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Archive for May, 2009

Tofu Scramble

Scrambled Tofu Goodness with Oven Fries and Spicy Sprouts

Scrambled Tofu Goodness with Oven Fries and Spicy Sprouts

Oh lord, four posts in and this blog is making me look vegetarian.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, it’s just that I really do eat so many more varied things than this but I am on a vegan/vegetarian kick right now.  I just spent the last couple of days making my own tofu and seitan (wheat meat) and so have kind of been trying to eat that before they go bad.

Not to mention that I have also recently gotten serious about my yoga. There was no paradigm shift or significant greater yearning for spirituality; I found a place to have (almost) free yoga and, ladies and gentlemen, there is no better motivation for me than a good deal.  Yoga to the People is a donation based yoga center in the East Village that practices Power Vinyasa Flow. It’s such a great, low-pressure environment with no judgement and the best part is that you give what you can.  On my unemployment budget, that is a blessing. Good karma to all at Yoga to the People.

Today, the Frenchman and I had brunch at home with a recipe from Post Punk Kitchen, Tofu Scramble concocted by the brilliant Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Veganomicon fame.  Living in Chinatown, we are literally only steps away from high quality tofu which is sold not by the brick but by the dollar. You go up to the lady behind the wooden table in her makeshift stall in what seems to be someone’s garage on Grand Street and ask for “a dollar’s worth of tofu, please”.  Or point yelling, “Tofu! Tofu!” while waving a dollar in the air. Whichever gets you understood.  They also have all forms of soy products including soymilk and the late-afternoon treat beloved to all Filipinos, taho: a soft, creamy, custardy tofu topped with dark caramel syrup and tapioca balls.

I encourage you to try this recipe, to which I added chopped tomatoes after sauteeing the onions, mushrooms and garlic.  Also, leave the salt out of the spice mix and add it later.  I found 1 teaspoon of salt to be much too much, even for normally bland tofu.  Salt to taste during the 15 mins that the flavors are melding in the pan.

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My first comment ever comes from new mom Julie who is begging pretty please for something mommy-easy and not requiring dangerous kitchen equipment.

In honor of my brand new blog and salad header, I’m going to write about that salad up there in the photo: Salade au Chevre Chaud.  This is not going to take very long at all.

First thing, make your vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together:

  • a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • a tablespoon of vinegar (red wine or apple cider..whatever you have on hand, it really doesn’t matter)

While whisking, pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream. Keep whisking until the sauce comes together, becoming opaque and creamy. At this point, salt and pepper to taste or add fresh herbs like tarragon, rosemary or thyme.

In a small pan over low heat, melt a teaspoon of good butter. To that, add a teaspoon of sesame seeds and a small handful of slivered nuts. You could use anything, but I prefer almonds.  Bring the heat up a little and toast the nuts and seeds in the butter, stirring constantly until it smells so good that people start to “casually” wander into the kitchen.  Bring off the heat and set aside.

Grab a nice crusty baguette and slice it 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick on the diagonal.  The thickness depends on how crunchy you want your toasts to be.

Take some fresh goat cheese and slice it into 1/2 in. rounds. I get my goat cheese from East Village cheese, temple of dairy goodness for people who worship at the altar of cheap.

Put a round of cheese on a slice of bread and stick it under the broiler until the cheese just starts to brown on the edges.

Working quickly now, take a bowl and put some dressing on the bottom.  Add your salad greens and drizzle a little more dressing over the top and toss it with your hands.  This way, the dressing is evenly distributed and you can tell just by touch if you need a little more dressing.

And now it all comes together: greens on the plate, toasted goat cheese on top of the greens and buttery brown sesame and nuts sprinkled across the top.  Maybe 15 minutes from start to finish, and hardly a knife in sight.

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chickfu salad

About two years ago, The Frenchman and I stumbled upon a Burmese restaurant on East 7th street, largely ignored middle sibling of Uber-cool East 8th/St Marks and Ethnic Wonderland East 6th.

If I had had a blog then, I would now be able to tell you what I had that night but alas, that information is lost to memory. All but for the deliciousness that is Fried Chickpea Tofu: golden-brown crispy triangles with creamy polenta-like insides.

I tried twice to recreate this discovery from a recipe on the web, each time ending up with irredeemable chickpea-flavored jello. But the other day, faced with 5 lbs of chickpea flour bought for an intended socca* orgy, I decided to try again..and this time success was mine.

I don’t know if success will be mine twice in a row, though, so leave me to try it again. If success is mine once more, then the secrets of Shan (Chickpea) Tofu will be here revealed.

After the success of the Chickfu, I knew I was going to deep-fry some golden triangles of goodness, but I needed to balance that out with some healthy. What could be more obvious than a great big salad?

The dressing here is a simplified Thai salad dressing, usually used for grilled steak and shrimp salads which can be an alternative for you until I push you on to Chickfu-making greatness. Thai cuisine places great importance on the balance of the sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Don’t be afraid of the fish sauce. It may seem strong coming out of the bottle, but the different elements of the dressing mellow it out and give you a nice tangy dressing with a kick!

Salad Dressing:

* 2 garlic cloves
* Pinch of salt
* 2 tablespoons fish sauce
* Juice of half a lemon
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* Half a red onion, chopped
* A squirt of sriracha (to taste)
* 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, mash the garlic with the salt. Add the cilantro, sriracha and sugar and moosh some more. Add the rest of the ingredients. Leave to let the flavors mingle while you prepare the fried chickfu.

chickfu cutDressing and Chickfu of Greatness

Cut the chickfu into half-inch slices, then diagonally into triangles. My chickfu had rectangular slices, so I cut them in half before cutting diagonally.

Bring a half-inch of peanut oil up to temp. You’ll know it’s ready for frying if, when you drag a wooden chopstick through the oil, little bubbles follow it around like tweens on the Jonas Brothers. I suppose a plastic chopstick would tell you the oil was hot enough too, but the chickfu won’t taste as good.

chickfu fryAh, the splatter of hot oil on kitchen tiles.

Fry until golden-brown (about 5-10 mins), flipping over once during the process. Lay on paper towels to drain.

Toss some mesclun salad with about a tablespoon of the dressing. Top with some slices of crispy chick-fu, then drizzle some dressing over the top. Enjoy. I did.

*Socca is a chickpea flour pancake traditionally from Nice. Variations of it can be found in other Mediterranean cities.

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Well, hello!

So I just spent the last 3 hours agonizing over my maiden post into food blogging. I wanted it to be serious, but funny. Specific, but eclectic. Incredibly witty, but jauntily casual. I spent almost as much time thinking of this post as thinking of the name of the blog which, as an aside, has regal beginnings in the brain of Princeton grad and Broadway star Molly Ephraim. Her intellectual machinations have led me to immediately drop a couple of quarters into the Princeton jar for the baby MFs.

This kind of angsting is what took me so long to put up a food blog in the first place. Finally, my boyfriend The Frenchman said, “Just put something up already!”

So…already.

I know what you’re thinking. Another food blog. That’s certainly what I think. But more than for you, this blog is really for me. A sort of diary of the things I make and eat everyday. I figure this will serve the following purposes:

  • To keep track of the meals I’ve made and whether I liked them. I’ve hardly ever made the same dish twice because there are so many delicious things out there waiting to be eaten!
  • To get my eat-out-every-night friends cooking. I figure that I can post pictures of dishes and wait for the inevitable “Oh, I wish I had been there!” to which I can reply, “Too late. Make it yourself.”
  • To keep me honest. Nothing says “You’ve had fried food three days in a row” than pictures and recipes of fried food three days in a row.

These recipes are going to come from everywhere..mostly of things that I crave. Like a dog with a pull-toy, once I get a craving in my head I won’t rest until it is mine and covered with drool. Much like people crave Japanese or Mexican cuisine, I get cravings for vegan cuisine so expect Seitan Stew next to Country Fried Steak. I really am not picky about what I eat. All I care about is that it’s MF’n Delicious.

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