I had picked up a giant bunch of rainbow carrots and tsoi tsim at the Copley market yesterday, intrigued by the pretty carrots and excited to find tsoi tsim again. Walking around Boston with a giant tree of carrot leaves sprouting up out of my bag was fun.
Rainbow carrots are the same as normal orange carrots; they've just been selectively bred with a variety of pigments, resulting in dark purple, white, and yellow carrots, to name a few. This is more than an aesthetic improvement: the different colors are a result of different plant pigments, and different pigments have a variety of biological effects. For example, the orange pigment found abundantly in standard carrots, carotene, is an antioxidant that is good for the human eye. A purple pigment, anthocyanin, is present in dark purple carrots. Anthocyanin research in blackberries has suggested positive cancer-fighting effects.
We had a lot of seafood and red meat over the last week or so, and I saw adorable baby chicks at work yesterday, so we decided to skip meat and chicken for the evening, settling on tofu.
I have absolutely no experience with tofu. I've enjoyed it fried in some Thai and Chinese dishes, but in general, the texture weirds me out a bit. For dinner, I picked up a block of extra firm, pressed it between plates and under soup cans as recommended by more experienced tofu-eating friends, sliced it (extremely poorly), and haphazardly marinated it in a strange mixture that actually turned out really well:
- Soy sauce - enough to lightly coat both sides of each piece
- Orange marmalade - enough to put a generous dab on one side of each piece
- BBQ sauce (I used the inimitable Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering Sauce) - a generous pour into the marinating baggie (probably about a half cup)
- Rice wine vinegar - a generous splash into the marinating baggie (probably about a quarter cup)
Sauteed Tsoi Tsim
I did pretty much the same thing as last time, although this time I threw the blossoms in the sautee pan as well. They sort of shriveled up; I didn't see very many in the finished product. Like I mentioned in my earlier tsoi tsim post, the vegetable retains its bright colors very well; no need to blanch it. It has a lovely not-too-salty kale flavor, and the stems give it a fun crunch. I sauteed my tsoi tsim for 3-4 minutes.
Sauteed Rainbow Carrots
I sliced them into coin-shaped pieces and sauteed them for 5-6 minutes in a little bit of unsalted butter with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and dried parsley. They got a little brown around the edges and remained crunchy and flavorful. Plus, they looked beautiful on the plate! I have some carrots left, so hopefully I'll get a chance to make this again and show you a photo.
We accompanied the meal with a fresh baguette from the New Breadsong Corner Bakery stand (Copley market) and ended with a sweet dessert: raspberries and blueberries in those mini angel food cups that Shaw's always has near the berries, topped with a dollop of Cool Whip.
It was a nice summer meal, and tofu is really starting to win me over!
What's your favorite tofu dish to make for people that are on the fence about tofu?
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