Lunch @ 226 - Sesame Kale and Cabbage Slaw with Baked Tofu

Let's talk about 10 things that I once hated. I mean despised and would not let enter the tightly protected area that is my life.

1) capers
2) dark greens
3) split pea soup
4) wrap dresses or sweaters
5) khakis or chinos
6) running for exercise (not to be confused with running for safety)
7) salmon
8) dirty fingernails
9) beets
10)tear drop shaped jewelry

As it turns out, our likes and dislikes aren't stagnant, which is exciting news. Some of these items are no longer on this list. Most of them remain. This necklace makes me severely uncomfortable. And I would not purchase a pair of khaki pants if I were promised a sprawling estate in Aruba with Ryan Gosling as my cabana boy.

The good news? I like all the foods I once detested. And I not only like it or happily eat it, I seek out ways to use them in our regular meal rotation.

So, I think what we've learned here is that if you keep an open mind about food and keep trying different foods in different applications, you're bound to find one you like. Your taste buds do eventually mature, if they're given the opportunity. Just like your parents said they would.

Working in a grocery store, I hear it a lot but it doesn't make me any less frustrated. Here's the scene. Little Johnny reaches for a nice big pineapple only to have his mother remove it from his fist and say, "no, honey. you don't like pineapple." This mentality perpetuates our kids' pickiness.

It's true, he may not have liked pineapple the first time he tried it. The flavor is shockingly sweet and overwhelmingly juicy and sometimes the texture is just a little bit stringy. His taste buds weren't ready. But that's not to say they never will be.

Let him smell it. Let him taste it. Even a tiny bite. Let him decide. Exposing your children to different tastes and textures is how you raise an explorative and, in turn, healthy eater. Do you know what pineapple does for Little Johnny? Don't deprive him of that.

I know we feel a little sense of control and possession as mamas by knowing what each of our children likes and doesn't. It's part of their identity. It's information that few people know. It's MamaMation. But, it doesn't mean we shouldn't embrace the likes and challenge the dislikes.

Again, taste buds are not stagnant. Say it with me!

Beckett liked this lunch so much, he needed 2 forks.

It took me twenty four years to like kale. But, mix it with some cabbage and a spicy vinaigrette. I'll call it lunch. Happily.

I'm still working on the aversion to exercise.

And I'm beginning to believe the khaki repugnance will travel with me forever. Maybe I'm not willing to embrace it, because it's so effing ugly I'm stubborn.

Don't have the same attitude towards food. Keep trying.

What? Reed actually smiled (sort of) in a picture? She may have sensed that her job security was in jeopardy. We've kept her on the team, but with some pretty strict amendments to her contract. Also, instead of checks, she now gets paid in kiwis. Tough break.

Sesame Kale & Cabbage Slaw with Baked Tofu
Serves 2-4, double it for a big, hearty dinner!

1/2 brick of tofu cut into 4 1/2 inch "planks"
a few drizzles of Tamari

1 T toasted sesame oil
4 T rice vinegar
2 T Tamari* (regular soy sauce also works)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T fresh grated ginger
a few drops of Sriracha, depending on who you're serving it to

1/2 small head of cabbage, finely shredded (you can also use pre shredded)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch Lacinato Kale (also called Italian kale...just not the curly stuff), carefully rinsed, deveined and cut into 1/2 inch strips
large handful of sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan
3 scallions, sliced thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your tofu "planks" on the baking sheet. Drizzle the Tamari over them, flip them so they are fully coated. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip with a spatula and bake for another 15-20.

While that's all happening whisk together the ingredients for your dressing. In a large bowl, collect your slaw ingredients. Reserve a few tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix until everything is equally slick. This slaw is great because it can sit anywhere from 1-4 hours and taste equally good as serving it right away.

Pile up a little slaw on a plate, scatter a few sesame seeds on top and serve with a "plank" of baked tofu. Or as Beckett says, "toe-food". Which makes perfect sense.

*Tamari is a thicker, fuller flavored Soy Sauce that you can find in most Supermarket's International Aisle.

1 comment:

  1. These are my favorite foods and I make some version of each of these things but not quite like this so looking forward to giving it a try! Great photos... I've been working on a tofu post and it's tought to make look pretty :)