Friday, October 28, 2011

Curried Tofu with Wilted Arugula - And A Cookbook Review - And Gravy

On my wall-covering cookbook shelf, there are tons of vegan, vegetarian and other cookbooks. I sort of collect them. It's an obsession. There are many decent books, some duds and a few great ones which I return to over and over. Appetite for Reduction is one of the latter.

I admit that I'm a late-comer to the AFR fan club. I avoided it, unreasonably, for a long time. People have pushed "low fat" cookbooks and recipes and products on me since I was, oh, about twelve. (And maybe with good reason.)
However, the problem with most of these was that they didn't taste good, they weren't easy to make and/or they were filled with a ton of weird substitutions trying to guilt you into thinking a half-teaspoon serving of watercress was the perfect and responsible replacement for a vat of cream sauce. Those books did not reside long on my shelves.
Appetite for Reduction is none of the above. Written by vegan genius Isa Chandra Moskowitz, you KNOW the recipes are going to be tasty and creative and the writing hilarious. Also good, each serving is under 400 calories, and these "servings" are hearty, filling and satisfying. I don't even think of them as "reduced calorie" recipes, EVER! (Remember, I write a "comfort food" blog!!)
     As a bonus, instructions are clear and recipes go together quickly, with no complicated substitutions or obscure ingredients. I mean seriously; Sweet Potato Biscuits? Onion Rings? Masala Tofu? Pad Thai? Butternut-Coconut Rice?
Is your mouth watering yet? I have so many dog-eared pages in this book, from recipes I love (or still want to try) that it looks like I've had the book much longer than six months.

Isa, Terry Hope Romero
 and Gail Davis hamming it
up vegan style at the
VVC Galarama! YES!
While I'm not part of the whole Post Punk Kitchen club, I'm still a longtime fan of Isa's cooking.
In fact, I actually bumped into her this past summer at VidaVeganCon (yes, literally, in my star-strucked-ness, I tripped into her in the breakfast line and caused her to spill her coffee, yet she was gracious enough not to call me unpleasant names).
I also had the opportunity to attend a class she taught and enjoyed every moment. She's as hilarious in person (more so!) as in her books!
That said, I'd enjoy this book whether I was a bumbling fan or not.
Even if you don't need "reduced"-anything recipes, this is probably well-worth the purchase price for most any vegan or wanna-be.

So, the other morning I was thinking about all this as I threw together one of my go-to favorites; and I realized I'd never really "reviewed" this book on my blog and I wanted to share this recipe. (WITH permission, no worries) just to show how awesome, and easy-to-use this cookbook actually is.
Seriously, who doesn't love a delicious recipe with only NINE ingredients!

Of course, being the meddler that I am (apologies to Isa), I mixed some leftover rice with it.
And added peas.
And topped it with gravy. |
Yes, this recipe is good with GRAVY!
But do what you want, it's also exceptionally tasty as written...

“Curried Tofu with Wilted Arugula from Appetite for Reduction” 

(used with permission from author Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

  • 1 tsp. olive oil 
  • 1 medium red onion, diced finely 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu 
  • 2 to 3 tsp. curry powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 3/4 tsp. salt 
  • a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 cups baby arugula (or spinach works too, but I LOVE the flavor of the arugula) 

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion in oil for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic saute for 30 seconds. 
Crumble the tofu into bite-size pieces and add to the pan. 
Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu has browned on some of the sides. 
 Add the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a few splashed of water if it’s too dry. 
Mix in the arugula. (I added frozen baby peas here too). 
Cover cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the arugula is wilted. Taste for spices and add another teaspoon of curry powder if needed, it will depend on the strength of your curry powder. 
(I added some cayenne and mixed in a cup of cooked brown rice because I had it leftover and can't leave well-enough alone)