Saturday, January 23, 2010



Oddly enough, tofu reminded me of kugel, the noodle dish I remember my girlfriend’s mom making for Passover when I was invited to their seder. But tofu really isn’t like kugel (well, maybe a little in texture), it was just what popped into my head when I took my first bite. Not visions of meat or chicken or fish – not even soy. Just kugel. But the tofu dish (named ‘Nonesuch Poele’ by the Galloping Gourmet) that Richard made last night was actually quite good. Nonesuch means "unparalleled" or in a class by itself and poele is a cooking method wherein the dish is cooked in its own juices...

Ten years ago, Richard had the pleasure of working on Graham Kerr’s farewell to television special on the Food Network. Over the years the Galloping Gourmet had slowed down to a trot and became more interested in making delicious, yet healthful, meals and for the show he ‘invented’ the recipe below. When Kerr made it for Richard and the special's executive producer, Richard thought it was delicious and wanted to make it for me. Well, I balked. Tofu?! Really?? Me and tofu?? (That’s a rhetorical question.) But, now that I’m dieting (making me not always the happiest of campers), I relented.

Did I like the dish? Yes. Much to my surprise. Do I like tofu? Yes. Much to my surprise. Would I recommend it? Yes. Much to my surprise. Do I want to have it again? Yes. Much to my surprise.  Am I giving up meat, chicken and fish.  Ha!

(as you will see, this dish can also be made w/ lean meat or poultry)

Copyright 2000, courtesy of Graham Kerr via the Food Network

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Level: 0
Serves: 2 servings


• 3 teaspoons light olive oil, divided
• 1 cup chopped sweet onion
• 1 tablespoon finely diced ginger root
• 1 rutabaga, cut in 1-inch dice (1 cup)
• 1 parsnip, cut in 1-inch dice (1/2 cup)
• 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch dice (1 cup)
• 1/2 sweet potato, cut in 1-inch dice (1/2 cup)
• 1 stalk celery, cut in 1-inch dice (1/2 cup)
• 2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
• 8 ounces low fat, extra firm tofu, cut in 1-inch dice (or substitute 8 ounces chicken breast, turkey breast, pork tenderloin, ostrich, bison or other lean meat)
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 4-inches long
• 16 snow peas, strings removed
• 8 cherry tomatoes
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion tops
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
• Cayenne pepper, to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 10-inch skillet on medium-high. Add the onion and ginger and shallow fry until just browned, about 3 minutes. Toss in the rutabagas, parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes and continue cooking 4 more minutes. Stir in the celery, stock, tofu and rosemary. Cover and cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

If you are using meat instead of the tofu, shallow fry, on medium-low heat, in a separate pan in the remaining teaspoon of oil until cooked through. It will take about the same amount of time as the vegetables. Add the snow peas and tomatoes to the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the arrowroot slurry and return to the heat to thicken. Serve the vegetables in a mound on 2 heated plates. Lay the cooked meat (if you are using it) on top. Spoon the thickened pan juices over the dish and dust well with the chopped onion tops, Parmesan cheese and cayenne.

Per serving with tofu: 381 calories, 10 gm. fat, 3 gm. saturated fat, 7 percent calories from saturated fat, 57 gm. carbohydrates, 11 gm fiber, 739 mg. sodium Per serving with skinless chicken breast: 483 calories, 13 gm. fat, 3 gm. saturated fat, 6 percent calories from saturated fat, 11 gm fiber, 739 mg. sodium


Lana said...

LOL, no, tofu does NOT taste like chicken. I like it, though. One of my frends at work and I usually go to Pei Wei for lucnh about once a month and I always enjoy their Tofu Pad Thai.

Norrth said...

I wish I could say that I want to give it a chance, but I've never had the heart to try tofu. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

ilona saari said...

Well, I'm just going to have to try tofu Pad Thai... And I didn't think I'd every try it, either Norrth -- and was certainly surprised I didn't hate it

Susan said...

I'm going to try this. What's the easiest way to print out the recipe?

TravelsWithDan said...

Welcome to 'tofu world,' Ilona! There are so many vegetarian restaurants in the PNW (and Thai ones too!) that I have it regularly, but never yet quite like this--sounds great BTW! I usually think of it as 'the food that tastes like whatever you cook it with/in...' And speaking of weight loss (New Year's resolution?), do you & Richard have a series of recipes for high-taste/low calorie meals?

ilona saari said...

Basically diet dinners consist of chicken, fish or meat w/ tons of veggies ie: the salmon dinner the other night. Just substitue chicken for the salmon and you have a high protein low-cal supper. The green soup is definitely low cal, as has some other dinners I've blogged about. Obviously the Nancy burgers or the bangers and mash don't qualify

ilona saari said...

I'm not sure about the easiest way to print the recipe out, Susan -- to skip all the pix, etc. perhaps copying and emailing it to yourself, then deleting the pix might work --