Friday, September 5, 2008

We never order take-out

Not that I don't want to order take-out. Trust me. There are days when I'd really love nothing more than to sit back and just wait for dinner to arrive, piping hot. But since I really strive to provide my family with foods that are made with love and from scratch, I'm not willing to order take-out. Shoot, my one concession is that we only eat out 3-4 times a year at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant Awash. DH prefers to eat at home and I prefer to know exactly what is in the food we are eating. As health-conscious folks, it's imperative. So anyway, there's a dish that I've been making recently in the past weeks that is a *huge* hit with the family. Even little Z1 will wolf down General Tao's Tofu. It is so good and tastes exactly like Chinese take-out food. And it is really easy to make although somewhat time-consuming. If I want dinner on the table by 6:30, I generally start at 5:15 or so just to make sure I don't feel rushed. It has become our favorite dish to have on Tuesday (my DH's day off). We eat it over whole wheat pasta, soba noodles or brown rice (we like it over rice the best). I now add way more vegetables than the recipe calls for: green and red peppers, mushrooms, peas, etc. because I double the sauce which makes the dish really lends itself well to being a chock-full-of vegetables dish. Which is great if you an anti-veggie toddler. I also add sesame seeds and roasted cashews or peanuts. The tofu that I use for the dish has been frozen, defrosted and pressed.

Quick breakdown of how I prep tofu to be used in dishes. I like to use extra-firm tofu that's been frozen and defrosted. It gives the tofu an even firmer texture. I have some towels that are exclusively for tofu. I wrap a brick of tofu in the towel and place it on the sideboard of my sink. I put my heaviest pans on top of it (4 cast iron pans) and let it alone for about 20 minutes. I then unwrap the tofu and it usually very dry to the touch. I then cube it or cut into slices--basically cut it however I'd like it to be used for the dish.

In other news from my kitchen, I've perfected tempeh bacon. I use the basic recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance except that I add some onion powder, garlic powder, a little more sea salt, maple syrup and instead of apple cider, I use apple juice + apple cider vinegar. It comes out really well. Next time I make it, I will record the exact measurements and post the recipe here.

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