Not only was I successful this week in actually cooking an entire meal by myself, but I even managed to astound two devoted meat eaters (and by that I mean that they do not eat tofu, seitan, tempeh, or many vegetables) with my tofu veggies couscous. They ate their veggies, and asked for seconds! Stove tops, seasonings, and the burning points of oils usually escape me. I am baker. I use a formula or come up with my own formula that has rules and results that I understand. Cooking on the other hand is far too much guesswork for me, and by that I mean that I am totally not creative enough for all that. On Sunday evening I was at my dear friends T’s house, my usual haunt. We had just walked home from an afternoon spent playing exhausting games of volleyball at the local gay bar, which is how every post brunch sunday should be spent, and we needed food. Stat. Though I often treat the residents of T’s house with some of my baked specialties (stolen-banana Banana Bread, Five-finger discount Apple Crsip, and Sinfully Swirl Cupcakes) I wanted to feed these friends who oblige to have me over every night and never hesitate to share the Three Buck Chuck, so I vowed to cook dinner. T had prepressed and drained tofu in the fridge, baby ‘bellas and canned tomatoes. (we desperately need to make a TJ’s trip). I proved to be both innovative and resourceful. I squeezed the juice from the can of tomtoes and used that to cook couscous. I marinated the tofu in the leftover juice with some tarragon and, of course, cayenne pepper. I panfried the tofu with absolutely delicious sesame oil, and stirred in mushrooms, onions and garlic. When the couscous was light and fluffy and folded in tomatoes and more tarragon ( T’s garden is plentiful with tarragon).
Since moving to Richmond I’ve learned a few lessons about making friends and delicious foods, they go hand in hand. First, make friends with people who have a front porch, preferably one with a grill. Second, make friends with people who grow vegetables in their back yard. Third, premature warm weather leads to an interesting mix of winter vegetables and spring cookouts. When you combine all these things it leads to a delicious social event. Last night I sat on the front porch of my friend’s house studying for my Intergovernmental Relations exam while Butternut Squash, Asparagus, spicy Tempeh and beef sirloin tips roasted on the grill. There’s nothing better than spending the day studying and rewarding yourself with a glass of wine and grilled vegetables. Who knew that college could be so delicious? Also, I hadn’t realized how versatile a grill can be. I haven’t met a meal that’s been marinated and cooked over coals that isn’t absolutely delicious! I am mouthwateringly anticipating the growth of my friends garden, in which he’s growing bell peppers, watermelon, tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, strawberries and herbs! You must join us for stuffed peppers and my next adventure, gazpacho!!
Cheers to the love of food and sisterhood,
Last night I made my slowly becoming Infamous Eggplant Stacks for my mother’s birthday dinner. It wasn’t my best eggplant stack. I made the sauce from freshly picked tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market and it was delicious but I quickly ran out. It boiled down so much that I should have used the rest of the tomatoes. That’s one of my biggest problems as a cook, sometimes I overestimate how much food will be made. I’d rather have the opposite problem.
I failed at soup on Monday. This should really be in the Failblog but I don’t think they accept food submissions. I had it for lunch on Wednesday after forgetting it in favor of leftover pizza at work on Tuesday. Three bites is all I managed.
The problem with the soup is that I wasn’t thinking about flavors when I tossed vegetables in the crockpot. I had a bunch of vegetables to be used, and so I thought this would be a perfect way. My minestrone, a soup made up with whatever is around, is usually excellent. I went wrong when I added the beets though. So, so wrong. Not only did they turn the top layer of the vegetables an inky black in the crockpot but they added a sweetness to the broth that couldn’t be ignored. And vegetable soup shouldn’t be sweet. Meaty and rich, yes. Sweet and black, no.
Lesson learned. Now I have a pot of soup to add to the fail column. And all I was trying to do was be economical in my kitchen by not tossing things out.