Do you know Alton Brown? Those of you who are Food Network junkies, like I am, will know who I’m talking about. Maayybe even those of you who aren’t avid fans might know: the host of Good Eats…? still, no?…hmmm…the host of Iron Chef America??…really?!…uhhh…the guy on the Food Network that seemed to have miraculously dropped 50 pounds? Ah ha! I knew you knew.

So emaciated-Alton, as I fondly like to call him, apparently looked at himself in the mirror one day and said that he saw what he had never, until that moment, seen: someone who had, in his opinion, let himself go and gained much too much weight. As he explained on one of his episodes of Good Eats, and also more recently on Dr. Oz (ohh, come onnn! there was nothing else on that day…lest we be judgy…), in order to lose the 50 pounds and maintain his commendable weight loss, he follows certain eating rules. He has 4 lists: the things that he must eat everyday, the things that he must eat at least 3 times a week, the things that he can only eat once a week, and the things that he will never ever eat ever again. Simple enough. And it really is, if you’re willing, committed, and goal-oriented. Curious? All of his lists are readily available via a quick internet search.

Well, a little while back, with January 1st in our direct view, Anthony and I decided that we were going to adopt some of Alton’s eating habits. We’re pretty healthy eaters, but with the holidays still wreaking their bodily havoc, we thought that a little jump start mightn’t be such a bad idea. Ohh, and there’s that little fact that we’re getting married on a beach in a mere 7 months. Time to start trying to chase down that ever-evasive beach bod.

Ok, ok, I’ll get to the point of all this seemingly absurd preamble. One of the items on Alton’s “eat everyday” list is dark greens, and on his “3x/week” list is broccoli: a debatable crossover, but why not tickle two birds with one feather? On January 1st, we went to the grocery store to stock up on many of the new eating regime’s essentials and found ourselves with three broccolis in our cart. Well, now it’s January 6th and we still had two of the three in our fridge. Waaiiit. That math doesn’t even come close to adding up: we bought three on January 1st, and were supposed to eat dark greens every day, so how did we end up with two after 5 days? Delinquency, my dear friends, sheer and utter neglect.

However, we hopped right back onto the horse tonight and made Kung Pao Tofu, in which broccoli is the supporting actor who is secretly vying for the protagonist-star’s decked-out trailer.

Fine, enough. I get it.

Here’s the recipe! Well done for hanging in until now.

Kung Pao Tofu

Adapted from Eating Well

Ingredients
  • 1 14-16 ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oyster-flavored or oyster sauce,
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch dice (I didn’t have yellow this time around, so I used green, but yellow adds another dimension of colour to the dish which is really nice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 2 green onions, sliced on a bias (optional)
Directions
  1. Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine with 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk water, oyster sauce, cornstarch and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder in a small bowl.
  4. Add broccoli, yellow and red bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Return the tofu to the pan and stir to coat with sauce.
  5. Serve and, if desired, top with peanuts and green onions.

Mmm! Resolution-friendly and delicious to an unexpected degree.

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