Showing posts with label asparagus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asparagus. Show all posts

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tofu in a Lemon, Butter, Capers Sauce. Not Your Typical Scampi

When I was younger my family would bounce back-and-forth between the beach and our home up north. It's one of the perks to growing up in New Jersey—the mountains, the farms, the beach, the ski slopes, and NYC are no more than a short drive or train ride away, creating unlimited day trips and culinary experiences.

Before I write the next part, I want to say that raising a vegetarian son is easy. At three-and-a-half he understands why he doesn't eat animals and, to be honest, he wouldn't have it any other way. But there are moments (some very strong moments) usually triggered by a whiff of a classic, beach-related flavor combination that I get the urge to give him a cherrystone clam drenched in butter, garlic, and parsley or a perfectly steamed oyster with just a little vinegar and horseradish or a delicately fried jumbo shrimp tossed in butter and Old Bay, all sensory reminders of good times spent down the shore. And, whether it be my parent's cozy little bungalow with all the windows open and the grill roaring; the Crab's Claw, situated right between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barnegat Bay (a wonderful smelling, salty crosswind included at no charge); or sitting with my grandmother at the "old person's bar" on Seaside Heights Boardwalk eating fried clams and cocktail sauce; the smell of beer + saltwater + seafood will be forever embedded into my innermost psyche, triggering memories of a youth well-spent surfing, fishing, crabbing, and cooking.

I saw an image of a shrimp scampi dish in a friend's FB feed so I decided to try to recreate it substituting lightly roasted tofu for shrimp. I drenched it in butter, olive oil, onions, capers, lemon, garlic, and a little white wine. I served it with a nice loaf of crusty bread and well seasoned blanched asparagus covered in micro-planed Parmesan cheese. We ate this outside and drank a slightly chilled rosé (not my son)—the perfect combination for the saltiness of this caper-heavy dish. 

I'm happy to say that it took care of the craving, the boy (and the girl) loved it, and the best part (as far they're both concerned) nothing had to perish in the process. Feel free to email me for the recipe. Till next time…

Tofu Scampi, capers, lemon, butter, white wine
 blanched asparagus with parmesan cheese



Monday, May 16, 2016

Sometimes It's All About Family (And Farmer's Markets)

This weekend not only brought beautiful sunshine to the Heights of Jersey City but also the season's first farmer's market. Every year the market brings together our ever-increasing population of families, artists, hipsters, local vendors, and farmers to a park that shows off quite possibly the best view of NYC.
And let us not forget the beautiful ingredients that the farmers bring. Although the selection this early in the year is limited, there is still great eating to be had. Beets, asparagus, green beans, and some early hothouse tomatoes were the primary selection, and I opted for all of the above. I figured I would make some homemade veggie burgers with the beats and some fresh black beans that earlier that morning had come off of the stove. While prepping the beets I accidentally came across a new snack from a part of the beet I usually reserve for stock or compost--the stems. After removing the leaves for sautéing, my 3.5-year-old picked up one of the chewy/fibrous stems, bit into it and said: "Daddy, these stems taste good!" Taking it from his hand, I tried it as well, and he was absolutely correct--they were juicy and sweet, and with an olive oil drizzle, a little salt and pepper, and a quick sweet chili aioli (Vegenaise, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and insert hot sauce) we had our appetizer.
It was then on to a bowl of fresh asparagus with Israeli garlic couscous. I blanched the asparagus in salted water and gave them a quick saute in olive oil and red wine vinegar.  After the saute, I tossed them in the couscous with some fresh chives from my garden and the second course was complete.
It was then onto the homemade veggie burgers. I don't want to give too much away, but the way I cook them, they come out perfectly "medium rare."
I'm really looking forward to documenting what I make out of this year's spring/summer's veggie selection and sharing the images, processes, and recipes with all of you.
It should be noted that towards the end of August I will not only be a shopper at the Riverview farmer's market, but I will also be doing a vegetarian cooking demonstration. See you then, if not before.