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FEATURE: Cooking Local Beet Salad and Golden Tofu

November 12, 2010

Beet and greens salad:

-one bunch of beets, including leafy green tops
-about ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
-about 1 cup hazlenuts (aka filbets) toasted and roughly chopped
-fresh chopped parsley and/or mint (about ¼ cup)


-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
-dash of dark sesame oil (optional)
-juice of ½ fresh lemon or lime
-fresh ground black pepper and pinch of salt

    Cut off the beet green and set aside. Cut off the root tip and discard. Cut each beet into bite-size quarters (or smaller if they are large beets). Place the beats in a pot in a steaming basket. Add about ½ of water, cover the pot, and put on high. Reduce the heat to medium when the water begins to boil. The beets will need to steam for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how many you are cooking and how small you’ve cut them. They are done when they are fork tender.
    While the beet roots are steaming, chop the greens into roughly 1 inch pieces and wash them well. Check the beets after about 8 minutes, and add the greens to steam on top of when you estimate the beets have only a minute or two left to cook. It takes very little time to wilt greens in steam.
    When the beets and greens are steamed, drain off the water and add them to a medium bowl. Add the toasted hazlenuts and chopped parsley and mint. I like to wait a few minutes to let the beets cool before adding the feta cheese, so it doesn’t all melt away. Add the dressing ingredients and toss everything together. Serve hot or cold.

Crispy Golden Tofu:

-1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and excess moisture pressed out
-2 tbsps nutritional yeast (available at health food stores)
-3 heaping tbsp flour or corn starch (or combine both)
-1 tsp sesame seeds
-dash of Chinese 5 spice
-Pinch of red pepper flakes
-dash of garlic powder
-dash of salt and black pepper
-about 2 tbsp canola oil plus 1/2 tsp sesame oil

    Slice the tofu into ½ inch rectangles, then slice each of those in half to make right triangles. In a bowl or zip top bag combine all the remaining ingredients except the oil and toss the tofu triangles to coat each well.
    In a large skillet heat the oil over a medium high heat and carefully add the tofu, shaking off excess flour coating first. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the tofu is nice and crispy and golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Quick tofu dipping sauce (mix together in a bowl):

-2 tbsp hoisin sauce
-1 tsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
-juice of ½ lime or lemon
-1 tsps honey
-1 tsp sriracha hot chile sauce
-dash of dark sesame oil
-1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro leaves



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