Friday, April 18, 2014

on that bean curd life.

we are still without cooking gas. yes it's been a month and no i don't want to talk about it. it has hampered our eating style majorly. my desire to bake is almost painful at this point. while i don't think i have ever taken my kitchen and a home cooked meal for granted, not having a kitchen in the past month at least makes it quite clear to me what i'm missing. and it's tough, big time tough. while i truly hope it gets resolved soon, i also truly believe it won't. because big cities and big management companies and working permits are what make the fabric of this story. and that fabric is a really shitty polyester blend. anyways.
with only a hot plate at our disposal, we've had to be creative, especially in the protein department. a lot of eggs and, in this case, tofu (which i have always affectionately called, bean curd). while i realize tofu isn't for everyone (brian is still working on it), i really like the way it easily picks up flavors and seasonings while packing a lean protein punch. additionally, it's a great way to get protein without getting it from another animal. easily, very easily, one of my pet peeves is the trend to immediately and forever remove something from one's diet. i understand some do it for medical reasons (e.g. celiac disease), and i understand the re-setting of your body (looking at you whole30 peeps), but the boastful extreme dieter is my nemesis: "i cut out all sugar, i cut out all dairy, i no longer eat chicken, i cut out all gluten, i only drink my meals." if anything makes my middle finger rise faster than one of those statements, i have yet to find it. and the queen and king of all of these are vegans, usually because it is similar to a religion and they consider themselves evangelicals - it seems hard for them to grasp world views and ethics of others. but what seems to be missing from all of these is a general thoughtfulness about what we're eating, and it's something i think about a lot. it's led me to eat less meat - i find it extremely easy for to eat meat in two of my three meals, maybe all of them. and i don't think this is particularly healthy, good for my long-term health, natural, or great for the environment. so i try to watch myself on it (hence this recipe). but that's only scratching the surface. where do my coffee beans come from? who picked them? where does my produce grow? who manufactured the bag i carry my groceries in? where are my avocados from? is california's drought caused in part because of me? what are growing conditions like? what are workers treated like? when i see all the protests and biased articles and smugness of those i mentioned above i think - why stop there? why are you not thinking or caring about all of it? because at some point something becomes inconvenient for us. or exhausting. we can all only do so much. so i try to be thoughtful, rather than extreme, in all areas. i won't hold myself to extremes, and each day and each choice can be hard. and every week, in fact, every day i fuck up - i fuck up according to what it is i want my tiny little impact on our food chain to be. i don't think we need to live to extremes, but i do wish i felt like i had more people to talk to about general thoughts surrounding food, not extremists who want to judge me, make me live by their morals, or pretend that a sugar-free life leads to a far healthier life than moderation. and so, here we are. tofu. bean curd, if you will.
this recipe reminded me of why i love asian cuisine so much - so many different flavors all in one bite. the combination of spicy, sweet, and salty is a classic in this cuisine, and i really, really love it. i'm not someone who eats a lot of spicy food, but when it's combined with other flavor profiles it not only becomes tolerable, but something i crave. here we have sirarcha, mint, lime, soy sauce, garlic - great flavors combining into an awesome dish. to prep, be aware tofu can be a little tricky due it's moisture. i drained mine, soaked up extra moisture with paper towels by pressing on it on all sides, let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then soaked up some more moisture with paper towels before cutting it into cubes. the moisture in the tofu can make it stick to the pan, but i don't mind it getting a little shredded on it's way to my plate. when it's ready to go, cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown - it took ours a little longer because  hot plate! - and i used tongs to help me turn these puppies when the time game. 
cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown - it took ours a little longer because  hot plate! - and i used tongs to help me turn these puppies when the time game. before, or while they are cooking, combine the garlic, soy sauce, water, and sriracha in a cup. when the tofu is done searing, pour the sauce in, allowing it to heat up for 30 seconds. remove the pan from the stove when it's heated and mixed through, sprinkle with mint, squeeze a healthy dose of lime in it (i used half a lime), and you're ready to serve.
we paired it with brown rice, and it made enough for me to bring in leftovers the next.
filling, healthy, super tasty, and quick. a great weeknight meal to add to my repertoire, and maybe one day i can make it on a stove! a girl can dream, right?

3 comments:

  1. Oh mama I'm so sorry you're still without gas! Ugh I hope they figure it out soon, but it seems you've been doing well with the hot plate. But still. Praying for it to come back!

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    Replies
    1. thank you! brian said i sounded angry in the post haha - I think my lack of cooking gas is getting to me. I hope and pray it comes back soon, too!

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  2. I have never cooked with tofu before. I get what you mean about cutting meat out occasionally though. I will keep this recipe in mind if I ever take the bean curd plunge.

    Your gas situation is insane! Feel free to come to my apartment to get your baking fix! :)

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