Friday, April 22, 2011

dill and time

I guess other people actually do stuff on their Spring Break, but I have sort of been delighted to run minimal errands (grocery store, visit my grandma, etc.) and spend the rest of my spare time reading food blogs and cooking.

On one particular day I had a lot of dill and I had a lot of thyme time. It resulted in quality meals.

It’s delightful when you can go directly from one activity to another- like when I read this recipe for dilly cucumber salad and thought with delight about the fresh dill and wonderful Persian cucumbers I had from the farmer’s market.

A beautiful tableau on the cutting board…


And it whipped into a beautiful salad right quick. Though admittedly, using teeny Persian cucumbers instead of a big fat English one made peeling ever so slightly more hairy, I LOVE the presentation of cucumber in pretty ribbons instead of chopped!


Loved the dressing- the hint of sweetness of the honey really pulled it together!


Also in the veggie column, a sweet potato.


No, the center of it did not become molten like one of those oozey chocolate cakes (though wouldn’t that be *awesome*?!)

Rather, I slathered on a new and exciting Trader Joe’s purchase.


Thoughts? VERY VERY VERY sweet. Not as high up in my esteem as their, in my opinion, far superior cranberry-apple and pumpkin butters; tragically only available in autumn. Being “autumnal”. Whatever. I like ‘em all year.

Rounding out meal, providing protein, the last of my free Chobani samples; in the black cherry flavor.



Thick fluffy filling yogurt.



Excessively sweet, slimy, not-at-all natural tasting “cherry” goop at the bottom.

As usual, dumped most of it (some of the cherry flavor migrates upward into the yogurt. Osmosis?)

For dinner I knew I would actually have a chance to make food *pretty*. I hate being in a rush on weeknights and throwing something onto a plate that has all the appeal of a bowl of mud. And that’s if I bother throwing onto a plate instead of just serving it out of a pan. It is so lovely to have the luxury of time; sitting down, enjoying a meal; tasting with your eyes before tasting with your mouth.

Menu-wise, I kept the as-inspired-by-food-blogs momentum with some baked tofu, inspired by a tofu tutorial. Resulted in this gorgeousness!


So I’d been going about it all wrong with marinating. Basically, you have to press it… for a long time (Note: I don’t use paper towels for this. I hate using paper towels. Just use a regular kitchen towel-clean of course- wrap the tofu in it, put something heavy on top- I use cookbooks, which I have scads of- and put it on an inclined cutting board. Gets nice ‘n firm ‘n dry).

Then marinate in something MEGA FLAVORFUL. Marinades should taste weird! You don’t eat them straight up! You use them to infuse flavor into bland things!

So I took the leftover cucumber dressing from the salad… then added these things:


Tossed all together, drizzled over the top of the pieces on a baking sheet, baked HOT (425), and it was totally awesome. Chewy and crispy in places and… good.


I was bequeathed some radishes from Steve, who was going home for Spring Break. Such a pretty veggie! ‘Specially cooked the way I did it :D


Inspired by some recipes I found while scouting around, I decided to cook the radishes, just for kicks. I heated up a mix of oil and butter and used it to saute some sweet onion. Then I added the radishes, thinly sliced, and let them saute til they started gettin’ golden. At which point I let them finish off with salt and pepper, some fresh squeezed orange juice, and fresh dill.

So pretty!


And finally, from the farmer’s market I had some adorably gargoyle-esque end-of-the-season brussels sprouts.


Soooooooooo as usual made them in the manner of Snack Bar in Austin… sauteed in olive oil (cut in half, start facedown til golden), then deglazed with honey, dijon mustard, and more dill.

Can’t go wrong.


For healthy grains for a well rounded plate, whole wheat couscous. If you are one of those people who doesn’t care for bran-y whole grains, do yourself a favor and buy some whole wheat couscous. You cannot tell the difference!

I tossed it with some fresh orange rind, just for kicks (and cause I had a squeezed orange half from the radishes. Waste not want not!)


A stunner of a meal! And highly, highly, springtimey and delicous.



Michal said...

that one delicious looking spread :) I LOVE the tips for marinating the tofu... no matter how hard I try my tofu never turns out like i plan it. Maybe i just need to make my marinade stronger!

Jess said...

MANGO butter? I MUST try that!!