Sunday, May 15, 2011

broke the streak

After three days of Italian meals, I finally pulled my tastebuds [temporarily] away from Europe and convinced myself to make one of the Asian-influenced meals I've been putting off for a week.  I made Better-Than-Takeout Tofu Stir-fry from Vegan on the Cheap and as always, it was delicious.

I will admit, I was having a little bit of trouble deciding between that and the other "leftover" recipe which shared the Asian theme.  Both required broccoli, and the two heads I had sitting in the crisper for a week were certainly the impetus to make one of these meals.  On the one hand, I had a red bell pepper that had been languishing in the crisper drawer just as long as the broccoli, and while peppers are slightly heartier than fragile broccoli blooms, I didn't want it to get all shrively and ugly.  On the other hand, I wanted to use my new toy and I knew I wouldn't have the patience to wait an hour for it to do its magic on a weeknight.

For my birthday (yes, the one in January that I didn't see my parents to celebrate until February...again), my dear mother got me something I've wanted for a while - Tofu Xpress.

I had kind of hoped it would speed up the pressing process a little more than it does, but I had to admit it was pretty cool how quickly the reservoir fills with water after you screw the compressor in place.  After an hour of pressing, there wasn't going to be too much more water squeezed out of my tofu and I was quite pleased with its texture.  It also seemed to get crispy on the outside a little faster, though that could have been my imagination.

I can see this little tool coming in quite handy in my culinary future, especially if I can teach Mister how to use it (which shouldn't be hard - you literally just put the block of tofu in the box and screw the top on) so the tofu can begin pressing while I'm on my way home from work.  However, this week we have a completely tofu-less menu.  I did decide to try to tire myself out of this incessant desire for Italian food, so everything on our menu this week (except the leftover Asian dish) caters to that flavor profile.

1. Rice Noodle Bowl with Broccoli and Bell Pepper from Vegetarian Times magazine.

2. Fusilli with Lentil Sauce from Vegan Italiano.  I hope no one's surprised this was the first book I grabbed when preparing the new menu...

3. Penne with Cannellini Beans and Escarole, also from Vegan Italiano.  I've almost made a bunch of recipes that list escarole among the ingredients, mainly because I've never tried this particular leafy green, but then I never end up doing so because I can never find escarole.  It's kind of like my Bok Choy Curse, but to my great delight, when I got to Whole Foods, there were a few heads of escarole hunkered down in their bin just waiting for me to discover them and take one home.

4. Italian-Style Rice Casserole, also from Vegan Italiano.  Don't worry!  I haven't lost my head - I have very little intention of actually baking this.  Since the recipe starts out simmering stovetop for half the cooktime, I'll probably just finish it stovetop, too, out of sheer laziness and the desire to eat dinner before midnight.

5. Pasta e Fagioli from Veganomicon, served with roasted asparagus.  I saw a recipe for Paste e Fagioli in Vegan Italiano, but decided to go with what I know.  I have a dozen recipes for this bean and pasta dish and this one reigns as chief (at the moment).  I didn't feel like discovering a new recipe - if it ain't broke, you know what they say.

6. Chickpea Piccata from Appetite for Reduction.  Again, I saw a recipe for Piccata in either Veganomicon or  Vegan Italiano, but remembered how phenomenal this recipe is, plus I already know I can serve this Piccata over mashed potatoes, and it's been a little while since I've mashed up some potatoes for my mister.

I should get to bed soon so I can start the new work week rested and rejuvenated by another fabulous weekend.  Unfortunately, I slept late today and my body has very little desire to return to unconsciousness just yet.  Fortunately, that means I'll probably bake cookies and may even craft my "bonus post."

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