Tofu-based lemon dill dressing
I've been psycho-analyzing everything lately. Especially myself...that must sound awfully narcissistic, but the reality is that said self-analysis is loaded with recurring stings and prickles of self-consciousness. Which is still self-involved, I suppose, but not the same. The unfortunate thing is, the mental-emotional-reflective gymnastics is having a counterproductive impact on my efforts to clear the mind of cluttered over-thinking. And I thought I was making so much progress, armed with creased and dog-eared works by Eckhart Tolle I recently spent a week quoting to everyone who would listen. *sigh* The thing is, as much as it can be a little like brain barf, it's also FUN to read symbolism into things sometimes. And, at least when symbolic interpretation is devoted to outcomes related to food I am cooking anyway, the thinking is less inclined to spiral into over-thinking when the job's done. So I'm giving myself liberty to project emotions and extract hidden meanings with regard to food preparation. But the deal is, in exchange, I have to refrain from doing pointless things one may have a tendency to do when the mind is cluttered with habitual, reflexive worry, like reading into other people's moods, words, or lack of outreach; or dwell for no particular reason on something awful or awfully embarrassing (usually the latter) one did once, upon a time.
All that rambling, just a lead up to explain that this salad dressing is representing how what could be considered failure is not far removed from what could be considered success. The task in this case, was: try to replicate a certain lemon poppy seed dressing for Melissa H, who enjoys this dressing enough she would possibly drink it out of the bottle (but not really).
I was really excited about this little task I set myself, but it was a FAIL from the beginning. One, I didn't buy the original for comparison. I couldn't recall the brand she gave, for one thing. Also, I didn't feel like spending the money. So. Two, I didn't have poppy seeds. I thought I did, but I didn't, as I discovered mid-way through trying out this recipe idea. I must have been thinking of sesame seeds. I seem to have stockpiled a lot of those, and I'm really not sure why.
A fun thing about kitchen science/play, it's really so gently forgiving. And it encourages creativity and flexibility. This recipe was a success, therefore, because I got to exercise those skills, and because I did like the result (and so did Dave!). I'll make it again, too, as dressing and as sauce.
A quick note about this dressing...it uses silken tofu. Soy is frequently depicted as a villain these days, but I'm not so sure it's a bad guy. There are definitely issues to be wary of, like Monsanto's genetically modified soybeans and monopolizing bullying. As with every single food we set eyes on today, it's becoming more and more important to consider the source before we support it with our dollars, and especially before we put it in our mouths. I am fascinated, however, by the swinging pendulum on soy, and it seems that there are numerous potential benefits supporting its place in the diet, if allergies are not an issue.
I asked MD and RD Christine Gerbstadt, who is THE ABSOLUTE BEST in prompt responses and enthusiasm, whether you're inquiring on behalf of a national magazine, or for your personal, small potatoes food blog. Coincidentally, she had just been to a conference on soy, and gave it a hearty endorsement. "Research is revealing cardiovascular benefits of soy," Christine says. Regular intake is associated with lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and perhaps even higher HDL (good cholesterol). It's also a good source of iron, protein, and heart-healthy omega-3 fats, among other nutrients.
In any case, I am optimistic enough about moderate amounts of soy to prefer it over high percentages of oil, even heart-healthy oil, when splashed over my salad. This recipe was adapted from a dressing from Clean Eating (creamy lemon dressing, March/April 2010). When I get my hands on some poppy seeds, I'll try replacing the dill with those. I'm pretty sure that will work out nicely. We'll see, though--I'll have to read into that later.
Lemon dill tofu dressing
- 4 ounce silken tofu
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon chopped dill
- salt and pepper to taste