herby cauliflower salad + chili roasted tofu

Minty Cauliflower Salad + Chili Roasted Tofu

Minty Cauliflower Salad + Chili Roasted Tofu

this last week has been beautiful,
on the cold side of warm when the wind
is acting up
but in the sunlight,
we’re heavily in the middle of
a massive abode cleaning,
as well as painting.
doing at-home chores is never
my idea of time well-spent.
but these things hafta occur,
and to balance all that nonsense
i dragged dw out for a picnic.
an afternoon better spent
than doing home improvement, methinks.

hope you’re enjoying spring, friends!

Minty Cauliflower Salad + Chili Roasted Tofu

thanks to Mastro Co for sponsoring this post. large casserole can be found here.

herby cauliflower salad + chili roasted tofu

*note: this isn’t a hard a dish to prepare and all measurements are guesses. i would recommend adding the herbs according to your preference, you may like mint more than parsley. the dressing is the standard dressing that i usually make for salads, and i never measure, i kinda just throw it together. you can use any vinaigrette dressing you want. finally, i used the very last pomegranate of the season, i would imagine dried cranberries would be a nice sub, though fresh strawberries or raspberries would be good too, just be gentle when mixing.

seed from one pomegranate (dried cranberries when off season)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, rough chopped
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBL dijon spicy brown mustard
1 TBL maple syrup

chili roasted tofu
1 package of extra firm tofu, drained & pressed of water
juice of 2 lemons
1-2 tsp of chili powder, depending on how spicy it is
generous drizzle of maple syrup
1 TBL olive oil
salt to taste

prepare the cauliflower by working in batches, pulse it in a food processor until they’re pea-sized, aka riced. move to big mixing bowl. add in the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, mint and parsley. set aside.

make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together. set aside.

prepare the tofu by first wrapping the tofu in a towel and putting something heavy on top. this step is to extract the water out and can be done in advance as long as a day, or short as 30 minutes.

preheat oven 425F and prepare a baking sheet with foil.

in a bowl mix together the lemon juice with chili powder, maple syrup, olive oil and salt. cut the tofu in squares or if you’re feeling fancy, triangles. add the tofu to the chili marinade and coat it through. this particular step can be as long as overnight or as short as however long it takes your oven to heat up, up to you.

lay the marinated tofu on the baking sheet. bake for 30 minutes, the edges will get all golden brown and crispy.

when ready to serve, drizzle desired amount of dressing over the herby cauliflower. mix thoroughly, adding more dressing if needed. transfer salad to serving platter or dish. sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

serve alongside the tofu.

can be served when the tofu is hot straight from the oven, or at room temp.


Minty Cauliflower Salad + Chili Roasted Tofu

other delightful salads:
crunchy celery salad
lamb larb
spicy cantaloupe salad

summer salsa

salsa fixingssalsa fixings

we haven’t turned on the oven or stove much this summer
save for the quick pasta salad fixes
or soft boiled eggs
or slow roasting tomatoes
we’re also training –
me for the half (WHO AM I?)
he for the full (HE’S CRAY)
all i want to do most nights is throw things in a pile
douse in olive oil + balsamic vinegar
and top on toast or crackers.
so that’s what we do.

this salsa is a deviation from that,
using lime juice instead
and tortilla chips are the vehicle to bring
summer’s deliciousness to your mouth.

Summer Salsa

summer salsa

*note: depending on the liquid seasoning that you use, this can be either a salsa or bruschetta topping. in parenthesis i’ll add in what alternative ingredients you can use to make it a rustic, summery toast topper.

1 large just ripe peach, pitted and diced
1 half red onion, diced
2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, sliced as close from the cob as possible
2 large tomatoes
juice of two limes (drizzle of olive oil + balsamic vinegar)
bunch of cilantro, rough chopped, leaves + stems (bunch of torn basil leaves)
salt + pepper, to taste

this is not rocket science, slice and dice to your hearts content. depending on how sweet your peaches or how tart you like your salsa, season to your taste.
mix in a bowl.

allow to mix and mingle for a few hours, ideally overnight.
serve with tortilla chips.


Summer Salsa

1 year ago: peach ginger scones – vegan
2 years ago: vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon

other dips or toppers:
mango pomegranate guacamole
za’atar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
roasted bone marrow

spicy cantaloupe salad

cantaloupe salad

summer has settled like
a treasured blanket over the city,
thick & sticky:
one moment the perfect combination of hot & bright
in instances suffocating but unwilling to shed
i love these days,
equal parts languid and invigorating

a few weeks ago dw planted a
tiny herb garden
on our roof,
under the massive loft window,
an urban garden that very much reminds
me of my gparents’ garden
only difference being that dw is the one who
tenderly feeds these plants
while i yell up from the bottom spiral stairs
inquiring about the general health
of the rosemary and basil and mint

in the ensuing days and weeks of
june & july i’ve wracked my brain for dishes
that could make use of these herbs
dishes that prior to the garden i seemed to make often
but never had enough fresh herbs for
and now that we have it in abundance,
i draw a blank on uses for them
it happens like that,
you know?

at the market recently i chatted with the
farmer’s daughter,
a girl who could eyeball the exact weight
of fresh produce,
and together we lamented over
how fleeting pea season was this year
sensing my possible weepiness
she thrust a cantaloupe under my nose
i don’t know about you but the aroma of
a ripe cantaloupe kinda reminds me of
rotting garbage sometimes
tell me i’m not the only one?

cantaloupe salad

spicy cantaloupe salad
adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper & Sally Swift
i made this salad before, using a gava melon. both times were a delight, albeit a surprise for dw who was skeptical.

serves 4, or 2 really hungry people over a span of 2 days

1 good sized cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chiffonaded fresh basil leaves
1 red chili, diced
3 TBL fresh lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce (i use Red Boat)
hearty pinch of sugar

in a bowl gently mix everything together. it’s all about taste, you may want it more sour or sweet or salty.

you can prep the fruit in advance and add the flavorings just before serving, or you can mix it all together and allow it to mingle for a few hours before consuming. either way, it’s delicious.

for 4 servings: calories: 45 | total fat: 2.7g | cholesterol: 7.2 mg | sodium: 287.5 mg | total carbs: 1.4 g | protein: 3.9 | sugars: 17.5g | dietary fiber: 2.1g

another salad take: crunchy celery salad

stir it up did a review of the recipe here.

cooking weekends did a take on this recipe here, using cilantro in lieu of basil.

crunchy celery salad

Crunchy Celery Salad

it’s finally the weekend
i shouldn’t complain,
it was a short week for me.
we spent a long weekend in
where we dodged raindrops
visited a big fish tank
and ate like royalty.

right now our abode
is a mess
(when is it not)
(i’m not much of a housekeeper)
there is laundry to be done
a kitchen light to be replaced
a bathroom needing cleaning
and a gutter to be fixed

Crunchy Celery Salad

instead, we’ll ignore all that
and focus on:
CSA pickups
a donut making morning
wedding invitation making
ice cream eating
movie watching
i just don’t know if we’ll have
enough time!

what are you doing this weekend?

in the meantime, i made this super quick
celery salad
that takes no time
at all.

Crunchy Celery Salad
crunchy celery salad
note: you will not use all the syrup/dressing. don’t feel like you have to.

bunch of celery, washed/cleaned and sliced on the diagonal
1 tiny or 1/4 of a large red onion, sliced thin
1 TBL sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white wine (i used a pinot grigio, a reisling would be nice but any will do)
1/2 rice vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

fish sauce and lime juice, to taste (the fish sauce is only optional, omit if keeping vegan)
red chili

in a mixing bowl add in the celery + red onion slices, mix with a tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt. put bowl in fridge for a few hours.

meanwhile, in a saucepan add the white wine + rice vinegar and 3/4 cup of sugar. reduce down until it’s like a syrup. allow to cool. about 15 minutes.

pour syrup over celery and mix well. for taste, add in a tsp of the lime juice and fish sauce, adding more according to preference. add in the red chili if desired.

best to eat this salad day it’s made.

lamb larb

Lamb Larb

many many (and many) years
i lived in thailand.
it was during my
formative years
so please know
i will not be able to provide
any kind of reference for
the best street food
but i can tell you that
they really are the
land of smiles.

we have plans to honeymoon
with the goal of
until then, i console myself
with this salad

this really simple thai salad
can be prepared ahead of time
be served hot
or at room temp
any ground meat will do
and other than the random
cleaning of herbs
very simple to put together

what’s your favorite thai dish?

Lamb Larb

lamb larb

1 lb organic ground lamb
1/4 white onion (red would be better) thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
2 stalks of green scallions/onions, diced
handful of kale, washed & rough chopped (sooooo optional, omit if authenticity is your thing)
3 TBL lime juice
3 TBL fish sauce
dried red pepper flakes
1 thai chili
cilantro leaves and mint, washed & dried, amount according to preference
1/8 cup of toasted rice powder (recipe/instructions follow)

toasted rice powder

1/8 cup of rice or gluttonous rice

dry roast in pan over medium heat until turns a light brown. grind in spice grinder until powder-ized.

cook ground lamb in skillet with no oil, with a wooden spoon be sure to separate the big chunks. go for medium heat, if you go too high it’ll caramelize the meat and that’s not the goal. cook through. at this point, i usually strain the meat of any excess oil/fat. the dish is supposed to be juicy so i add water, it’s up to you. return the meat back to the pan, add in the green onions and kale (this is just *my* addition because i had an excess of the stuff in the fridge, this is very optional) and cook until wilted.

take off heat, add in the onion slices, mix it through. allow to cool and then season with lime juice and fish sauce. season according to taste, i went with 3 TBL of each but you can certainly add more or less. i also added a dash of red pepper flakes and diced thai chili for pretty color. right before serving i add in the mint and cilantro leaves and top with rice powder.

this dish can be served at room temp or hot, with lettuce leaves or sticky rice.

others who’ve made this:
wandering chopsticks