I don’t think of myself as a huge fan of fusion food, whatever that is. I like a certain harmony in the flavors of a meal, and I think that can be harder to achieve when you bring wildly diverse cuisines onto the plate at once. But every once in a while I go there. And every once in a while it works. Take this pizza.
As a mostly-vegetarian (if you’ll forgive the term), I tend to organize my meals a bit differently from omnivores. And frankly, I am occasionally envious of the ease with which a meal comes together around a piece of meat (and we do sometimes cook fish), because then all you have to worry about are salads and sides. And hey, I sure do like salads and sides.
So I get excited when I can have it all in one place: my vegetables and my whole grains, nestled in with tofu and cheese, scented with garlic and spices. Maybe even with a great salsa on the side. Yes, it’s true: I made a casserole.
The basic premise here is that flavorful, doctored-up brown rice and tofu are layered with tomatillos and tomatoes. The rice and tofu sop up the juices as the tomatoes and tomatillos soften and it all bakes up into one big pan of late-summer comfort. There are a few more steps involved here than in our usual recipes, but it’s quite manageable if you take it a step at a time: Make rice. Chop vegetables. Cook onions, garlic, and corn, then add tofu, spices, rice and cheese. Layer this mixture with thickly-sliced tomatillos and tomatoes, and scatter feta on top for an extra bite of tang and salt. Bake. You can do that.
The last thing I’ll recommend is that you try making this dish with tofu that has been frozen and then defrosted. It gives the tofu a bit of a spongy texture, which is more appealing than it sounds. Nobody will expect to find tofu in this dish, but it contributes flavor and texture as well as protein. If you’d prefer to leave it out, you could whisk a few eggs into the rice instead, but then I’d recommend baking the dish covered and maybe for a little longer. Continue reading
Oh, school. Its arrival is so bittersweet. Even though I liked school as a kid, I was never quite ready for summer to end–who is? And now that it’s my own kids heading happily back to class, a part of me is sorry to see them go. (Another part of me is looking forward to a few mornings a week alone with my baby, of course, and to the single hour of silence in my day at her naptime.)
So yesterday we celebrated the Last Day of Summer Vacation with swimming, ice cream cones dripping onto the sidewalk, and an afternoon in the park. Today dawned all business instead: breakfast, brushed hair, a stocked backpack, and then a bike ride to school to deliver our oldest to the rigors of first grade. (It looked pretty fun, actually.)
And by the end of the day we were all exhausted. Quesadillas, rice, beans from a can. And this salsa. This salsa! It brightened everything right up. Bring home a pound of tomatillos and a lime next time you’re out, and in five minutes you’ll be cheered right up. Have the energy to go beyond quesadillas? I love tomatillo salsa on black bean tacos, taco salads, huevos rancheros, and chilaquiles. Especially chilaquiles. Maybe it’s a good thing that the seasons are changing after all. Continue reading