Ugly duckling salad & "I ain't chicken" tofu
Aarti’s week two episode was just as engaging, educational and enjoyable as the first. I was a little bummed to see she was making chicken (on the bone… with the skin), but then I realized that I love nothing more than vegetarianizing a recipe and that what I really want to learn is how to use the spices/techniques, not necessarily the precise ingredients.
So I forged onward with my (unannounced) decision to make all of Aarti’s recipes (well, the meals anyway – desserts are weekend endeavors for me).
First up is her Ugly Ducking Salad, so named because of the inclusion of celery root, a rather ugly but surprisingly tasty little hunk of brown dirt. Unfortunately, my grocery store didn’t have celery root so I went with another unfortunate brown root vegetable: jicama. The ugly root is served over spinach and topped with apples and a lovely pistachio dressing. I also added some of my crazy pink and white beets to make it snazzy.
After that, we have her “I ain’t chicken” chicken. First of all, I wish Food Network stars weren’t forced to come up with stupid names for their dishes. If I were naming it, it’d be cardamom ginger orange chicken. Second of all, I don’t have a show soooo… Call me.
Clearly I wasn’t about to use chicken or shove butter under its skin and massage it in like she did on the show. So instead I just made her mix with olive oil instead of butter and used it as a marinade for tofu. [Important side note: Stew got me a tofu press for the blog's one-year anniversary and it has changed the way tofu tastes to me... for the better. Seriously. If you don't have one... WORTH IT.]
While roasting away in a 500-degree oven, the tofu’s olive oil dripped down and proceeded to smoke like crazy. I smoked out the entire house.
I wish you could see it
Our unwise idea to remedy the problem was to set the oven to self clean mode to get it taken care of. This resulted only in flames shooting up from the bottom of the oven. We left it at that. I’m not entirely sure what to do next… Ideas?
Aside from the near fiasco, this meal was delicious. The flavors in the tofu were pretty subtle, but this probably has something to with the fact that it’s tofu and olive oil and not chicken and butter. I’ll take the tofu.
Are you an Aarti fan yet? Get on it. I love her.
Week 1: Sloppy Bombay Joes