Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two Days in a Row: Successful Food!

SO...supper was really yummy tonight. It was also ever so easy.  When I use the word "tofu" you will probably turn up your nose.  I know I used to do that, too.  That white slimy, pasty, tasteless bean curd really turned my mental stomach.  But that was then; this is now!

The name I am giving supper is:  Crispy Spicy Asian Sauced Tofu in a Rice Bowl.

Start by taking a 14-16 ounce block of firm or extra firm tofu and drain well.  Place tofu block on a plate that is covered with 4-6 layers of paper towels.  Put more paper towels on top of the tofu then put a plate or pie tin or some other flat dish on top and place a heavy can (28-ounce or so) on top. Let  press for at least 30 minutes. 

For the rice:
Put 1 Tablespoon coconut oil in a heavy saucepan to melt.  Add one cup long grain brown rice and stir well.  Break one ounce (or however much you want) of vermicelli or angel hair pasta into  one-inch pieces and add to the long grain rice.  Stir well and cook over medium heat until pasta is lightly browned and rice is sort of cooked-looking, but not more than five minutes tops.

Add 3 cups vegetable or chicken or beef broth. Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling turn heat down to low and put cover on. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

While rice/pasta is cooking prepare the magic ingredients!  Have on hand a bottle of Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken from your local Asian market.  To 3/4 cup of the Sweet Chili Sauce add 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos and 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil.  Stir well and set aside.  (You can lick the spoon to have a little preview of coming attractions; being careful not to lick out the whole bowl at this point....!)

Now for the crispy tofu:

Start a heavy skillet (I used a 12-inch cast-iron frying pan) heating over medium heat with 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil.  While the oil is heating to the shimmering stage, dice your pressed tofu into actual dice-sized pieces or whatever size suits your fancy and place in a large flat pan. I used a 10 inch by 3 inch cake pan.  Put the tofu dice in the pan and sprinkle with a little coarse kosher salt.  Shake pan to distribute the salt. After two minutes toss 2 Tablespoons corn starch over the tofu dice and  shake the pan to completely cover the tofu in the cornstarch.  Add 2 more Tablespoons cornstarch and shake again.  All the cornstarch should attach to the tofu dice.  Put the coated tofu carefully into the frying pan and start it "crisping".   Let is fry WITHOUT TOUCHING AGAIN for 6 minutes, being sure that the pan is on medium not HIGH heat.

At the end of the first cooking time the bottoms should be browned and the tofu should move rather than be stuck to the bottom of the skillet.  Turn the tofu over and cook for 6 more minutes.  Gently break up the browned tofu dice then pour the Sweet Chili/Soy/Sesame sauce over it right in the frying pan.  Stir well to coat the tofu. 

Place a serving of the rice/pasta into a bowl.  Spoon on some sauced tofu and garnish with a little sliced scallion.  Really yummy.  Easy to consume too much...

AND  the reviews are stellar, if you can believe it!  We will be eating this again.  The magic sauce is pictured below:



Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Food Adventure...

While at the local recycling center (a place I LOVE to go....though it is always a bust when I come home with more than I have dropped off....) some months ago I found a book called The Book of Children's Food by Lorna Rhodes which was published in 1992.  Finally last week on a lazy day I pulled out the book and began perusing the recipes.  Several of them looked really fun and yummy.  Due to vegetarian issues, lots of them will only have a chance if we are contributing to a potluck for which I don't mind making two dishes. I really think I will try the baked fish fingers for the grandkids who LOVE it when I bring them fried fish.  Theoretically this will be healthier...

Anyway, recently I purchased a bag of Bob's Red Mill Bulgur and had not broken into it.  After church I decided to do so.  There is a recipe in Children's Foods called Spicy Vegetable Bulgur. I thought we had all the ingredients so I made it while Dear One napped.  Upon querying me about the meal he thought it sounded iffy.  Not to me, so I persevered....

When he woke up from his nap there was a nice bowl (I prefer serving just about everything in a bowl rather than a plate) of Spicy Vegetable Bulgar waiting. He did eat a few bites then put the frozen pizza he had been wanting to eat into the oven...so we were both happy.

To see the actual recipe, go to Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An End and a Beginning...

My brother did not recover.  His last days were difficult for him and for the family.   He appreciated being in his own home.  Hospice is a valuable service.  Family members were able to surround him as he quietly slipped away.  It was so hard to watch my beautiful little brother but so sweet to hold his hand and feel his love.  He did not speak for a day or two before he passed the veil but he understood and his eyes spoke volumes of love.

Now it is time to move forward, letting grief soften.  Knowing all my brothers, and our parents,  will be waiting to welcome me home to heaven some day is a very sweet hope.


A friend contributed the cherry lumber and several friends and family members made this gorgeous casket for Billy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Preparing for Death...

This time let us talk about death as it relates to real people, people that you dearly love.

My baby brother turned 55 years old in March.  The next day he was in the emergency room and then the hospital for two weeks where they discovered he was afflicted with a glioblastoma.  Much of it was removed but not all. 

After weeks of radiation and chemotherapy he had another MRI test which the medical personnel compared with the first MRI test.  The tumor had gone from 3 inches across to less than the size of his little fingernail.  He had always been very optimistic during all the hospital days of waiting for surgery and recovering from surgery.  This news was very good.

Fast forward to this week in July.  He had terrible headaches for three days and finally went to the emergency room again.  After two days of testing they discovered the glio cells had moved to his spine.  Medical personnel say he has no chance at all of recovery and that he may have a few weeks or perhaps months but there is no chance.

How do you prepare to say goodbye to one you have loved for 55 years?  How do you support his wife and children?  What can you do at all to help?  Can you keep on doing the regular activities of daily life?  Will trying to be normal help?

I don't know. 

I do know that I shall continue spending time with him.  I will spend time praying.  I will try not to cry.  At least not in his presence.  Probably a vain hope...

I love you little brother.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Today: Berry Parfaits

Yesterday was the birthday of Child #5.  Life got in the way and there was no birthday cake. It turns out Child #5 does not likes sweets very much so the missing cake was no problem.  In fact,  Child #5 was missing, too!  Other fish to fry.

So...today I made a new thing:  Berry Parfaits.  They look sort of nice, at least they looked nice in the recipe advertising photography.  Mine are significantly less attractive.



This is how you make them:

Soften 8 ounces cream cheese.  Thaw one 8 ounce carton of Cool Whip (though I believe real whipped cream would be better.) 

In a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment on your mixer, thoroughly cream the cream cheese until light.  Gradually add in 1 1/2 cups of cold milk.  When that is smooth, and it will take a LONG time to smoothen out, pour in a 3-4 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding and continue beating until thickened.  Fold in one cup of the thawed Cool Whip.

In the meantime, coarsely chop 24 vanilla wafers, and assemble your favorite berries. I used blueberries and raspberries since it is the season for those delicious summer fruits.  I have seen peaches, nectarines, mangoes, and other sliced fruits.  We just missed strawberry season or I would have used some of them, too.

In nice parfait glasses, layer the fluffy pudding with the cookie crumbs and fruits to make it as pretty as you want.  This is supposed to make 8 parfait glasses.  We do not have parfait glasses so I used our 16-ounce tumblers.  This filled 3 of them.  Way too full.

 I was tempted to use our 8-ounce glasses but did not in the interests of just getting the job done.  Probably that was a bad idea.  I know that I cannot possibly eat that much.  Maybe Dear One will eat my leftovers....


Monday, July 21, 2014

Knitting Today: Three Scarves, Two Done One On The Needles!

When Dear One and I were at Michaels on a day when I was in need of some size 10 1/2 bamboo needles, I came across a sale bin of yarn.  I simply CANNOT resist looking at sale bins of yarn, even though I have no need of even one more centimeter of yarn.  On this day there were three skeins of some odd-looking, but ever so soft pompom sort of yarn.

Since they were on a VERY GOOD sale, I did not resist the urge to purchase them.  Since a little granddaughter is coming to visit I thought these would make a nice scarf for her.  Well, three nice scarves, SO the granddaughter who is coming to visit and her sister who is staying home, and the local granddaughter will receive these soft pouffy-looking scarves soon.  I will have to think of some other scarves to make for the remaining granddaughters, I think!

Here they are:


I hope they appeal to the recipients!

 Two of the balls had plain white bands of paper wrapped around them in the sale bin.  The ball band which actually came with the other skein of yarn was tossed before I thought of writing this post so I do not really know the yarn brand.

UPDATE:  It turns out that the yarn was Red Heart Pomp-a-Doodle but it seems to have been discontinued...which would explain the sale bin yarn!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gardening Today: Garlic Update!

The garlic we planted back in October is coming along beautifully!  It is so exciting to watch it grow. I am getting edgy to yank it (gently, of course!) out of the ground and give a taste.

Here is a photo from last week:





Notice how the garlic scapes have come up with a lovely hook?  The blossoms still are inside.  At least, in my ignorance, I think there are blossoms in that kind of triangular bump towards the top of the scape.

Now we have a picture of the garlic THIS week!  Notice we are moving ever closer to harvest.  (I understand that when the scapes stand straight up then it is time to harvest, though son 3 mentioned we need to see the bottom five leaves turn brown.  You can see that is beginning to happen....)


It will be wonderful to see blossoms on the tops of those stems.

In other gardening news, the sugar snap peas that survived the woodchuck have about 10 pods coming along.  These are our first ever sugar snap peas.





Our zucchini plant has some itty bitty zukes which I am trying to look at but not touch!  I would love them to get up to 5 or 6 inches before I harvest.



We have a volunteer from last year's garden which I think is cilantro, but am not sure.  Can anyone out there recognize it?  Thanks!