Asian Broccoli Slaw, Marinated Tofu, and Salad Dressing….and bats!

Last night’s dinner was rather generically Asian-themed. I had a random bag of broccoli slaw I needed to use up and the best-sounding recipe I found when googling was something very similar to what I present below, so from there I decided to take the whole meal in an Asian direction. I prepped everything in advance, and when mixing up the slaw dressing, tofu marinade, and green salad dressing, since they were all so similar, I didn’t even bother washing the mixing bowl between each of them, keeping prep quick and easy. Here are all three things I made:

Asian Broccoli Slaw

1 12 oz package broccoli slaw (or grate your own broccoli; cabbage would be good too)
3 Tbsp sesame oil (not toasted)
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp minced or pressed garlic
2 tsp brown sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together everything but the slaw. In a larger bowl, toss the dressing with the slaw and refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to blend.

Asian Marinated Tofu

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 cup vegan broth
1/4 low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp minced or pressed garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Whisk together everything but the tofu and set aside. Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slabs and arrange in a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ baking pan. Pour the marinade over the tofu and let marinate for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready to bake the tofu, pour off some of the marinade so that the tofu is about half-submerged. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden.

I served this over some mung bean noodles, which I soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes (don’t keep it on the heat, just boil and set aside), then tossed with leftover tofu marinade. I also lightly stir-fried some julienned orange bell pepper in some sesame + toasted sesame oil, then tossed with toasted sesame seeds and served both the peppers and the tofu over the noodles.

Asian-flavored Salad Dressing

4 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced or pressed garlic
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp brown sugar

Whisk or shake together all ingredients. Serve over a green salad.

Not that you can really see the dressing, but here’s the salad:

And here are all three components together:

In wildlife news, I have to take at least six hours of continuing education hours to renew my rehabbers permit every year. Last year I was so busy and there were so few classes held nearby at times I could go that I was cramming in readings at the last minute. This year I’ve scored all six hours within nine days of the permit year beginning. This I did by attending an all-day bat workshop yesterday. I was very excited about this because I’ve always had a particular love for bats and I intend to accept bats one day when I’m rehabbing out of my own home. It was a great, very informative class, although also kind of depressing because some of the species in our area (the Mid-Atlantic) are federally endangered, and many more are state-listed as threatened or endangered. Even the most optimistic bat enthusiasts are very worried that the species suffering from White Nose Syndrome will be extinct in just a few years. This is very bad. Although so far the fungus affects only those bats that hibernate, migratory bats are being killed by wind turbines, so there’s unprecedented death rates for all kinds of bats. Bats eat their weight in insects every night. You don’t want to live in a world without bats. I can even relate the wildlife portion of this post to food for once, because one of the consequences of extinct bats is going to be crop failures, greatly increased food prices, and/or higher instances of pesticide use.

I was able to take some pictures of the live bats. (Because I’m rabies vaccinated, I was also able to handle the live (and dead) bats, which even more exciting!) Unfortunately I think I’m going to have to retire the crappy “all-purpose” lens I tend to leave on my camera as a default because the pictures S.U.C.K. and I’m super disappointed by them. True, the lighting in the room was dim and terrible (though probably a lot more bat-friendly than camera-friendly), but I still think I could have gotten decent pictures with a better lens, including some I left at home. Live and learn, I guess. So I apologize for the horrible, horrible, horrible pictures, which don’t do any justice to these awesome little creatures, but bats are too cool for me not to share and I feel compelled to raise awareness of White Nose Syndrome. As of right now, it’s confined to the eastern and more northern parts of Northern America, but it WILL soon migrate to the south and west, and it’s devastating.

This is a Tricolor Bat, squawking because she’s dropped her mealworm. To reward them for good behavior while they were out being handled by those of us with rabies shots and admired by everyone else, these education bats were fed treats of mealworms. You can see this bat’s mealworm in front of her. (Education animals are non-releasable animals that rehabbers and wildlife organizations have received special permission to keep (as opposed to euthanizing) as teaching tools.)

This is a Big Brown Bat. Big Browns are a migratory species not affected by White Nose, unlike the similar-looking but smaller cave-dwelling Little Brown Bat. One kind of good thing is new Big Brown colonies have been found in areas where Little Brown colonies have been wiped out by White Nose, so nature is replacing one species for another. Note that despite the name – and he is in fact bigger than a Little Brown Bat – like all North American bats, he’s really quite small. I was actually surprised by how tiny all of our bats are. They’re not at all like the beautiful, wonderful flying foxes I saw in Australia.

Side view of a Big Brown:

Silver-haired Bat. I think he looks like a teeny-tiny, legless bull.

6 Comments »

  1. Jes Said,

    February 11, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

    Eeeeee so so so so so so cute! Handling bats was one of my favorite parts of an ecology trip I took to the Amazon. I mean, hello, little snub noses, hooky hands, and ears like rats? Plus they’re furry & fly? Seriously the best. Love the first squawk picture the best.

    And the generic Asian meal looks awesome too–components! How I miss those from my one-pot wonders lately.

  2. Chantal Said,

    February 11, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

    Dear Renae,

    I normally never leave comments. I am content lurking and taking your beautiful pictures in. But… I am mad about bats. And envious of your work with raccoons. I would love to do rehab as well. May I ask how you got into it? I understand you are super busy, but if you can find a few minutes, I’d love to hear from you.

  3. renae Said,

    February 11, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

    Chantal,

    A lot of it depends on where you live. I got involved by searching online for wildlife groups in my local area. I found a local group, joined, and started volunteering and attending meetings. This put me in contact with rehabbers in the area. Some rehabbers work alone, but many need volunteers to help them. This is a great way to start getting involved. You may even be fortunate enough to live near a wildlife rehabilitation facility; those types of places can almost always use more volunteers. If you live in the United States, rehabbing laws and practices vary a lot from state to state. To learn more about what’s allowed in your state, start by looking for your state’s equivalent of what in Virginia we call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, then look around their website for wildlife-related permits. In Virginia, ours are lumped in near the sections for hunting permits. Some states, like West Virginia, don’t allow rehabbing at all. Others don’t care if you keep many wild species are regular pets and so are pretty lax about rehabbing. Maryland and Virginia are in the middle and have pretty fair rules about it. I don’t know much about other states, and nothing about other countries, although I know the UK has quite a few wildlife organizations. Basically your best bet is to just try to find a local group you can join; those are the people that can give you the best advice about what you can do in your area. If you have trouble finding a local group by searching online, you could try asking your local veterinarian (especially one that accepts “exotic” animals) or Humane Society.

  4. susan Said,

    February 13, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    Amazing looking food!

    I’m afraid of bats because they would come in thru my fireplace in my old house. I used to wake up to three cats following them around.

    I have a question also. I want to buy a dehydrator. Are you happy with yours? Did you get an excalibur?

    Thanks

  5. renae Said,

    February 13, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Susan,

    Yes, I have a 9-tray Excalibur and I love it. It has a big footprint, which I think is a good thing because it’s roomy (except I’m not able to fit it in my kitchen), and it is a little loud (no louder than a room fan – it IS the fan that makes the noise – it’s just not silent), but it’s worked perfectly for all my dehydrating needs and it makes perfect yogurt. I use it all the time and would definitely recommend it. A friend lent me his Ronco dehydrator a few years ago and the Excalibur is way, way better. Way more expensive, but so much easier to use and far more versatile and, to me, worth the difference in price.

  6. Chantal Said,

    February 19, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

    Wonderful info! Thanks!!!

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