Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lots of Food = Lots of Leftover Lunches

A light dinner of Lime-Chile Tofu, mustard green pilaf and Cafe Drake's famous Cajun Carrot Pickles. Basically we had leftover, slightly over-salted mustard greens leftovers and re-purposed them by stirring into hot, cooked brown rice. The whole grains were a perfect foil for the mega-seasoned greens and mellowed their sodium shock! Even those who claim to hate tofu will love this dish: start by cutting two blocks of tofu into slices and then diagonally into triangle shapes. Use firm or even better - extra firm - tofu. Plop the tofu pieces in a pot of boiling water, simmer for 3-5 minutes and drain well. Ever wonder why tofu never falls apart in Chinese takeout? The par-boiling is the trick to firming up bean curd!! Now heat about 3 T. of oil in a large skillet, big enough to accommodate all tofu in a single layer if possible. If not fry in batches. Fry tofu over a medium-high flame until lightly browned, flipping once. Now add to the pan the following, pre-mixed in a bowl while the tofu browns: 2 T. brown sugar, 3 T. soy sauce, 3 T. lime juice, 1 clove of garlic, minced, about 5 T. minced cilantro and red pepper flakes to your liking. Cook on a high heat until the tofu is glazed and sauce thickens. Stir well to coat all pieces of tofu. Serve hot or also delicious cold, especially tucked in to sandwiches.

Cafe Drake likes shredding bulky stalks of bok choy and quickly pan-frying the veggie with a bit of garlic and orange (or red or yellow) bell peppers. The distinctive flavor of bok choy only needs a bit of salt or soy sauce to compliment it. When cooked, remove from heat and scatter with thin slices of red onion. Cover for 10 minutes and serve warm. A drizzle of sesame oil is also nice.

It may look like baby food but this Coconut and Garlic fresh chutney (Lahsun Chutney) is anything but bland. Super thick and rich, almost a paste really, this condiment is of course best suited to Indian meals. Cafe Drake also adds a dollop to plates of Caribbean food or enrich a simple meal of rice and beans. Here's how: heat a cast iron skillet (or non-stick) and dry roast just over 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut until golden brown. This will take about 4 minutes over a medium-low flame. Stir frequently so as not to burn. Throw in 5 whole dried red chilies and roast another minute or two. Allow to cool slightly then puree in a blender with: 5 cloves of garlic, chopped, salt to taste and 1/2 t. tamarind paste. If you don't have tamarind around just use an equal amount of fresh lemon juice. You'll end up with a thick-ish paste - you may need to add a bit of water to help process/puree. Keeps well for about 5 days in the fridge where it thickens considerably when chilled.

Enjoying the bok choy with rice and a bowl of steaming hot and spicy toor dal. We borrowed a recipe for the dal (split pigeon peas) from Manjula's Kitchen.

Leftover toor dal, basmati rice, lime and chile tofu, bok choy and coconut-garlic chutney, along with store-bought aloo paratha, created a magnificent lunch of leftovers.

No comments: