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Monday, August 20, 2012

Asian Inspiration

There are very few Asian dishes or recipes that I am unwilling to try. As long as I can remember, my parents had always taken my brother and I out for Chinese at least once a week and it was nearly always my favorite meal of the week. I just love the salty-sweet flavors and knowing that the exploration is endless when it comes to Asian cuisine.

For tonight's meal I was feeling something Asian-inspired. For the main dish I chose "Ginger-Baked Tofu" from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I didn't, however, have a chance to pick up any ginger; it became more of a garlic-based flavor as a result, but was still quite tasty. As a side dish, I opted to make her "Baby Bok Choy Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette" but again found myself lacking a title ingredient: Bok Choy. Instead I followed the recipe using leeks instead and at the end added 2 cups of unsalted, cooked edamame to make it more interesting. I was pleased with how tasty and filling (it's packed with protein) the end-result was, as was my ever-wary fiancee!

(The recipes below are as I made them, omitting the ingredients I didn't use but otherwise exactly detailing the originals).

Baked Tofu
1 pound firm tofu
1/3 cup shoyu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (optional)

Finely chopped scallions for garnish (optional)

Cut the tofu in half width-wise, and place each half on its side then slice in half again. You will be left with 4 tofu "steaks."

Pour 3/4 cup water into a bowl. Whisk in the shoyu, oil, garlic, vinegars, and rice syrup and pour over the tofu, covering it. Marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the tofu on a baking sheet and baste with the marinade. Reserve the remaining marinade.

Bake the tofu for 15-20 minutes. Turn the tofu pieces with a spatula, baste again with the marinade, and bake for 10-15 minutes longer. Garnish with scallions, if desired, and serve warm.

Leeks and Edamame Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette
6-7 leeks, chopped into large pieces
2 cups cooked, unshelled edamame
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the leeks and steam for about 5 minutes or until they are just tender. Add the edamame just to warm. Transfer to plates.

Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl, and drizzle over the steamed vegetables (you may not need it all).

Finished product!

Bottom Line: These are simple recipes that yield a protein-packed, clean and healthy meal. You only need small serving sizes to stay full!

Visit Alicia's website The Kind Life for more on The Kind Diet as well as kind-living tips and more recipes!

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