Excited at cooking my dish from scratch while being filmed in the open air was fun, however the next stage as I headed towards the judge for the tasting session wasn’t!!
At first, the comments were positive: presentation excellent, first taste, so delicious, but then…… WHERE ARE THE CHILIES? “I don’t use chilies,” I replied, (in fact, I didn’t even use pepper in this recipe). The ingredients I used to marinate the tofu included turmeric, paprika, mirin, shoyu and ginger. Delicious! The dressing I used was sweet white miso, shoyu, balsamic vinegar and fresh squeezed ginger juice. This encapsulates all the taste buds on the tongue and creates a delicious balance for our palate and leaves us feeling completely satisfied. This is how I always cook. To add chilies to this dish would have been overwhelming.
As the cooking show was not about health I was ‘stumped’ and could not explain the adverse effect of chilies on the digestive system or even explain that eating such hot spices could create an imbalance which is why so many people crave sugar as the body strives to create balance. They would have carted me away!
The judge told me that my dish was about three-quarters of the way towards being complete so they could not offer me a winning rosette! Because of the missing chilies!!!!
Oh well…I went off to pack up my belongings and begin the long drive home to Scotland. As I was packing up all my cooking utensils one of the T.V. crew approached me and said, “Excuse me Marlene; the judge asked if you would be kind enough to leave your dish for her lunch!! It was delicious!” Incredible!
The next competitor up was a lady with a carrot cake and yes; you guessed right, she was awarded a winning rosette!!! I have to ask myself, does the world need more cake?
However, not one to be easily thwarted, I will continue my quest to get a Natural Foods Cooking Show on T.V. here in the U.K. but in the meantime, please enjoy my ‘winning recipe’ below. Bill, my family and my friends love it which is good enough for me.
Kale, Broccoli & Tofu Stir-Fry with Ginger Miso Dressing - Serves 4
This is a great recipe for a quick lunchtime or dinner stir-fry. It uses broccoli and kale (or dark-leafed cabbage greens or spinach).
It is such an inexpensive dish to cook and is loaded with nutrients and flavor.
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, finely sliced half-moons
10 fresh shitake mushrooms, washed and finely sliced
½ block 250g of tofu cut into (small dice) (see footnote below)
1 head of broccoli cut into medium sized pieces
1 head curly kale, stem removed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu (organic soya sauce)
2 tablespoon white miso paste dissolved in two tbsp water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed ginger juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
Whisk the soy sauce, miso paste, ginger juice and vinegar in a cup and set aside.
Heat the toasted sesame oil in a wok over medium heat and add the garlic, onion and the mushrooms stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced tofu and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kale stir and cover for 8-10 minutes (depending on the type of kale) or until it turns bright green; adding a little water if necessary. Add the broccoli and cover the wok for 4 or 5 minutes. If the pan seems dry add a splash more water. Remove from the heat. Stir in the dressing and let sit for a few minutes with the lid on to allow the food to absorb the dressing. Serve piled high in bowls and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
What makes my recipe original?
I use organic produce as much as possible. My recipes are all based on eating local seasonal produce and are vegetarian/vegan, meat, dairy and sugar free.
I combine the 5 tastes – sweet, sour, salt, bitter and pungent to satisfy the taste buds. This keeps the body in balance so we don’t swing from craving sugar to salt which avoids nutritional stress. Practically speaking, the more you consciously include a variety of the five tastes in food preparation, the more satisfying and nutritionally enhanced your meals will be.
Tofu is very bland but absorbs the flavors of other foods. Add a delicious sauce or seasoning to your tofu. You can marinate it as I did with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 tablespoon ginger juice. I often press tofu for at least 30 minutes to remove the water so it will readily absorb any flavor you add, but doing that depends on the density of the tofu you are using.
I like to ‘dry fry’ the tofu also but it’s not necessary. However if you do it really helps the tofu absorb the marinade completely. To ‘dry fry’ the tofu, simply cut into slices after pressing then add to a dry non-stick pan. Using a spatula press the slices and you will hear a ‘sizzling’ noise – fry for about 5 minutes each side until browning and then cut into cubes.
There are over 200 delicious recipes in my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ available on my website www.marlenewatsontara.com
In good health - Marlene xx