Becoming One with my Blender

Of all my kitchen appliances, the one I am the least fond of is the blender. I love cooking, but I detest the clean up part. My issue with the blender is that is just isn’t an easy object to clean. Thankfully, it fits in my dishwasher, so I should work on developing a better relationship with it.

It’s still warm in Prague, which I won’t complain about, especially after living through some of her winters. We did, recently, have some spectacular thunderstorms that helped cool down the temperatures. But the heat definitely decreases my appetite and enthusiasm for cooking. So, salads still continue to dominate the table. Normally, we dress our salads with just a simple combination of flavorful Spanish olive oil and salt, but today I want something a little more to go with my leafy greens.

I miss going out for Japanese. When I lived in NYC, there were plenty of great meal deals and I was used to going out several times a month to a Japanese restaurant with friends or family. I often ordered a side salad served with carrot-ginger-miso dressing to accompany my meal. Love that stuff, miss those days! Since moving to Prague, I now considered it a special treat when my husband and I occasionally splurge for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. It’s incredibly pricier out here compared with what I grew up with. There are a few Asian grocery stores spread throughout Prague where I can buy ingredients to prepare a Japanese meal at home, but even that can burn a big hole in our wallet.

Today’s salad is a combination of baby spinach leaves, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, scallions and dices of fried tofu with carrot-ginger miso dressing on top. I made the dressing myself, hence the whining bit about the blender. I really should refrain from whining. That’s bad role modeling for my daughters. I should be thankful and embrace my blender with an open heart. I’ll start now: Thank you blender for helping me make carrot-ginger miso dressing.

Carrot-Ginger Miso Dressing

2 tablespoons peanut, corn or vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons white miso
2 medium carrots, grated
1 inch ginger root, diced into small pieces
1-2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
a few tablespoons of cold water

Put all the ingredients in your beloved blender, except the water.
After running it for a few minutes, slowly add a few tablespoons of water
until you get the right consistency.
I will leave that up to you, as some people prefer a creamier dressing and some a
thinner, liquid like type.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Veggie Salad with Fried Tofu

1 block firm tofu
Cornstarch to coat tofu
1 -2 tsp. salt
Baby spinach leaves
Mixed lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
1 scallion, diced
Neutral oil for frying

Drain and slice tofu into thin blocks.
Cover all sides in cornstarch and salt mixture.
Heat oil in shallow frying pan.
When ready, add the coated pieces of tofu.
It should take about 3-4 minutes for each side,
until it begins to turn golden.
Remove and drain excess oil.

Toss all the vegetables in a bowl.
Cut up the tofu into small square pieces.
Add to the salad.
Serve with carrot-ginger miso dressing.

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