Monday, August 16, 2010

Crazy New Food

Partially because Joanna inspired me and partly because when opportunitty knocks, you have to answer, I got a few crazy new food items this weekend!

1st weird item: fresh squash blossoms from the farmer's market. I have wanted to try these for years but have never found them. So, here goes!

2nd weird item: A dragon fruit. I have never eaten dragon fruit and I am going to when I get home from work today. Who knows? Maybe it is my super-favorite food that I don't even know I love yet!

3rd weird item: Cactus pears. I bought two fresh cactus pears. I have had prickly pear jam and camdy and I really quite like pickled nopales, but a fresh prickly pear will be a new experience.

4th weird item: Tofu. I know this is really not a weird one for most people but it is for me. I have texture issues with it but really feel like I need to experiement and open the door to new and healthier proteins in my diet :) Fried tofu will hopefully be awesome (albeit not that healthy).

Pictures of my culinary adventures will follow...


  1. I've only seen squash blossoms on TV, so I'll be excited to hear what you do with them.

    What kind of tofu did you get? I love the chinese style (the kind they sell in that plastic tub in the produce department) but the texture of silken tofu (in those little sealed boxes on the regular shelves) squicks me out a little. If you want tofu ideas we have some recipes that use it. In fact, we generally make mattar paneer with tofu because Eric likes it better. (Plus it's cheaper than paneer around here.)

  2. I had squash blossoms in a restaurant in Portland a couple of weeks ago. They were deep-fried tempura style and had a marionberry sauce. Really really good, and up 'til then I'm not sure I even knew you could eat squash blossoms. In fact when I made baby squash a couple of weeks before that I remember throwing away all these blossoms that came on the squash!

    Dragon-fruit and cactus pears I've never eaten. Eagerly awaiting updates.

    Tofu, on the other hand, is a regular part of our culinary life. We use it fairly frequently in stir-fries and the like. One of my favorite ways to eat it, though, and one that I'd highly recommend in the summer months, is called hiyayakko (

    Here's how we do it (haven't done this in a while - this makes me want to do it this week):

    1. You need to use the silken tofu. The idea is that the tofu should just melt in your mouth, and the firmer Chinese stuff won't. That's better for stir-fries and the like because it'll hold its shape, whereas the silken variety will basically, well, melt.

    2. The tofu needs to be chilled. Can't stress this enough.

    3. Take your block of tofu and cut it into halves or quarters, depending on how much you want to serve each person. Restaurants usually serve nice cubes about 3-4 inches on a side, but whatever works.

    4. I like it best with fresh grated ginger root. So, grate some ginger root and make a little mound of it on top of each serving of tofu.

    5. Drizzle soy sauce over everything. This, of course, is to taste; I like a lot.

    6. Chopped green onions are nice here, too. It's prettiest if you cut it into very thin rings, and use some of the green part, too. Just arrange it nicely on top of the tofu.

    7. Enjoy.

    As with a lot of the things I make, it's so simple it's hardly cooking, but it's tasty. As the article says, some people eat it with perilla, or wasabi, or bonito flakes. But for me the ginger, soy sauce, and green onions combination is the winner.

  3. See one part of me knows the taste will be wonderful but the other part of me is appalled by the idea of eating slippery melty tofu. It scares me. I really do have a weird texture complex about tofu :(