CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Don't you dislike hearing of an event that was spectacular, but only after it has happened and you didn't go?
I'm doing it to you today. The well-attended Worldfest dinner last month at the University of Charleston, presented by the cast and crew of AVI Foodsystems, its director Daniel Argento and executive chef Paul Smith, was outstanding.
Smith has been at the culinary helm of many successful dining experiences at UC and he did it again for Worldfest.
Worldfest is the celebration of the cultures of the international students enrolled at the school and is presented by them through costumes, artwork, talented musical performances and, of course, food from their native countries.
It's the everyday aim of the university food service to meet nutrition guidelines and to carefully observe dietary preferences for the students while maintaining the best possible taste and appeal. The dinner menu reflected that goal in a healthy-bites party atmosphere.
Among the various offerings available for selection were the decidedly light-cuisine-correct, which included a romaine and fresh tomato Greek salad, dressing on the side; Asian marinated cucumbers; steamed Indian basmati rice; roasted African peri chicken; Thai/Vietnamese simmered lemongrass peppers and chicken; curried mixed vegetables; Chinese tofu, potato and onion sauté; and a lean Brazilian pulled pork in a very light, almost clear sauce, not the thick, sweet red sauce that has become our standard.
All the above, as well as the evening's entrees not mentioned, captured my taste buds, but my attention focused on the spicy tofu mixture. Smith says it's frequently on the regular cafeteria menu for the vegetarian/vegan students and those with specific food restrictions or egg allergies.
Tofu, Chinese in origin, is a soybean curd, a good protein source and meat replacement, low in calories and fat, high in iron. It takes on the flavors of the ingredients that are cooked with it. It's generally sold in the produce section of the grocery.
Hold on -- don't run from the recipe because you see "tofu." It may be a great way to give tofu a try for the first time.
If not, you can make this without the T-ingredient and substitute scrambled eggs in its place. Recent research has discovered that egg yolks are possibly beneficial to vision health -- move over, carrots. In fact, whole eggs themselves are back in the fold after being banished by the cholesterol police, something the egg council can crow about.
Smith's fiery treatment of the tofu made the dish a standout. To be on the side of caution, you might add the recipe seasonings a little at a time.
Tufu and Potato Curry Sauté
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman. Makes 6 servings.