‘Lo, a Salad for the Ages

July 18, 2007 at 1:45 am (Entrees, Salads, Side dishes, Tofu)

I really, really love things like egg salad and potato salad and so on.  However, they tend to be horrendously bad for you, loaded with fat and mayo and empty calories of all kinds.  I used to dig chicken salad, back when that was on my possible options menu, but again, not so hot for you.  I sought… a salad with character, with staying power.. a salad.. for sandwiches.

Normal tofu is too soft– Even when you freeze and thaw it to make it spongier, cutting it into tiny peices or shredding it would yield results that are too mushy.  I needed something stronger.  Gluten?  Eh.  Commercial ficken?  Expensive. Tempeh? Maybe, but a bit crumbly.  What to do!  Aha… Dry. Spiced. Tofu.

This amazing substance is just making its way around, I think.  Now available in Trader Joe’s, and easily found in Asian markets, its super-compressed tofu, packed in clear vaccuum-packed plastic, with very little moisture to speak of.  This tofu doesn’t take life lying down.  It has personality. It has pizzaz.  It’s perfect.

10 ounces dry spiced tofu, shredded on a box grater
5  stalks celery, include some of the sweet center ones, with some leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 medium carrot, shredded
1 1/2 cups 1% fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Basically… Throw it all in a bowl and toss it around.  Refrigerate for a bit.  Enjoy.

The dijon mustard gives it a bit of a kick that mellows with refrigeration.  It’s excellent on toast, and even better on toast with cheese melted over it.  This may.. well, negate the healthiness of this salad.. but it is fantastic.  Hey, look! Here are some estimated nutrition facts! /noshes cheese.

<sub> Per Serving (8 servings total) Calories 76. Calories from Fat 23. Total Fat 2.6g (DV 4%). Saturated Fat 0.8g (DV 4%). Cholesterol 3mg (DV 1%). Sodium 227mg (DV 9%). Total Carbohydrates  4.9g (DV 2%). Dietary Fiber 1.0g (DV 4%). Sugars 1.4g. Protein 9.1g. Vitamin A 41% • Vitamin C 6%. Calcium 10% • Iron 5%</sub>

I will take a photo of my salad tomorrow, (provided there is any left..), and post it.

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Sailor’s Onions..?

July 15, 2007 at 12:15 am (Sauces & Gravies, Side dishes)

Yesterday, I planned an English comfort food, Bangers & Mash. For us Yanks, that’s sausages and mashed potatoes. I had several fake sausages in my refrigerator which I believed destined for this dish. However, upon inspection, it turned out my roommate absconded with my sausages. I did, however, have some zucchini that any gardener who’s ever planted it knows, quickly becomes a curse of squash. Being a known Kitchen Rat, I am apparently the go-to docking station for surplus squash. In any case, I figured I could cut this into roughly sausage-shaped logs and make do. Not that zucchini bears any flavor resemblance at all to sausage or even f’ausage– but it does have a very plain and easily altered flavor– and Bangers & Mash calls for a good onion gravy.

Now, the gravy. I’ve never actually made onion gravy before, and a quick skim of recipes online reveals it’s typically just beef gravy with onions in. Unacceptable. I inspected the spices on hand and came up with my Old Bay seasoning mixture… Hmmm! Said I. I actually did the following sauce and tossed my zucchini logs right into it to cook and get a bit of the gravy flavor, but if I had actually had the bangers I expected to have, I’d have browned them in the pan first in a bit of oil, then removed them from the pan, and continued on with making gravy with the sausagey oil. Next time….

Sailor’s Sauteed Onion Gravy

2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Heat a large saute pan and add oil and garlic. Saute several minutes until fragrant, then add sliced onions, breaking the rings apart. Stir to coat with oil, cover pan, and saute on low heat until onions are soft– five minutes or so. Meanwhile, in a cup, combine water, milk, Old Bay, and cornstarch. When onions are softened, add Old Bay mixture and stir to coat. Cover pan again and simmer until the sauce is thickened, adding more water if it gets too thick for your liking.

Serve over Bangers & Mash, (or Zukes & Mash, as the case may be…)

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