Thursday, August 6, 2009

fun seitan chow

Actually, dinner was Seitan Chow Fun, but that wouldn't have made nearly as attention-grabbing a title! The final dinner in my two week tribute to Vegan Express was just as quick and easy as the rest - this book is definitely a winner. There were two great things about this recipe, both of which were kind of firsts.

For one thing, I had never cooked with udon noodles before. Mind-blowing, I know, but I hadn't. That actually resulted in a staring contest with the shelf of different kinds of udon noodles at the store - I (again, erroneously) expected there would be one lonely box on a shelf of otherwise "standard" pasta products, but how wrong I was! There were at least three different kinds of udon noodles in one brand alone! I can't remember now what my other choices were, but I think I chose wisely because I didn't get any objections from Mister (who complains about whole-wheat pasta).

The second first (let that sink in) was the sauce. Whenever I've ordered chinese food, I've tried not to think too hard about the sauce, because it's so thick and goopy I've always assumed it had something really gross in it, or at least a whole lot of fat. I don't know what they do in restaurants, but I do know that tonight I made the sauce I've tasted there and it wasn't gross at all - just vegetable broth whisked with corn starch, soy sauce, and dark sesame oil. It was delicious and cooked up just as thick as anything I've gotten in a restaurant, so that was somewhat comforting.

Here are some pictures of dinner, and then I'll tell my lunch tale:
My lunch today was awesome, even if it was missing the well-rounded-nutrition part. I can't think of a clever name for it, other than Garlic Soy Sauce Tofu Sandwich, but it was just so good. A little back-story: maintenance has been in my home every day this week (and will be back tomorrow, hopefully to finish everything). The good part of this intrusion is that I have only gone to work two days this week, and once I shake off the guilt of not being there to help with whatever important thing I'm missing, it's actually quite enjoyable. So, after the usual 4 hours in my home, the maintenance guy left around 3 and I decided to make lunch (I had a late breakfast and munched on a few more cookies than I needed to). I wanted to make scrambled tofu, either from Vegan with a Vengeance or How It All Vegan for breakfast, but I keep forgetting I'm braindead when I wake up, which is why I have berries with yogurt when the weather is warm and oatmeal when it's cold. I really don't stray much, and if I do, it's because Mister got up first and went out for pastries or made egg sandwiches. So I thought, "I'm awake now, I'll make it for lunch!" I didn't, though, because for some reason, the 10-12 minutes I was supposed to cook it seemed like too much of a time investment.

You're probably wondering where this is going if you're still with me. Anyway, I grabbed the silken tofu leftover from the pizza and sliced off two pieces, one of which fell apart between my grabby fingers. I sprayed a small pan and threw the tofu on there - I love the sound of sizzling tofu. I sprinkled on a generous amount of soy sauce and was thrilled by the puff of steam and sizzling sound that happened right before it promptly evaporated and burnt to the pan. Oh well, live and learn. So I added a little water to the pan, too, flipped the tofu over and added more soy sauce. I also sprinkled both sides with garlic powder. Once I felt it was done cooking (all the liquid evaporated and I didn't feel like adding more), I piled it onto a slice of multigrain bread (so good) and waited for the steady stream of steam to slow down before closing the bread over it and eating it like a cheesesteak with no cheese. I learned two things from this experience:
1. When the liquid part of soy sauce evaporates and what's left sticks to the pan and burns, it smells illegal (use your imagination).
2. Whatever I made today tasted better than any cheese steak I ever had when I ate meat.

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