Last night, I got to feast at a wonderful potluck in honor of a visiting food blogger. Alanna is hosting Pille of Nami-Nami, here all the way from Estonia, and invited a few of the local bloggers over for a get-together. It was so nice to see Pille in person (I have been reading her blog for years) and learn a little bit about Estonian food (she gave me a little cookbook of Estonian recipes, and I can't wait to try some of them). Having attended a few food blogger gatherings, I can tell you for a fact that they provide the sort of feast that money can't buy. Bloggers whip up their most impressive and flavorful dishes and everyone wins, except maybe my waistline. and I happily stuffed myself with pizza, barbecued beans, home-made bread with strawberry butter, 7-layer salad, a tres leche cupcake and cherry cobbler, to name just a few treats. I was in piggy heaven!
My contribution to the potluck: a platter of these summer rolls. They are perfect potluck fare, being light, portable, refreshing, and suitably vegetable-stuffed to assuage any guilt over the other richer offerings. They also seem to fit more dietary needs than most other dishes, being vegan, relatively low-carb (I think) and gluten-free.
This time around, I changed the way I cooked the tofu for these rolls. Instead of pan-frying them, I was inspired by the sesame baked tofu recipe on Pro Bono Baker and decided to marinate and bake the tofu instead.
Here's how I baked mine:
1. Take one block of extra-firm tofu. Drain away the water and pat the tofu dry as much as possible. Slice the tofu horizontally into 4 equal slices.
2. In a baking dish (I used a Pyrex 9x13 inch), mix together ¼ C tamari (or soy sauce), 1 T brown sugar, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and 2 t ginger garlic paste.
3. Dip the tofu slices in the marinade, turning a couple of times to coat them thoroughly. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake the tofu in the same dish (uncovered) for 30 minutes, then flip over and bake again for 30 minutes more.
5. Slice the tofu into matchsticks for these rolls, or use them in any other dish. The baked tofu makes for an irresistible snack just by itself...absolutely flavorful.
To jazz things up just a little bit, I took along a trio of dipping sauces for the summer rolls. With one small saucepan and a few condiments stocked in the pantry, these flavorful and versatile sauce came together in no time.
1. Orange Marmalade dipping sauce from Simply Recipes. Simply whisk together equal parts orange marmalade (I used one with thick strips of delightfully bitter orange peel), rice wine vinegar, season with ginger and minced garlic and some salt to taste and simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes. My addition: a hefty pinch of red chilli flakes. Because everything tastes better with a hefty pinch of red chilli flakes! This sauce has a nice balance of sweet, tangy and pleasantly bitter tastes. I suspect it would taste even better with some fried stuff, like breaded fried tofu :D
2. Cooked Chilli Garlic sauce from Viet World Kitchen. This one could not be simpler. I simply placed 7 red jalapeno peppers (stems and seeds removed), 5-6 cloves of garlic, a bit of sugar and salt in the food processor and minced everything up. Then I drizzled in regular white vinegar into the food processor and let the stuff blend into a paste. Then the paste is simmered for a few minutes to take the edge off the garlic. This sauce is simple, tasty and makes the kitchen smell so appetizing.
3. Cashew Butter dipping sauce from Closet Cooking. Here, garlic is sauteed in a bit of oil. Then, I added some cashew butter (nothing but cashews ground into a fine paste), hoisin sauce, sambal oelek (chilli sauce) and salt, along with some water to thin down the sauce, and simmered it for a couple of minutes. So creamy and delicious!
Now, I am willing to bet that these summer rolls are sold as street food in Vietnam. With all this inspiration from fellow bloggers, this post goes to Coffee's Monthly Blog Patrol, hosted this month by Sia with the wonderful theme, Street Food.
I am so thrilled and honored and a little giddy that Zlamushka of Burnt Mouth has announced the second round of her event Tried and Tested (T&T) and the blog for this month is this little one right here- One Hot Stove !!
I have known Z since she participated in the A-Z of Indian vegetables, cooking up okra for the very first time. Since then, I have been an avid reader of her blog, admiring such posts as the spice collection she made for her sister, homemade tofu and her overall knowledge of Chinese cuisine. Her Spoonful of Christmas round-up is a wonderful resource for anyone in search of gift ideas from the kitchen.
The premise of the T&T event is that each month, participating bloggers try recipes from one particular blog. I am excited and nervous and hoping that the recipes I have typed out will actually work in your kitchen! Please know that many of the recipes posted here have been adapted from cookbooks, websites, other blogs and from the food that I ate growing up, so those are the sources that I give credit to. All errors in the recipes that you may catch are, of course, all mine! Please read Zlamushka's announcement for complete details. I do request anyone participating to please refrain from copying recipes word for word; simply write them in your own words if you want to have the complete recipe on your post. Of course, it might be easier to simply link to the recipe, as Zlamushka suggests.
By the way, Z has invited all non-bloggers to send in entries too, so please go ahead and try and taste to your heart's content! I'll be back on the weekend. Have a good week, everyone.