Tag Archives: Tofu

Purple Tofu Time

I realize it seems like I talk about tofu sticks a lot, but you see, statistically, one could argue that the apparent proportion of tofu stick mentions is artificially increased by a perception of a proliferation of tofu stick-based posts. So, now that you’re all convinced that it’s fine for me to write another tofu stick post, here goes.

Hot off my big success making root beer tofu, I ran out to Harris Teeter to get ingredients for cheerwine tofu. Once I made it there, I got ahold of myself. Was I really going to deliberately enter the situation I had decried just weeks earlier? Surely cheerwine is better than root beer. Is it, though? I distinctly remember thinking I was going to enjoy that root beer when I bought it. Once I’ve bought cheap soda specifically to make a recipe, I can no longer claim to be the clever DIY’er making the most of the unfortunate circumstance of having such stuff in the fridge. So I classed it up. I bought cheap wine.

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I specifically picked red wine in order to give the tofu some color, and color it it did.IMG_20170909_111439616.jpg

I also added sesame seeds, sesame oil, and soy sauce. I should have added more spices, because the sticks turned out a little bland this time. The most tragic part, though, was that the purple cooked away.

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Glossy black is a fine color for tofu sticks, especially dotted with the light sesame seeds, but it’s no vivid purple. Like always, though, in the end the sticks proved to be the convenient, filling snack that I can constantly change the marinade recipe for and safely keep outside a refrigerator for hours. Expect many more posts on this delightful class of dish.

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Immigration

I visited a Chinese restaurant with Alice and a friend of mine the other day. This is the restaurant that serves the stinky tofu, for fans of the original Sam’s Blog. I ordered it again, not with the intention of eating it myself, but of feeding it to Alice and seeing her reaction, which, unfortunately, turned out to be disappointing. What’s more the tofu made the whole table smell like horse manure and even when I wasn’t eating it threatened to ruin my meal. Nevertheless, I gritted my teeth and attempted to distract myself with the otherwise excellent food and conversation.

The conversation was, as it turned out, the most interesting part.  My friend, an immigrant from China, told me that she was against the DREAM act because she thought that we should be trying to help the countries the people were fleeing be better places to live instead. Certainly that does seem like a better long-term solution than just having everyone in countries with problems move to the United States, but of course it doesn’t seem particularly applicable in the short term.

My friend mentioned that she, who had come to the United States legally, was not a citizen, while the undocumented immigrants covered in the dream act would become citizens. She mentioned how her work visa renewal got in late and due to this bureaucratic mix-up she cannot get a driver’s license for possibly as many as three months. We had to pick her up to take her to the restaurant.

She went on to describe how China actually has immigration restrictions within its borders. In order to leave the province of your birth, you have to have sponsorship from an employer, for instance. China does this because it is so crowded that population centers like Beijing could not possibly sustain the number of people that would go there if they had free reign to do so, she said.

This raises the question – if everyone who wanted to live in America could just go and live there, what kind of a nation would we have? Could the famous breadbasket of the world support perhaps, let’s conservatively estimate, two billion people? I am fully in favor of housing refugees when their own countries have troubles, but the notion that we should just invite everyone to come live in our country indefinitely may be dangerous. Then again, keeping them out seems selfish and cruel, and making all of those countries great places to live is a tall order. Not to mention, we still haven’t figured out how to help all the people that already are here!  Once again the right thing to do is difficult to determine.

 

Marinated Tofu

Here’s a picture of the various ingredients that went into my marinated tofu.IMG_20140706_211431404

Unfortunately, I was unable to find in Maine the extra-firm dry-packaged tofu I wanted, so I had to use water-packaged tofu instead.

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Then I pressed it and soaked it and made several flavors.

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From the top left and continuing left-to-right and top-to-bottom:

  1. General Tso’s donated by my aunt Rebecca.
  2. A1 barbecue sauce
  3. Miso ginger lemon
  4. Teriyaki sauce
  5. Pink Moscato Wine
  6. Bangkok spicy peanut sauce
  7. Bangkok spicy peanut sauce with olive oil
  8. Olive oil and something
  9. Olive oil and sesame ginger sauce
  10. Mustard and lemon
  11. Sweet and sour sauce and lemon

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Now they have soaked and I am baking them. Here is the first batch laid out on the pans. These are baking as I type. Here they are partly baked.

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As of this morning, a taste test of lemon-mustard has proved successful. My aunt Kate, my sister and my parents seemed to like it. Alice and I liked it, too. There was another one that only Alice and I tried that seemed to be egg flavored. I don’t recall making any egg-marinades…

The final product took two gigantic plates to display.

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Folks liked the tofu all right, but it seemed like opinions were divided along liking tofu lines. This tofu unfortunately was unable to break the tofu barrier. If we had been able to find the dry-packaged tofu it may have been different, or it may not have. Our pre-packaged sauces didn’t all seem to take like we would have liked, so maybe making our own sauces would have worked better. In any case, I will try and have another tofu-based feast sometime in the future when I have all the proper materials and see if I can win some converts

The Video Game Fast

This Smelter Demon guy is a real jerk.

So, I was playing a bit too much Dark Souls II the past few days. Eventually I decided that things had gone too far and I told my girlfriend Alice that I would play no video games for a week. I had tried this many times before, but this time I had an external entity to keep me honest. I asked Alice to ask me every day she saw me if I had played any video games since the last time she’d asked. If I had, she should be ashamed of me. Alice, as only Alice would, decided she would take it one step further and be publicly ashamed of me, explaining in detail to everyone we jointly knew how I had set myself what a normal human being would see as a simple goal and failed miserably. Then she suggested she could cook me a whole chicken if I succeeded, but I declined, finding the threat sufficiently motivating.

I started my video game fast late Friday afternoon, so I’ve been clean two days. It’s gotten markedly easier since yesterday, when it seemed I could think about almost nothing but enchanting my blacksteel katana with poison to get through the Smelter Demon’s heavy armor. In the meantime I’ve made significant progress on my work and done a lot of cooking and exercise with Alice.  Yesterday we made another kale salad with miso tofu dressing, which we took to a potluck with Alice’s covenant group through the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Today, though, we had a particularly exciting lunch.

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“What is that?” You may ask.
Believe it or not, that is a slice of tofu. We’ve prepared it as “Tofu Steak.” It was one of the multiple items piled onto our dish today. I cooked this tofu in a miso and ginger marinade while Alice fried some radishes. Between us we had only one stainless steel spatula, and we were neither of us interested in using the plastic one, so we passed the instrument between us in a sort of frenzied dance, each trying not to let our own dish burn. I repeatedly added too much oil to my dish, which reacted violently with the water in the tofu,  treating us to a relatively constant boiling hot spray as we worked. At one point Nate came in and asked me to pick up a plate for him,  since I was standing in the way of the cabinet, which I did with one hand while flipping the tofu with another, carefully maneuvering my chest to keep my apron pointed towards the stove to protect me from the brunt of the boiling oil spray. My neighbor knocked on my back door and said he wanted me to meet somebody, and I chatted with him for a few minutes until he asked me about the thick fog of smoke billowing from my kitchen.

Somehow despite all the wacky hijinks, we managed to make a plate stacked high with delicious food.

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Then we went out to Lake Johnson, which baffles me in that I haven’t been kayaking on it the whole three years I’ve been here in Raleigh. For $10 we rented two kayaks and explored the various coves, dams, and bridges for an hour that seemed simultaneously to go on forever and end too soon. Not pictured here are a seemingly unlimited supply of puppies that crowded the shoreline and dock.IMG_20140518_160539320[1]

In short, it wasn’t nearly so hard to maintain my fast today, although I do look forward to giving that demon what’s coming to him next Saturday.