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Home-fried Tofu Rice Bowl with Miso Sauce

July 20, 2016 By: Hiromi Category: Blog, Uncategorized

Trying to eat a more healthy diet and reduce meat, I’ve been working on tasty vegetarian dishes that satisfies my desire for complex savouriness. This really hits the spot!

Ingredients

454g Medium firm tofu

one large bunch rapini

1 Tablespoon wheat flour (rounded)

1 Tablespoon corn starch (rounded)

half teaspoon of salt

2-go brown rice, cook as per directions (Jpnse measure, rice cooker cup 1-go = 180cc)

one avocado

Shichimi

 

For the Miso Sauce

one knob of ginger

2 cloves garlic

two tablespoons pure sesame oil

1 teaspoon white vinegar (or rice vinegar as desired)

2 Tablespoons mirin

2 Tablespoon miso (generous)

add sugar if desired, to taste

4 Tablespoons water (add more for milder, looser sauce)

 

canola oil for frying tofu, large cast iron frying pan

 

Directions

  • Steam rice as per usual directions. When there are 40 minutes rice-cooking time remaining start the next step.
  • Cut block of tofu lengthwise in half (so that you have two long rectangles). Cut each block into ½ inch slices. You should end up with about 14 pieces altogether. Take baking dish and place cookie rack on top. Place slices of tofu atop the rack. Place a cutting board on top of the tofu slices. The light weight will help press out the water from the tofu. Set aside.

tofu1 tofu2 tofu3 tofu5

  • Peel and mince garlic.
  • Grate ginger.
  • Set large pot of water to boil.
  • Wash rapini. Drain in sieve. Cut into 1.5 inch pieces, stem & leaves altogether. Set aside.
  • On a plate place flour, corn starch and salt. Mix together. (You will dredge tofu in this flour.)

 

Make the Miso Sauce

  • In medium-sized cast iron frying on medium heat, add two tablespoons of sesame oil.
  • Add garlic to oil, turn heat to medium low, stirring until fragrant (do not burn). Add ginger. Add mirin, letting everything simmer. Add vinegar. Then miso. Add water to blend in well, to desired consistency. Add sugar at the end if desired. Set aside. Turn off heat, reheat before pouring over rice bowl.

 

Cook the Tofu While Boiling Rapini

  • Dredge tofu pieces in flour mixture.
  • Pour canola oil into large frying pan so there’s 1 mm lining the bottom.
  • Heat to medium-high until chopsticks tips placed in oil sizzles. Adjust heat as needed.
  • Cook in two batches, frying tofu on both sides until golden. Drain on cookie rack.
  • Meanwhile, while frying tofu, boil rapini until a little before-desired tenderness is reached, then drain in sieve, tossing once or twice. Don’t run cold water through greens so they can stay warm.

 tofu4

Prepare the Rest

  • Cut avocado into cubes/chunks.
  • Stir cooked rice. Spoon into large bowls.
  • Add rapini, cover half of rice. Arrange 3-4 pieces of tofu beside rapini.
  • Nestle avocado beside tofu.
  • Drizzle sauce over everything.
  • Dash of shichimi.

Serves 3-4 people

Bon Appetit!

 finishedbowl

Note: This recipe is very flexible and you can substitute almost anything (except the sauce). For people in a hurry you can skip home-frying tofu and get the pre-fried kind from the store. Just heat them in frying pan. Not as tasty and more greasy… but will still be okay. Non-vegetarians can add chicken, or shrimp, or pork (miso goes very well with pork). My mum can’t eat rapini/dark greens. For her I’d julienne Japanese cucumbers, and flash-boil a batch of bean sprouts. The miso sauce would also make an excellent salad dressing or dipping sauce. Experiment! ^__^)/

 

 

 

When sound bytes time

December 05, 2011 By: Hiromi Category: Blog, Uncategorized

Our lives have become so accelerated. But our perceived passage of time is always accommodated, reconfigured as the ever-present “normal”. But really– how is it that we have come to expect a response to an email query within two days? I’m sure I’m even more “patient” than most people because I’m still on a stupidphone; I only have access to email when I’m at my writing desk. Maybe some folks expect a response within a couple of hours?

Not only confined to the speed of email response (we will not speak of texting!) we are also meant to speak very quickly. Especially in an interview situation. Writers are frequently interviewed and live radio and, heaven forbid, live tv sets up a strange and hyper-accelerated venue where silence (wherein one is thinking) is called “dead air”. When political candidates are on tv in debate or interviews situations I feel really bad for the ones who need more time to gather their thoughts (Also, I’d far rather vote for a leader who takes the time to consider before expressing his views.). But the demands of acceptable time interval is shrinking continually. In the debate/hotseat situation, taking time to think is construed as dull-wittedness.

The relativity of perceived “acceptable” duration of time between question and response was neatly and dramatically illustrated for me when I was asked to go in the stead of a writer friend who was not able to follow through on an invitation to read at Lasqueti Island. This was several years ago.

I looked up cursory travel route info and understood that I’d take the main ferry across, drive to another smaller port, and catch a second ferry. I was bemused to discover that I couldn’t drive my car onto the second ferry– I had assumed this was the scenario. It was a passenger-only, and it was, to my eyes, a very small boat. Holy smokes! I thought when we hit the strong current of the Georgia Strait. The boat pitched and rocked like a drunken horse and the horizon swung in and out of my world. I began feeling nauseous and knew I wouldn’t make it if I stayed sitting inside. Ohhhh, don’t let me disgrace myself like a sad-ass city-slicker, my former rural heart muttered. I lurched onto the back deck, stood with my feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and rode out the waves as I grimly kept my eyes on the horizon, where is ought to be when the waves rose up again. Salt spraying my face. So cold. Stinging.

I made it to Lasqueti Island without disgracing myself though it took a little time for my inner ears to settle down. My lovely and generous hosts gave me a tour of their amazing acreage, their carefully built vegetable gardens, a small generator powered by a small stream. People were laid back. There was no where to rush to….

The reading was held in their small community hall. It was dark by then and the roads muddy. I was feeling self-conscious, worried that my stories wouldn’t be of much interest, that I was a back-up reader because my poet friend couldn’t make it.

I’ve read so often and in so many venues that I’m no longer traumatically stressed about reading publicly. But being able to perform isn’t the same as being a desired guest. I read one of my stories and it was time for Q & A. I waited for someone to ask the first question. Everyone gazed at me, not unkindly, and no one said a word. I could feel heat beginning to creep up my cheeks and a dampness growing beneath my arms. Oh no, I thought. Uh-ohhh. And still no one said a thing. I think I piped up some comments, and then unhappily waited for someone to tell me the evening was over. Then someone asked me a question. Slowly. Thoughtfully. I smiled with relief and whizzed off a response. A heavy silence settled over the room once more. Whoa, I thought. This is so awkward. This is so weird. A second person asked a question. And I responded, with relief, once more. The still heaviness grew again. And with the silence something began to expand inside my head.

The audience wasn’t disengaged or stand-offish… they were thinking! They were taking time to think about what was said, and what they’d like to ask me. It was me who had been off, me with my frenetic pace, like over-caffeinated electrons. There was space and time to take as much time as I wanted to really think about what I would say! There was no need to hurry. And suddenly I was free.

Such an enormous relief. I had never so consciously examined my relationships to social pressure to respond so very quickly to everything and everyone. But it wasn’t “normal”! It was relative. And I didn’t have to do it on Lasqueti Island. I could have wept with joypleasurerelief upon this understanding. It was a generous gift.

I slowed down. And it felt very good. It felt very right. We talked long into the night.

In the morning there was stone-ground organic wheat flour pancakes with home-made jellies and maple syrup. My hosts took me to their beach where I got to harvest oysters, digs some clams. The rocking horse ferry was a milder beast.

As I drove toward home I clung to a small seed of Lasqueti Island time so that I could have it with me no matter where I roamed.

 

Strawberry Mountain

April 25, 2011 By: Hiromi Category: Blog, Uncategorized

(Not “Candy Mountain”….) <crooked grin>

For the longest time I’ve been meaning to dig up a chunk of my front lawn/moss in order to have a garden patch. I had read the ground-breaking <wink!> book on permaculture farming by Fukuoka, The One Straw Revolution ,  and had thought I ought to cover up the turf with straw and let is biodegrade w/o all of the labour of digging it up. Alas, it was one of those back-burner projects as I wondered how far I’d have to venture to find straw that wasn’t mixed heavily with seed/feed, etc, and then this past Saturday’s sunshine was as hot as summer and I Had To Do The Gardenwork Right Away! So I dragged out the shovel and enthusiastically began to dig out the sod. I’m going to have a huge patch of strawberries, I though happily. All the previous season’s plants had suckered themselves rampant like strawberries do and were crowded out in the flowerbeds. I’d dig them out and replant them in a front yard strawberry garden! A BIG strawberry Mountain! I thought wildly.

Alas….

Breaking sod under the bright sun was back-breaking labour. Mr. Fukuoka, I thought muchly humbled, I should have listened to you two months ago…. As I dug and dug, flipping over the chunks of turf to bash the soil out of the clumps, then tossing the grass-root remainders into large buckets, I came to the conclusions that:

1) I’m horribly out of shape. 2) Even though reading Mr. Fukuoka’s book annoyed me sometimes because some of his sayings reminded me a lot of my father and his tendency toward pronouncements while he sat at the kitchen table and my mother laboured over the cooking and I couldn’t help be triggered while reading about how one doesn’t need all this Stuff, and you can live simply in a rural farming setting and I was thinking: yah, but who does the LAUNDRY? I BET IT’S YOUR WIFE! I BET YOUR WIFE WANTED AN ELECTRIC WASHING MACHINE IN THE LITTLE HUT EVEN IF SHE WAS OKAY WITH THE FIREPIT COOKING! if I could get out of this sob-bursting, sod-busting labour, I would temporarily give up my feminist deconstruction and family baggage triggerpoints so that I could still have my large strawberry garden…. 3) The crows and starlings who come to rip up the yard must have been after those grodie fetal cutworms underneath the grass/moss. 4) My ambitions exceeded my capacity.

As I kept on eyeing the amount I had dug up and internally measuring it against my growing exhaustion, I began down-sizing my ambition. Maybe it doesn’t need to go as far as that peony plant. I can stop there, and curve it around, a smaller wedge….

There is something to be learned, here, about preparing and setting aside enough time to meet project goals…. But, yah. I wanted a one-day gardening project (there was still Easter dinner groceries to procure) and closure.

Strawberry Mountain is down-sized to Humbled Strawberry Patch! ^___^ .

Making turkey soup out of the bones. It’s raining, perfect timing for the transplanted plants! I got a rejection letter for a short story I sent to a magazine. Ahhh, well…. Rejection and dealing with rejection is an important part of this work. I quite like that story and will find it another home.

And onto more writing!