Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A use-up yet surprisingly coordinated meal.

I am a notorious hoarder of purchased food items. Some people hate grocery shopping. I love it, and have this strange compulsion to buy things without checking first to see if I already have the item in our already bursting pantry/fridge/freezer. I've learned to plan menus (and shop accordingly) so as to minimize the storage of items like three kinds of lentils, two kinds of bread crumbs, ten cans of beans etc.

But, I view this trait as a good thing, as it is a very rare night that I cannot go to our pantry and concoct a meal. Now, that's not to say that I won't pretend otherwise when I'm wanting to order takeout or go out to eat, but the fact remains that we could eat well for several weeks without stepping foot into a grocery store. That's evolutionary progress right in our own kitchen!

Tonight's meal was using up various odds and ends that needed to be cooked before they went bad. Like, the green beans I bought at the market last Tuesday. And the bok choy I bought to make M. something brothy (as he requested in the comment section of Tales from the Farmer's Market, Part 1). But, most importantly, my hoarding tendencies came into play because I was able to decide to make a favorite tofu preparation, have all the ingredients and be ready to make the recipe within minutes. I had the tofu, and the sauce fixings, and no trip to the grocery store was necessary.

This is one of my all-time favorite tofu preparations. It is even better when allowed to marinate for a few hours before baking. I didn't have time for that today, but it does make an already great recipe even better. It is great alone, or topping noodles with a simple veggie stir-fry. It would be a great recipe to try on alleged tofu-haters...

Sweet Ginger Tofu

The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen - Peter Berley

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (I don't think we've ever gotten six servings out of this delicious tofu!)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 Tbs minced gingerroot
2 Tbs light sesame oil -- (note: I only use 1 Tbs)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pound firm tofu -- rinsed, patted dry, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

Preheat the oven to 350F In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, honey, ginger, oil, and garlic. Lay the tofu slices in a baking dish that can hold them in a single snug layer. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the tofu is nearly dry and well browned. Serve hot or cold.

I also made the braised bok choy with garlic scapes recipe featured on Pie in the Sky
. Thanks again to Caroline who posted a reminder about this recipe on my Tales from the Farmer's Market post - it was delicious.

Braised Bok Choy with Garlic Scapes

Courtesy of Kate at A Pie in the Sky


2 heads bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise and washed

1 cup vegetable stock

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic scapes, diced

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Pinch of cracked red pepper

Salt to taste
Toasted sesame seeds (available in Chinese markets and many supermarkets) I omitted these

Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add scapes and stir-fry to soften, about 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Arrange bok choy in pan and cover, simmering for about five minutes or until tender.

Transfer bok choy to serving dish and cover to keep warm. Bring remaining
broth and scapes to a boil and reduce to 1/2 cup or less. Stir in sesame oil and pepper; salt to taste. Pour over bok choy and sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve hot.
Serves 2.

And lastly, I created my own green bean recipe this evening that turned out to be surprisingly tasty. But unfortunately, I didn't really take many measurements. But to the best of my memory, here goes ...

Mirin-Soy Glazed Green Beans

2 cups of green beans
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Sprinkle of hot pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste

Wash and trim the green beans, discarding stems. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray, turn on heat to High and add green beans. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add vegetable stock and turn down to medium. Cook green beans for approximately 2 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add mirin, soy, hot pepper, sesame oil, salt and black pepper and stir. Adjust heat to medium high, and reduce sauce with frequent stirring of the beans. When most of the sauce has reduced, and green beans are tender (even wilted) and coated with glaze (to taste) then remove from heat and serve.

This was the whole meal, but you can see the beans in the upper left hand corner. I didn't think they warranted their own picture, until I tasted them.

All this cooking wore poor Helios out! Hang in there little man, the kitchen is closed for today.

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kickpleat said...

yum, that tofu looks amazing!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, so happy that I was able to help with the recipe search!! Your recipes and photos look fabulous -- I can't wait to try a few myself!!


moodymommy said...

What did I do wrong? I followed the recipe, yet after over an hour and a half, the liquid did not cook out. I dumped some of it and we still had to eat it before it was dry. It tasted great, but the texture was mushy.

Helios said...

Moody Mommy

Sorry about that! I just rechecked the recipe, and there's 2 tablespoons of honey called for in the ingredients. I don't even think I used it which is probably why my batch had trouble crisping as well. I will edit to make the change.

I hope you'll try it again as it is a favorite recipe of mine.

Thanks for visiting. :)