Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Week with Isa, Day 2

As it turns out, I've got plans for a few nights this week that take me away from my kitchen, so my seven days of Isa are going to stretch out over at least a week and a half. But I've got the stuff, I've got the recipes bookmarked, I'm pumped to try out a ton of delicious new things.

Monday I did have my leftover 40-clove chickpeas for lunch. And for dinner. And then for a late-night post-tattoo drunk snack, so there weren't any left for Tuesday lunch. So it goes! It was delicious all the way to the end though.

Tonight's dish isn't a new one, but I made it a little differently last time since I didn't have all the ingredients. Plus I accidentally changed the proportions of ingredients this time -- it's easy to mess things up when you're trying to read the recipe with two pans sizzling loudly on the stove.

Lettuce wraps! I actually have never ordered this in a restaurant because I guess it wasn't trendy before I became vegetarian? But this was one thing I was super stoked to make as soon as I bought AfR because I am always looking for ways to use delicious sweet and savory hoisin sauce. Plus lettuce wraps seem so fun. We did have lettuce wraps sometimes at the Korean restaurant where I worked in college, which involve romaine lettuce, steamed rice, kimchee, and big slabs of pork fat. (I tried the pork fat once or twice, but I couldn't get into it, even pre-vegetarianism.)

Here's what's involved: extra firm tofu, soy sauce, onion, red pepper, garlic, mirin, soy sauce, red pepper, yellow mustard, and lettuce! Oh, and sesame oil, which I forgot about until after I took this picture.

Dice everything up and fire up a couple of burners on the stove. Yes, my blender lives on the stove, because I only have one useable outlet in my kitchen. Someday I will live someplace with a great kitchen! Or at least, one with sufficient outlets so I don't have to keep the blender (and coffee maker) on the stove.

Sautee red pepper, onion, garlic, and red pepper in sesame oil.

The tofu cooks in a nearly dry cast iron pan with just a little cooking spray. Resist the urge to move it around until it's cooked for a couple of minutes, so it won't stick. Cast iron is so great and nonsticky!

After about 5 mins, add some soy sauce to the tofu and stir around. Instantly it looks brown and delicious.

The recipe calls for adding the mirin and cooking off the alcohol for a few mins (mirin is cooking wine, but it's pretty mild -- usually I add it at the end of a recipe and don't cook it at all). I managed to not only miss that point, but also added an extra tablespoon of hoisin sauce. So, I glopped in the hoisin and mustard, added the mirin, and brought the whole thing to a simmer to cook off a little of the mirin. Once it reduced a little, I threw the tofu into the veggies and sauce, et voila! Serve it up alongside some iceberg lettuce leaves.

Isa says this makes 4 servings, and recommends serving it alongside some rice and a veggie. I am lazy! So I just split it in two and have this as a whole meal. Yum! It was pretty sweet with the extra hoisin, but I can't complain.
Tomorrow night I think I'm going out again (a date, hooray!) but when I return to the kitchen: pasta con broccoli! Or possibly herb-roasted cauliflower over pasta. We'll see!

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