Stir Fried Bok Choy and Tofu

It’s day 3 and I’m going strong on my healthy food recharge.

Call it what you want , but I think I like “recharge”. It implies things are on the up.

To recap: For the next two weeks I am basing my eating and cooking on the guidelines, tips, and recipes from Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse. I just want to give my body a little rest from all the not-so-great-for-you things that I maxed out on over the holidays.

I think I would have naturally gravitated toward copious amounts of salad and veggies in this return to routine week, but Bon Appetit’s recipes are far more inspiring than just your average steamed veggies.

Stir fries are always an easy, lightening-fast way to pack a lot of vegetables into a meal.  This recipe uses sesame oil, which I usually shy away from because it can be overpowering but it compliments the ginger and garlic really well in this simple stir fry. Luckily I received a lovely bundle of baby bok choy in my fruit and veg delivery this week – so it was game on for dinner #2!

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Spinach with Tofu
from Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse, Day 3

– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
– 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
– 225 grams/8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
– 2 tablespoon olive oil
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– Pinch of chilli flakes
– 3 baby bok choy, leaves separated
– 2-3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach

Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar in bowl.

Stack 2 paper towels on work surface. Cut tofu crosswise into 2 cm/3/4 inch-thick slices; cut each slice crosswise in half. Arrange tofu on paper towels and let stand 10 minutes. Pat top of tofu dry.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, without moving, until golden brown on bottom, 2–3 minutes per side. Transfer tofu to paper towel to drain, then place tofu on sheet of foil and brush both sides with soy sauce mixture.

Wipe out any oil from skillet. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil and place skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, ginger, garlic and chili. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining soy sauce mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, then bok choy.

Toss until bok choy wilts, 1–2 minutes. Add spinach, tossing to wilt. Season greens with salt and pepper. Add tofu to skillet. Toss gently to blend. Transfer to platter.

I served it with some quinoa on the side.


Bon Appetit-inspired Food Lover’s Cleanse

I could talk about all that cheese, chocolate and wine I consumed over the holidays. But why dwell?

Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse – I’m kicking of 2012 heathy-style.

This is not a diet. Diet is an ugly word. This is a food lover’s cleanse. You know, for people who like food and the way good food makes them feel.

When I came across this 2-week cleanse I was pretty excited by some of the recipes, but I thought I’d try making my own version. I’ll incorporate the main guidelines from Bon Appetit’s Cleanse but add in other meals I’ve been meaning to try and put a summer twist to some of their recipes.

Truth be told, healthy food excites me. Flavorful healthy food, that is. Maybe it’s the warm Sydney weather, but I’m pretty stoked to kick off 2 weeks of ultra-good-for-you eating.

You ready? (They still allow you chocolate, a couple of glasses of wine, and the occasional piece of goat cheese.) We can totally do this. Let’s do it!

The rules, a brief summary (read more about it and portion sizes here):

– Minimize dairy – but natural yogurt is all good.
– Take a break from refined grains, bread and pasta. Whole grains are encouraged (whaddup quinoa?)
– Eat at least one salad a day, and make sure vegetables and fruits take up half your plate at most meals.
– Make at least one day a week meat free. I’ll be going for plant proteins and fish for the majority of the time.
– Drink lots of water. (But you knew that.)
– Limit caffeine – if you have to have coffee cap it at 1 cup.
– Use natural sweeteners, like honey and agave.
– Limit of 4 alcoholic drinks in a week.

Not too bad, right?

First up is a Thai salad adapted from Theresa Cutter’s recipe at

Raw Thai Salad
(makes 1 large serving)

– 1 Lebanese cucumber
– 1 carrot
– Handful of rocket/arugula or baby spinach
– 1/2 red capsicum/pepper, finely sliced
– 2 spring onions, chopped
– 6 snow peas, sliced in half lengthwise
– 1/2 red chili, finely sliced (optional)
– Handful Thai basil,chopped
– Handful mint leaves, chopped
– 1/4-1/3 cup of diced firm tofu

– Juice from 2 limes
– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon fresh grated fresh ginger
– 2 teaspoons soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 teaspoon all-natural peanut butter

Use a  vegetable peeler or mandolin to slice all the vegetables into long noodle like strips. Combine all the ingredients then place into a large serving bowl.
Mix together the dressing and pour over the salad just before eating.

If you’re doing a cleanse for the new year and blogging about it, shoot me a comment. I’d love to see what you’re doing.

Peanut Chili Sauce

Now might be a good time to tell you that I am a peanut butter fiend. My cravings for peanut butter and the high frequency at which they occur are borderline abnormal. I’m a fiend – but I’d like to think of myself as a fiend with standards.

My peanut butter criteria:

  • The only ingredient should be peanuts. Or roasted peanuts.
  • Make that organic peanuts/roasted peanuts.
  • Nine times out of ten, it’s gotta be crunchy (although, my current jar is not).
  • It should be kept in the fridge.

Often I just eat it straight out of the jar on a spoon, standing in front of the refrigerator. But for more civilized dining, I’m pretty open to any and all combinations involving PB.

While I am biased, it doesn’t mean that this sauce can only be enjoyed by fellow peanut-loving freaks. Evidence: Mr. F is generally indifferent to nut butters, and he gave it a glowing review.

This peanut sauce is a perfect combination of salty and tangy with a little spice to it. It’s just dreamy.

Peanut Chili Sauce
– 3 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter
– 1 tablespoon of lime juice
– 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
– a couple of drops of toasted sesame oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (optional)
– 2 tablespoons of warm water

Combine all the ingredients and whisk together. If it’s too thick to pour, add a little more warm water.

I combined cooked soba noodles, steamed broccoli, asparagus and tofu with the peanut chili sauce. Made in less than 15 minutes, this is a gorgeous meal to serve up on the fly. Use whatever veggies and protein you’d like. I’m thinking this would be really nice with some grilled prawns and red capsicum too.


And before you go…

On the kitchen playlist: David Bowie, Album: Hunky Dorey

This gave me a giggle: Thanksgiving Drinking Game

First music, then fine art. Loving the new kind of meal pairing: Feasting on Art