Glad you’re all enjoying the staycation recap! Even Mom deigned to read the post and tell me she enjoyed it. (I’m just kidding, Mom. I know you read my blog. Sometimes.)
Hard to believe that two days “off” (quotation marks indicate silly amounts of work completed whilst staycationing) have already flown by. Work aside, they were sleepy days, punctuated by very little but food and books and movies. Which is sort of how Mom and I like things. Some of our meals (like Thursday night’s dinner, which I’ll post the recipe to later this week) were epic, and others were as simple as this:
Those are HLTs: Hummus, lettuce and tomato on French Meadow wheat+flax bread (Mom likes this better than ‘zeke — I do not concur!).
For Friday morning brunch, I’d had it in mind to make my Mom one of the most quintessential vegan dishes out there: scrambled tofu (that link is to the PPK’s now classic recipe). Even if you’ve only dabbled in veganism or vegetarianism, there is a very good chance that you’ve stumbled on a scrambled ‘fu recipe, and maybe even tried it for yourself. If you’ve been vegetarian for a long time–for instance, like my friend Caroline–then there’s an equally good chance that you’ve become a zen master in scrambled tofu making.
A zen master I am not; I do eat soy (always organic and non-GMO), but I don’t eat tonsof it, and when I do it’s typically in the form of tempeh. However, I do like a good tofu scramble or tofu ricotta dish every now and then, and I was especially excited to share tofu scramble with my Mom, who eats scrambled egg whites on a whole wheat (whole grains! go Mom!) English muffin almost every single day for lunch/brunch. That my mother has a horror of tofu — a fear that borders on legit food xenophobia — was all the more reason to show her that tofu can be mighty tasty if you do the right stuff with it.
Tofu is never tasty, however, if you don’t press it. If you speak to someone who’s had a traumatic tofu experience, there’s about a 99% chance that he or she tore a block of firm tofu from the package, cut it up, dumped it onto a salad, and then wondered why it tasted like crap. The answer is 1) tofu is pretty dang boring if you don’t do something to flavor it, and 2) tofu is nasty unless you press some of the moisture out of it, which is why the Tofu Xpress was invented, my friends. That said, you do not need a tofu press to get the moisture out efficiently. All you need are two plates and a heavy book. Observe.
You layer the tofu between two plates, and then you make your poor mother extremely uncomfortable by placing one of her heavy and expensive art books on top of the top plate, to press the tofu down:
Leave it in the fridge while you’re at work or overnight, and by the time you return to it the tofu should be thinner and denser than it was before.
Now you’re ready to slice it and sear it, to bake it with a marinade, to put it in a tasty stir fry dish, or to make your tofu scramble.
There are about 103,485 tofu scramble recipes floating around the internet, and I’m guessing that most of them are good. I also highly recommend the original recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and Lindsay’s low fat rendition. The recipe that follows is my own hybrid of the many recipes I tried as I was transitioning into veganism, and it’s the one I like best.
Tofu Scramble (serves 2)
1/2 block extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 4 hours
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, halved and chopped
1-2 tsps Bragg’s or nama shoyu
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1) Spray a cooking pan with coconut or olive oil cooking spray, and cook the carrots and peppers over medium-high heat until they’re soft.
4) This is important–add spinach last! In my first attempts at tofu scramble I always, always added spinach first, and the result was that it was wilted down to nothing by the time I was done adding and seasoning the tofu. Gross. My new trick is to add spinach last, cover the pan for a few moments to let it wilt down:
In the end, your scramble will look just like this:
And if you serve it up with some toast, your egg white loving Mom might actually try tofu for the first time, nod thoughtfully, and say, “not bad.”
She might even nibble at the dish trepidatiously for a few minutes before gobbling the whole thing down. And she might just tell you that if she had the dish around at lunchtime every day, she’d choose it over eggs.
Mission accomplished. Next mission: make Mom warm up to nori. I’ll let you all contemplate that one and offer some suggestions, because so far sushi rolls haven’t done the trick. Hmmm.
Before staycation was over, I had a wonderful opportunity to meet a new member of the fam:
This is Chloe.
You guys know that I am very much an only child, but what you might not know is that I have seven honorary stepsiblings. These are the children of my parents’ significant others, and I care about them all immensely. (I also have a gaggle of real ex-stepsiblings, but that’s a story for another time.) Jennifer is my Mom’s boyfriend’s daughter, and she recently had a very adorable baby, whom I met on Friday for the first time. I love staycation.
When I got back to my apartment on Saturday, I was a little cooked-out. Seriously, I think I love raw foods in part because they’re so much easier than cooked (at least, the raw foods that I like are). A simple plate of raw grub was in order: green salad with my curried cashew dip (this is seriously one of my favorites, and I added red peppers this time, which was a great idea), balsamic vinaigrette, and some Brad’s chips.
Tasty, but the company was lacking: Mom, I miss you.
On the agenda for today is work catch-up and a matinee. Tell me, how were your weekends? And have any of you got tofu scramble recipes you’re dying to tell me about?