Monday, September 20, 2010

Celery and tofu salad

We have really been enjoying the spice oil! I have been using a mixture of it, sesame oil, and regular vegetable oil to saute onions and kale. Yum! Jon topped some popcorn with spice oil and salt the other day. The non-capsicum spices really came through on the popcorn.
(Sorry, it just looks like popcorn.)

We have also made the celery-tofu salad from the Minimalist column that originally gave us the idea to make the spice oil. We were quite underwhelmed with the recipe as written, but we made some tweaks that really takes it up a notch. Even when generously salted, I found Bittman's version hot but lacking in depth of flavor. We upped the flavor with ponzu sauce and sesame oil, and it's now quite nice. (Ponzu sauce is a Japanese condiment made from soy sauce and citrus juice.) I think the ponzu was key because it added both saltiness and acid, which the spice oil doesn't have. To bump up the calories a bit, we have also served this over rice noodles, but you'll still be chewing for a long time if you want to fill up on this. I'd recommend eating something more substantial with it to make a full meal.

If you haven't seen pressed tofu before, ours comes in a package like this.
And the bricks look like this.
(I forgot to take the picture until after I had sliced it, so I just stuck it back together.)

It is, as the name suggests, pressed until it is very firm. Some brands are also lightly spiced as well. The texture is really nice for dishes where you won't be cooking the tofu, like this salad or a spring roll. It's also good just cut up on regular salads if you want to pump up the protein a little.

Sorry, I don't include amounts on any of the ingredients. The amount of celery and tofu you use depends on how much salad you want to eat, and the other ingredients are all to taste.

Celery and tofu salad
Pressed tofu
Sesame oil
Ponzu sauce
Rice noodles (the flat ones), cooked, optional

Slice celery into thin spears. I did this by slicing each rib into three pieces and then each piece into two or three pieces lengthwise. Cut the tofu into thin slices roughly the same size as the celery. Top with sesame oil, spice oil, and ponzu sauce to taste. Serve over rice noodles if desired. Chopped celery leaves are nice for garnishing if you're into that kind of thing.

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