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Crispy Lemongrass Tofu and Braised Baby Bok Choy

6 Nov

This dinner was a delicious combination of sweet, spicy, savory, crispy, and soft.  Even the most ardent carnivore won’t miss their meat one bit while eating this filling, satisfying dish.  The side of baby bok choy added a delicious “crunch” to the softer, smoother textures of the tofu dish.  If you are not used to cooking with Asian flavors, this is a really easy dinner that will get you used to some of the common ingredients (lemon grass, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame) and techniques (draining your tofu and stir fry).  Although this was plenty for the two of us without it, this dinner would be delicious with some jasmine or other white rice to serve a larger crowd.

Crispy Lemongrass Tofu and Braised Baby Bok Choy

Crispy Lemongrass Tofu:

Adapted from EveningEdge.com

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. canola oil, divided

1 14 oz. block firm tofu, drained¹ and cut into 1″ cubes

1/4 cup yellow corn meal

2 eggs (or 1 double-yolked egg, which I used)

1 tbs. water

1 1/2 cups Japanese-style panko bread crumbs

Freshly cracked black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

1 green onion, sliced, white and green parts divided

3 tbs. canned sliced lemon grass

2 tbs. Sriracha sauce

2 tbs. honey

3 tbs. fish sauce

Whisk together eggs and water.  Mix together yellow corn meal and freshly cracked black pepper.  Coat tofu with yellow corn meal, then egg wash, then panko crumbs.

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in medium heavy saucepan.  In batches, fry tofu until golden brown.  Drain each batch on paper towels and set aside.

Heat remaining canola oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add garlic cloves, red onion, bell pepper, and lemon grass.  Season with about half of Sriracha.  Sauté vegetables until onions are tender and translucent, tossing constantly.  Add tofu, honey, remainder of Sriracha, and fish sauce.  Toss to coast tofu and sauté roughly 4-5 minutes until glaze has reduced and tofu is heated through.  Serve alongside braised baby bok choy.

Braised Baby Bok Choy:

Adapted from Epicurious

4-5 heads baby bok choy, trimmed

2 cups homemade seafood stock²

2 tbs. Brummel & Brown butter substitute

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame seeds

Freshly cracked black pepper

Bring broth and Brummel & Brown to a simmer in a medium stock pot.  Place baby bok choy in the simmering liquid and cover.  Simmer, covered, 5-10 minutes until cooked through.  I cooked ours about six minutes and it was al dente, which is how I prefer it.  Zak likes his bok choy more well done, so next time I will simmer the full ten minutes.

Remove from the baby bok choy from the braising liquid and cover with tinfoil to keep warm.  Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and freshly cracked black pepper to braising linquid Raise heat to high on braising liquid and reduce until roughly 1/2 cup.

Spoon braising liquid over the baby bok choy and top with sesame seeds.  Serve alongside the crispy lemongrass tofu.

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Geauga Family Farms CSA – Week One

6 Nov

Geauga Family Farms CSA – Week One

Pictured above is the bounty from the first week of our first share of the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a CSA, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  A consumer purchases a share (sometimes offered in single shares or family shares), which entitles him or her to a proportion of output directly from a farmer or group of farmers, generally on a weekly basis for a block of a certain number of weeks.

The idea of joining a CSA appealed to me for a variety of reasons.  Primarily, I wanted to make a contribution to independent farmers in my community.  Additionally, I want to do a favor to the environment by trying to eat more local, sustainable produce.  Also, the nutrient content of vegetables begins to diminish virtually the moment the vegetable is harvested.  So, the further the vegetable is shipped, the longer it sits in the grocery store, the longer it sits in the refrigerator, the less “bang” you are getting for your buck, so to speak.  I also was enchanted by the idea of having a significant portion of our produce chosen for us, which will force me into being more creative in the kitchen.  Some people might consider that a disadvantage of a CSA, but I enjoy browsing recipes and being forced to think on my feet.

Shares for the Winter CSA through Geauga Family Farms are picked up on Saturdays, so I will make an effort to post what we get and my general impressions about the CSA experience on Saturday or Sundays.

This week, we received some beautiful baby bok choy, Annapolis lettuce (I believe), romaine lettuce (I believe), a kohlrabi, a red pepper, a bunch of radishes, a bunch of green onions, potatoes, a great deal of broccoli, a loaf of bread, and half a dozen free range brown eggs.  I’ve never cooked with kohlrabi before, so I am particularly excited about that.  I also have some tofu in the fridge which will go well with the baby bok.  My wheels are already spinning for how to use all of this fresh deliciousness!

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