Have you ever shown up to a party you didn’t think you should have been invited to? Where everyone else seemed to be on another level, a higher level, and you were just grasping at your date’s arm for dear life. Hoping to at the least not make a fool of yourself. You keep quiet – I can’t be mistaken for someone who shouldn’t be here if I keep my pie-hole shut, right? You try your best to soak in the “aw” of the moment, without looking too much like a deer in the headlights as you walk around the room. This was me last June, at the Saveur Blog Awards. Except I didn’t have my date with me. I was alone, starry-eyed, and was about one conversation away from losing my “cool” in a room full of bloggers I admired.
Why am I here – I kept asking myself. Having never met another blogger in person, and only being at it myself for such a short time. I felt like I had “newbie” and “in shock” stamped on my forehead as I stumbled upon words to form into loosely meaningful sentences. And the silliest part? Everyone was so incredibly kind. I had no need to be fearful or shy. But I couldn’t help it, my heart was pounding non stop from the second my foot stepped off of the plane in New York – and it didn’t let up until it stepped back on at the end of the whirlwind two day event. I tried my best to be a fly on the wall, listening in on the other’s conversations, trying to get the courage to join in. It was our first lunch together as a group, people served themselves and sat at one of the long tables in our event hall. I somehow landed myself a seat next to Emilie (from The Clever Carrot) and two Whole Foods reps. Barely able to swallow my forkfuls of salad with my throat closing up from nervousness, yet refusing to have my mouth be anything but full in order to avoid being able to chime in on the conversation, I sat and listened. Here was Emilie, exuding sweetness and total charm. She made you want to be around her and hear every word she was saying. Humble and confident, those were the first two words that came to mind while I listened to her speak. She shot the wind with the reps from Whole Foods like it was no darn thing. I loved hearing about her work, her family, her history. It was amazing. She was amazing. I remember thinking I hope to be as strong, confident, and charming as her one day. Now almost a year later, I can call Emilie a friend, and am honored to be sharing about her cookbook with you today. Life is a thinker. It always keeps me on my toes. Especially when it weaves little patterns between people that can’t always be seen in the moment. But it’s work shines down the road when you look back – a piece of art, much like this book.
THE CLEVER COOKBOOK
Emilie and her husband live in New York with their two little boys. Her blog, The Clever Carrot, is based around stress-free cooking for people with busy lifestyles such as her own. She finds shortcuts using whole foods that will make you smack yourself, saying things like why didn’t I think of that and thats brilliant! She is not vegan or vegetarian, but creates several recipes on her blog and in her book that are created as such. One of my favorites from her blog is her breakfast cookies, easily made vegan by subbing in a flax egg, and highly addicting – you’ve been warned. Her book is filled with several veg-friendly options too. I love her food prepping tips, and the handful of recipes she included to go along with each. Its incredible. A few I am just itching to make are her easy chunky vegetable soup, speedy smashed Mediterranean chickpeas, cauliflower bolognese, and chocolate peanut butter quinoa truffles. Drooling over here. But the first that caught my eye was her master stir fry sauce. Read below for more details on the recipe, and don’t forget to pop down to the end of the post to enter the giveaway!
ABOUT THE RECIPE
Emilie’s master stir fry sauce is the perfect base for a number of asian dishes. She keeps it simple, letting you choose the unique flavors to add to each meal to jazz it up. Here I use scallions and ginger to emulate my favorite appetizer at the super hip and tasty restaurant, True Foods Kitchen. These shiitake tofu lettuce cups are oozing with asian flavor. Its a savory sweet, with umami up the ying-yang, and a little crunch from the carrots and sesame seeds. The lettuce keeps it super fresh and easy to serve. My recipe’s portion here makes enough for two as a meal, or four as a appetizer. And the best part? It all comes together in about ten minutes tops. And you will have leftover sauce to use for all sorts of yummy meals – fried rice anyone? Or how about a little soba noodle and vegetable stir fry? Emilie has you covered.
This is a pure and honest review of The Clever Cookbook. I adore Emilie and think her work is truly something special. The master stir fry sauce recipe listed here is from her book, and is being republished with Emilie’s permission. Pop over to check out her blog for more tasty recipes and tips too!
SHIITAKE TOFU LETTUCE CUPS
Served 2 as a main course, or 4 as an appetizer.
4 fresh lettuce leaves
1 block of organic, firm tofu (7 oz.)
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed + small chop
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
few pinches of black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup master stir fry sauce (recipe follows)
master stir fry sauce, from The Clever Cookbook
1/3 cup tamari (I use organic + low sodium)
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons honey (or brown rice syrup)
3 teaspoons organic corn starch (I used arrowroot)
Combine the master stir fry sauce ingredients in a glass jar, screw the lid on tight, and give it a vigorous shake for a minute. Use right away or store in the fridge until ready. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and just needs a good shake before using – as the starch will separate once it sits for a bit.
Prep all of your ingredients first. Shred the carrots, slice the scallions, remove the stems from the mushrooms and give them a good chop too (about 1 inch pieces). Remove the block of tofu from its container and drain well. Place it between a few sheets of paper towels and give it a light press to extract some of the water. Slice the block in 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks and place on a paper towel to dry out further while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Heat a large skillet on the stove to medium heat and add the tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the tofu and mushrooms and let sit, without stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and grated ginger on top of the tofu and mushrooms and give them a good toss – using the flat end of a spatula to get up any bits sticking to the pan. Let cook for another 2 minutes, then turn down the heat to low and pour in the master stir fry sauce. Give it a good toss, then add the carrots and scallions to the pan. Toss once more and let cook for another 30 seconds before turning off the heat and removing the pan from the stove. Divide the mixture between the lettuce cups, and top with a good sprinkle of sesame seeds to serve.
Enter to win a copy of The Clever Cookbook by leaving a comment below with your best meal prep tip! The contest runs through Next Wednesday, March 2nd – XO