Appies for Dinner

I’m truly shocked that I actually cooked, got dinner on the table while still hot (in spite of the photos along the way and after), uploaded said photos, and wrote a post all in one evening! Although, this is actually an exercise in positive thinking because I haven’t finished anything yet…this is only my first paragraph. We’ll see how it goes. Come to think of it, you won’t know either way because if I don’t finish it, I can always edit. Mwaa ha ha ha (evil laugh). (Is it lame that I told you that was an evil laugh?)

I suppose I’m on a roll because this dinner required quite a bit of rushing around to get it all done at the same time (the perils of making different versions of the same dinner) so I guess I’m on an energy high at the moment. Which is why I’m ignoring my child enjoying my hobby right now rather than Harry Potter-ing myself into a post-reading stupor after which I can barely mutter good night to him before flopping sideways on the couch and reaching for the remote. It’s good to still be vertical.

So. Back to dinner. Evan’s been asking for ‘hot wings’ lately because of something he saw on Phineas and Ferb. He didn’t really know what ‘hot wings’ were, but he wanted to eat them nonetheless. Who am I to argue with that? It’s a new version of chicken for him (which totally counts as a new food if you’re in our picky-eater world). So we talked about it and I suggested that I make some ‘not-hot wings’, that were sweet, tangy and sticky! He was all for it…as long as they looked like little drumsticks. (I guess cartoon chicken wings only come in one shape).

Well wings are great for the omnivores in the family but our resident pescatarian would need something else for his protein. Tofu! I could certainly fry it until firm and crispy and then glaze with the same sauce as the wings. Brilliant. But what about veggies….well two desperate looking yams became oven-baked fries and a little of the wing/tofu glaze sauce mixed in with some (eggless)* mayo became the most amazing dip. Seriously. This post really should be all about the dip. Oh. My. God.

I probably should have put together a salad to add some green, but it was more than I could handle putting together when also trying to get photos. (Which sort of suck by the way….but I didn’t have time to take a gazillion pics, or stage the food with lovely napkins or rustic props. I’m also back to using my iPhone again because my brother had to go on a trip and needed his camera back. Once you fly business you can’t go back to coach…you just can’t. 😉  Well, it was fun! Guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and shell out for my own one of these days!).


Honey Ginger Marinade and Glaze

3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup honey
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
~1″ x 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

In a 2 cup measure, whisk soy sauce, honey and hoisin sauce together. Mince garlic and grate ginger into sauce and combine. I use a rasp to grate ginger and it makes it very fine, almost like a paste so it’s a bit hard to give you an exact measurement of the amount. But a piece of ginger about an inch long and 1/2 inch diameter should do it. Makes about 1 cup of marinade. Scale up as needed.

Honey Ginger Chicken Wings

6-10 chicken wings, separated at joints, wing tips discarded.

Preheat oven to 375°
Prepare the wings and place in a ziploc bag or bowl. Pour about 1/3 of the above marinade over them so they’re well coated. The longer they marinate the better, but even if it’s just 20 minutes, that’s fine. It’s the weekend, so I prepped the chicken in the morning and they marinated all day.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (tip: sprinkle water on the baking sheet before you lay the parchment so it doesn’t slide around)
Arrange chicken wing pieces on the parchment.
Bake for about 20-25 min per side, pausing to brush more marinade on as they bake.

Yam Fries
Slice yams into thin wedges with skin on.
Spread on parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush or spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 375° for about 40-50 min

Honey Ginger Mayo
2/3 cup mayonaise
2 tbsp honey ginger marinade
Serve as a dip for roasted veggies, oven fries etc.

Honey Ginger Tofu Sticks
1/2 block of tofu, sliced into sticks
1/3 cup honey ginger marinade

On med-high heat, brown tofu in a bit of oil, turning on each side. When fully browned, but still in the pan, pour the marinade over the tofu (it should sizzle) and then turn off the heat. Fully coat tofu and serve.

So how did it rate…? “Mommy this is the best chicken EVER!”
*Oh and a note about eggless mayonaise. We buy Vegenaise, manufactured by Earth Island. You can find out more here. It’s fabulous.

Soba Noodles with Tofu and Nut-Free “Peanut” Sauce

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while but for some reason just hadn’t gotten around to it, plus Bob needed convincing that making a peanut sauce with soy nut butter would be good. The trick, I told him, was not to think of it as a peanut sauce replacement, but to just to consider it something new and probably yummy. He bought it. Hee Hee. And even took it upon himself to take care of browning the tofu while I put together the sauce. Evan said the other night…”Mommy, don’t you think Daddy is awesome?” Yup.

Actually, he said it was good and even Evan liked the bit that he tried (not enough to eat a whole bowl, mind you, but it’s a start). Evan loves tofu and loves soba noodles, the latter practically drowned in rice vinegar. He looked suspiciously at the sesame seeds on the tofu and needed to scrape them off before trying it (sesame seeds only belong on bagels don’t you know) but admitted it was pretty good. His version of dinner was a bowl of plain soba noodles with tofu on the side, plus a little of our version to try. Love meals like this….we’re all eating the same stuff even if it’s seasoned/sauced a little differently.

Soba Noodles with Tofu and Nut-Free “Peanut” Sauce                                             Adapted from The Family Kitchen 

Of course you could probably substitute peanut butter in the same proportion, though I don’t know that for sure, having never eaten peanut butter. But this recipe would work with any peanut sauce you find somewhere on the net. Depending on how sweet you like it and whether you use sweetened soy nut butter or not you may want to adjust the amount of brown sugar. I use the I.M. Healthy brand of soy nut butter and the one I buy is sweetened but they do have an unsweetened one (and also a chocolate soynut butter which is the nut-allergic person’s version of Nutella and its so awesome I won’t buy it anymore because it disappears by the spoonful!) 

For the tofu:

1 package firm or extra firm tofu
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
a splash of soy sauce
1 tbsp canola oil

For the sauce:

2 tbsp soy nut butter (creamy)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 ½ tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic
Hot pepper flakes to taste

The rest:

1 package soba noodles
2 baby bok choy thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow or a mix), thinly sliced

Gently press the whole tofu between sheets of paper towel or dish towel to remove excess water. Then cut into 1” cubes. Toss in a bowl with the sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Heat canola oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add tofu in a single layer and cook until all sides are brown and crispy. About 10 minutes total. 

While tofu is browning, grate the ginger. You can use a wood rasp like in the photo (available in most kitchen stores or online here) or a cheese grater on the fine side. Whisk together everything for the sauce but the garlic, then cut the clove in half or thirds and drop it in the sauce and stir. If you really like it garlicky, crush the garlic, but I didn’t want it to be overpowering. 

Start the soba noodles when you flip the tofu. Slice the baby bok choy and peppers and dump them in your colander. Drain the cooked noodles over them to blanch the vegetables.

Transfer noodles and vegetables to a large bowl. Add tofu and sauce (remove the chunks of garlic) and toss to coat. 

One of these days I’ll figure out how to start a new line without everything ending up double-spaced in the recipe. Bear with me. Thanks for scrolling endlessly. Update 1/21/12: I figured it out!! Yay!