A summer meal for a winter day?

How appropriate for the type of weather we’ve been having so far here this “winter’ in the RVA! Consistent highs in the 50s = winter weather I sure could get used to 😉

But alas, the cold has finally made its way in this week… but that doesn’t mean that a delicious salad treat like this can’t be enjoyed just as much!

As it mixes both warm flavors with cool crisp ones, kind of like the seasons right about now, no? 

Gơi Chay

Light rice noodles topped with pan-fried tofu and a cool cabbage salad and crunchy peanut topping.  Talk about playing games with textures here!

And ya’ll, tofu isn’t as “scary” as it’s made out to be.  It actually tastes quite delicious when combined with the right flavors and used in the right way.

I promise 🙂

If you’re skeptical, give this Korean Braised Tofu a try first… then get back to me. 

If you aren’t too busy already making this Vietnamese salad that is! 😉

1-2-3 main steps:  cabbage salad. noodle cooking. tofu “frying”!!

1. Vegetables for the Salad:  napa cabbage, carrots, fresh basil & jalapeno.

What is UP with me and cabbage lately? 

I still can’t seem to get enough ever since I found the most tasty fresh napa cabbage on the cheap at the Asian supermarket (Tan A Supermarket).

$1.80 for 3lbs of napa cabbage… don’t mind if I do! 

It’s the little things, people 😉

I also found the most fragrant fresh basil there this past week, so so good!

100 pennies well spent haha.  

Ahhh, makes me yearn even more for summer time and fresh herbs from the garden!  Not that this winter has been all that bad, I mean what am I talking about here (spoiledmuch?) 🙂

Carrots.  Which I just shredded using a peeler. 

And don’t forget this spicy friend!  Jalapeno.

Because clearly my tastebuds haven’t been dulled enough by overuse of Sambal Oelek as of late 😉

Stack it up.


Then dress it up.

Mix together a simple dressing:  soy sauce, lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar.

If you don’t have white balsamic, I imagine that a mixture of plain white vinegar would work just fine too!

Weeeeeee! Onto the salad it goes 🙂

All stirred up.  And set aside while the rest of the meal is prepared.

This cabbage slaw alone is enough to get my taste buds waterin’!

2. Rice sticks.  Soaked in warm water then boiled for a few minutes.

Until slightly tender and cooked. 

3. Extra firm tofu.  Pressed, cubed and pan fried simply in a bit of oil until slightly browned.

See how-to-press here.

Now comes salad assembly time!  Another 1-2-3 if you will… oh wait, there’s a 4! Can’t forget those crushed peanuts 😉

1.  Rice noodles.


2. Tofu.

3. Salad.

4. Crushed peanuts.  And spicy sambal!

What a fun recipe!  Talk about different flavors, different textures and just overall good times here. Also great for leftovers, as the slaw just gets better with time.

Give this one a try, it just may turn that cold winter day into a pocket full o’sunshine, you never know 😉 

Is tofu a yay or nay in your eating repertoire?

Well well well.  Hello there Tuesday.  So, Mondayyyy, see ya never?!

Although I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this past Monday since it was spent with a day off work 😉  Hopefully ya’ll did too!

I spent the day saying my goodbyes to Kim & Mylez (back to schooool wahhh), doing some much needed yoga, digging through bins at the JCrew warehouse sale (police escorts at this thing ya’ll, it was serious lol) and food shopping with Fanatic Mom.

I also spent some much needed QT in the kitchen whipping up this delicious treat:  Korean Braised Tofu!

Inspired by this new-to-me site that I’m really enjoying thus far:  Gojee.com

Basically, you can enter food items that you are craving, ingredients you have on hand as well as those you dislike and this site will pull up an array of recipes that you may want to try!

You can also flag them as favorites and save for when you’ll want to create them in your own kitchen…

Plus the photos are ridiculously awesome.  Something about an attractively bright picture that really pulls me into wanting more, or is that just me?!

This Korean braised tofu recipe came about after a search for:

I Crave —> “firm tofu”

I Have —> “Sambal oelek

Shocker there.

I didn’t have a few of the ingredients listed (sesame oil, sesame seeds) so I decided to take a spin on it and make it my own with a few substitutions!

Coconut oil to the rescue…?

I figured that coconut flavors blended so well with the spicy Sambal last time around in this Coconut Chicken n’ Rice Soup, that why wouldn’t they work just the same here 🙂

And that they did! #winning

Nasoya Organic Firm Tofu

Picked this up at Whole Foods last week for a mere $1.14 thanks to a coupon in their sale flyer…


I used this nifty tofu press to pull out all the liquid.  But placing it on paper towels between 2 heavy plates will work too 🙂

While the tofu pressed out (10 minutes), I mixed up the sauce. 

Coconut oil, spicy Sambal, soy sauce, garlic and green onion.

If you have Sriracha on hand, you could use that too.  Just omit the extra garlic step.

And p.s. green onions are so easy to grow from leftover grocery store pieces at home, remember this lil’ trick?!

Sliced green onion and minced garlic.

All mixed up with their other friends!

Once the tofu was ready, I sliced it in half then into 1/2″ slices.  The first set of slices here were kinda thick, I’d say shoot for about 8 total slices out of the block.

Add to a hot pan with some coconut oil and cook until browned on both sides, also slightly crispy on the outside.

Then add the pre-mixed sauce right to the pan.

And continue to cook for a couple minutes until the sauce turns into a beautiful glaze and the tofu get all caramelized and happy!

To serve this tofu, I’d highly recommend topping it with some additional Sambal or Sriracha just for an extra flavor punch!


What I liked about this recipe was (1) the texture and (2) the flavor.

(1) I think tofu deters many an eater because of the sometimes mushy/spongy texture. Myself included. This dish, however, had a nice firm outside with a perfectly soft middle. It just worked!

(2) The salty soy sauce was mildly offset with sweet coconut oil and the spicy chili sauce was the perfect compliment to the two.  Definitely a great mix of flavors!

The leftovers also made a lovely wrap when folded up in a whole wheat tortilla and slathered with a “little bit” more of the spicy Sambal.  Just sayin… 😉

So moral of the story:  even if you’re a bit “tofu-shy” I’d recommend giving this recipe a whirl!  You never know, you just might like it… 

Where has she been..?!

Well that’s a great question friends, and so sorry for bailing on ya’ll for the start of this week…

But unfortunately, I’ve been a bit under the weather 🙁

And as such, the eats around here have consisted of gourmet items such as chicken soup, ice cream, cereal?… you know, the typical “sick foods” 😉

But before things took a turn for the worse, I did have a chance to whip up a decent meal using a fun new kitchen gadget I won a few weeks back from my girl Erica!

I present to you:  the Tofu Press

This thing is a dream in the kitchen, I couldn’t believe how much easier it made my tofu cooking experience! 

And if you’ve ever cooked with tofu before, perhaps you can relate to the “2 plate pressing method” I may or may not be referring to 😉

Check out how much liquid this sucker pressed out in just a half hour’s time in the fridge!

Then I used the same container to marinate the ‘fu — it comes with a perfect lil’ lid for doing so.

I simply cubed the pressed tofu and let marinate in the following mixture:

  • 1 tblsp coconut oil
  • 2 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

This is a recipe “theme” that I use often on tofu, but tweak depending on my mood / what I have on hand (check out the original tofu adventure here!)

Once it had marinated for about a half hour, I simply placed it on a baking sheet and put into a 400F oven for 30 minutes – flipping halfway through.


Every time 😀

Served simply with brown rice topped w/ buttah and steamed broccoli, this was the last “normal” meal I have had in the recent past 😛

But it sure was a good one!

Now I’m out, there’s lots of sleeping & resting to be done so I can get back to work tomorrow… and perhaps some more ice cream eating since breakfast and lunch may have not been enough?! 😉