Interview with Brett Tolley of Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and Slow Fish – 02.25.16

Brett Tolley is from a four-generation fishing family from Massachusetts. He is currently the Community Organizer for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, working at the intersection of marine conservation and social justice. He is on the board of directors for Farm to Institution New England (FINE) and serves on the core team helping to grow the Slow Fish USA network. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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Vegetable Pad Thai Noodles


  • 14 oz. Pad Thai rice noodles (thin, flat linguini-like noodles)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. minced ginger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into thin julienne strips
  • 1 broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 cake of extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • coconut oil for sautéing
  • 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste (available at Asian/East Indian food stores)
  • 2 Tbs. pineapple juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Tamari
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar or honey
  • lime wedges for serving


  1. Either soak noodles in cold water for 1 hour to soften, or soak in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. The noodles are ready when they are al dente. They will finish cooking in the pan with the vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind, pineapple juice, tamari, sugar, lime juice and ½ cup of water. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press the tofu between 2 dish towels to remove the water. Cut the tofu into small cubes. Lay out on a well greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle tofu with garlic powder, ginger powder and salt. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Splash with Tamari and bake for 5 more minutes, allowing the tamari to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Using a wok over medium-high heat, with 2 Tbs. coconut oil, add the onions, 1 Tbs. garlic and ½ Tbs. ginger. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, and then add the broccoli. Add more coconut oil if necessary. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until all of the vegetables are soft. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
  5. Add another 2 Tbs. coconut oil to the wok. Add remaining garlic and ginger. Add the tofu and sear it with the ginger and garlic. Remove tofu and add to the bowl of vegetables. Now add the drained noodles and toss in the garlic and ginger to cover. Then add ¾ of the Tamarind sauce. Continue cooking, carefully tossing the noodles to cover with sauce, without breaking them.
  6. In a separate pan, scramble the eggs well. Add them to the wok. Return the vegetables to the wok, and add the tofu and remaining sauce. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute using 2 utensils and a tossing motion (like tossing a salad).
  7. Add ¼ cup of water and reduce heat to medium, to prevent noodles from sticking to wok.
  8. Add half the bean sprouts, half the peanuts and 2 Tbs. of the chopped cilantro. Toss everything together to incorporate.
  9. Taste-test. Add more tamari if desired.
  10. Place on a large serving platter, and garnish with remaining bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.