Dec 30, 2016

chimichurri potatoes and tofu

As promised, I am taking the recipes from Prep Ahead Week 3 and posting them individually for the folks who would rather not make the entire menu.

If you are as busy as I am and life sometimes serves up plain beans and rice or a simple sandwich, when you'd rather be enjoying a delicious and unique meal, then I highly recommend you give the Prep Ahead menu a try.

The first recipe in the rotation on Week 3 is Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu.

Typical chimichurri sauce is made with tons of oil and loads of fresh herbs, but I wanted to come up with a recipe that used no oil, but still tasted great.

Instead of the oil, this sauce recipe uses yogurt and tahini. The yogurt offers the body and the tahini offers the richness that would usually be supplied with olive oil. You can still make the sauce using oil, if you'd rather, and Becky Striepe has a terrific recipe over at Glue and Glitter, so I'd head there for a more traditional version.

I used both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes when I made my dish, but you can use one or the other. Press the tofu overnight using a flour sack (just wrap the tofu tightly and set in the fridge) or press it for an hour using a machine.

I air-fried my potatoes and tofu, but you can broil them instead.

Since the tofu and potatoes need a vegetable, I went to my go-to, easy way of cooking up greens, kinpira. This is a very old and traditional way of quick braising vegetables in any flavored broth. I chose a spicy kinpira for this dish to help elevate the chimichurri even more. The veggies are ready in about 5 minutes with minimal fuss.

Serve these with warmed tortillas; use the tortillas as tacos or just use them to scoop up all the goodies.

Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu
Makes 4 servings

2 (14-ounce) packages firm tofu, rinsed and pressed 1 hour

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/2 cup packed parsley (1/2 bunch)
1/2 cup packed cilantro (1/2 bunch)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoon unsweetened plain vegan yogurt or olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 pounds potatoes, any kind

1 pound bok choy
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable broth

4 tortillas, warmed

1. Make sure to press the tofu first. Preheat the air-fryer at 450-degrees F. If not using air-fryer, preheat the broiler if needed.
2. For the sauce, combine the parsley, cilantro, garlic, water, vinegar, yogurt, tahini and chili flakes in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch wedges. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Cut the slices of tofu into 1-inch pieces. Toss 3/4 of the sauce with the potatoes and tofu. Add them to a baking sheet or air-fryer basket and cook until crisp and tender, about 15 to 25 minutes. 
4. For the kinpira: Chop the bok choy. Add it to a large pot. Add the minced garlic and chili flakes. Add 2 tablespoons broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender and the broth has reduced. 
5. Serve the potatoes, tofu, vegetables and warmed tortillas with the rest of the sauce.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Dec 29, 2016

prep ahead week 3

Last week I shared my idea of preparing a week of meals on one day and then finishing them on the day that you actually eat the meal. This has been working really well for my family of four and I find that even when I am really tired I can have dinner on the table within a half hour with minimal work.

Last week the menu consisted of 7 meals. This week I am reconsidering the 7 as too many meals for the average family. A day or two a week might be devoted to a special meal that you would like to put more time into or it could be a family favorite meal or leftovers or going out to eat.

This week's meal prep ahead consists of 5 meals. Since I cut two meals I am also alternating seitan and tofu instead of including them on each rotation.

Again, the meals are mostly whole foods, little or no oil (you decide) and are complete with grain, protein and green vegetable. They are also complete in the sense that there is a shopping list which includes the recommended accompaniments to the meals, such as bread or crackers.

In addition, I am also breaking out the recipes in the week ahead. Meaning that I will feature each of these recipes as their own separate recipe (apart from the Prep Ahead recipe) so you can make just a single recipe instead of the whole week, if you choose.

Meal 1 is Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu. Becky Striepe of Glue and Glitter posted a chimichurri recipe a few weeks ago and I have one in my book Vegan Bowls [AMAZON] and I love it! But chimichurri uses a lot of oil and I wanted to come up with a recipe that was equally good without all the oil.

Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu with Spicy Bok Choy Kinpira

Meal 2 is Pickled Vegetables Salad. This is my riff on Giardiniera but using homemade pickled cauliflower. It is also like a bean salad, but, again, using oil is optional. After pickling the cauliflower and assembling the bean salad, you can stash it until ready to eat. Then roast the cauliflower before adding it to the salad - it is a treat. [I cut the seitan from this dish, but it is in the pic.]

Pickled Vegetables and Beans on a bed of greens.
Meal 3 is Sriracha Artichoke Rolls. These are like the seafood rolls, but instead of mayo, the dressing is made of yogurt. If you like mayo better, sub it. The filling is chickpeas and artichokes. It is served on regular whole grain buns with a side of fresh green salad.

Sriracha Artichoke Rolls with chickpeas and a fresh green salad with homemade vinaigrette. 
Meal 4 is Char Siu Pizza. Mushrooms, bell pepper strips and cannellini beans are tossed with homemade char siu sauce. The pizza sauce itself isn't just regular tomato sauce, but instead has a wonderful kick. Certainly not your ordinary pizza night, but still easy and quick on the day of. This dough is homemade and uses all-purpose flour, but I am working on a whole grain version. In the meantime, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both have whole grain pizza dough available.

Char Sui Pizza with shiitake, beans, green peppers and steamed chard.  
Meal 5 is Curried Chickpea Soup with rice and spinach. Curried flavors infuse this warm and delicious soup. Rice offers a wonderful body and richness and it is warm and filling on a cold winter night. This is served with Seasoned Pita Wedges.

Curried Chickpea Soup with toasted rice, spinach and served with Seasoned Pita Wedges.
It takes about 2 hours to prepare these meals on a single day and they are ready in about 30 minutes on the day that you are serving them.

PDFs below are the Overview of the meals (basically what will happen throughout the week), Shopping List (all the ingredients are listed so check over it and cross out what you already have), Prep Day Instructions (follow in the order given for speed and efficiency), Prep Day Recipes (these are the recipes that are called for in the Instructions) and Day-of Recipes (cut these in half and staple them together in the order you plan to serve the meals).


Shopping List

Prep Day Instructions

Prep Day Recipes

Day-of Recipes