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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Crispy Tofu Salad with Sesame Miso Vinaigre

I hope everyone has survived the holiday season.  I, for one, ate my way right through it.  I'm serious.  I really did.  I have no ability to hold back when it comes to party food.  My Aunt Loretta's arancini are too good to stop at one and her spumoni cookies are one of my favorites.  My mil makes chocolate covered toffee that makes my mouth water when I think about it, and since she threatens to be buried with the recipe, I feel the need to eat as much as I can before that happens.  There is always a load of food on Christmas Eve.  In addition to the wide array of apps, the family does the classic Italian night of seven fishes.  On the menu, typically or not so typically, is clam chowder, stuffed clams and scallops, baked shrimp, and both fried and stuffed calamari.  Well this year the ante was waaaaay upped with the addition of lobster mac and cheese.  Needless to say, I overdid it.  The worst part is that the next day, we continue to eat heavily.  "Sure, I'll have some more cheese ball, and yes, please do pass the gravy."

So now I'm suffering from a bit of food guilt.  I ate too much and too rich and it requires immediate penance, but I am on Christmas break!  I'm just not a "salad" kind of girl when I'm on vacation.  I'm a "trip to the North End for Umberto's and tiramisu" kind of girl.  However, if a salad were to be crazy amazing, then...this brings me to my first ever salad post...

This salad has been made most amazing by the combination of some of my favorite things.  The tofu is prepared using a favorite recipe of mine from Oh She Glows' Angela Liddon (this has become my favorite way to prepare tofu - you can throw these crunchy little cubes in or on anything.)  The dressing and crunchy topping are finds from Bon Appetit.  The chili in the dressing is taste bud as well as mind blowing as far as I'm concerned.  So if you feel the need to cleanse as I did, then I hope you will try this - because it's a truly delicious plate full of healthy.

Crispy Tofu Salad with Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
serves 4-6

1 large box of mixed salad greens (or cut up your own greens of your choosing)
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
crispy garlic tofu (see recipe below)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of pepita-cashew crunch (see recipe below)
sesame-miso vinaigrette for serving (see recipe below)

Top the salad greens with the remaining ingredients and enjoy!

For the crispy garlic tofu:
recipe by Angela Liddon from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

1 14-oz package of extra firm tofu, pressed overnight and cut into about 30 pieces or so
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbsp of canola oil (or other oil of choice).  Once the pan is hot, put the coated tofu in the pan in a single layer.  Allow to cook for about 3 minutes until golden, then flip the tofu pieces over and cook for another 3 minutes until golden and crisp.

For the pepita-cashew crunch:
from Bon Appetit

1 large egg white
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and coat a lined baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Whisk the egg white, agave, garam masala, salt, and cayenne together in a medium bowl.  Add the nuts and seeds and toss to coat.  With a slotted spoon, remove the mixture to the baking sheet, allowing the excess egg to drip back into the bowl.  Bake, tossing once, until the mixture is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container.  Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.  This is delicious served over salad, Greek yogurt, and I am sure a hundred other things.

For the sesame miso vinaigrette:
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 red Fresno chili, with seeds, finely chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  This can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a week.

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