Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sicilian-Style Tofu

When I read the ingredients for the “Sicilian-Style Tofu” (page 287), I knew I would like it, as I have a great fondness for kalamata olives and capers, and most anything that includes them. I wasn’t disappointed, and in fact, I liked it a lot more than I expected!
The basis for the dish is pan-fried tofu. It can be a little tricky trying to get “crisply fried tofu” (as described in the recipe headnotes) without using oil, but once you realize alternate preparation methods also yield satisfying results, you won’t be disappointed. After pressing a 16-oz block of tofu to extract the excess water, I cut it into 9-10 slices, and “dry-fried” it in a non-stick skillet without using any oil at all. It didn’t get as crispy, or as brown, as frying it in oil would have, but to me, it was still completely acceptable, especially after being topped with the zesty and flavorful sauce. However, a very good quality non-stick skillet is ESSENTIAL for this to work!

Speaking of the sauce, this consisted of canned diced tomatoes, onion, garlic sherry, olives, capers, and red pepper flakes, simmered on the stove, then spooned over the prepared tofu, which can be served “as is”, or over pasta for a sort of cacciatore effect. The combination of flavors is supremely satisfying, and I admit to upping the red pepper flakes to give it a bit more bite. The sauce would be good on other foods as well, such as potatoes, pasta, scrambled tofu, or polenta. I see a lot of possibilities here!

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Instead of frying the tofu in oil, use a very good quality nonstick skillet and “dry-fry” it.
  • Use the same nonstick skillet and a little broth, sherry, or water to sauté the veggies.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Bulger & Chickpeas

“Cabbage Rolls Stuffed With Bulgur & Chickpeas” (page 337) is a perfect cold-weather dish, even though these are prepared in a skillet on the stove, not baked in the oven.  (There is something so satisfying about a long slow bake of anything in the oven on a cold winter's day!). Because I had a beautiful bunch of collard greens that begged to be rolled around something, I decided to use this instead of the cabbage, which you can plainly see in the picture. The slightly steamed leaves are stuffed with a delicious mixture of cooked bulgur and sautéed onion, cooked garbanzo beans, dillweed, salt and pepper. These tidy little bundles are arranged in a large skillet, covered with tomato juice, and simmered until the greens are cooked and everything is hot throughout. Hearty, satisfying, and wholesome, and made from ingredients you might already have hanging around the kitchen.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Instead of sautéing the onion in oil, use a nonstick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry.