Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I know where my cabbage came from, what about you?

I am a huge advocate of the Portland Winter Farmer's Market. If you have access to local produce- USE IT! I took a little trip over last Saturday and, although it's mostly root veggies (and unfortunately a whole lotta animal products), I was still able to snag a few goodies. I ended up coming home with a delicious package of Lilibela Farm's black bean tempeh (which I used on Sunday in my Tropic of Tempeh dish), Hollis Honey, a GORGEOUS head of purple cabbage, butternut squash, 2 yellow carrots, & 2 purple carrots. The timing of the market is perfect because I create our weekly menus on Sundays, so of course I was able to incorporate almost everything I got into our menus so NOTHING goes to waste!

Last night my boyfriend and I made Korean Cabbage Salad with Tofu, a recipe from Vegan on the Cheap (yes, you're picking up on a theme, and yes, you should purchase Vegan on the Cheap!). We used the gorgeously vibrant purple cabbage which had an beautiful maze like pattern when cut in half and I marvelled over how something from nature can look so beautiful- like a piece of modern art. We also used the 2 yellow carrots and after shredding both the cabbage and carrots into a large bowl, the colors were just incredible, I had to stand back and admire it! I've actually learned to take the time to admire the beauty of food, which makes you really appreciate what you're consuming and the effort it took to not only prepare it, but for the farmers to grow it.

Needless to say, the meal was a winner and we will definitely be making it again. I hope you'll try this one out! It's crisp and tangy and very refreshing. Try it and let me know what you think!

Korean Cabbage Salad with Tofu from Vegan on the Cheap, with my modifications included
Makes 4 serves (or more depending on how you're using it)

1 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained & patted dry
1/2 cup soy sauce (I'd use a little less in the sauce next time)
5 cups shredded cabbage (she doesn't specify type- but purple looked beautiful and tasted great so I'd recommend using that. We just used the whole head and didn't measure)
2 medium carrots, shredded (We used 2 yellow carrots and one orange)
3 green onions, minced (I still can't find these at WF so I used 1/4 of a yellow onion, diced)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 1 and it was potent enough!)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp Asian chili paste
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375 & lightly oil a baking sheet. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch slabs and press to remove excess water (this is really important b/c it will crumble and just fall apart if you don't). Cut the slabs into 1/2 inch cubes and toss with 1/4 of the soy sauce. Arrange the tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 mins. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, and onions. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, sugar, chili paste, remaining soy sauce (I'd use a little less than a 1/4 cup), vinegar, oil, and water.

Pour dressing over the cabbage mix and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Let the salad sit for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve topped with tofu.

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