Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Awesome Salad" with Spiced Pecans

Whenever I make something without a recipe, I don't think it's really worthy of a photo. Or mentioning, or writing about. But if this salad had been from a recipe in a cookbook it's quite possible I'd be raving about it and excited to post. Anyway, my boyfriend and I created this most delicious salad.

-lettuce picked fresh from a relative's garden (lucky!)
-smoked tofu (everyone must try this, and I'm sure it's not the healthiest way to eat tofu but it's so good - reminds me of smoked gouda)
-grated mozzarella cheese, and spiced pecans (from my favourite cookbook Rebar)
-with a basil vinaigrette (also from the Rebar cookbook, simple and tasty).

I think my problem when creating salads before (and being disappointed with the outcome) was that I wanted to add way too many things, which is just overwhelming. I stupidly cooked the spiced pecans in the toaster oven (even after preheating the oven for them...) so half of them ended up burnt within minutes. Disappointing, but I could tell that they would've been really good and the unburnt ones didn't taste too bad. The spiced pecans paired so extremely well with the smoked tofu - it kind of tasted like bacon, which I really miss as a vegetarian. Fake bacon is just nowhere near real bacon.

Spiced Pecans
(Adapted from the best cookbook ever, aka the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook)

1 tbsp butter
2 cups pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

Melt and foam butter in a skillet. Add pecans and stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and let it melt; then add all of the spices and stir well to coat. Deglaze the pan with vinegar and cook until the liquid evaporates. Transfer the nuts to a parchment-lined baking pan and roast in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes.

My notes: Watch the pecans closely when roasting them to make sure they don't burn.


melody said...

what a great salad! you should give it a special name.. ashric salad!

S said...

That looks intriguing- where did you get the smoked tofu? I want to try it. I've been eating facon a lot lately (either turkey or chicken "bacon") but I also made some seitan last week that I might try as another alternative (I used liquid smoke in it for that hickory taste). Personally I enjoy the facon because it's got the smokey, salty, crunchiness that I like about bacon, without all the gross fat (I like my bacon almost burnt :p)

eatme_delicious said...

S: I got the smoked tofu from Safeway! First time I've seen it there, with the other tofu. Make sure you use it all up within a couple of days though - it went moldy after a week. Okay maybe a week is a long time in tofu land but I thought it would last. I still need to try seitan. Did you find a good recipe? Seitan as a bacon alternative... I didn't think it was that similar, mind you I've never had it.

S said...

Yeah I found a recipe where you bake it rather than boil it (I tried doing a boiled one before and it was just gross and spongey). The baked one honestly looks like a log of pepperoni. I just had bits of it though, and ended up freezing the rest so now it's sitting in my freezer...

Eww moldy tofu. I remember going to Safeway with some friends and finding a moldy package of tofu (it might have been the fried stuff, I can't remember) and chasing down a n employee who obviously didn't care and giving it to them.

ASL Mom said...

Just found your blog trying to figure out how to do some spiced pecans for a salad for my daughter's graduation/birthday party. Just finished cooling the pecans and they came out spectacular! thanks so much for sharing the recipe!