hey everyone!  sorry i haven't been posting lately, but to tell you the truth, i haven't been posting because i haven't made anything awesome lately!!!  seriously!  i am kind of in a rut!  nothing spectacular has come out of my kitchen in the last few weeks....maybe "spectacular" isn't even the right word....nothing "really good" is a better term.  i have been doing old recipes, throwing things together in the crockpot, and yes going out a bit more and/or taking things out of the freezer and putting them in the oven....no judgement :)  i have been getting farmers' market veggies, but haven't been turning them into exciting meals, mostly just eating them raw or roasting them.  last night, however, i did finally make something to write about.  i have done both of these things before in a different way.  sweet potato fries is definitely a staple in our house and i have been using tofu in one way or another at least once a week.  what made this meal special was the little additions and the extra attention to detail in preparation. 

sweet potato fries are super simple to do...
pre-heat oven to 450, peel and slice sweet potato into wedges, coat with a little olive oil and salt, and roast for 30-45 minutes.  i like to turn the broiler on at the end to make sure they are nice and crispy and brown.  this time, i minced up some fresh rosemary from a friend's garden and added that along with the oil and salt. 

for the tofu, the "little thing" that makes a big difference is in the preparation.  when i first started working with tofu i thought i would never like it.  the texture really threw me and the flavor was non-existent.  i got a question on my facebook..."How do you make your tofu crispy?"  this is what really makes it for me....plus adding some flavor to it.  here is what i do....
get firm or extra firm tofu.  i also get organic.  remove from package and allow "visible" liquid to drain off.  there is a lot of "non-visible" liquid inside the tofu that needs to be removed as well.  place 2-3 folded paper towels on a plate and place tofu on top of paper towels.  place one folded paper towel over tofu and place a heavy object on top of all that, i use my cast-iron skillet.  the paper towels will get pretty soaked, pretty quick.  this process needs to be repeated 3-4 times.  once almost all the liquid is out, now it is time to marinate it, just like you would do with meat.  cut the tofu up into either thicker rectangles, thin strips, or small squares depending on how you want to use and/or present it.  i have done it two ways, 1) lemon/lime juice and soy sauce and 2) lemon/lime juice, olive oil, and spices like coriander, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and/or paprika.  last night, i did #2.  the total amount and proportions of each marinate is up to you.  experiment a bit.  just remember, you can always add more, you can't take away!   let it stay in marinade for a couple hours.  the best way to get it "crispy" on the outside, without deep frying it, is cooking it in a very hot cast-iron skillet.  i heat mine up on medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes, add some oil (for this i typically use grapeseed oil because it has a high smoke point), add tofu and leave it alone for at least 5 minutes, getting it nice and brown on one side.  turn it over and leave it alone for another 5 minutes, adding more oil if needed.  this gets it brown and crispy on the outside and keeps it soft on the inside. 

another "little thing" i did to take the meal to the next level was make an avocado mouse with the remaining gift of herbs.  i had lemon basil, oregano, and chives.  i pureed one ripe avocado, about 1-2 tbsp each of the herbs, roughly chopped, one Laughing Cow soft cheese triangle, a little milk to thin it out (i would have preferred kefir or sour cream, but we didn't have any), salt, pepper, and about a tsp of capers.  herbs can really brighten up a meal!  one of these days i will grow my own!!!