Okay, last night's dinner was fabulous, if not all that original. And I have a couple of ideas for how to make it even better next time. And there will be a next time.
It was just a simple stir fry. Instead of using teriyaki sauce from a bottle, though, I made it from scratch. Or -- Bruce made it from scratch. He's started helping me in the kitchen and it's fun. For me, anyway. Here is the recipe. I made half of it and used all of it. One of the reasons this meal was so good was because of the fresh ginger in the sauce, so if you take a shortcut and use the powdered stuff it won't be as good.
Publix sells mirin (rice wine), by the way -- it's not terribly difficult to find.
So -- we made the sauce and then set it aside. I took a block of extra-firm tofu that I had pressed for maybe 45 minutes. (To press tofu, which just takes some of the liquid out of it and makes it firmer, you place it on some folded paper towels on a small plate, place some more folded paper towels on top and set another plate on top of that and then place a weight on top of the whole thing -- like a can or two of beans. Or a heavy book. Press it for at least ten minutes, but for as long an hour.) I sliced the tofu into cubes and put them into my biggest pan and browned them. I've found that you don't have to use any oil if you use a nonstick pan and don't cook them at too high a temperature. At the end of the browning process I dumped a little of the teriyaki sauce into the pan and coated the tofu cubes with the sauce.
We dumped the tofu into a little bowl and put a sweet onion that I'd chopped up into the pan. I kept the vegetables a little big because you want each one to retain its own personality in a stir fry. We dumped sauce into the pan and cooked the onion pretty well. I don't like raw onion -- or even onion that's cooked crisp -- so we cooked that until it was soft -- you could cook it less if you like onion that way. I added a green bell pepper, a red bell pepper, and some broccoli florets (which I tried -- with limited success -- to pick around). Added some sugar snap peas, 8 ounces of mushrooms, and a small zucchini. Obviously, you could add anything you like. I meant to add a can of pineapple chunks, but I forgot. And sprinkling this with walnuts or cashews would be heavenly. We ended up using all of the sauce. I think next time I will make a whole recipe of the sauce and add even more veggies to the stir fry (I'd like water chestnuts, the aforementioned pineapple, some carrots, and maybe some bean sprouts).
Served it over brown rice and it was fabulous. Really, really good. Here's a pic:
Okay, here's something to think about...
I got an email the other day from the PCRM group (this is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine -- they have great stuff on eating a plant-based diet and stupid stuff regarding politics). They invited me to apply for a class to become a Food for Life instructor. Food for Life is a book written by Dr. Neal Barnard in which he describes the four "new" food groups (legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits) and how they can make you healthy. The instructors do four-day classes in hospitals, clinics, community groups, etc. You're self-employed and have to find your own venues to do the classes. You set your own fees, but they provide you with a VitaMix and cookware. You have to do at least four classes a year.
Now, they did not email me because they thought, "Man, that Sharon Herbitter would be a GREAT instructor." They probably got my name from the classes that I took online. Anyway, their last class was in November. They took 16 students from over 200 applications. This time they're going to accept 20. Dr. Barnard does part of the training -- it's held in Washington DC in May.
SO. On the one hand, I would LOVELOVELOVE to do this. On the other, finding my own places to do the classes is just not me. But -- they help. And, if I end up deciding I don't want to do it, it's no big deal. The training is just $599, so it's not a fortune. They would like for you to commit to one year and I'm sure I can scare up four classes in that time...The classes should be small-ish (no more than thirty), so I'd think some hospital or clinic somewhere would be willing to let me do one.
The application deadline is February 20. I'm thinking about it.