Killer tofu

October 7, 2009

Miss me?

Rhetorical question!

Did you ever watch Doug? It reminds me of sleepovers at my friend Cassie’s apartment in elementary school. Her apartment had Zax lightswitch plates and her dad made breakfast on Saturday mornings. It was awesome and made me really want to live in the apartment. On an unrelated note, I also aspired to be a cashier at that point in my life. Having now lived both of those dreams, I know they both suck. But I still had a lot of fun walking up and down the cash register aisles at Office Depot.

Anyway, one of those Saturday mornings I spent at Cassie’s, we watched an episode of Doug featuring awesome mythical band The Beets’ seminal hit, “Killer Tofu,” which I loved, even though I probably didn’t eat tofu until maybe a dozen years later.

Take note of awesome lines like “I can eat my sugar cereal, but it makes my teeth bacterial.”

There’s a point to this, beyond random childhood memories.

Tonight’s dinner had some killer tofu in it.

sweet and spicy stirfry

sweet and spicy stir fry

This was an eggplant, red pepper, and tofu stirfry with a generous helping of crushed red pepper and garlic, balanced out with a little rice wine vinegar and ground ginger. I was pretty nervous about the eggplant, but since I’ve been enjoying it so much roasted and baked, I had to give it a shot. Success! I’m looking forward to having it again for lunch tomorrow.

It more than made up for yesterday’s disappointingly bland chili, and left me with enough room for a slice of this awesome apple cake I made last night. I’d share a picture, but they’re fairly awful. I need more light bulbs, stat. But, seriously, I’m two for two with cakes from The Food Librarian, and I keep finding more recipes I want to try. Food + librarians = obviously a good match.


Piece of cake

September 28, 2009

I spent the majority of my Sunday in and out of the kitchen – cleaning a little, but mostly freezing fresh tomatoes and some chickpeas I cooked on Saturday, simmering enough stock to use for dinner with some left for the freezer, cooking dinner, and even making some dessert. Sometimes you build up that kitchen momentum and it would be dangerous to stop. Plus, I learned today that freezers run more efficiently when nearly full, so the fact that I added all of the above mentioned things to ours makes me feel like I did a good thing.

Even though it was still in the 80s when we sat down to dinner last night, I was dead-set on having soup. This soup in particular caught my eye after buying my first leeks ever at the farmer’s market on Saturday. My version was quite similar but with olive oil instead of butter (we’re out) and, sadly, there was no dill to be found at my usual markets. It was still lovely and warming and hearty and I know it will be perfect in about two months when I’m coming home with frozen hair.

I hope you click over to the recipe because her picture is quite impressive and my picture is, well, I don’t have a picture. What I do have is four different shots of blinding white light that might be bowls of soup. Now that it’s getting dark earlier and we use those low watt cfl bulbs (hides the dirt – try it!), it’s almost impossible for me to get a decent picture. I really don’t know how to use the camera, to be honest, and it’s not actually mine.

I did get a shot or two of this:

what's more comforting than cake?

what's more comforting than cake?

I baked a cake! All by myself! People who know me in real life might be aware that, while I’m obviously an accomplished home cook, I’m not much of a baker. And, aside from the occasional batch of cookies, I try to stick to what I know. But, when I was visiting my family a few months back, my mother patiently stood with me while I made my first zucchini bread and “helped” me make a pound cake. Since then I baked 2 loaves of zucchini bread before I put my hand mixer back in the bottom drawer where it belongs. With all of the other stuff I don’t use.

But this? This was easy. I stumbled on this recipe last week and when I bought a pint of raspberries at the farmer’s market this weekend, I knew I wanted to try it. While the soup was cooking, I bravely preheated the oven and got to work. The batter was thicker than I expected but other than that, it went off without a hitch.

I’m glad I had the foresight to take that picture before I “plated it” because I did a truly horrifying job removing the cake from the pan, and it fell apart in about 25 different pieces. Oh well. Easier for snack-size servings. It tasted great, and the raspberries were a good counter to the sweetness of that 3/4 cup of sugar. I’d like to reduce the sugar next time, but I’m not sure what would happen if I did. Do you know? This is why baking makes me nervous. Because of science.

I just had another piece, and I can’t help but think how nice it would be to have a homemade cake on hand all the time.

All I ever wanted.

August 11, 2008

Vacation is awesome. Especially when you have really fantastic family and friends who throw parties for you! And drive you around! Oh, I am verklempt.

Okay, so, I’ll try to keep the non food-related commentary to a minimum, because I have a lot of pictures, but you know that’s hard for me. Basically, you might just want to sit back, relax, and start scrolling.

We had a super fun trip on the shuttle from our town to the airport. Two and a half hours in a fifteen passenger van is my favorite way to spend an afternoon. At the airport, I found some dried bananas and cherries in one of the little shops. I know I took a picture, but I can’t find it. I’ll try to make up for it with the other six zillion that I did take.

Wednesday night we had pizza with our awesome friends Dan and Dayna, who picked us up from the airport and generously put us up for the night at their lovely home. Thursday morning, Dan made us delicious sweet potato waffles, which I really wish I’d captured on camera, but I was way too out of it. Dayna took us around town while Dan went to work, and we had another good meal at the Blue Corn Cafe. I think I had a salad, but really, the queso “appetizer” that we ordered overshadowed the rest of the meal. After lunch, we headed over to Raleigh.

Friday, we hung out with Pat and Karen, who drove all the way down from DC to come to one of our wedding celebrations. I was lame and forgot to take pictures again, but I had some delicious salmon for lunch (oh, being on a coast is such a wonderful thing). We also stopped by the new Raleigh location of Locopops, a gourmet popsicle shop that makes me want to cry little happy tears.

Then! Friday night was our first celebration, hosted by my wonderful new in-laws. It was catered, and you have to see my beautiful plate:

Clockwise from the top: couscous salad, marinated veggies, crudites, hummus, goat cheese, falafel, fruit, pitas. And I sent my brother-in-law fishing in the drinks pool for a Bad Penny, a really good brown ale from a local Raleigh brewery.

And for dessert, we had amazing cake prepared by my brother-in-law’s girlfriend. Can you believe this was the first cake she ever baked?

It had hand-whipped cream, almonds, lots of chocolate, and some sort of magic in it. Thanks, Amber!

Since no one at the party attended our wedding “reception,” we reenacted the traditional newlywed cutting of the cake. So I had a slice. Times two. And a half. It’s vacation!

It was such a great party. Even considering that I got more than twenty insect bites and had an allergic reaction later in the weekend. Totally worth it.

Saturday, Pat and Karen took us out again, and we went to visit our alma mater in Chapel Hill so that we could reminisce and walk around and buy overpriced Carolina merchandise and eat lunch at my favorite restaurant of all time, Panzanella. Again, it was vacation, so we started with calamari and a little prosecco:

And for my meal I had a portobello and zucchini sandwich with greens on the side:

I also obnoxiously took pictures of everyone else’s food, but I’m having uploading issues at the moment. Oh, and we all split a little piece of truffle cake.

After lunch I had an attack of the killer bug bites and had to go to the co-op to get bug spray and anti-itch stuff, and then we participated in a variety of other fun shopping activities and met up with more friends before heading back to Raleigh. Where we were surprised by a visit from Matt’s aunt and uncle who flew in all the way from San Diego for our next party!

Which brings me to…

Our party with Matt’s side of the family. We celebrated in a classic North Carolina way with barbeque! I had some chicken barbeque, a few corn muffins, and some leftover crudites. And a Coke. Hey, vacation.

Oh, and I split this with Matt:

Fresh Market carrot cake and some kind of delightful homemade dessert with sugar and pecans and cinnamon and lots of other tasty ingredients.

We had a great time visiting with family we haven’t seen in a long time, and, for me, meeting some new people. My in-laws are so amazing for putting all this together, and for staying up late three nights in a row in our honor.

Today, my parents came to pick me up and take me down to my hometown for the rest of the trip. We had barbeque for lunch and then hit the road, stopping in Chapel Hill again on the way. We got here just in time for my sister’s birthday dinner, which was pizza and cake.

Really, I need to lay off the cake. And get on the treadmill.

Maybe tomorrow.

Independence eve

July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth of July Eve. If, like me, you live in a state where fireworks are legal to sell, buy, and set off from morning until night on the week of the Fourth, maybe you’re not so excited.

I had a busy evening, and we’re going out of town tomorrow morning for a mini-honeymoon and to celebrate Matt’s birthday, so I’ll make this quick. After the gym tonight I was starving, so I made a few things I knew would be fast:

Open-faced Mushroom Lover’s burger (I don’t typically believe in this “open-faced” nonsense but the only thing we had in the house that even vaguely resembled a bun was a single piece of Ezekiel bread) with swiss cheese, whole wheat couscous, and steamed citrus veggies. Took all of ten minutes, so. All in all, a good thing.

Also featured: new flatware!

I then went to do laundry (FOR FREE – thanks, Donna!) and had some cookies and blood orange tea. Then I came home and ate kind of an obscene amount of birthday cake. This time my hands are even blue. Oops.

Now I’m going to see if we have some beer in here somewhere. The fireworks are starting to get to me.

I survived Anaheim.

July 2, 2008

But just barely.

No, not really, it’s nothing that dramatic. I’m just recovering from four and a half packed days of librarianliness. And a month or so of very little sleep.

Southern California is just like on TV. Palm trees everywhere, really terrible traffic, sunshine all the time. I took my running shoes and workout clothes like I do to every single conference I attend, but this time I actually used them, which was novel. It was so nice outside that it was hard not to go running (not my usual problem). That, coupled with the fact that I pretty much lived on energy bars, trail mix, Kashi crackers, and instant oatmeal, meant that I came home feeling normal instead of bloated and gross. Though, I was ready to kill someone for a vegetable. Or some peanut butter. I didn’t have to, but I was ready.

I am now 25, by the way, and that means that I am more insightful and responsible. That came in handy when I almost had to rent a car since I booked my return flight from San Diego. Which, in case you’re as unfamiliar with Southern California geography as I was, is not that close to Anaheim. I was too worried about the honking drivers and the carpool lanes and the no space between cars, though, so I signed my soul away to take a shuttle. And when I finally got home, after that shuttle, a flight, and a two hour drive back from the airport here, I was exhausted. Luckily, I was greeted by this when I opened the front door:

Presents! Matt got me three of my favorite cookbooks to own (Eat, Drink, and be Vegan; The Food You Crave; and Veganomicon). And his mom got me many things, several of which were food-related, including dried cherries and fancy granola. Thanks, Matt and Debbie! I also opened cards from my family. Thanks, family!

Matt took me out to dinner last night, so no pictures of that. We are leaving again on Friday morning, so I didn’t want to buy food. I had a Greek salad with no olives (because they’re gross) and a few of Matt’s french fries. And maybe a beer? I can’t remember. Like I said, exhausted.

Today I had a surprise birthday cake at work. Here’s an artistic representation of it, captured with my MacBook.

It turned my mouth blue. Also, my nose, but that was unintended.

Tonight I made a quick dinner before Matt left with a few random things I knew we had in the house.

Whole wheat pasta with roasted red peppers, spinach, feta, and a light lemon vinaigrette. Delicious. Looks just like what we ate last Wednesday, but tasted different.

When Matt left for work, I immediately fell asleep and I just woke up a few minutes ago. I was planning to go to the gym, because I’ve broken my no cardio = no dessert rule two days in a row, but I think I have too many things to do around here. Read: I am going to attempt to unpack my suitcase and then fall asleep again soon. Also, I’m planning to milk this birthday thing for all it’s worth.

I may have some more cake first. Yoga was pretty tough today.

Catching up

June 23, 2008

I’m going to dispense with my usual witty commentary because I’m a little stressed and a lot tired and I’ve got to be up early for my lung tests. I’m also going to a conference later this week and I have about eleventy million things to do before I leave for sunny Southern California.

Saturday night, after a movie marathon, I used the rest of the bean salad to make a polenta casserole that turned out really well. I also made a salad, which I spun in our new salad spinner. We used our new dishes from Donna:

I also had cake.

Sunday, I went to a crazy hard class at the gym and came home starving for fajitas. And so:

Grilled chicken (in a Tapatio, honey, garlic, and paprika marinade), peppers, onions, and tomatoes. And some cheese. Mozzarella, which is not necessarily appropriate, but did not smell bad like the other cheese.

And I also had cake.

Tonight, after kickboxing, I made my first frittata in our brand new wedding skillet. Half of it got a little crispy on top. Crispy, not burned (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, MATT).

I had more than this but I started small because I was nervous:

See the crispy? It was good. It had potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and feta. I made some Ezekiel 4:9 toast to round it out.

Oh, and I also had cake. And finally, I remembered to take a picture:

You can see the peanut butter and jelly layers! We still have a lot of cake left, which is not a problem for me. We may get to freeze even more of it to enjoy on our first anniversary. Oh, and that’s a little bit of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream on the side. If you were wondering.

Posting may be sporadic for the next week (sorry, Mom). Matt’s taking me out for an early birthday dinner tomorrow, if I’m still standing after my tests. Wednesday I should be making some food, so I’ll try to post it.

Why am I awake?

June 21, 2008

I hope that being unable to sleep past 6:30 on a Saturday morning is not a symptom of my new life as a married lady. That would be uncool.

Yesterday, we got married, and it was the best day ever. I got to marry Matt AND there was no weird weather, no timing issues, no one forgot a ring or anything, I only laugh/cried once during the ceremony, dinner was great, and the cake was awesome.

Since it was my wedding day, I felt fully comfortable taking food pictures at dinner. Here’s some Prosecco and our table’s bruschetta appetizer. Both were amazingly good.

My first piece:

There were many more. Hey, it was my day.

Dinner was Rainbow Trout with red pepper aioli and pecan foccacia breading. So bascially, the greatest food ever.

The fish actually isn’t as big as it seems. I did not eat a whole fish, they just slice the filet or something and lay it out, kind of butterflied. Anyway, I ate half of the fish, some rice, and all of my asparagus. I’ll finish the rest in a few minutes today.

Matt had the Alakan Halibut special:

And there was a decent bit of this:

And after all of it, I looked like this:


But I still found the strength to come home and eat our AWESOME cake, designed and executed by Donna.

PB&J cake:

Sorry for all the extras in the picture. I probably should’ve at least put away my oat bran. But I wanted you to see the scale of it, compared to our microwave.

I told Donna we liked chocolate and fruit and she came up with this wonderful cake. Each tier is chocolate cake with two layers of filling: one raspberry jam and one peanut butter based. All topped with buttercream and raspberries. THE GREATEST WEDDING CAKE EVER. Also, HFCS and trans fat free. Unlike my birthday cake will be next week. We froze the top tier for our first anniversary but we still have almost the whole bottom tier. I wonder if it’s bad luck or anything to eat it now?


If you don’t, what I mean is that I might need it for breakfast. To round out the trout.
Speaking of breakfast, I think I’ll go eat that now. If I’m going to be up at this ungodly hour, I might as well eat from my swanky new married dishes.