Inspired by the Birchwood

The Birchwood Café, one of the most beloved neighborhood restaurants in the city, is out with a new cookbook featuring the café’s recipes adapted for the home cook.

Birchwood owner Tracy Singleton and chef Marshall Paulsen also share beloved memories and stories from the café’s 20 years.

The cookbook, published by the University of Minnesota Press, is organized based on the seasons with recipes making the most of seasonal, local produce.

The restaurant, 3311 E. 25th St., is holding a book launch for “The Birchwood Café Cookbook” on Thursday, Oct. 22, 5–9 p.m. There will be snacks featuring recipes from the book, Surly Brewing Co. beer and organic wine.

Here’s an excerpt from the cookbook:



Spicy Tofu and Quinoa Salad

(V) GF Serves 4 to 6

This hearty salad makes a fine entrée or a nice accompaniment to a bowl of soup. We like to use both red and black quinoa for color and variety; both hold their color when cooked.


1 (14-ounce) block firm tofu, drained

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons sambal

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 cup red or black quinoa, or a mixture

1 cup white quinoa

1 small cucumber, peeled,

seeded, and diced

1 small carrot, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon minced jalapeño

1 cup chopped cilantro

½ cup rice bran oil

¼ cup lime juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Slice the block of tofu into inch-thick slabs, and place them between clean dish towels. To remove as much water as possible from the tofu, place a baking sheet over the tofu and weight it. After the tofu has dried for at least 20 minutes (longer if possible), dice it into 1-inch cubes.

Heat the sesame oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat, add the tofu, and cook until just warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sambal and the lime juice. Remove the pan from the heat, and set it aside.

Put all of the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under running water until the water runs clear. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and then add a pinch of salt and the quinoa. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer to remove excess water.

Turn the quinoa into a large bowl, and stir in the tofu, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, jalapeno, and half (½ cup) of the cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together the rice bran oil, lime juice, mustard, and garlic.

Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat thoroughly. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.