take it outside: sweet potato hash browns and barbecue tofu

You can always tell when "Dad" is on the road by the menu:  tonight's featured protein was tofu.  Greg likes tofu, but he's not too thrilled about tofu as a main course.  Sara encouraged me to learn how to press tofu for better results on the grill or the oven.  She's helpful like that.  Tonight's meal was inspired by visits to 3 Sisters Cafe and a daughter who needed to get out the door quickly to watch a baseball game.  To accompany the tofu I pondered two things I love at 3 Sisters, calico hash browns (russet potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions) and the BBQ Grains (all manner of grains, shredded sweet potatoes and shredded carrots for the base in apple butter bbq sauce).   I needed a side dish and I needed it to be speedy.  So I busted out my 11-cup Cuisinart food processor with the shredding blade installed and had shredded sweet potatoes in no time.  Since it's still nice and toasty outside I took my LeCreuset buffet casserole pan out to the grill and cooked up the hash browns alongside the tofu.  We had salads for lunch so with dinner I made a quick cold cucumber salad.  Add a little Seeduction (any whole grain bread is good, but this one rocks!) bread from Whole Foods and call it dinner.

I am going to need plenty of quick recipes in the near future because I am very excited to say today I was the first Lululemon Educator hired for the new store opening in late summer at the Fashion Mall.  Greg was very pleased that I did prove "hirable".  I'm very happy to have found this opportunity through the circle of the Indy yoga world which passes through Lululemon and The Yoga Center.  With a few little blips on the radar, I've basically had a 20-year vacation from the working world so think happy thoughts about the big change this will be in my life.  Hopefully this is one more weapon to ward off any empty-nester blues that might creep in come late August.  Don't worry, blogging is already one of my best defenses.  I'll keep writing.  And I'm too hungry to stop cooking.

Here you go with the recipes and thanks for "listening":

Sweet Potato Hash Browns
(generously serves two, double for a family)

one large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut in pieces to fit through the food processor
one medium sweet onion, cut in half and then matchstick slices
one clove garlic, minced
olive oil
kosher salt (about 1/2 tsp to start)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (regular would be fine, but smoked gives a great campfire flavor)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat the grill.  Shred the sweet potato (with skin) with a food processor.  If you don't have a food processor shredding by hand would be challenging.  Instead I would cut the potato into 1/4-1/2 inch thick cubes/sticks/slices (they will take longer to cook).  Toss all of the ingredients together with about 2 T of olive oil.  Using a grill pan (no holes, but fine mesh would work) or cast iron pan on the grill cook the hash browns over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring and scraping a few times.  Taste for additional salt and pepper before serving.

These would be good using russet and sweet potatoes (as they do at the cafe), changing up the spice if you have a rub or blend you like and adding green or red pepper if that's your thing.

onions on top of sweet potatoes with garlic, salt, pepper,
smoked paprika and olive oil ready to toss

halfway there

all done (note the crunchy ones on the sides, we fight over those)

Barbecue Tofu
(serves two)
one package extra firm tofu, drained, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and pressed
olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper
barbecue sauce

Drain the liquid from the tofu and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slabs or slices.  Lay slices in a single layer on top of a folded tea towel or multiple layers of paper towels on the cutting board.  Top with an additional tea towel or more paper towels and something flat and heavy (I used one of my Le Crueset pans).  Press for 30-60 minutes to remove excess liquids from the tofu.
Brush a little olive oil on a baking pan.  Lay the tofu slices on the pan.  Brush the tops of the slices with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium low heat about 5 minutes per side.  Brush with barbecue sauce after turning (this all goes pretty quickly so just brushing one side is fine).  Serve with additional sauce as desired.

When I bake this in the oven I'll give you temperature and time guidelines.  I'll also take pictures of the pressing (blogging was an afterthought).

tofu at the first turn

a little saucy

Cold Cucumber Salad

one large cucumber sliced thin
2 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Toss all ingredients together.  The longer the flavors blend in the refrigerator, the better.

Sorry, told you we were in a hurry.  I'd take a picture now, but the cucumbers are all gone!


  1. Kristin - you will be awesome as an instructor - it's wonderful that you'll be able to combine your passion with some income. As they say, do what you love and you'll never "work" a day in your life!

    ITB - Dee Dee


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