Oh, my! It’s mid-June and 2015 is almost half way over. Wow. Do you know where the time goes? I do, of course, but I still wish I had squeezed more out of the minutes and hours and days.
I’ve been busy and away from the blog, with field trips and visits during weekends. My creative efforts seem to be in different places these days, mainly they’re occupied with music. Songs seep out of me and into the living room. It’s nice, because I took such a long break from song-writing. A really, really long break. I even wondered whether I had lost the ability to write music and lyrics. But one day, last year, it just happened. Boom, I wrote a song! I needed to, or I felt that I would burst. After a little while, there came another song and it brought friends. And now, on some days, I’ll be walking or just dreaming away on the subway and suddenly, there’ll be a concept or a certain wording in my head, which fits just so perfectly and then my feet will pick up pace and rush homeward, because I can’t wait to get home to sing it out loud and to really hear it for the first time. I wrote a song called “Kisses in the Kitchen”, and it was inspired by a drawing about “everyday love” that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. It feels really good to release some of this energy back into the world. Happy.
And of course, I have been eating. Plenty of delicious things, fresh produce and amazing dishes bursting with the taste of summer. Lots of salads and homemade ice-cream made from fruit so ripe it will stun you with its scent. I’ll save the ice-cream recipes for another post, and bring you salad this time. It’s one of my current favorites, and will fill you right up (thanks to the peanut butter). It’s really easy to make, but probably not the fastest salad you’ll ever have.
Up there, I met this sweetie pie, taking a short vacation from a near-by breeder. She was fearlessly strutting over the little wall built to keep tourists from tumbling down into the bushes, visibly enjoying the view and the attention we endowed her with.
Anyway, so on Sunday I didn’t feel much like cooking, but without making my guest feel unwelcome. This salad turned out to be the perfect solution. It didn’t take too much effort, it looked great and it was a hit with everyone’s palate. I usually make it without the vermicelli, but for the benefit of providing carbs to everyone, too, I opted to add sesame-roasted glass noodles that Sunday.
Asian-Inspired Salad with Crispy Tofu Squares and Peanut Butter Dressing
125g shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
150g firm plain tofu
1 tbsp vegetable oil
gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium carrots
50g mache salad (also known as lamb’s lettuce)
120g mung bean sprouts
For the Creamy Peanut Dressing
2 tbsp of peanut butter
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp of white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tsp fresh parsley
3 tbsp extra-virgin-olive oil
Boil a kettle of water. Place the vermicelli into a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain after about two minutes. Cut the vermicelli up a little bit with the help of a knife.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the vermicelli and fry for about ten minutes, adding the soy-sauce after about two. You may have to add a few teaspoons or water in order to keep the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the sesame seeds toward the end, distribute them evenly among the noodles by stirring and then turn off the heat below the pan. Set the sesame vermicelli aside.
Peel the carrots and shred them. Place the shredded carrots next to the shiitake mushrooms. Clean the mache salad, the mung bean sprouts and also place into the salad bowl. Add the sesame vermicelli in their own heap. Peel the cucumber and cut into small pieces.
Meanwhile, blend all the ingredients of the peanut dressing using a hand-held blender (if you don’t have this, just use a spoon).Cut the tofu into squares and proceed to fry in a well-heated pan until all sides of the squares are evenly crispy. Sprinkle the tofu over the salad while still warm. Add the peanuts, if you like.Add the dressing the minute you are serving the salad and distribute evenly among the different components. Yeah, it’s a bit sad to create such chaos with the ingredients now that you have taken all this time to assemble such a pretty salad, but it’s delicious mess, trust me!