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From the Formica Top: I Tried Tofu (+ More)
Sunday, November 04, 2007
From the Formica Top #4
What's been going on around my kitchen lately

I Tried Tofu

In an effort to get some lean proteins into my body, I picked up some extra firm tofu, mostly because I planned on pan grilling it and not swirling it into something. The extra firm kind (after a lot of the moisture is gone) has a consistency like paneer or fresh cheese.

I just cubed it and cooked it in a pan, letting it brown, tossed it with vegetables and a store-bought red wine vinegarette. I really liked it. It'll taste like anything I make it taste like, which, while having a weirdness to it (I miss building on a basic flavor like pork, beef or chicken), is kinda cool. I actually like the texture.

I'm interested in using a softer variety to mimic ricotta cheese in Italian foods, such as ravioli (hey, a little in the butternut squash ravioli would make the dish much healthier) and lasagna (I'm dreaming of a funky fall lasagna with layers of butternut squash, a tofu mixed with some goat cheese and maybe herbs de Provence, roasted peppers...hmmm).

Anyway, I'm not exactly sure why I hadn't tried tofu, but maybe it was its guilty association with a heavy dose of activism. Also, I wasn't sure what to do with it. At this point, though, I was just figuring it's out there and I've seen enough recipes to kinda get the idea. You pretty much put it in place of meat where meat is not chopped, but kept whole or in cubes.

I imagine, though, that there's much more to it, because I've seen it used in ice cream. And I wonder...okay, I'll be posting tofu experiments here, I suppose.

A Week Away From Foodie Blogs
I just today caught up on Serious Eats, one of my favorite foodie blogs. I barely touched my Google Reader feeds the week before Citywide Open Studios (you can read about that experience at Starry Saltwater) and just got through everything. Holy cow. I wasn't so much surprised at the volume of posts I had to catch up on, but at my mild obsession with checking all of them and then getting lost in a maze of clicks.

In that maze, I found Just Bento, which has inspired...

Bento Experimentation
I spent a significant portion of today prepping things for availability in my bento construction all week. So the whole idea behind bento (or obento) is a lunch in a box (Bento #2 from Just Bento). Sometimes the box has dividers and is very fancy. There's a whole "cute bento" hobby out there, too, but that's not my line on this.

I was hopelessly bored with my lunches--they were repetitive and not suiting the maintenance part of my diet, nor my recent explorations into local and seasonal eating. I liked the idea behind Just Bento, that it was a way to have a yummy, healthy lunch with a little creativity and preparation.

So perhaps, like I labeled my posts about eating local (and I will continue to do so), I'll post a particularly good bento and label it that way. Why not?

So what did I make today to get me started on my bento making adventure? I roasted butternut squash, made parmesan arepas (a Goya thing, using a white corn flour), cooked cabbage down (the leftovers from making a small batch of cabbage rolls for Lenny) and tested a few ingredients. Havarti melts very nice. Morningstar Farms Spinach and Artichoke Bites and Garden Veggie Patties are excellent.

Some bento ideas:
Mexican Autumn - Butternut squash with Garden Veggie Patty and queso blanco, some cooked cabbage, salad of mesclun greens, tomatoes and roasted red peppers in Italian dressing

Breakfast for Lunch Bento - Havarti cheese and crispy turkey bacon (or lean salami or bologna) over a parmesan arepa, boiled egg with a light thick dressing (like fat free Miracle Whip) with baked apples

New England Bento - Crab cake, salmon and caper salad over Boston bib lettuce and shrimp bisque

And I'm completely charmed by this bento set on Ebay. Although I imagine I'll just end up being imaginative with Gladware.

Thanksgiving Is Coming...
I'm already bookmarking recipes and the such-like. We will have Thanksgiving at our house and collect anyone without a place to go. I like these types of holidays, because you sit around and relax and I still get to cook like a demon.

It's a marathon of cooking and I can't wait...
posted by Rose @ 8:14 PM  
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Name: Starry Rose
Home: New Haven, CT

A writer, cook, book-addict, foodie and pagan

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