I am very lucky to have very few food allergies or sensitivities and can eat almost anything. I am, however, pretty particular about what goes in my mouth. I am not picky, just particular!

Feeding big sis 

over the years has been a little bit of a challenge for my failing memory; occasionally I will forget and make her something she can’t eat. Her comment on my last post prompted me to pull out my Moosewood cookbooks for something ddq&e (drop dead quick and easytm), given her circumstances at the moment. The 2 recipes would make a nice meal together for a little company (who might be inspired to come over and cook for you) or for a few meals for yourself.

For you hun…

Sesame Tofu With Spinach

Serves 3-4


1 (16 ounce) package firm Tofu

1/4 cup Sesame Seeds

2 tablespoons dark Sesame Oil

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

3 drops hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) (optional)

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

10 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed

salt pepper


Slice the Tofu lengthwise into 4 rectangular slabs, than half each piece to get squares.


Spread the sesame seeds on a plate. Press all surfaces of each tofu square into the seeds to coat.


Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Arrange the tofu in a single layer and cook about 5 minutes Carefully turn and cook 5 minutes on other side.


Add soy sauce and Tabasco, turn the squares over, and cook another minute. Transfer squares to a plate (leaving stray seeds in the pan).


Add the oil and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds, until golden. Add the still damp rinsed spinach and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Cook until wilted but still bright green. Season to taste with salt & pepper.


Serve the tofu on top of the spinach.

My notes: I would be tempted to substitute Bok Choy for Spinach. As well, I would not use 2 tbsp sesame oil but rather half it and buff it out with olive oil. I find the taste of sesame oil to be very strong but your mileage may vary. 

Broiled Polenta With Mushrooms and Cheese

Serves 5-6


1/2 cup boiling Water (optional)

1/2 cup dried Porcini Mushrooms, in pieces (optional)



3 cups Water

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 cup Cornmeal


Mushroom Mixture

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups Mushrooms, diced (use 2 cups if you omit the porcini)

1 large Garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon dry White Wine

1/8 teaspoon Salt


Cheese Topping

1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1/2 cup smoked Cheddar or mild Provolone Cheese, shredded

Black Pepper, ground


If you use the porcini mushrooms, place them in a bowl, cover with the boiling water, and set aside for about 10 minutes.


In a saucepan, bring the 3 cups water and salt to a rapid boil.


Add the cornmeal in a thin, steady stream, whisking to prevent lumps. Lower the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking until the polenta thickens.


While the polenta cooks, strain the porcini mushrooms and rinse them. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, garlic, and porcini on medium heat until the oil is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in the wine and add salt.


Simmer gently for another minute or two.


Preheat the broiler. Spread the polenta in and oiled pie plate or casserole dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on the polenta. Spoon the sautéed mushrooms over the mozzarella and finish with a layer of the smoked cheddar and/or provolone. Add pepper to taste.


Broil for 3-5 minutes until cheese is golden brown, and serve bubbling hot.

My notes: For the polenta I would use vegetable stock rather than water. More mushrooms wouldn’t hurt because you know, you can never have too many! And I would vary them, maybe a combo of crimini, portabello and button.