Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tofu Challenge: Lemon Pepper Pasta

I think that this Lemon Pepper Baked Tofu is my favorite Fresh Tofu variety. The flavor is light and crisp with a little bite, and like all of Fresh Tofu's baked varieties, the texture is sublimely dense.

The subtleties of this lemon and pepper tofu can get lost in some dishes, so I usually eat it as simply as possible. Diced into tiny cubes, it's perfect for a lightly dressed salad, where the taste can shine. For dinner, they blend perfectly in lemon pepper pasta.

I use a pretty basic and quick recipe; the ingredients are simple and it's easy to time everything to finish up at once. That, combined with a barely one-dollar-per-serving price, this dish could easily find it's way into your weekly menu plan.

Lemon Pepper Tofu and Pasta
serves 6

1 lb. angel hair pasta
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lemons
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons plus a dash black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon zest for garnish
Parsley for garnish
Cut lemon pepper tofu into 1/4" cubes. Heat tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add tofu and sprinkle with a dash of pepper. Allow to brown over medium/high heat, tossing often. Right before removing from heat, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into pan, toss and cook for 30 to 60 seconds. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for three to five minutes, or until done; drain.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, parsley and black pepper; stir well. Toss with pasta.

Serve pasta with tofu cubes on top, garnish with parsley and lemon zest, pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot or cold.
Many lemon pepper pasta recipes call for basil rather than parsley, which I plan on trying this summer when the basil comes in from our CSA or garden. I'd also love to try this tofu over VeganYumYum's spicy lemon pepper fettuccine or with this lemon pepper cous-cous. Any non-local veggies you find in lemon pepper recipes could easily be replaced with seasonal ones. Except of course for the lemon. Maybe Nicole's Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op will come through with some lemony citrus for us?

And now, all this light and airy lemon pepper herb talk has got me jonesing for spring something fierce. Drool!

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Choo choo!

At the bottom of my street, there are tracks that run a freight line.

When we were little and heard the whistle, my sister and I would grab pennies, nickels and even quarters if we were desperate enough, and run down the street at top speed, hoping to place them on the tracks before the train came by. I loved the feeling of the smooth, warm, flattened metal on my fingers.

Today, I still have the urge to run down and check out the gigantic machines as the roll by. Only now, I bring my son instead of my sister.

The sound and size of these trains are truly unreal.

It's also nice to get a little graffiti fix. Of course, there are the usual throw ups, but occasionally, I'll see something that catches my eye -- a little something clever, creative, different or just really good. This time, we saw some sweet death skulls. Rawk.

When my family first moved here over 20 years ago, they ran SEPTA on these lines, too. Now the train station is a little restaurant called The Caboose Grille. At least weekly, I wish they'd bring the R5 back. What the world need now, is more public transportation, right? :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Due to an unusual series of events, I've recently found myself in the company of three lovely credenzas. Actually, I suppose they're dressers, but I'm re-purposing them as credenzas. Specifically, I plan on re-purposing *one* of them as a credenza for the dining room in my small rowhome, but I'm not sure which one.

Ironically, this all started as a decluttering challenge at MotheringDotCommune. Yet somehow, I've managed to clutter my living space like never before.

I've set each of them up, snapped photos, asked the boyfriend and the son their opinions and considered each piece's pros and cons. And what do I have to show for all this effort? Confusion and doubt. At this point, I'm at credenza saturation.


Update Feb. 28: Check out the opinions at Apartment Therapy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tofu Challenge: Baked Tofu Sandwich

Like just about everyone else I know, I was recently hit with a nasty cold. Working outside of the home and doing the mom thing while miserably sick means my kitchen (and gym!) get a break. For meals, quick and easy have been my MO, with a little bit of spice to alleviate the sinuses. I've had lots of soups and sandwiches, including this yummy creation of Fresh Tofu's baked tofu, Blooming Glen onion, spinach, roasted red peppers, homemade hot pepper spread, hummus and refried beans:

Because this tofu is already seasoned and processed, there's no reason to press, drain or marinade. Each package comes with four mini blocks, each of which I simply sliced "open" and heated in a non-oiled pan. I also grilled the bread, complet from Bakers on Broad, using a light coating of olive oil. There was no method to the rest of the ingredients -- I just scavenged the refrigerator. I'm pretty sure you already guessed that, though ;) The result was a filling and flavorful meal that, most importantly, didn't require too much strain on my foggy brain.

Although I prepare Fresh Tofu's baked tofu fairly often, this was the first time I added it to a sandwich -- something I'll definitely do again. The texture is perfectly dense, and the flavor very mild with just a hint of sesame, making it a perfect addition to just about any meal. I absolutely recommend also using it as salad topper; cut into tiny cubes and crisped in a dry frying pan, they provide a fantastic protein punch with great texture and taste. It's also great in stirfries, either sliced into strips or cubed.

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