Thursday, July 11, 2013

eating my share: christmas in july

I wouldn't consider myself a collector of gadgets for the kitchen. The tools in highest rotation are sharp knives, wooden spoons and mason jars. However, I do have an impressive collection of vegetable peelers/slicers. My cupboards hold a mandolin slicer, a set of titan peelers and a standard peeler.

The latest addition is this. When my brother got me a vegetable spiralizer for Christmas, I thought it was pretty neat!  But then it sat in the box for over 6 months...

Until now.

I celebrated Christmas by making some zucchini noodles. Here's a thai/vietnamese inspired recipe. In lieu of a spiralizer, you can use a standard peeler to cut thin strips of squash. I used tofu but you should totally use your protein of choice if tofu isn't your thing.

Spicy Asian Zucchini Noodles

first things first
3 medium zucchini or other summer squash
pinch of salt
1 block of extra firm tofu
2 kitchen towels
cast-iron skillet

Thinly peel or slice the squash into thin strips. Spread out on a clean kitchen towel and toss with a pinch of salt. Let drain on towel for at least 20 minutes. The squash will release a lot of moisture. Dry as best you can with the towel.

Wrap tofu in another clean towel and place on a plate. Arrange a cast-iron skillet (or other heavy, flat-bottomed object) on top of the tofu to press it for 20-40 minutes. If you're planning ahead, you can press the tofu all day in the fridge.

1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tbs soy sauce
1-2 tsp chile paste or sriracha
2 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.

quick hakurei turnip pickles
1 tbs hot water
1 tbs rice vinegar
a pinch each of salt, sugar and red pepper flakes
2 medium sized hakurei turnips, sliced into matchsticks

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients through pepper flakes. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add in the turnips.

here is where it all comes together
pressed tofu, cut into cubes
2 tbs sunflower oil (or other high-heat oil)
1/2 cup cipollini onion stems, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch hunk of ginger, minced
1/2 cup cipollini onion greens, diced
1/2 cup basil, torn into pieces

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Once it is hot, add the tofu cubes and fry until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the onion stems and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce, let it bubble and simmer for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Stir in the squash and some of the cipollini greens and basil, reserving a small amount for garnish. Mix to coat everything with the sauce.

Serve it up and top each dish with cipollini greens, basil and turnip pickles.

How are you preparing your summer squash so far?

PS: The next morning, I had a breakfast taco with leftover tofu and a fried egg. It was an amazingly delicious way to start the day. Do it!

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