Summer is beautiful here: the beach, the clear but not too hot weather, the charm of a small town that, to some degree, resembles America as Betty Crocker might have lived it. It has an unspeakable draw.
This week, that draw is stronger than ever. We watch as people pour in, like waves flowing to meet the ocean. They come from every place on the globe, coming this week for one thing above all: the 4th of July.
Yesterday, I was invited to be one of the Parade’s announcers/dj’s. It’s a surprise. But it’s also something more. I’ve lived here “under the radar,” so to speak, for 11 years. So it feels like a kind of coming out party.
No more feeling like the outsider. I belong. You belong. We all belong. We belong to our communities, to our world, to nature, to life. We belong to this breath, this moment, this 4th of July and this dream of unity.
In that spirit, I’ve been going through my days, my work and all the beautiful things one gets to love and do each day, filled with inspiration for a playlist: music across the generations, music that celebrates American ingenuity, music that makes us want to get up and dance.
A few high schoolers with exceptional musical talent quickly promised to stop by and perform. Favorite locals like Root 75, Cafe 1134, Seaside Papery, and Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge have loaded me up with prizes so we can run trivia contests. Of course, there are floats and bands, military brass and everyday heroes to announce, but there are often gaps… long gaps… between floats, so I am abuzz with ideas – and eager for more. If you have input for music, historical trivia, or engaging ways to entertain kids in a crowd (without losing the plot), I’d love to hear!
Meanwhile, in this time of such fullness, I am grateful for very simple, easy foods that provide energy and substance. This one in particular, is my go-to lately. I’ve been tossing it into salads, but you could put it with anything ~ from soup to saag, tacos and burritos to pasta. Put it in a bowl with a light dust of truffle salt or nutritional yeast, and it is a great snack all by itself.
Roasted Turmeric Tofu is inspired by Lindsay who helped me make this Creamy Mollee last winter, and who, left to her own devices, did something I’d never have done – and made something unexpected, and uncommonly divine! Tossed with this sweet/bitter salad, you get the six tastes you need in a pitta-reducing, summer-balancing, savory symphony. Perfect for parties and picnics, and for everyone looking for something hearty and healthy.
You can thank Lindsay.
Summer Salad + Roasted Turmeric Tofu
Tofu, firm, but not extra firm
1 /2 t Turmeric
1/4 t Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil
1 head Butter Lettuce, medium
1 head Radicchio, small
1 stalk Fennel
1 large or 2-3 small Beets, roasted or boiled
1/2 an Avocado
1/2 c Pumpkin seeds, raw
1 t Tahini
1/2 t Lime juice
2-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
pinch dried Mint
optional: Salt, Pepper to taste
To make the Turmeric Tofu ~
Set your oven to broil. Transfer tofu to a baking pan and pour 1 teaspoon of its liquid over it. Discard the rest. Cut the tofu into bite-size cubes. Shower the tofu with turmeric, then sprinkle with salt. Marinate the tofu for 10 minutes.
Drizzle with melted ghee or olive oil, or a bit of both, and put in the oven. Roast for ten minutes until it browns. Remove from oven, turn cubes over and roast until this side browns. You don’t need to cook the tofu. You are only trying to roast the outer layers.
Pan-fried Alternatively, put the ghee/olive oil in a sauce pan and sauté the marinated tofu on a medium high flame a few minutes each side, until both sides are browned. You might need a bit more ghee/oil, but it is tastier this way, and quicker if you can get the heat right up, without burning the tofu or the oil.
Once it is browned, transfer tofu to a paper towel covered plate to absorb the excess oil. Allow to cool. At this point you have a delicious snack or “meaty” addition to vegetables and mains.
To make the Salad ~
Wash, pat dry and tear the butter lettuce into bite-size pieces. Do the same with the radicchio. Slice the fennel bulb thin, and tear its fronds into bits. Slice the beet/s and avocado into cubes. Layer the vegetables in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the raw pumpkin seeds.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a small jar. Cap the lid and shake well. Pour over salad, toss. Add Turmeric Tofu and enjoy!
May your holiday be safe.
May we all celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of true and enduring happiness
with the nourishing knowing that in our heart of hearts, we are one.