Meeting Deborah Madison & An Easy Tofu Curry

Stacie, Ria and I recently attended a potluck hosted by 18 Reasons* at Omnivore BooksDeborah Madison of Greens Restaurant fame was there and everyone was supposed to bring a dish from one of her many amazing cookbooks.  We ended up with a beautiful spread of food that would convince almost anyone to eat more vegetables (except Ria!) Deborah has a lovely personality, and was an engaging and gracious “celebrity.”  She is very passionate about eating locally, seasonally and mostly vegetarian (she isn’t vegetarian even though her cookbooks mostly are).  Inspiring stuff!

Stacie made an amazing Chard and Saffron Tart (I admire anyone who can make pie dough) which is shown as part of the mouth-watering buffet below.  I made a Tofu in Coconut Curry Sauce – so much for stepping outside my comfort zone.  The recipe is below – who says curry has to be intimidating and a time consuming dish to make?  Unfortunately, Ria ate only the tofu curry because that was the dish most familiar to her.  It was a wonderful gathering and we love any event that allows children and dogs.  Ria had more fun than I thought she would and as we were leaving she wanted me to arrange a playdate with the owner of Omnivore’s Book’s puppy!  OK, Boss, I’ll get on that!

*18 Reasons is a wonderful non-profit engaging the community through food and art and is part of the Bi-Rite family of businesses. They offer a year-round calendar of unique wine tastings, art shows, community dinners, food classes, interactive workshops, and more in their intimate community space.  We plan on attending several more of their events.  Do check them out and consider getting a membership as they are planning more kid friendly and family themed events like a baby food swap on August 13th.

Tofu in Coconut Curry Sauce by Deborah Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 small green or red pepper, thinly sliced (I used red and yellow and cut into cubes)

2 serrano chillies, minced

1 to 2 teaspoons Thai curry paste or curry powder (used curry powder)

1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 lb package firm tofu, cut into cubes and fried till golden

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (omitted here)

3 tbsps roasted chopped peanuts (omitted here)

Method

Heat a wok, add the oil, and when it’s hot, add the onion, pepper and chillies and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Stir in the curry paste/curry powder, then add the coconut milk, water, 1/2 tsp salt and the tofu.  Simmer for 2 minutes or more or until the tofu is heated through.  Serve over rice or noodles garnished with cilantro and peanuts.

Coconut Rice

Shopping List: Thai Jasmine rice, unsweetened coconut milk, shallots, oil for frying the shallots

Coconut rice would be super tasty with Simran’s “Seafood Curry in a Hurry” and it couldn’t be simpler to make. Here’s the key: many recipes have you add the coconut milk as you begin cooking your rice, but trust me on this one….. stir it in during the last few minutes of cooking instead.

This method comes direct from She Simmers, one of my favorite food blogs. In her post “Coconut Rice with Chives: How To Make Fluffy Coconut Rice“, she advises adding the coconut milk (unsweetened, and not the “light” variety) 5 minutes before the rice is done. The ratio is 2 cups uncooked rice, 2 3/4 cups water, and 1 cup coconut milk. I use my trusty “chime-o-matic” rice cooker, but this technique would work for the stovetop as well. Her post is chock full of other interesting insights about coconut rice, so if you have a minute, check it out.

If your child is crazy about rice like mine, this is worth a try for a little change of pace. I think it’s especially yummy with a  sprinkle of crispy fried shallots.