It took me awhile to get use to the layout of the cookbook and at first I was less than impressed - even though I made this fantastic Spicy Coconut Sweet Potato Soup out of it. It is a seasonal cookbook, divided into spring, summer, winter and fall. The recipes are paired, giving you a tasty meal with two easy to prepare dishes. Each paired recipe gives you a shopping list, pantry list, and plan of attack so you can complete the meal in as little time as possible.
This was the part that turned me off.
I felt that the shopping list and procedure for preparing the meal outside of the recipe was overkill and to be frank a waste of paper. However, the recipes, with full on Berley style, are fantastic, easy, and full of pizzazz and creativity. It is the recipes, the most important part of any cookbook, that compelled me to change my mind, get over the parts of the layout I didn’t like, and pick up a copy for myself.
This tofu dish was much more than a simple stir fry. The tofu, noodles, and bok choy are all cooked up separately, giving you a noodle bowl-type meal instead of just a stir fry and since the greens are quickly cooked in the same pot as the noodles, the dishes are kept to a minimum.
The glazed tofu was delicious with just a hint of sweetness from the honey (EPC swore it was maple syrup), but the piece de resistance was the accompaniment to this spring meal whose recipe Berley included. The pea shoot salad was served atop the other ingredients to lend a tender fresh taste.
Pea shoots were a first for EPC and I and we both loved them. They taste exactly the same as snap peas, but are much more tender and, being pea shoots, they are much “cuter” as well. Peter Berley included sunflower sprouts in his salad, but I choose to leave them out and go for some straight pea shoot goodness.
I should also mention that I the pea shoots were a much appreciated spring-like presence in my last Organic Box.
Marinated Sesame Tofu Steaks, Soba Noodles, and Greens
1 pound of firm tofu, cut into 12 slices
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon of crushed red chile flakes
2 tablespoons oil
enough noodles for 4 people
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed and trimmed – pre-washed spinach works too and makes it extra fast!
2 cups of pea shoots
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
- Bring water to boil in a large pot
- Blot the sliced tofu on paper towel to remove excess water
- Mix 6 tablespoons soy sauce with the vinegar, honey and red chiles in a small bowl and whisk to combine
- Heat a large skillet (I use my 12-inch cast iron) and add the oil. Let it warm up and then add the tofu slices in one layer. Fry the tofu for 5 minutes until the bottom is browned
- Flip the tofu and top with the soy sauce mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened – about 5 minutes
- When the water boils add the soba noodles and cook according to the package directions.
- When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse. Transfer to a large bowl and add the tablespoon of soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds and toss to coat.
- In the same pot, with enough water to cover the bottom, add the bok choy and steam for about 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix the lemon juice and oil with a dash of salt. Add the pea shoots and toss to mix.
- Serve the noodles topped with greens and tofu with a sizeable garnish of pea shoots.