Friday, January 15, 2010
The Conscious Cook Experiment: Part Two
Well, Tal Ronnen. We meet again. And we spend a lot of time together.
For those of you who missed my last post (shame!) I will say once again that I have been charged with cooking recipes from Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook for a month, after which I will review the book for CBC Radio's In Town and Out. On Wednesday night I tackled Ronnen's Agave-Lime Grilled Tofu with Asian Slaw and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. This is the second recipe I've tried and I picked it because it had things I enjoy and eat a lot (tofu, sweet potatoes) and things I almost never eat (daikon, napa cabbage). The dish called for Ronnen's cashew cream, which involves soaking cashews over night. So this required some advance planning. Plus the tofu has to marinate for two hours. Not a dish to look to if you want something quick to throw together for dinner. And you might want to have a bowl of cereal to tide you over before you get started.
I have to say, I was very pleased with the way this recipe turned out. Although it was a fairly epic recipe, none of the steps were complicated and the food always behaved the way the recipe said it would. For example, the marinade for the tofu that has to be reduced and used as a glaze? That stuff reduced like nobody's business.
The other thing I really liked was the combination of textures in the meal. Now I truly understand what they're talking about on Top Chef when they mention the right juxtaposition of crunchy and soft foods in one dish. The crunchy slaw was a nice compliment to the chewy tofu and the soft sweet potatoes.
So, this one was a hit. It took a long time to make and used a lot of different ingredients, but it came together really well. It would be easy to increase the quantities in order to make this for a dinner party or something and it is not so fancy that you couldn't serve it for a weekend lunch gathering. And, despite my whining, I made this on a weeknight with fairly minimal advance planning. We ate later than normal, and I wouldn't want to spend that much time in the kitchen every night of the week, but it wasn't a big deal for one evening.