Over the weekend I taught a Cooking Camp at Brooklyn Brainery, one of my favorite spots to teach in the city. We did two sessions on making Shanghainese soup dumplings as well as a longer class called Dim Sum for Everyone. These are Chinese steamed pork buns that we made in the class. These past few weeks have been a little crazy around the Appetite for China HQ, but rest assured I'm working on a full post and recipe to be up soon!
I like to think that on most days, I eat pretty well. As in, balancing proteins and carbs with lots of fresh vegetables. And sticking to moderation. But put me in a room full of cheese and I'm a lost cause. Or worse, put me in a 675,000-square-foot convention center full of cheese, and I won't even know I'm well past the point of fullness.
In July I attended the Summer Fancy Food Show, a trade show for anyone working in the food and beverage industry to discover new, interesting products. It's a great show and I always end up learning a lot about both local products and international products that have yet to find distributors in the U.S. The show is also a sampler's paradise. Everywhere you turn a producer is offering an enticing food to sample, and many of these foods happened to be cheeses. (Or maybe I'm just magnetically drawn to cheese booths. Who knows?)
This is all to say that by the end of two days at the trade show, I was in dire need of food that was very light and healthy. Fortunately, I was working on a campaign with Wildwood to try out their products for a post. Now, I'd actually been using various Wildwood fresh and baked tofu for over a year, since discovering them at my local co-op, so I was really excited to try out the tofu in a simple summer salad.
The product I used for the salad was the High Protein Super Firm Tofu, and organic, Non-GMO-verified tofu made with sprouted soybeans. It came in a vacuum pack instead of the conventional tubs, which I love because the lower amount of water means lighter grocery loads to carry. (Every little bit helps when the store is a 15-minute walk from home!)
For the leafy greens portion of the salad, I just dressed mesclun greens with cider vinegar and olive oil. As for the tofu, I cut it into 1-inch cubes, seared them with ginger and a good amount of garlic, and added a light sauce made with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. A bit tangy, a bit salty, a bit sweet. It was an ideal healthy meal after two days of gluttony.
A few days later, I also served this salad to friends who were visiting, and I'm happy to report it got rave reviews, even from those who don't normally like tofu. And since the salad is so easy to make in big batches to serve to groups, it just might become a cookout or picnic staple before it gets too cold out.
For a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card, tell me in the comments below: What would be your ideal dinner recipe using Wildwood tofu?
Garlic and Sesame Tofu Salad
- 1 pound Wildwood Super Firm Tofu
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces spring mix salad or baby romaine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
- Drain and rinse the tofu and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and press gently between two more clean kitchen towels to remove excess water.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar and olive oil. Using your hands, toss the salad greens in a large bowl with the dressing. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and gently cook just until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and spread it out into a single even layer on the pan. Allow the tofu to sear undisturbed for about 1 minute. Stirring occasionally, cook for another 3 minutes until all or most of the sides are golden. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir until the tofu is well-coated. Transfer the tofu to the large salad bowl and serve. (Alternatively, divide the tossed salad greens into individual bowls and top off with the tofu.)
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Whew! I was finally able to find some time this week to organize and put up photos from Tangra Summer. This past August, Chitra Agrawal and I decided to host an Indian-Chinese pop-up dinner at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn, a wooden house that dates back to 1652 and is the oldest surviving building in all of New York. We wanted to combine our respective specialties to creative a cross-cultural supper club event that also used locally grown produce. Jason Gaspar, head gardener at the Wyckoff House, grew some of the gorgeous vegetables we had at the dinner, including the enormous bottleneck gourd in the photo above. (For more background on the dinner, see Chitra's article An Indian Vegetable Grows in Brooklyn on Medium.)
While at times exhausting, the experience was still an amazing one all around, from creating the menu to figuring out tiny details for table settings. It was also wonderful to collaborate with a talented group of people for the event, including Chitra; Jason; Ethan Finkelstein from Color + Information, our photographer who took all these great photos here; and Big Alice Brewing, our beef sponsors and creators of delicious and unusual beers using ingredients like lemongrass, curry leaves, and lapsang souchang tea.
We're already cooking up ideas for the next seasonal dinner. (And hopefully you can join us too!)
Korean beef and kimchi are words that are like music to my ears. Ever since my trip to Seoul about 5 years ago, I've been in love with Korean food and have kept a jar of kimchi in the fridge at all times, for both planned meals and late night spicy food cravings.
So when I saw this recipe for Korean beef bites in Jaden Hair's latest book Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites, I knew I needed to try it. Jaden and I first "met" online via our Asian cooking blogs back in 2008, and in person for the first time later that year for dinner down in Tampa. Her blog was an inspiration back when I first started blogging (oh god, so long ago!) and it's been great to see her come out with two beautifully photographed cookbooks since then.
So yes, back to all this juicy beef business. This is a great easy recipe that involves just quickly marinating the beef, searing it, and assembling the beef with pre-made kimchi on a rice cracker. In short, very little effort for very impressive-looking results. I found that these particular brown rice crackers are the perfect size for holding the beef and kimchi, and for eating in one bite, but feel free to use any rice crackers that you can find.
Technically, these Korean beef bites are party appetizers. But that doesn't you can't whip up a batch for lunch one day to break out of the salad and sandwich rut. I might do that again next week.
Korean Beef Bites
- 1/2 pound flank steak or skirt steak
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 24 rice crackers
- 1/2 cup prepared kimchi, store-bought or homemade
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced at an angle
- Cut the beef against the grain into bite-size pieces about 1/4-inch thick (at least 24 pieces). For easier cutting, freeze the beef for 20 to 25 minutes before preparing it.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, or for a stronger flavor, overnight in the refrigerator.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the beef and spread it in a single layer to cover the pan and allow it to sear undisturbed for 1 minute. Then stir and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the beef is no longer pink.
- Assemble the appetizers: on each rice cracker, lay a piece of steak and 1 or 2 pieces of kimchi, then add scallions on top for garnish.
Adapted from Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites by Jaden Hair
I've been trying to pack in as much cooking with tomatoes as I can before the official end of summer.
Yesterday I was browsing through my friend Chitra's blog The ABCD's of Cooking for inspiration and came across her wonderful-sounding post for paneer with sun-dried tomato curry, which used both fresh and dried tomatoes. I had eaten a ton of curries in my life but never tried one using sun-dried tomatoes (to my knowledge), an ingredient I buy twice a week in bulk and can't get enough of. Needless to say, I was quickly sold.
You may remember Chitra from some of my earlier blog posts. She was my co-conspirator for Tangra Summer, an Indian-Chinese pop-up dinner we put on in August in Brooklyn. She was also the wiz behind the naan breakfast pizza I made back in June, and just an all-around great resource for ideas for vegetarian meals with tons of flavor. So it goes without saying that I was immediately excited to try out this curry.
I love that this recipe can be made with either paneer or tofu. Since I was headed to the Indian grocery store for shopping anyway, and because I'm a cheese addict, I decided to pick up a block of paneer cheese. Though I'm definitely going to try this with tofu soon when I feel like a lighter dish.Read More