Thank you to everyone for your recent kind words of support! I’ve been a mopey and grumpy person since learning of my high cholesterol and am starting to snap out of it. Today’s weekly produce delivery gave me much needed inspiration and I crafted this wonderfully simple dinner tonight.
Tonight’s star ingredient is the golden beet, sweet and earthy. My produce shipment also contained fennel, strawberries, oranges, baby lettuce, red onion, rhubarb, spinach, and asparagus all of which you’ll see in the coming week.
My mother used to pickle red beets and to be honest it’s how I think of beets … pickled in a sweet/sour brine. Although I do enjoy my mom’s pickled beets, my goal in using it tonight was to focus on the natural flavor and not to mask it with any flavoring.
I was happy to see the these wonderfully golden beets arrived with their leaves attached, so I decided to prepare the greens as well. For me, any type of green is best when it’s blanched and tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar. (a few strips of crumbled bacon pair well with greens too, but no bacon for me – at least not tonight)
I cleaned the greens and blanched for 30 seconds in boiling water then placed immediately into an ice water bath. Once cooled, I removed the greens to a colander to drain.
I peeled the beets and thinly sliced crosswise to create golden coins. The color is magnificent, truly a vibrant yellow. I blanched the beets for about 2 minutes or until they begin to become tender but still have some ‘bite’. Place the beets into an ice water bath, then remove and drain. Using paper towel, pat them dry.
I squeezed the greens in my hand to remove any excess water then placed into a small mixing bowl. I added 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion and a couple thinly sliced strawberries. Add about a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and lightly toss to coat. I love the slightly sweet flavor of balsamic with the earthly greens and sweet strawberries. The onion adds a bit of crisp savoriness.
Mark of No Special Effects recently suggested that I use a ring mold for plating, so I decided to give it a try. I’m not one to get fancy with such things … but figured why not. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ring mold. And as luck would have it, I had emptied my recycling bin earlier in the morning. I made a tinfoil ring but then decided it was too flimsy and wouldn’t work. So, I did what anyone else would do (at least, I hope so) … I ran outside to my recycling bin and fished out a recently discarded tin can. I took it inside and thoroughly washed it, then removed the bottom to form a ring mold.
I filled the ring with the beet green salad then topped with a couple slices of the beets and a bit of strawberry as garnish. I added a few more beets to the plate and topped with a wonderfully good roasted tofu.
I’ve cooked with tofu a fair amount but have never roasted it. I looked through a few sites and saw that most people marinated it before baking.
2 tablespoons reduced salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger (I used pickled ginger)
1 green onion, just the white part minced
1/4 cup water
1 lb extra-firm tofu
Mix all the ingredients except the tofu in a small bowl. Slice the tofu in 1/2″ slices and pat dry. Lay in the bottom of a baking dish in a single layer then pour the marinade over the top. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours or overnight if you can. Half-way through marinating, flip the tofu.
Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, then flip the tofu pieces and bake an additional 30 minutes. The marinade will reduce and caramelize on the tofu.
Overall, it was a satisfying and flavorful meal. The vibrant colors made it even more enjoyable — when food is pretty, it does taste better!
The beet green salad might be too simple for some. I liked the simplicity of it and felt the strawberries added a nice balance to the beets and greens. The tofu is fricken’ incredible though — a perfect dish for tofu newbies. Sometimes, the brand of tofu has a lot to do with whether you enjoy a tofu meal. I’ve noticed a great variance in flavor and texture from brand to brand. I used Mori-Nu and like it the best. It’s silky smooth with minimal soybean flavor.
So, there you have it. A healthy meal that is quick to make and even tastes good!
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