and contains much more protein, fiber and nutrients than white rice and has a great nutty taste. You can find it in well-stocked grocery stores, co-ops, and online.
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The resulting recipe is a riff on two risottos, my Mushroom & Spinach Farro Risotto with Roasted Cauliflower and a corn risotto from Minneapolis’ wonderful Birchwood Café’s cookbook. I copied the cookbook’s pairing suggestions and the resulting dish was as pretty as it was delicious. The risotto is great on its own too. Enjoy!
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Vegan Sweet Corn Farro Risotto

1 cup farro, soaked in cool water for 1 hour, then drained

2-3 ears sweet corn, husks and silks removed

5 cups vegetable broth or stock

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegan butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup vegan parmesan (quick and easy recipe follows; you will have lots leftover for other uses)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If desired, pair with garden fresh goodies such as tomatoes, melon, green onions, green beans and a drizzle of balsamic reduction and hot chili oil (balsamic reduction and chili oil can be found at Trader Joe’s or you can make your own)

Scrape kernels from cobs and set corn aside. Break cobs in half and place in a medium to large saucepan. Add vegetable broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat so that stock remains at a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Discard corn cobs—no need to strain the broth.

If making the risotto right away, keep broth simmering. If not, broth can be cooled and refrigerated for several days. Bring back to a simmer before starting risotto.

Heat olive oil or vegan butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until slightly translucent, 2 or 3 minutes. Add drained farro and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed. Add broth, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring occasionally until broth is absorbed before adding the next cup of broth. After adding the third cup of broth, stir in the corn kernels. Continue until broth is gone and farro is cooked. Reduce heat to low and stir in the vegan parmesan. Add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Serve alone or with any or all of sliced garden fresh tomatoes topped with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, melon balls, green beans, scallions and a drizzle of chili oil. If you don’t want to or don’t have time to make  your own balsamic reduction or chili oil, Trader Joe’s has them already made.

Vegan Parmesan
¾ cup raw cashews

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

¾ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved—be careful not to mix too long, or you’ll end up with cashew butter. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for several weeks.

 

Salted Radish Toasts with Superfoods Cheese

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Since we started harvesting this year’s bumper crop of radishes from our garden, they’ve been used raw in salads, on sandwiches, in omelets, and cooked with garlic and mushrooms over pasta (yum!). Last year I found out how good they are on pizza. If you don’t have garden radishes at your disposal, the local farmers’ markets are overflowing with them and those will have much more flavor than the ones you’ll find at a grocery store.

When I post a recipe, it’s because I love it and want to share the foodie love with everyone and that is especially the case with this radish toast with superfoods cheese creation. I wanted to do something a little different with our radishes and I’ve heard so much about butter and radishes being such a great combo. Thing is, I’ve got a lot of radishes, so that means using a lot of butter, which I certainly don’t need.

Then I remembered the superfoods cheese I made a few weeks back and had a couple rounds left in the freezer. It’s a tangy, vegan cheese made with macadamia nuts, probiotics, and nutritional yeast. From the cookbook Superfoods Snacks by Julie Morris, it was the recipe that caught my eye and made my decision to buy the book. Oh my, what a delicious combination!

The cheese is a little labor intensive and with the 1-2 day “aging,” it’s not something you’ll whip up at a moment’s notice, but it’s worth the effort. This is truly a worthy substitute for a soft dairy cheese, and bonus, it packs a big nutritional wallop.
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If you would rather not make the time commitment, you could make the radish toasts with another soft cheese, such as chevre or boursin, or a vegan cream cheese to keep it plant-based, but if you opt for the superfoods cheese, I promise you will love it! And splurge on a box of quality, flaky sea salt like Maldon, the taste is amazing and you’ll find tons of uses for it, in both savory and sweet recipes. Enjoy!
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A few notes about the superfoods cheese recipe:

  • As an alternative to cheesecloth, a nut milk bag can be used. If you have one, use it. Much easier than cheesecloth. I got mine a couple years ago from Amazon (this one). I’ve also seen them at my local co-op.
  • Trader Joe’s is a good source for the macadamia nuts and hemp seeds, and their prices are great. Buying from the bulk section of your grocery or natural foods store would also save money.
  • For the probiotic powder, you can find the capsules in the refrigerated area of the natural foods section at large grocery stores or at a natural food store. You can also order them online. Pull the capsules open and dump the powder into a small bowl until you have the amount listed in the recipe.

Salted Radish Toasts with Superfoods Cheese

Cheese recipe from Julie Morris’ Superfood Snacks

2 cups macadamia nuts

¼ cup hemp seeds

1 ¼ cups filtered water

1 teaspoon probiotic powder*

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

¾ teaspoon sea salt


Thick slices of good quality fresh bread (sour dough is extra good!) or your favorite gluten-free version

Thinly sliced radishes

Fresh chopped herbs such as basil, parsley, tarragon (optional)

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Place the macadamia nuts in a bowl and add enough water to cover them by an inch. Refrigerate and let the nuts sit for a minimum of 4 hours up to overnight to soften and slightly swell.

Drain the nuts and place in a blender. Add the hempseeds, water, and probiotic powder. Blend until very smooth, stopping the blender and scraping down the sides, as needed. This may take a few minutes to blend the mixture to a super smooth consistency. If needed, add a little more water (up to ¼ cup) just to get the mixture blending–the less water you use, the better.

Put two 12-inch square layers of cheesecloth (or use a nut milk bag) inside a colander. Place the colander inside a large bowl or tray to catch excess liquid. Use a silicone spatula to scrape all the nut mixture from the blender into the center of the cheesecloth. Gather up the ends of the fabric to create a bag, hold it over the bowl, and gently squeeze all of the mixture in a downward motion into a ball at the bottom of the bag. Squeeze the cheese ball lightly to encourage excess milky liquid to be pushed through the cheesecloth, but not too hard, or else the nuts will begin to push through the cloth as well. Twist the ends of the cheesecloth together to wrap snugly around the cheese ball and set it inside the colander. Place a heavy weight—such as a water-filled mason jar in a small pot—on top of the cheese. Cover the whole thing with a towel, and let it rest at room temperature for 24-48 hours.

Peel away the cheesecloth and place the cheese inside of a bowl. Add nutritional yeast, sea salt, and lemon, and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Put a quarter of the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a 4-inch compact cylinder, rolling it gently inside the plastic wrap to form a symmetrical shape (or you can use a small ring mold to create the rounds). Repeat with remaining cheese.

The cheese will last for up to 2 weeks and continue to firm up slightly in the refrigerator. It will also become slightly sharper with age. Alternatively, wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Before serving, defrost the cheese for a couple hours.

If your bread is super fresh, by all means, skip the toasting step if you’d like. Otherwise, toast bread slices, spread a thick slather of superfoods cheese on each slice and top with radish slices. Dust with fresh herbs, if using, and sprinkle with sea salt. Mmm…you’ll be in heaven!

*Simply open probiotic capsules and empty the powder into a small bowl. A teaspoon is usually equivalent to 6-8 capsules. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that are often taken as a health supplement. The powder is used here as the “starter” for culturing the nuts that will improve the cheese’s flavor and texture. The remaining probiotics will keep in the fridge for your next batch of cheese.

Quinoa Crust Pizza

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A few weeks ago one of my healthy-food-loving friends tagged me in a link on Facebook to a Cooking Light video for quinoa pizza crust and asked what I thought of it. I’ve done the labor-intensive cauliflower crust pizza with good results, but had never considered quinoa an option.

Intrigued, I opened the link and had to try it. The original recipe uses a 9” round pan and looked to produce a crust thicker than my preference, so the first time I followed the recipe, but used a 10” cast iron skillet. It wasn’t thin enough, so next time, I upped the amount of quinoa to a cup and did the round free-form on parchment over a pizza stone, resulting in a bigger and thinner crust that gets perfectly crisp. You could do it the same way on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

The outcome is a nicely-thin 11-12 inch pizza, just right as a full meal for two or a lighter meal for three. You’ll have to plan ahead a bit because the quinoa needs a good eight hours or more soaking time (I start the soaking in the morning before leaving for work), but once that’s done, the recipe is quick and incredibly easy. Sometimes I add flavor-enhancers like nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and/or dried oregano before whirring the batter up in the food processor, but it’s good without as well.

Having recently come across and made some recipes for vegan, nut-based cheeses, a few vegan quinoa crust pizzas have come out of my kitchen and that’s the kind of frequent pizza eating I can get behind. Regardless of whether you use conventional toppings, go gourmet, or do a vegan pie, you’ll like this recipe and it just happens to be gluten-free.

It’s not going to 100% replace the authentic yeast-risen, flour laden, carb bombs I so love, but this protein and fiber filled version has us eating homemade pizza more often and more pizza is always a good thing! Enjoy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


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A quick mention on the quinoa—any color works. I first made a white quinoa crust, after that used red quinoa and then got all excited when I saw multi-colored quinoa at Trader Joe’s cuz I knew it would make a pretty crust.

Quinoa Crust Pizza

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup uncooked quinoa (any color)

1/3 cup water

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, but gives a bit of a cheesy taste)

½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

½ teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Place quinoa in a bowl and add enough water to cover it. Cover bowl with a tea towel or paper towel and let soak at least 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with cooking spray.

Drain quinoa and rinse thoroughly (rinsing removes any bitter taste from the quinoa).

In the bowl of a food processor place quinoa, 1/3 cup water, baking powder, salt, and if using, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and oregano.

Run the food processor for several minutes (2-3), stopping to scrape the sides down a few times, until you have a smooth batter.

Pour batter onto parchment and, using a spatula, form the batter into an 11-12 inch round. Bake for 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and invert the crust onto baking sheet and peel off parchment. Return to oven for about 5 more minutes.

Remove from oven and add toppings of your choice (you may want to turn the original top side of the crust up, it will be prettier). Return to oven for 5-7 minutes until desired level of doneness/crispness. You can turn your oven to broil the last minute or two, but watch it carefully if you do.

Remove from oven and cut into wedges. Serves 2-3.

Orange Tofu Tacos with Tomatillo Pineapple Salsa

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With Cinco de Mayo this week, Mexican recipes have been on my radar. Particularly a tomatillo pineapple salsa in New York Times Cooking from an organic farmer who operates just down the road from us in Stillwater, MN.

The only ingredient I was worried might be hard to find was the padrón or shishito peppers. Not sure what either type looked like, I relied on the signs at the best-stocked grocery store near me. No padrón peppers, but there was a good supply of peppers with a sign that said shishito on the bin. The cashier had trouble finding the code for the habanero pepper so she had to call a manager. The manager then told her the other peppers were anaheims. I said no, the sign said shishito. He then broke the news to me that they were out of shishitos and replaced them with anaheims and hadn’t changed the sign. Disappointed, I said I couldn’t use the anaheims, and asked if they could put them back. Sure, they said.

On my way out the grocery store door, I was trying to figure out where to go for the peppers and the produce guy comes running out with the bag of anaheims saying that for the inconvenience of having the peppers labeled wrong, I could have the peppers I had bagged up, at no cost. He said they would make a suitable substitution for padrón or shishito peppers. Not one to turn down free produce, I accepted the offer and thanked him.

Turns out I couldn’t find the right peppers after checking two other stores, so I decided to go ahead with the salsa using my free anaheims. It’s delicious and I’m not so sure it would be better had I found the right peppers.

To incorporate the salsa into a full meal, I pan-fried some tofu and simmered it in orange juice before adding some of the salsa to make a flavorful “meat” for some vegan tacos that had a lot going on. But all the components came together for the best tofu dish I’ve had in years.

The salsa was the only putzy part of the process, but if you make it a day or two in advance, dinner will come together fast enough for a weeknight. The recipe makes a lot more than you will need for this one meal, so feel free to half it. I’ve also found tomatillo salsa freezes well.
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While the tofu is frying/simmering, you can get your taco accompaniments ready, using whatever you prefer or have on hand.
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A few days ago I used up some macadamia nuts and cashews lurking in the back of the freezer and made this macadamia nut ricotta and a vegan parmesan cheese from the awesome Minimalist Baker blog. Great vegan substitutes and believe me, you won’t miss the dairy.

I rounded things out with whole wheat flour tortillas and lettuce, radicchio, scallions, tomato and radish. Avocado would be great too. Enjoy! And happy Cinco de Mayo!

Orange Tofu Tacos with Tomatillo Pineapple Salsa


Salsa recipe from Eduardo Rivera, as published in the New York Times

1 pound tomatillos (about 6 medium)

6 Padrón peppers or shishito peppers), stems removed, or 3 anaheims, cut in chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced pineapple

1 habanero pepper, stem removed

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt, more to taste

1 cup diced onion

½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Halve the tomatillos and Padrón or shishito peppers (if using anaheims, cut them in big chunks).

Set a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatillos, peppers, pineapple, habanero pepper, garlic, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until everything starts to char, 6-8 minutes.

Once charred, transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender or food processor and add 1/2 cup water. Blend until almost puréed. Pour mixture into a bowl and chill for 1 hour.

Stir in onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt to taste.

Orange Tofu
1 pound extra-firm tofu

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup orange juice, fresh squeezed, if possible

Whole wheat flour tortillas or corn tortillas for a gluten-free version

Toppings such as lettuce, radishes, tomato, scallion, vegan or dairy cheese, avocado

Unwrap and place block of tofu on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels. Put more paper towels on top of tofu place a small cutting board on top. Weigh down the cutting board with a large can or books for 20-30 minutes. After tofu has been pressed, blot it dry and cut it into bite-sized cubes.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally for even browning. Reduce heat to medium and add orange juice. Let simmer for several minutes until orange juice has mostly simmered away.

Stir about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the salsa into the tofu. Let simmer for several minutes until it thickens up a bit.

Warm your tortillas in a damp tea towel in the microwave or, in batches, over low heat in a medium pan.

Place orange tofu mixture on warm tortillas and add toppings of your choice. Makes 3-4 servings.

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

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Pete is an experienced cross-country skier and racer who loves the sport as much as I love running. He’s had a blast skiing races when it was cold, but not bitter cold, and been miserable during a race or two with double digit below zero temps.

None of my marathons have been run in those temperatures, but I have run half marathons and 10k races in sub-zero temps and it certainly takes a lot of the fun out of the experience, so I can totally relate to Pete stressing about Saturday morning’s upcoming Vasaloppet USA ski race. The overnight low is projected to be -17 F.

A few years back, Pete skied a 35k race when it was -14 at the start and still below zero when he crossed the finish line. Afterwards he said never again in that kind of cold—it just wasn’t fun. This time, he’s skiing a 40k race, so he’s going to be out there for hours and he’s questioning whether he should just skip the race.

Knowing the pressure he’s feeling, plus the fact that Pete loves potatoes, I decided to make a potato-centric supper tonight because what eases stress more than a little comfort food? And what’s more comforting to a potato-lover than a warm potato salad?

Knowing what I had on hand, a little Googling led me to this Food & Wine recipe. I added some Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage-less Sausage as a protein to make a full meal, and voilà, no one’s even thinking about Saturday, at least for now. Enjoy!
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Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

Slightly adapted from Paul Virant’s Food & Wine Recipe

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard or other grainy mustard

2 1/4 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)

2-3 handfuls baby arugula

A couple servings of cooked veggie sausage or your protein of choice

Preheat the oven to 425°. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch wedges. Scatter the potato wedges on 1 large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 25 minutes, until browned and crisp, tossing again about halfway through the cooking time for evening browing.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the mustard and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the onion and arugula. Top with the dressing, toss again and serve right away. Serves 4-6 as a side and 2-4 as a main course.