As a food blogger, I get offers from time to time. Most of them are for things that actually make me laugh. Why on earth would I want to publicize your product/blog/web site/personality if I have never heard of it or you? Why would I want to give away a ham on my blog? Here is a hint, check out my site and then ask me if I want to talk to the pork commission.
Sometimes something cool comes my way, like an offer to receive a “review copy” of a cookbook. The thinking is that the publisher sends a copy of a new book to me, I like it, and talk it up on my blog. Since I am always talking about cookbooks I like anyway, this is not a stretch for me. A while back, I received an offer for Guy Fieri’s newest cookbook. While getting a new free book in the mail was tempting, I sent a polite email back to the publisher thanking them but also explaining that Guy and I don’t really cook the same way. I had never actually looked at any of his books, but I know enough about him and his tastes to think that others would appreciate the free book more than me.
Two weeks ago, this was sitting on my door step when I came home. Now, I have nothing against Guy. I have nothing against his food or his cooking. It’s just not my style. I know that dishes like Texas Hold ‘Em Sandwich and Crab and Asparagus Pizza and Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls might sound good to many people, but not to me. No judgment, just not my thing.
This is more my thing. I considered calling this post “This is Not Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables” because, if I had wanted, I could have had that very dish at all three of our dinners last weekend. Apparently, that dish is what vegetarians are offered in the Napa Valley at this time of year. I opted out of the third night because, as good as Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables can be, by the third night I was ready for a little something different. Unfortunately, we were at Bouchon where my only other choices were side dishes and oh.my.god. was that macaroni and cheese cheesy. In other words, I came home feeling, as I often do after vacation, like I needed something very clean and healthy served alongside a large glass of water.
I played with this recipe a bit, making it even healthier than originally written. If you are the type that things healthy means boring, I urge you to try this dish. It is a 180 from the type of food we ate last weekend and probably Guy Fieri’s food, but no less flavorful.
Back to Guy. I want to give this book away. I don’t need it and I know one of you out there would benefit from some Guy in your kitchen. This is the first of my giveaways to celebrate my three years blogging and 500 posts. For that post I answered some FAQ’s. Is there anything you want to know about me or the types of things I cook with or make? Leave your question in the comments. No question? Just leave a comment with your favorite cookbook and I will pick a winner from the group.
One Year Ago: Orange Grand Marnier Cake, 2 Amazing Sandwiches
Two Years Ago: Noodles in Thai Curry Sauce, 2 Dips for Vegetables
Stir-Fried Sesame Broccoli and Tofu with Rice Noodles
Inspired by Deborah Madison
This recipe originally called for bean thread noodles but I couldn’t find any. I substituted very thin (angle hair width) rice noodles which were great. I would definitely try it with bean thread if you can find them.
10 ounces extra-firm tofu
6 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. roasted sesame oil
8 ounces very thin rice noodles
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, covered with near-boiling water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced or grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 scallions, including the greens, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Cut the tofu into ¾-inch cubes. In a shallow dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and the sesame oil. Add the tofu to the dish and turn to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Put the dry noodles in a large bowl. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and allow to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and scoop the broccoli into the ice water bath. Take the very hot water and carefully pour it over the rice noodles. Drain the broccoli and set aside. Once the noodles are tender, drain them as well and add them to the broccoli.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu (no need for any oil at this point) and dry fry until the tofu is browned on all sides. Add the remaining marinade to coat the tofu, then scrape it out onto a plate and season with salt.
Replace the skillet to the burner. Add the vegetable oil followed by the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and scallions. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, taking care to hold back any sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the tofu, noodles, and broccoli and toss well to combine. Stir together the remaining soy sauce and mirin and pour over the noodles. Toss well again. Stir in the cilantro and garnish with the sesame seeds.