Monday, July 4, 2011

bonus round: VIP BBQ dinner

I know I only posted a little more than 5 hours ago, but I wanted to devote the whole post to the farewell to Horizons and not spread it out into a mega-post also detailing last night's dinner adventures and the super-awesome BBQ skillet I threw together to celebrate our country's independence.  Aside from obvious cultural norms, I don't know why July 4th food needs to be slathered in BBQ sauce, but I figured it was as good an excuse as any to use more of my gourmet VIP BBQ sauce.

Let's take a step or two back, though.  I thought about posting earlier yesterday afternoon about our fabulous finale at Horizons, but I got distracted by iTunes being a pain in my butt about importing the new Symphony X CD and then my computer promptly crashed. Horribly.  So much so that Mister and I were not completely certain it was going to come back to us.  Fortunately, my little Mac paramedic spent several hours last night in emergency surgery while I played solitaire on my old laptop and drank the last of the Riesling so now we're back in business.  Also while Mister was administering some form of human-machine CPR and the equivalent of a brain transplant (probably a little prayer and voodoo mixed in for good measure), I cooked up a long lost favorite for dinner.


The last time I made Bulgur and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale and Olives from The Complete Vegan Cookbook I was trying to remember where I had a similar recipe.  I knew there were some subtle differences, such as the actual presence of kalamata olives in one recipe and the imagined/substituted presence of them in the other.  I found that other recipe when I was poking through The Accidental Vegan while creating our menu on Saturday afternoon, so I made Kedgeree for dinner last night.


Instead of chopping the carrots, I thought it might be more fun to julienne them (especially since I have that neat toy to help) and in place of the mushrooms Mister can't stand (and I don't exactly have a taste for either), I chopped up some kalamata olives.  The kedgeree itself was made up of brown rice and lentils, which I cooked together to save space (three pots on this smaller stove was not in the cards), resulting in a creamier dish, spiked with cumin and mustard, dotted with the charmingly contrasted colors of green (kale), orange (carrot), and purple (kalamata).


Angst was not at all impressed, electing to take a nap on the bathroom floor (a nice, cool, summertime nap spot) rather than watch his favorite food show, "the Mommy show."  I think he was just mad at me for changing my mind last minute about making the Jerk Seitan from VwaV.  By changing my mind, what I really mean is that I picked up the seitan at Whole Foods, put it down to pick up Tofurky sausages and smoked tofu and completely forgot to pick it back up and deposit in my cart.  Missing a vital ingredient (you know, the one in the recipe title?), I thought I should probably make something else.

Speaking of making something else, I had that same inclination after I finished the last little droplets of Riesling (insert sad face here) and Mister was still poking away at my computer on life-support.  I have had a recent hankering for tropical cocktails, and I figured a bottle of rum, which which I would mix things, will probably last a little longer in this house that a bottle of wine (which I feel compelled to drink quickly so it doesn't spoil), thereby stretching our budget a little until I get some figuring done.


I love this picture because it looks like my little baby Murloc is either trying to steal it or guard it.  That pretty little glass contains about one ounce of Malibu Pineapple Rum and a few more ounces of Santa Cruz organic Cherry Lemonade - delightful combination, by the way.  It made Solitaire a little more fun than usual.

So, tonight with dinner, I decided to make another little cocktail, this time using the last pouch of Honest Kids Berry Lemonade.  I'll admit, there's something a little twisted about using a children-oriented juice pouch product as a mixer, but we don't have kids, so someone's got to drink it.

Epic Cocktail

So, tropical drink prepared, I set to work on our BBQ dinner to celebrate the nation's birthday.

BBQ Tofu-Veggie Skillet
serves 4-6 (depending on portion size)


Ingredients:
14 oz extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen/fresh corn
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup BBQ sauce


white basmati rice to serve over (1 cup rice to 2 cups water)
broccoli slaw, optional garnish


Heat the oil in a deep-sided skillet/sauteuse.  Add tofu and toss gently to coat with oil, then cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tofu is golden-brown on most sides.  Remove lid and add celery and peppers; saute 2-3 minutes.


Add zucchini, corn, and salt; mix well and cover.


Saute 3-5 more minutes, then stir in BBQ sauce.  Cook, uncovered, until heated through and mixture is evenly coated with BBQ sauce.


To serve, lay a bed of rice on the bottom of a bowl or plate, sprinkle with broccoli slaw, if using, then cover with a few spoonfuls of the tofu-veggie BBQ mixture.


It was very good - every component played well with the others - the sweetness of the corn and peppers stood out within the pungent BBQ sauce, which the tofu and zucchini readily absorbed.  The lightness of the basmati rice provided a gentle foil to the intense flavors represented in the tofu-veggie mixture, calming the fire of the Ancho Chili BBQ sauce just enough but not too much.

Happy July 4th all!  I'm going to watch a movie with my mister to finish off a lovely long weekend of time spent together.

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