Friday, November 5, 2010

choose your tofu adventure

Or Bean, or Tempeh...but not in my home.

Tonight, I made Monk Bowls for dinner from The 30 Minute Vegan.

They are so tasty and easy now that I'm rocking the zen.  I figured they'd be a calming influence as we celebrated Friday and moved into what will be a busy but fun weekend.  Additionally, they were the only item left on my menu and my brain is waaaaay too full to make room for creativity, even if I do have the ingredients for it.

I served our Monk Bowls with Lemon-Miso Tahini Sauce, also from 30MV.  This was my first time making this particular sauce.  The first time I made it, I did a second-cousins-once-removed kind of version of Dreena Burton's Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce.  That was pretty intense and although I enjoyed it, I figured I may as well at least experiment with the four dozen other awesome sauce recipes involving tahini.  It was a little more watery than other sauces I've made, but I think that was partially owed to the different tahini I used.

Here is what I love about Monk Bowls: I've never made the same one twice.  If I make them once a month for year, I will still not make the same one twice.  I guess they're like the culinary equivalent to snowflakes?  In any case, Monk Bowls are kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book.  You can base the bowl on quinoa or brown rice (I did) or maybe even rice noodles.  You can build your bowl with 8 cups of any kind of veggies you want.  This time around, I did half broccoli and the other half yellow pepper and cucumber.  Other times I've included carrots and/or cauliflower and a different color pepper.  Maybe next time I'll steam exclusively root vegetables or squash (If I'm only cooking for me).  Although I have always used tofu as my protein (because it's just so awesome!), the book tells me I could sub beans or tempeh if I wanted to...and if the tempeh wouldn't explode my Mister.  Finally, you can top it with any variety of sauces/dressings.  I tend toward the "creamy" kinds, based on tahini or peanut butter or miso, but maybe next time I'll mix things up a bit and top the Monk Bowls with something completely off the infused oil or a vinaigrette!

As I mentioned, this was the last meal on this week's menu.  I'll be rejoining my SuperTuscan at the table shortly, accompanied by Isa and Dynise for a little planning on the upcoming week's menu.  I absolutely adore Veganomicon and The Urban Vegan, but I'm sure I've mentioned before that these recipes consume a little more of my time than those in, say, 30MV.  Since I am about to dive face first into piles of prep and training for the upcoming busy season at work, I figured I would indulge myself this last week before everything goes topsy turvy and I start writing my posts backwards.  Slow, savored meals should adorn the upcoming menu, although I'll admit I'm still looking for the faster slow recipes (if that made any sense).

Time for some audience participation!  If you are at all familiar with the 'Nomicon or Urban Vegan, feel free to make a recommendation for future meals.  Tomorrow's tales should involve chocolate, so stay tuned!

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