Tofu Steaks with Tomato-Olive Sauce over Whole Wheat Penne, Cauliflower with Capers

by Jennifer

Tofu is not just for Asian cooking!  The sauce can be made up to a day ahead.  After cooking the cauliflower in the skillet, wipe it clean and use it to pan-fry the tofu.  This dinner serves 4.

Tofu Steaks with Tomato-Olive Sauce over Whole Wheat Penne – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 13.25 oz. package whole wheat penne
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, pressed if you like, sliced into 4 equal portions and patted very dry

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

In a large skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and let sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

Add olives and let cook for another minute or two.

Remove from heat and add parsley and black pepper.  If you’re not making the sauce ahead and would like to only use one skillet, transfer sauce to a smaller pot to keep warm and rinse out pan to use for the cauliflower and then the tofu.

Cook penne according to package directions until al dente;  drain.  Meanwhile, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat in the skillet until it shimmers.

Add tofu and cook, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes or so per side.  Divide penne among 4 plates, top with a slice of tofu, and top that with sauce.

Cauliflower with Capers – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 lemon, sliced in half cross-wise
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp capers, drained
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Fill a large pot about half-way full of water, add 1/2 lemon, and bring to a boil.

Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and discard lemon half.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the cauliflower for 6 minutes, until crisp-tender and slightly charred in places.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Transfer cauliflower and garlic to a bowl and add the juice of the remaining lemon half, parsley, capers and salt, tossing well.

Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Cauliflower and Herbs

by Jennifer

This was a very child-friendly (or cauliflower-wary) dish;  my kids cleaned their plates.

Serves 4 adults.

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

On a large rimmed baking sheet toss together the cauliflower and 2 TBS oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Add the garlic, stir, and bake for another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Drain, give a quick shake, then pour pasta back into the pot.

Stir in the remaining TBS of oil, the herbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and lemon juice, then stir in the cauliflower and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top.

Smoky Frittata with Watercress and Herb Salad, Challah (or tasty bread of your choice)

Smoky Frittata with Watercress and Herb Salad, Challah (or tasty bread of your choice)

by Jennifer

If someone in your family isn’t partial to cauliflower, try this recipe;  the cauliflower is mild and delicious mixed in with the smoked mozzarella and eggs.

Smoky Frittata – adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 4 generously.

  •  1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 6 eggs, preferably Omega 3-fortified, organic eggs
  • 4 TBS creme fraiche
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 TBS finely chopped chives
  • 7 – 8 oz. smoked mozzarella, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;  add the cauliflower and simmer for 4 minutes, drain.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, mustard, paprika, chives, and 3/4 of the mozzarella, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil in a 12” oven-safe skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the sides of the pan.

Add the cauliflower, aiming for a single layer, and let cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.

Add the egg mixture, using a spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the cauliflower.  Let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in oven.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until eggs are set.

Let sit for a couple minutes before cutting into 4 – 6 wedges.

(Do ahead:  the cauliflower can be blanched earlier in the day and kept in the fridge;  the egg mixture can be mixed and kept in the fridge as well.)

Watercress and Herb Salad – adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

The original recipe called for orange-flower water, which I both do not know where to find, and do not know when I’d ever use again.  I substituted Meyer lemon juice (more on my new obsession with Meyer lemons later), and the salad was delicious.  You could use regular lemon juice;  just decrease to 1 1/2 TBS.  An easy way to toast the pistachios is in your toaster oven, set to 350;  once you smell them, they’re done.

Serves 4.


  • 4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS Meyer lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

  • 3 1/2 cups watercress, thick stems removed (about 1 bunch watercress)
  • 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped (a 2/3 oz. package)
  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Wash greens and spin-dry well.

Add pistachios and toss.  Add dressing, toss, and serve immediately.

(Do ahead:  have all greens ready to go in your salad spinner, unwashed, and refrigerate until dinner time;  then wash and spin.  The dressing can be made and kept at room temperature until dinner time as well.)

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions, Brown Basmati Rice, and Roasted Cauliflower

By Jennifer

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions, Brown Basmati Rice, and Roasted Cauliflower

I suggest doubling the dal and freezing half for another night.  To make the most of your time, start the rice first;  get the dal cooking;  preheat the oven;  char the onions;  and about halfway through the dal cooking time, put the cauliflower in the oven.

Serves 4 adults.

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions – adapted from Cooking Light

Red lentil dal

  • 1 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and then cut into 1/4” thick slices
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 TBS minced peeled fresh ginger (from 2” piece of ginger)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice from 1/2 a lime

Spices to roast in pan

In a small saucepan, heat the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and clove over medium heat until fragrant.

Spices, roasted, ready to grind

In a clean coffee or spice grinder, combine the seeds and the remaining spices (coriander through cardamom)

and pulse until ground.

Garlic and ginger in the pot (I am doubling the recipe)

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Adding spices

Add the spices to the pot and stir for a minute.

Adding red lentils

Add the lentils, broth and tomatoes with their juice.  Bring to a boil;  cover and lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tsp. of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Sliced onions in pan

Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally,

Onions, charred

until they are charred (blackened, but not super burnt).

Let cool, then transfer them to a cutting board and chop.

When the dal is finished cooking, add the onions, cilantro and lime juice.  Serve over basmati rice.

Red lentil dal

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • sea salt

Cauliflower, ready to roast

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss the cauliflower and olive oil together on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast until the cauliflower is tender and slightly browned, stirring once, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Cauliflower, roasted