I’m a mediocre vegetarian and a questionable chef. There, I said it, the truth is out.
A little backstory, if you will.
I decided to try limiting/eliminating my meat intake after watching a few health and environmental documentaries over the summer. I have pets (which I’ll definitely talk more about later because they’re my children), and a soft spot for most animals, so I thought, “Let’s give it a month; how hard could it be?” Turns out, it wasn’t as hard as I thought…because I hardly cook as is. I’m lazy in the kitchen. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple, and I’m basically much an expert at boiling water. (I know, I know, hold the applause.) I’ve always enjoyed baking, but let’s face it– cookies and cakes don’t hold you over for too long. Most of what I prepared at home was meat-free, or pretty darn close to it. But although I’d willingly subsisting on exclusively cheese and carbs, my tummy and health would probably not like it in the long run.
I realized I need to be a bit more adventurous in my meal prep, and maybe, just maybe, I’d end up liking to cook! [The jury is still out on that, but I’ll update if it changes]. Plus, you know, a few vegetables in there couldn’t hurt.
Let’s Get Cooking
I’ve always loved stir fry and Asian cuisine in general. Most of my attempts at cooking a stir fry involved chicken, fresh/frozen veggies and rice– pretty standard. This time, though, I wanted to skip the meat and try something new. TOFU.
I (very loosely) followed this recipe for preparing the tofu. Joy’s veggie and sauce combo looks AMAZING, but unfortunately I had to roll with the veggies and prepared sauce I had easily accessible. (Side note: I’m working on being more budget-conscious in 2018, so I’m eager to try recipes that are filling and frugal!) I’m sure that if I had stuck to the recipe verbatim, I would have absolutely loved it!
I think my favorite part of this whole process was the slicing and dicing. Tofu has such an interesting texture, and it was pretty cool to work with as I drained it and chopped it into cubes. I let it dry/pre-bake in the oven as Joy’s recipe calls for, and while it was cooking away, I tossed some canned chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them onto a baking sheet to roast.
Have I mentioned I love chickpeas? I could write a sonnet about ’em. An ode to the garbanzo bean…but that’s for another day. I wanted to up the protein content of this dish even more, and those magical little beans are so versatile and forgiving! Double-protein + single oven use = winning.
The End Result
I’ll spare you every detail of the cooking process, but overall, this dish was pretty tasty! If I make it again (which is likely), I will probably allow the tofu to 1.marinate in a sauce, or 2.Lengthen the simmering sauce time to allow the tofu to absorb more of the delicious flavor. Don’t get me wrong– it was definitely edible! But as a new cooking convert, I want a little less soy taste and a little more tangy goodness.
I’m looking forward to trying new, simple, and healthy recipes throughout the new year. Do you have a favorite I should try? An tofu tips?— I’m soy excited to hear them!
Okay, sorry, I had to. Puns are the best.
Until next time,