Sunday, January 9, 2011

sweet and spice-y takes the cake

As I type this, my kitchen smells increasingly delightful - the way you might imagine December would smell, if it had a designated scent.  I have muffins in the oven, so I'll be excusing myself shortly to retrieve them (but you'll never know, will you?).  One thing I love about Sundays, besides having plenty of time to make dinner, is that if dinner doesn't take too long and we eat early, there's time to bake.

The beginning of a new menu is always a little difficult for me.  There are so many choices!  Last night, the toe-numbing, foot-freezing, face-hurting cold made my decision for me, as did a helpful husband who didn't mind leaving home for the first time all [horrendously cold] day to get me a huge can of chickpeas.  That meant that the first time I really had to choose what to make was tonight, since I have a stocked fridge and cupboard.  I chose more or less by process of elimination... no to the Corn Chowder, since I made the Chickpea-Cabbage soup last night.  No to the Chickpea-Spinach Curry because it comes together very fast, making it a more appropriate choice for a work night when I don't feel like spending a lot of time on dinner.  Also, we are still in the midst of the Great Spinach Famine of 2011.

My eyes fell upon Tropic of Tempeh Tofu (Vegan on the Cheap) and I remembered that we didn't have leftovers last time I made it.  Since we're still eating our way through the leftovers from my week off, I didn't think we needed a meal that would contribute to the Kingdom of Tupperware currently set up in our fridge, and I knew the other two options would most certainly do just that.

Since I'm using tofu instead of tempeh, I saute it for about 10 minutes, maybe more, to create that crispy outer "shell."  I might have overdone it a little, because it seems like the tofu was a little tough...chewy.  The rest was wonderful - you can definitely taste how the rice wine vinegar draws out the sweet-tartness of the pineapple, and I took my own advice this time, adding an extra Tbsp of tamari to the sauce to tone it down a little.  It changed the color of the sauce significantly; its effect on the sauce was minimal, but helpful in toning down what might otherwise be a sauce that is too sweet for dinner.

What a great way to transition to the sweet conclusion to tonight's meal.  See, you didn't even miss me while I was pulling these beauties out of the oven:

They don't look quite like the pictures on the recipe, but the Gingerbread-Nut Muffins taste so good it wouldn't matter if they were green and oozing something.  Well.  Okay.  Maybe the visual would interfere with the overall experience, but what I'm trying to say is this: they are really good.

kind of looks like a gingerbread rock, doesn't it?

They are super spice-y, thanks to the total two teaspoons of strong spices in them.  I have very little doubt that the scant bit of vanilla and the generous helping of molasses contribute to the dark and complex flavor of these little nuggets.  The best part, though?  I just realized they're fat free.  Here's a cute cat to entertain you while I sneak off for another.

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