New and old

I’m in the hole two dinners now, so this post will cover both Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Maude’s Market recently started offering what is essentially a Vegaquarian share– it’s a vegetarian share that includes fish when the “meat” is fish. Last week was our first fish share, so on Wednesday, I made trout. I could not have put less thought the preparation, so the quality of the dish is a testament to the product.

I bucked my own  oven ban and decided to broil. While the oven was heating, I rubbed a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and lemon juice into the fish. The dijon was a whim– the fish didn’t need extra flavoring, I just had a hankering for some mustard.

To go with the fish, I steamed some red and yukon gold potatoes and a few ribbons of kale. Then browned the steamed vegetables in a skillet with onion and fresh banana pepper. I sprinkled some thyme over the mixture, and then realized that I sort of got my wires crossed in the conception of this meal, because the fish probably should have been seasoned with thyme, and the potatoes with dijon. This is what happens when we’re hungry and I am focusing on listening to the Cards game instead of cooking. It didn’t matter though. Somehow everything tasted really nice. We also had a simple arugula salad with tomatoes, avocado, and pepitas.

Fish and potatoes always make me nostalgic for the time I spent in Munich with Erica and Emma. Our first night there, we escaped the rain and found refuge at a beergarten. (Always a good option). We joined a crowd at a long wooden table and enjoyed Franziskaner beer, fish and potatoes, and watched one of the early World Cup matches…England v. somebody. The night gets credit for bringing red potatoes back into my life.

That was Wednesday. Thursday we had one of our staple meals– tofu and broccoli with peanut sauce–minus the tofu. (But I picked up my Mofu from Maude’s today, so watch for it in the next few days). This is a recipe we adapted from Veganyumyum, an awesome resource for Vegan recipes. On Veganyumyum, it’s called Soy-mirin tofu over rice, but it seems as though the recipe has been taken down. I’ll do my best to describe the process here, but beware my amounts, I’m not a good quantifier.

Also, this is one of those dishes that you can add anything too. I’ve probably made it 20 different ways, based on what’s in my fridge. The keys are the sauce and the ‘fu.

To start, I heat water for soba noodles. You can eat this dish with whatever grain you like, however, I think it tastes best with soba noodles. While the water is heating, I start sauteing onion (red or white) and garlic in a large wok. I’ll throw broccoli florets or whatever green vegetable I’m using in the wok as soon as the onions have softened. Broccoli takes a while to cook in a skillet.

Meanwhile, the ‘fu:

Press it using paper towels or a clean towel, squeezing out as much water as you can/have the patience for. Sometimes I leave something heavy on top of the tofu block to do some of the squeezing for me. The more moisture you squeeze out, the firmer you ‘fu will turn out.

Once you have it pressed, slice it up in whatever shape/size you prefer. I find that it’s easiest to do slabs of whatever thickness you like. That way, you don’t have to try to turn all the little cubes so all the sides get brown. I throw thin slabs in some oil on a hot skillet and let one side get golden brown, then I flip. Just two flippings necessary and you’re done.

So you’ll have two skillets going at once. Alternatively, you can do the ‘fu first, and then let it sit while you cook the vegetables in the same pan. Doesn’t matter. I actually usually let it sit, because letting it cool allows me to cut it into cubes before I serve it.

When your water boils, cook the soba noodles. They don’t take long, and you rinse them in cold water when they are cooked. Easy.

For the sauce, scoop a few spoonfuls of peanut butter (creamy works best but I use whatever I have) into a mixing bowl. Add some water, soy sauce or braggs aminos, rice vinegar, sriracha, lemon or lime juice, honey or sugar, and mix. Ok, amounts. I think the recipe calls for 1/4 cup peanut butter, but that’s a lot, so I usually just do 2 or 3 spoonfuls. I’ll thin that out with a couple tbsp of warm water, then add some braggs until the consistency is to my liking. A tablespoon or less of rice vinegar, probably, and throw in a bit of sesame oil too. That’s important. I usually squeeze a little honey into it, and then some citrus.

Slice up some carrots, and toss them into the veg mixture. When the vegetables are almost cooked, pour most of the sauce over them and coat. Whenever I have fresh cilantro, I throw a generous handful of chopped cilantro on top. Then add the cooked noodles and the ‘fu, add the rest of the sauce, stir, and eat!

‘Fu less, but not for long!
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