Yes. I said tofu. I know, I know. I have had many tofu misadventures. I tried the old press and marinate. I’ve tried to use the little cubes in salad. I swore tofu off as my mortal enemy. My boyfriend’s lovely vegan sister, Meridith, changed my tofu hating ways forever with one delicious stir fry. The secret really is in the press. Since, most of us non-vegans don’t own a tofu press (we bought one for Meridith and she swears it is amazing) there is a tofu brand out there that is seriously superior and delicious, more on that later.
Full disclosure, I am on a diet. Not the best time to start writing for a food blog, I know. I have never been a “dieter” but months of baking and not working out have finally caught up with me. Turns out I can’t get away with things I could when I was 18. Go figure. This diet means no sugar, little oil (basically none), lots of veggies, lots of fruit, lots of protein, and NO. DAIRY. If you knew me, the girl who was spending 20 dollars a week on cheese while paying her way through college, you’d know that this is insane. I love cheese. All kinds of cheese. I would eat cheese for every meal. I have had some seriously manic moments which include fantasizing about making a quesadilla whilst furiously shoveling alfalfa sprouts into my mouth, and looking at a chocolate cake recipe and realizing I have all the ingredients to make it and could probably eat the whole thing before anyone would know that said cake existed. Despite those few, crazy person moments this dietary change has been pretty easy-going thus far. I don’t miss the dairy like I thought I would. It’s a good thing I love vegetables. I’ve been eating more tofu because I have to eat lean meats and I’m sort of getting sick of chicken. I only eat fish once a week –damn mercury– and I’ve been trying to cut out my precious red meat –mmmm steak– for a while, naturally tofu was the next step in supplementing protein.
Enough about that, let us look at some food!
Onions, Mushrooms, SPROUTS!, Tofu, Broccoli, Carrots, and watermelon radishes.
This was my lunch today before it met its soy saucey fate in my cast iron skillet. It’s a pretty quick, easy, and delicious meal. I usually choose whatever vegetables I have around that go well together. These are the usual suspects: sweet onions, cremini mushrooms, alfalfa and dill sprouts (added at the end), broccoli, carrots and watermelon radishes. The trick is to put the tofu in first, usually with some oil or soy sauce, to let it get some color and crisp up a bit. I use Soy Boy tofu, it’s SUPER firm and delicious. I like tofu lin the best but their smoked flavor is pretty tasty as well. I cooked the smoked tofu up like bacon once, I mean it didn’t taste like bacon, but it was delicious. ANYWAY, once you let the tofu get some color add the rest of the veggies and soy sauce and let that work over med-med low heat.
Today I realized halfway through cooking that I have fresh ginger! DUH! Ginger is another former sworn enemy that I seriously love now. Maybe my taste buds are changing? Anyway I made a quick dice any and threw those guys in there.
Isn't that ceramic knife sexy? I hope it doesn't claim a finger tip someday!
This is also a good look at the label of the tofu I speak of. I swear they aren’t paying me (I’m looking at you Soy Boy). It really is the best tofu I’ve had. So here’s the finished product.
Top with sprouts and you're good to go.
So since this is my first post I should complete the fun little survey the other gals completed. Sound good? Good.
1. My Favorite things to make are: Mostly baked goods and canned goods. I, too, made my own sourdough starter in the Fall of 2010. I like making pasta, sauces, desserts, pastries. Everything really.
2. My go-to recipes are found: I don’t typically follow a recipe to the letter (unless I’m canning or baking). My MO is usually to look at three or four recipes and make some franken-recipe. But my go to sources are usually Joy the Baker, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart, Lidia Bastianich, Alton Brown, Thomas Keller and Michael Symon.
3. I would never use a recipe from: This is tough, I REALLY want to say Rachel Ray because most of her recipes are ‘meh’ but I have to tell you her Penne alla Vodka recipe is pretty good. So, hmmmm, OH who’s that semi homemade lady? Sandra Lee? First Girlfriend of New York? Yeah that lady. No, thanks.
4. What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? I love, love, love my south-facing window. It has allowed me to keep fresh herbs through the winter. My oregano finally bit it but my basil and my Italian parsley are still going strong.
Oh hai! It's January and we're still alive!
5. What is your least favorite thing about you kitchen? I hate my oven/stove. It’s electric. Mama wants gas. It’s older than Dan (27). It’s an ugly beige. It’s matches the fridge. I not-so-secretly dream of owning a vintage gas stove. Dan and I were looking at a house ( built in 1900) that’s for sale and there was a GEM, I’m talking 1940s gas range, in the basement next to an old porcelain sink. The old woman who lived there before (RIP) canned in the basement. There is also a root cellar in said basement. I want this house. I digress.
6. What is your proudest moment in your recent culinary history? This is tough. Do I have to pick one? Top three? Okay. Last summer, Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Dough recipe. Do it. Seriously. Go look it up. Now. If I meet Peter Reinhart I will kiss him on the lips. With tongue. SO. GOOD.
Right before Christmas I was trying to think of a vegan friendly Christmas treat to send home with Dan. It hit me, orangettes. AKA chocolate covered candied orange peels. It was time-consuming but SO worth it. They were DELICIOUS.
One word. Gnocchi. The end.
7. What is the biggest upset in your recent culinary history? Homemade whole wheat bread. I didn’t know you needed vital wheat gluten. Even with the wheat gluten I haven’t quite mastered this yet.
8. What is your favorite item in your kitchen? My wonderful Aunt Gail GAVE me her BRAND NEW Kitchen Aid Pro Series Stand mixer this summer. I almost died. It’s fancy. It’s nice. It makes my life easier and less messy. I also love my Le Cruset silicone balloon whisk (which was my mixer before my kitchen aid–ha ha), my silpat, ceramic knives, and my baking stone.
9. What is the oldest item in your kitchen? Hard to say. If I had to guess I’d say my vintage glass lidded canning jars.
10. What is the newest item in your kitchen? Oh man, Dan got me a set of ceramic knives for Christmas. They are SO, so nice. I’m going to lose a finger though. I know it.
My fantastic mother also bough me a dough knife. Thanks, Ma!
11. What is your favorite thing about cooking? I don’t know. I just LOVE it. I feel good. It feels like alchemy. Creating things feels great. It’s even better when other people enjoy the fruits of my labor. I hate cleaning up after though. Seriously, who can I get to clean up after I cook?
Sorry this is so long! Until next time.