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.

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Double dinners

June 24, 2009

By some scheduling accidents of my own doing, I am working from 8am to 8pm tomorrow. Which means that tonight I made two dinners. I wanted to make some peanut sesame noodles that we could eat both tonight and tomorrow, but I misjudged my supply of soba noodles and it turns out that I was wrong. So I was left with a fully prepared meal that I didn’t want to eat yet and half a block of tofu.

Ever since we thawed out our wedding cake (which was, miraculously, still delicious; that’s the beauty of peanut butter and jelly cake with buttercream frosting), I have been feeling this compulsion to clean out the rest of the freezer. Since I had this half block of tofu, I rooted around and found a bag of frozen “stir fry vegetables” that we were going to use for pasta salad or something, but I made the executive decision to actually use them as they were intended: in stir fry. For frozen vegetables, they actually turned out fairly well, although the picture on the bag was a total lie. It looked like a balanced mix of green things and carrots, red peppers, and mushrooms. There were literally two mushrooms in there, and I only saw one pepper. But, whatever, if you stir fry anything in sesame oil and douse it with a soy sauce/rice vingegar/ginger/garlic/crushed red pepper sauce, it tastes fine.

do you see any red peppers? no. i didn't think so.

do you see any red peppers? no. i didn't think so.

This was cheap, too. Cheap cheap. Especially compared to those frozen bags of “stir fry” that are supposed to be a complete meal so they cost $5.99 or something. If I’d been really smart I would have added the half bag of “peppers and onions mix” that I have taking up space in the freezer. More peppers in the meal and more space in there for beans and chocolate. But I guess I’m not really smart.

the breakdown

1 bag of “stir fry vegetables” = $1.00
1/2 block extra firm tofu at $2.69/block = $1.35
1 cup short grain brown rice = $1.00
1T sesame oil= $.40 (this is really a pantry staple but it’s much more expensive that oils I usually use, so I feel like I should count it separately)
and some pantry staples (crushed red pepper, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ground ginger)

grand total = $3.75

That’s $.94 a serving. Which is cheap. Also, did I mention that I can actually see the bottom of one of the shelves in the freezer. That’s worth something.


Why do I do this?

February 13, 2009

I guess I accidentally took the week off blogging, too. I was busy, and tired, and boring, but here’s some food:

pasta with cauliflower

pasta with cauliflower

Okay, so, the main problem with forgetting to post to your cooking blog is that you forget the details of the cooking. I’m fairly sure that what I did here was to cook a bunch of cauliflower in boiling water and then throw it into a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Then I cooked some penne and threw it in there as well, with some crushed red pepper and maybe some vegetable broth? And then a bunch of parm and some breadcrumbs went on top and I broiled it for a few minutes. Broiling may have been ill-advised, as the breadcrumbs got a little too crispy. Or, burned. I still plan to do this again next time I have random leftover vegetables and a half a box of pasta lying around. So, you know, tomorrow.

And then there was some stir fry with peanut sauce (peanut butter, soy sauce, a splash of rice vinegar, crushed red pepper, and a little hot water to thin it, all in varying proportions that I can in no way recreate because I honestly have no idea).

brown rice and broccoli/red pepper/carrot/tofu stir fry

brown rice and broccoli/red pepper/carrot/tofu stir fry

Next time I’ll try to measure the sauce ingredients, because this one was good.

And that brings us to today, where I ruined my appetite eating brownies and trail mix and ended up making this soup at 9:00 because I felt like I needed something to eat that had a color and some nutrients.

collard green, potato, and black-eyed pea stew

collard green, potato, and black-eyed pea stew

This was from my newest issue of Clean Eating, and it was awesome. This is why I like magazines. I don’t know that I ever would have thought to put these foods together and make a soup out of them.

Also, magazines are shiny.

The only issue I really ran into was with the collards I bought. Apparently “organic” also means “totally sucky” because these were the best I could find, but they still required some seriously careful inspection and butchering to slice out the gross parts. So, while the recipe called for 8 cups of chopped collards, I probably ended up with about 2. But at least I’ll live to tell about it rather, you know?

Also, Matt has made me several cupcake bowls over the course of the week – bowls of vanilla ice cream with cupcakes on top.

You want one now, don’t you?


Friday!

November 21, 2008

I’m so happy that it’s Friday night. I mean, I always am, but this week has been so wacky that Friday seems even more exciting than usual. I still seem to be having some kind of sickness, but I went to the doctor for a totally unrelated reason today and she assured me that I still had life left to live. Which is good because, obviously, I have my readership to think about.

After the doctor, I went to the gym for some kickboxing, my first class in months. It was pretty good, although this teacher has a bad habit of screaming things into the microphone that are supposed to be encouraging, but really aren’t. “You like these jumping jacks, don’t you? We can do jumping jacks all day!!!!!!!” No, actually, I don’t. And I can’t.

Afterwards, I felt like I should eat soup, because my throat hurts and it was also fairly cold today. But, I’d already made a deal with myself that I could make pizza if I made it through my doctor’s appointment and still went to kickboxing. I may have to make this a new Friday thing, so that I can better resist the urge to go out to eat at the end of every workweek.

Anyway, I used some whole wheat crusts from Whole Foods to make two pizzas. One was tomato sauce, chicken-apple sausage, green pepper, mushrooms, spinach, and mozzarella. The other was olive oil, green pepper, mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella, and goat cheese. Both were pretty good, although the crust was pretty weak. I like the ones we tried from People’s much better.

Pizza Pizza

Pizza Pizza

Last night, I had a play to see with my class (second to last event of the semester!), so I made a really quick stir-fry for dinner. Just broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas, with some garlic and a few slugs of soy sauce and rice vinegar. I served it over quick-cooking barley, since I had no time for rice.

Vegetable Barley Blast

Vegetable Barley Blast

I really need to stop taking pictures while standing in the living room. It doesn’t do much for my food styling. It also really distorts things. I

Anyway, I let the chickpeas sit in the pan for a little while, and they got all crispy and delicious. Mmm. Chickpeas. I kept picking those out of the remaining mix until I had to leave.

Okay, basketball’s on! Have a happy weekend.


I’m going to be heartbroken when the Farmer’s Market ends

September 7, 2008

I think I need to look into getting a winter greens share in our local CSA , if they’re still available, because I know I’m going to go through produce withdrawal starting in October. Sure, I can go to the grocery store and the local produce market, and I won’t have any problem with fruit, but lots of my favorite veggies are going to start looking pretty sad, soon. I need to go ahead and start stocking up on root vegetable recipes now.

We took advantage of local squash, zucchini, and peppers last night in this stir fry.

It was basically the same as this one, with yellow squash and no green beans or broccoli. I liked the colors of it, and I told Matt it was stoplight stir fry, which I thought was awesome and hilarious. He didn’t. But he really liked the meal. This is one of the few things he ever requests, because he loves tofu.

I went a little crazy with the soy sauce this time, so it was a little salty for my taste. I had a pretty small bowl this time, which was fine since I had a big lunch at 2:30, featuring lovely heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market and the best pear in the world:

It’s a yellow stripey tomato. I will miss those the most. Mmmm.

My hips are a little better, although who knows how long it will last since I’ll be spending my evening in some form of uncomfortable seating or another, watching a movie with my class. Luckily, I’m going out for Mexican beforehand, so at least I’ll have my shrimp fajitas to think back on, fondly.


Thirty minute meal

August 1, 2008

Matt called me at work just before 5 to ask what we were having for dinner and how long it would take so that he could decide whether or not to go to the food court at the mall (aka Picnic Place) to pick up some Chinese food to hold him over. I convinced him to wait with the promise of a 30 minute meal, and then I came home and put this together:

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • Garlic to taste
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 C green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 broccoli crown, trimmed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 huge zucchini, sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • 2 C mushrooms
  • Handful of rice noodles

Cooking instructions

  1. Press tofu under heavy pan for a few minutes
  2. Mix rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic together in a baking dish
  3. Cube tofu and place in baking dish with marinade
  4. Marinate for the length of time it takes to chop your veggies, or about 10 minutes, flipping once
  5. Heat a wok or large stir fry pan over medium (mine’s non-stick but you could heat with oil if needed)
  6. Reserve marinade and cook tofu for about 6 minutes, turning once. It should make a few popping sounds. Remove.
  7. Soak rice noodles in warm water.
  8. Add green beans and red bell peppers (or whatever your longest cooking veggies are). Cook for 3 minutes.
  9. Add zucchini and broccoli. Cook for 3 minutes.
  10. Add mushrooms. Cook for two minutes.
  11. Add tofu, rice noodles, and reserved marinade. Stir gently until well-mixed. Reduce heat to medium low for about 3 minutes.
  12. Enjoy.

Makes 4 servings if you’re me. Probably 2-3 if you’re Matt.

This was really simple, but it was probably one of my best stir fries ever. I credit the fantastic stir fry pan we got. Also, the cute bowls in which I served it, more great wedding gifts.  You could use any veggies or proteins here, really. I’m sure chicken or seafood would work well, I just wanted tofu.

Now I need to go deal with a few issues, including the fact that our laptop power cord is broken again and I really want to go buy pretty shiny things at Target.