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Tofu can become extremely boring. I would never try to deny that fact. But once you embrace its blandness, you can make magic happen. Tonight I opted for a bit of a Southern take on tofu. A spicy cumin-tofu scramble, studded with black beans, peppers and onions, and collards. I also made a quick jalapeño cornbread, because I’ll admit, I have a weakness for carbs. So sue me! Regardless, this is a healthy, high protein, super easy weeknight dinner that will make a tofu lover out of the most obstinate carnivore. Recipes after the jump.

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Food 52 recently featured a story for the New Year, containing a number of food (or rather, cooking) resolutions. One was to bake more bread. Now I’m not really one for resolutions (“I want to contribute to world peace!”), but baking bread has been something I’ve had my eye on. Specifically yeasted breads. I’ve definitely got the quickbreads down, but that’s like saying you are an expert pizza maker when you still buy Boboli pizza crust. (Do they still make Boboli, or am I dating myself as a child of the 80’s?).

I love working with yeast dough, the few times I have. The rising is so satisfying, the punching, the kneading, the smell. A couple of weekends ago I found myself with no plans and the weather report predicting frigid weather. That, my friends, is perfect bread baking weather.

I chose the Food 52 winner for best yeast bread recipe, Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread. It is very simple as far as yeast breads go, no starter, no overnight rise, so it’s a good beginner recipe. The crumb is indeed very dense (as you can see from the picture), which makes it easy to slice and really good as toast. I wouldn’t call it the best bread in the universe, which frankly is probably because I didn’t knead it properly or for long enough….if only I knew more about this! But it was still a success in my book. Now on to the next one!

Cabbage is an especially unsexy food. It’s sounds even less alluring than kale, though I admit to loving kale with abandon. But when I got an enormous (and I mean ENORMOUS) head of cabbage at the farmer’s market for $2, I realized maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

Braised cabbage with a bit of butter and fresh ginger is pretty darn good, which is how I used half of it. But that other half has been sitting in my fridge for nearly a week now, taunting me. Yesterday I subsisted almost entirely on cheese and cheese-related things (like bread, with melted cheese), and so I decided dinner should be light and healthy tonight, and darn it, I would use the rest of that cabbage.

And so, voila, cabbage slaw and miso-ginger cabbage soup!

The cabbage slaw inspiration came from here. I weirdly happened to have both celery and radishes (just 2 stalks & 3 radishes respectively, but the perfect amount to add to 1/4 of a head of cabbage). I modified the dressing a bit, as I did have blue cheese and did not have chives (I had a couple of scallions, which I scattered on top instead). This dressing would be good on any bowl of very crunchy things — creamy dressings only appeal to me in contrast with toothsome veggies. And, crap, I just realized I used cheese in this. SO CLOSE.

Buttermilk (Blue Cheese) Dressing

1/2 c. buttermilk, well shaken
1 T. mayonnaise or sour cream
1 t. sugar
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2-3 T. crumbled blue cheese (opt.)
healthy pinch of salt

The cabbage soup doesn’t so much deserve a recipe — basically I simmered a bunch of coins of ginger in 6 c. water, added a couple of big tablespoons of white miso paste (a brilliant pantry item, definite must-have), and then the shredded cabbage. A bit of soy sauce and scallions to finish and you’re done!

It has been just over one year since my last post. I won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation for why I stopped — let’s just say it’s been a hectic year. But lately, more and more, when I cook something, I want to share it. Even if for the sole reason of documenting meals as proxy for documenting the rest of my life (which I certainly don’t want to immortalize on a blog). As I scroll back through old posts, memories flood back — and isn’t that the greatest gift of food? That the senses of smell and taste are a conduit to other emotions, remembrances, places and people.

I don’t mean to get all sappy in my first post back…and I can’t promise I’ll continue posting with any regularity. But I recently read Tamar Adler’s fantastic book An Everlasting Meal, and had the privilege of meeting her at a small reading. Her approach to food is profound, poetic, and yet humble. It has been inspiring me anew to cook and record it here. Read her book, as soon as you can.

I bought leeks and potatoes last week in order to make leek & potato soup, which just never came to pass. So I decided to make a tart instead, for a small Golden Globes get-together. I also had a hunk of roasted cauliflower left over, which I chopped up and included, lest it go to waste. Mustard and thyme seemed like nice supporting players, so here’s the tart, recipe after the jump.

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