Sunday, February 24, 2008

Shopping with Jackson and Dinner

We had a great morning as a family yesterday. Dan, Jackson and I took the bus to Uptown to do some errands, in light of the warm weather (30+ degrees F). While Dan went off to get his hair cut, Jackson and I stopped at a bagel shop for a treat and some chocolate milk. Then we all went to the grocery store where Jackson pushed the small cart around and did all the shopping for us. Here's what he bought:
I told him we needed a lemon, he pushed the cart over and picked out a lemon. I said next we need three potatoes, so we went over together and counted out three potatoes. He needed a little help reaching some of the items, like the fresh thyme that was way up high, but he was definitely in charge of the shopping trip. Right down to putting the items on the belt for the cashier and saying "thank you" when we left.

We bought all of these things (plus tofu and locally made wheat dinner rolls) so I could attempt to re-create the meal that was featured on the Martha Show last week, in a vegetarian version. (I used this recipe and this one for ideas.) The flavors were good, but I still have to work on my tofu tactics. Here's what I did:

Lemon-Roasted Tofu with Asparagus and Potatoes

1 lemon, cut into fours
4 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
1 lb of asparagus, washed and broken into thirds, ends discarded
3 yukon gold potatoes, washed and cubed (peels on)
1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken, as I learned after the fact...)
salt and pepper
fresh thyme

Squeeze two of the lemon wedges over the asparagus and potatoes in a large bowl with a lid. Add olive oil, half of the garlic, a bunch of thyme sprigs and some salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, leaving room in the middle.

After pressing the tofu to remove most of the water (slice tofu block into 3 thinner slices, place between two towels and layer with a heavy weight like a cookie sheet with a cookbook on top for 20-30 minutes), cut into desired size and place in same bowl as asparagus and potatoes. Squeeze remaining two lemons over tofu plus olive oil and remaining garlic. Add some more salt and pepper. Toss gently, so as not to break tofu pieces. Spread on baking sheet with vegetables, add lemon pieces to the baking sheet too.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, take out to turn and flip pieces, and bake for another 25 minutes or so. Serve with lemon-parmesan brown rice, fresh arugula salad with a homemade white-wine vinaigrette and crusty rolls dipped in olive oil.
Like I said, it was good, but it needs some help. The asparagus was probably just a silly thing to buy since it's not asparagus season yet and lacked that truly delicious asparagus flavor (though it was cheap, at $2.99/lb), and the tofu texture was weird. I read online (after the fact) that silken tofu is probably not the best variety for baking, so I'll be sure to try again with another type of tofu. All in all, a good meal that was fun to make.

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