Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tofu & Shiitake Cabbage Cups: What to eat after ordering the entire dessert menu

"We'll have one of each dessert," My friend announced.

Our server laughed, smiling to acknowledge that yes, all the desserts did sound amazing.

"No really, we want all of them." My friend repeated. "You can just bring them out as they are ready if that's easiest."

Our server looked back and forth between us, waiting for one of us to jump in with a well-timed "Gotcha!" or "Just kidding... we hate carbs!"

After a few silent, uncomfortable beats, she finally understood. We actually wanted to order the entire dessert menu.

"That's... awesome," She said, breaking out into a genuine grin as she raced off to the kitchen of my favorite new local restaurant to put in our unorthodox request.

I couldn't help but feel a surge of giddiness. Earlier in the evening it seemed our meal was going in the opposite direction -- that we were going to be the "good" versions of our gastronomical selves. We'd split the small "spretzel" with mustard as an "appetizer," kept our imbibing to singular glasses of wine, and, sin of all sins, each ordered the wild salmon... with spring vegetables.

While the salmon was, incidentally, wonderful -- particularly with the vibrant green garlic aioli -- the substance of our dinner was borderline comatose. We were mirroring each other's motions, moving fork for fork, nursing our respective glasses of Sancerre and Rose like we were on a mission to stay as sober as possible.

You know, doing the typical girly thing that girls do lest one stand out as "the fat one" by plowing through the pork belly starter and the steak frites, while the other picks at a lifeless pile of overpriced arugula.  

While we were perfectly content to keep our entrees light this particular evening, neither of us wanted to be on the losing end of a game of dessert chicken. We both wanted it - and not just one that we'd have to politely share, timidly siphoning off small bites while the ice cream became a soupy puddle on the plate.

We wanted more than one -- we wanted all six desserts on the menu.

The chocolate buck cake with cardamom coffee ice cream. The tangelo custard pie with tangelo caramel and tangelo ice cream. The grapefruit and meyer lemon fool with coconut cake, meringue and shortbread hearts. The black & tan ice cream bar with barley, chocolate wafers and hot fudge. The meyer lemon beignets with huckleberry compote and key lime ice cream. And the piece de resistance -- the rhubarb roly poly with blood orange-rhubarb jam and lemon balm ice cream.

It was totally over-the-top gluttonous. It was totally over-the-top financially irresponsible. It was totally over-the-top ridiculous.

And it was totally over-the-top amazing.

If you've never ordered the entire dessert menu at a restaurant before, I highly recommend doing it now.

And I highly recommend eating this for lunch the day after.

Tofu and Shiitake Teriyaki Cabbage Wraps
Makes 8-10 wraps

Notes: This recipe is inspired by the Shiitake and Tofu Lettuce Cups at True Food Kitchen that I recently enjoyed for lunch the day after a different kind of over-the-top indulgent evening. I loved the way the warm tofu and shiitake mushooms contrasted with the cool lettuce cups and was immediately obsessed with the idea of recreating it at home. I used savoy cabbage in my version -- it's a sturdier vehicle and adds an added dimension of flavor. I also added edamame for a punch of color to break up the monotony of the filling. Feel free to play around with the contents -- scallions, water chestnuts, even slivered carrots all make sense here. 

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 10-ounce package extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2-lb shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
2/3 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup chopped cashews, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 head of Savoy cabbage, broken down into full individual leaves

For Teriyaki Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar (unpacked)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together until well-combined. Set aside.

Heat large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil, swirling to coat the base of the pan. Add the onion, garlic and tofu cubes, and reduce the heat to medium. Saute, stirring frequently for 10 or so minutes until the onions are tender and tofu is lightly browned on all sides.

Add the mushrooms, and continue sauteing and stirring for another 5 minutes or until they have softened. Toss in the shelled edamame, then the teriyaki sauce. Increase the heat for 1-2 minutes to heat everything through and then stir in the sesame seeds.

Divide the tofu/mushroom mixture between the cabbage leaves. Top with cashews. Eat immediately.


jiulin said...
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Caroline said...

Diana, you are officially my hero. This sounds amazing!! It reminds of a more sophisticated version of the time you, Jason, and I ordered the dessert platter at Flat Top in Evanston!

Gastronomer said...

Let's go to Cook Country together sometime!

Monet said...

Oh I just loved this story! Now I want to go out and do the same. But this "healthy" recipe looks so delicious. I'm glad I finally had a chance to visit. I've been just swamped with work and school. But as always, your post brought a smile to my face. Thank you for sharing!

Melinda Engel said...

Delicious! Thanks for a great recipe! Instead of the soy sauce I used braggs liquid aminos and it was fantastic!

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