Kitchen Adventures: Tahini Orange Squash and Tofu

Tahini and I have a thing going.  Once I open a jar, all I can think about is how I can mix it into whatever dish I’m preparing.  Eggs, pasta, spinach – you name it, I’ve tried to incorporate tahini into it.  I even have more than one muffin recipe that calls for it (weekend project!).

Cooking in progress!

Last night, I took that obsession to a new level when I ripped this 101 Cookbooks recipe for Miso Sesame Winter Squash apart so I could incorporate my favorite ingredient of the moment and keep from spending more than an hour in the kitchen.  The result was delicious (but I bet the original would be too, if I had any desire to buy molasses and if Boston was able to get more than four kinds of squash in February).

Tahini Orange Squash and Tofu

  • 2 pounds butternut squash (about 1 – I bought two halves already peeled and sliced at the grocery store!) halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil – used it all in the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • juice from one orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • juice from half a lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons water

Tofu and sauce

  1. Cut the tofu into large slices (4 pieces or so total) and press between cutting boards lined with paper towels (I usually throw a heavy pot on top for some pressure).  Let sit while you continue prepping.
  2. Slice the squash into small pieces and set it to steam above a pot of water – mine took about 20-30 minutes (our timer is broken, sorry!) until you can easily cut it with a fork.
  3. While that’s cooking, whisk together the sauce in a medium sized bowl.  Cut up the tofu into smaller chunks and add to the bowl as well, letting marinade for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Saute an onion in a large frying pan/wok with a little sesame oil.  (This was not part of the original recipe, but it worked really well to soak up the sauce, so I’m sticking with it!)
  5. When the onion is a bit translucent, add the tofu to the pan and cook on high, letting the sauce start to boil down. *If you want to put some quick rice, couscous, or quinoa on to cook, this is the time to do it!*
  6. After about 5 minutes, add the squash to the pan as well and cook together for another 5 minutes or so.  The tofu won’t have a crust or anything like that, but when it’s warm and you can’t stand the amazing smells anymore, it’s ready to eat!
Phew!  By the time I took this recipe and turned the entire thing on its head (sauce concept, type of squash, cooking technique), it was an hour later, but it was still super delicious and totally worth it.  The orange really came through in a surprising and tasty way.  This made enough that I had two servings last night, put two away for lunch, and packed another one away in the freezer for some later date.
What’s your latest cooking adventure, real or hoped for?

Dinner is served!

Super-full Sunday

In honor of Superbowl Sunday, I want to share my favorite Superbowl ad ever.  It makes my heart jump every time I watch it.

And that’s probably my whole involvement with the Superbowl today – I’m going to gallivant around town and make dinner for friends and watch some TV where women get to play, too!

ETA: I spent my Sunday hanging out with my dear friend, getting my life in order, and going to a 90 minute yoga class.  Win!

A life of passion

Just a little Friday reminder that it’s ok to be passionate about life and the crazy things in it – being able to get a little wrapped up and emotional now and then is a pretty incredible thing about being human.

Kristen Bell, for example, is nutso about sloths.  Like, really, really, really passionate about them – and as we’re all laughing about this awesome interview, I think we should give ourselves a little license to let go and show the world what we really care about, even if we’re so excited, it makes us curl up into a fetal position.

Things I love right now

January went by in a blink (as did winter as a whole) but I don’t mind – life is good in Beantown!  Here’s what’s making me happy these days:

  1. Fun new ways to be active – from adventures at a trampoline park last week to morning yoga today and plans to work with the AMC and my friend Annie to tap 200 maple trees this weekend, I am loving all the great ways to have fun and get moving.  I’m always looking for more – let me know if you have ideas!
  2. The fact that I don’t have to watch the Superbowl to see the commercials this yearbecause they’re all already online!
  3. Getting angry about things that count – this might sound counter intuitive, but being pissed off about stuff that matters makes me feel alive.  From girl scout cookie scandals (more on that later) to fighting back against Komen’s backhanded slap to Planned Parenthood to standing up to MHC’s weird Facebook post that questioned if women could excel in math (yes, really), being vocal for issues I care about makes my days worthwhile.
  4. Awesome tech ideas, like Doodle’s new “Unplugged” feature.
  5. Great conversations with smart people – at the MWPC, the New Leaders’ Council, in my office, and over the internet (hi Matt and Anju!).
  6. New books.  Next up – Maine and Half the Sky.  You know where I’ll be this weekend when not out in the woods with my sap-covered drill…

Not on the life is good list: Taxes.  Not. happy. about. that.

What’s making your day/week/month/2012 happy?