Monday, June 23, 2008

Lettuce, Anyone?

Lettuce and greens seem to be the focus right now since we're getting them in abundance from the CSA. It's fun to try to come up with new things to do with that. I've been trying to do one big salad for a meal each week. They seem to usually involve tofu. Thankfully, the co-op is once again stocked with Spring Creek tofu. Whew! We can all breathe a sigh of relief about that.

Let's start with last Tuesday's dinner, which was black-bean lettuce cups. Talk about an easy meal to throw together. I heated up a can of rinsed, drained black beans with a can of drained, fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I added some chili powder, cumin and tad of agave nectar. Oh, and salt and pepper too. I let them simmer for a while while I washed and dried the lettuce leaves. I'm not sure exactly what kind of lettuce it was, but it was perfect to use as cups for the beans. I scooped some of the beans/tomatoes into a leaf and topped with bit of Tofutti sour cream and guacamole. Very, very tasty. Lettuce wraps/cups pretty much rule, and you can really get creative with the fillings.

Wednesday night was big-salad night. This week, I did an Asian-style salad. I started by pressing my block of tofu for about an hour. After it was well drained, I sliced it in 1/4 inch slices and marinated it in a mixture of mirin, shoyu, rice vinegar, agave nectar, Thai chili sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. I let it marinate for 30 minutes, then flipped the slices over for 30 more minutes. Then, I put it on a baking sheet and baked it at 375 for 20 minutes, then flipped and gave it another 10. I let it cool just a bit, and put it on a nice pile of fresh greens. I added some fried rice-noodles (from a can). Those things definitely aren't healthy, but they sure do add a nice crunch to a salad. I made an Asian vinaigrette to go on the salad:

1 inch piece of ginger
a clove of garlic
2 TBS tamari
2 TBS rice vinegar
a little squirt of agave
1 TBS sesame oil.

Give it a good whirl, and there you go.

Okay, my last greens were used making the Popeye Pasta from ED&bV. You can use any type of pasta with this. (I used whole-wheat rotini.) The sauce is very simple: Onion, lots of garlic, white wine, crushed tomatoes, and whatever Italian herbs you like. (I like to use dried oregano and basil. I'd use fresh if I had them.) I used my perpetual spinach (chard) from the CSA. It was a pretty hefty bag, and I used the whole thing. It's leaves are tougher than those of spinach, so it really held up well in this dish. It lent the dish an earthier flavor which was really nice.

On Saturday, Sleek, the kids and I headed up to Pittsburgh to take in some of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which included a free concert by The Avett Brothers. We had dinner at a really fantastic restaurant before the show. I'm going to do a post about it tomorrow, so stay tuned...

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