Grilled Sesame-Ginger Tofu over Vegetable Orzo

Guess I’m practicing for being in China, where my diet will consist of what I believe will be dumplings and porridge for breakfast and vegetable stir-fries with tofu and/or meat for lunch and dinner for 3 1/2 weeks. Actually… I sort of doubt that orzo will make an appearance. What can I say? We were out of rice…

Conclusion? Orzo or rice, I think I’ll be fine with the food.

Grilled Sesame-Ginger Tofu over Vegetable Orzo

Adapted from The Vegan Grill and my own concoction

Tofu: Serves 4

1 package of firm tofu (1 block)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (what I had on hand… originally called for rice vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 pressed cloves of garlic or 1 tablespoon pre-chopped garlic

Drain tofu and rinse with water. Fold up paper towels in quarters, making two soaking-up apparati and place on a cutting board. Put tofu on one, place other on top, and then put something heavy on top of that to press the remaining liquid out of the tofu. You may have to replace the paper towels after a time. I think I allowed them to press for a few hours.

Mix marinade ingredients.

Once pressed, slice tofu in half to get two equal slices about 1/2 an inch thick and then cut how you like–I made triangles.

Coat each piece in marinade and put into an airtight container to sit for 30 minutes or more.

Heat up a grill pan with some olive oil; have a large oil-spatter mesh cover at the ready. Place each marinade-soaked piece on grill and grill about 3 minutes per side.


1 box orzo
1 head broccoli
3 carrots
Onion, chopped roughly
Olive oil

Cook orzo according to package directions.

Chop up broccoli and carrots into small pieces. Heat up oil in a large nonstick pan and add onion, cook about 4 minutes until translucent. Add other veggies, stir and cover, cook until they are fork-soft and tender. (5-10 minutes). Toss with orzo.

To serve, place a bed of orzo on a plate, and topped with two tofu steaks.

This was so yummy! The grilled tofu wasn’t tough like I’ve had in the past (at school)–maybe because I used firm, not extra-firm tofu. It was very soft and easy to cut, which I liked. The broccoli and carrots were great counterpoints to the savory tofu, and the orzo base was delicious as well. All this needed was a dressing or sauce of some sort. Any ideas? I didn’t want to drown out the flavor of the tofu, but I also didn’t want to amp up the salt consumption by adding more soy sauce to the orzo. Maybe a peanut sauce?

Anyway, this made a delicious lunch! Totally going to be grilling more tofu in the future.


Coleslaw (REMIX)

So I had some leftover raw cabbage from a recipe that is coming up soon… and decided to make a Coleslaw Remix, feat. Pineapple, Sesame Seeds, Raisins, and Greek Yogurt! Mashups are always fun, even if the original was good.

I kind of eyeballed this. So as far as measurements, nothing was exact. And it’s not particularly attractive, but it sure was tasty.

Coleslaw (REMIX)

Adapted from a Moosewood cookbook whose cover was torn off so I really don’t know.

~1 1/2 cups raw green cabbage, sliced into square chunks or shredded
~3/4 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
~1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or whatever flavor you would like)
~1 tablespoon agave nectar
~1/2 cup fresh pineapple, cut in small chunks
~2 tablespoons raisins
~1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Combine. Eat.

Yum! Sweet and tart, super creamy–yogurt sauces are the bomb–and the toasted sesame seeds just add so much depth.  This would go beautifully with a more savory main course, like burgers (meat, veggie, whatever you fancy) or hot dogs. We actually had this with tuna melts. Hint: foreshadowing.

Red Quinoa Sliders with Lemon Zest Greek Yogurt Sauce

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while (by which I mean about 2 days) and decided they were just too cute not to make.

Quinoa, carrots, chickpeas, sesame seeds, spices, egg to hold it together, with a creamy, cool dipping sauce.

Paired with a little glass of wine (I am a twenty-something undergrad… no worries… cough) and arranged on cucumber slices, this was as fun to assemble as it was to eat.

Quinoa Sliders with Lemon Zest Greek Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen (please go check it out… the photos are gorgeous)

1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup chopped carrot
1 small shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon dried parsley (3 tablespoons fresh)
15 ounces (1 can) chickpeas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/4 a lemon)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (Convection oven @ 375 F, bake sesame seeds in a single layer for 2 minutes, shaking and rotating pan midway)
2 cloves garlic
dash salt
sprinkle pepper

olive oil for pan

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 peanut butter (use tahini if you have it… I used crunchy natural peanut butter and enjoyed the texture)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Fresh Chives to taste (if you have. I didn’t, so I sprinkled more parsley on top)
dash salt
sprinkle pepper

1 English Cucumber, sliced into long sticks for presentation (and dipping!)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low, cook about 12 minutes to allow water to be absorbed. Note: I usually add the quinoa to the cold water and bring it up to a boil together… if not sure, just follow the directions on the package. Also, turn off the heat even if it looks like the quinoa could adsorb a little more–the water will be adsorbed just from sitting there. Let cool.

Stir together yogurt, peanut butter, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste (and the chives; reserve a few chives for sprinkling later). Cover and chill.

Pulse carrots and parsley (dried or fresh) in a food processor. Add shallot, chickpeas, toasted sesame seeds, lemon juice, eggs, garlic cloves, coriander, and cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Add quinoa, pulse a few more times. Taste-test, if you aren’t all that concerned about raw egg. (I’m not.) Let set in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.

Form two-tablespoon’s worth of quinoa mixture into small, thick patties.

Over medium heat, drizzle a bit of oil in a nonstick pan to cover the surface. Sear the patties about 3 minutes on each side, flattening them out with the back of a spatula in the pan or until golden brown on each side. For each batch, use some new oil. Also, turn on your fan and crack the window as your fire alarm may go off because if you’re like me, something’s burning at some point or another.

Serve warm, on top of the cucumbers, with the yogurt sauce.

Sprouted Kitchen suggests putting them into mini pitas for a vegetarian appy.


These were good. The ones I took outside to photograph got pretty cold, pretty fast, which is how we learned they taste better warm.

They were really yummy, though. A nice browned crust formed on each side, and the burgers themselves held together pretty well (something I have had trouble with in the past). If I had not been too lazy to go get fresh herbs, they would have been quite amazing. The yogurt sauce was especially good. Thick, from the Greek-ness; uber creamy from the Greek-ness and from the peanut butter running through; yet light-tasting from the lemon zest. My dad later heated the sliders in the microwave for about a minute and declared them delicious. I need to eat more quinoa and home-made food in general; these definitely hit the spot.

Salmon with Sesame and Orange-Ginger Relish

After being home for practically 3 weeks, I realized I had not made a salmon dish!

Quelle horreur. Salmon is one of my favorite foods.

Usually we just broil it with some garlic and lemon juice. But this time I was feeling especially motivated.

It was kind of time consuming, but hey, I’m on summer vacation. I have nothing but time… until June 4th. Then I’ll be swamped. So, making the most of it.

I needed dry white wine. Unfortunately I used up the last bit in the Shrimp Scampi. So, I went on a little wine adventure with my mom to the Franklin Wine Shop and purchased a French wine, from the Alsace region. A Pinot Blanc. I don’t know wine very well but it worked in this recipe, even if I almost spat it out upon tasting it straight up. The wine connoisseur in the Wine Shop was super knowledgeable and really nice, and helped us out a lot in choosing a good wine for this recipe! So, totally go there for all your wine needs.

Also, in reality I did have 4 filets, but only 3 of them fit comfortably on the platter for photographing purposes.

Salmon with Sesame and Orange-Ginger Relish

Adapted from this recipe

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 1/2 tablespoons lite soy sauce

4 small salmon filets (I used thawed Wild Alaskan Salmon from Costco) or one 2.5 lb salmon filet

3 large navel oranges

1/2 cup matchstick-size strips red pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper


1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Whisk the dry white wine, soy sauce and orange juice in a bowl and then transfer to a shallow pan large enough to hold the salmon filet(s). Rinse the thawed or fresh salmon filets and place, skin side up, into marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and chill from 2-4 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.

Before cutting the oranges, zest the 2 tablespoons of zest into a medium bowl. Then, using paring knife, peel and segment the orange, catching any juice and all the sections in a small bowl.

Mix red pepper and the next 7 ingredients in that medium bowl with the zest and combine, and then fold in the orange segments plus any juice that accumulated. (Can prepare 1 hr ahead, let stand at room temp.)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray generously with pam. Place salmon skin side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper. Bake 10-20 minutes (my small filets took 10 and were perfect). After they are cooked, transfer to a serving platter and spoon the orange relish over the center of the fish. To toast sesame seeds, I spread some out in a tray in the convection oven at 375°F for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

This was so good. I was afraid I overcooked the salmon because the smoke detector went off (twice) and the edges were really brown. But Costco salmon has never failed me yet and it was cooked perfectly! The orange relish was really bright and colorful, as well as delicious. A perfect summertime dinner.