Friday, January 23, 2009


Sometimes it really sucks being a vegetarian and having an active lifestyle. I have to eat constantly, which unfortunately means either I (or Gen) have to cook constantly. So, we ran out of prepared food by mid-week as usual, forcing me to cook again. My 2.5h cook-a-thon yesterday yielded these fabulous dishes, which will hopefully get us at least through the weekend (when we'll be cooking yet more absurd quantities of food).

Fresh home-baked bread:
I'm really getting the hang of the no-knead bread. These are actually my 3rd and 4th loafs for the week from the original batch of no-knead dough. I was going to buy some clay tiles to put in the oven to simulate a baking stone, but I find that a perforated pizza pan works pretty well too. I get the oven heat baking the bottom crust and a neat dot pattern on the bottom of my bread.

Braised tofu:
Tofu and eggs in a delightful mushroom, black bean sauce with a hint of scallion. Yum, yum, do I sound like a restaurant menu or what? I like this dish because it's tasty, easy to make, rich in protein, and highly calorific (which I really need after a rough workout at the gym).

Spiced tofu stir fry
I found spiced tofu "threads" at the Asian market in town. I don't often cook with this ingredient, but I decided to give it a whirl this week. This dish has spiced tofu noodles with peppers and string beans in a positively delectable bean sauce. We've already put quite a dent into this dish. I don't think it'll make it past today.

Chickpea, red lentil dahl
Gen's usually better with the Indian curries, but this is one of the few dishes that I can make which scales up to large quantities. I also used dried chickpeas this time around (pressure cooked so that I didn't have to cook the dish for ages). I did accidentally use too much water, so the dahl is a little on the thin side; it's more of a chickpea, lentil soup with potatoes and other assorted veggies. Still tasty if not quite as hearty as I originally intended.

Lemon string beans
I had some ingredients to use up, so this is more of an afterthought dish. String beans, carrots and peanuts in a pseudo-Chinese lemon sauce. Very inauthentic (lemon sauce is something invented for the American palate). I think my version of lemon sauce tastes better than the restaurant version. Some fresh squeezed lemon juice and hoisin sauce combined with some fresh ginger and fresh ground black pepper makes for a citrusy, tangy, mildly spicy, and subtly sweet sauce which complements the crisp string beans and fresh carrots.

I also made a red bean (azuki bean) soup for dessert, but I forgot to snap a picture of that. My cooking (unsurprisingly) tends to be very Asian food biased. I find it a bit challenging scaling up the dishes to larger quantities, both because I don't have cookware or cooking appliances big enough to stir fry large quantities and because I just simply can't do that much chopping and food prep. Oh well. It looks like I'm going to have to get used to more casserole style dishes and learning to make the oven my new favorite cooking appliance.

Now that I've documented my cooking, I'm actually starting to get pretty hungry. It's time to eat!

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