Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Comfort Me!

**A note about my previous blog.  I made a minor edit, and I would like to take time to apologize for having offended one of my readers.  Even though we exhibit incredible compassion towards animals with our choices, sometimes we forget to show equal compassion towards our peers.  Just a minor slip of the tongue and you have hurt someone, because you chose to speak, or in this case write, without thinking about the consequences of those actions.  I would like to say that Vegantines was a splendid event and I appreciate all the hard work that went into making it happen.  The caterers are no reflection on the hosts who did a tremendous job!

Woah, we're having a heat wave!  That's right folks, it was a balmy 40 degrees out today and we're supposed to get into the 50s tomorrow?!  Nuts!  Ah, but mother nature is cruel and she's going to give us a big ol' smack in the face come next week with another cold snap.  So what better way to spend those cold nights then to cook up a comforting hot meal at home.  Nothing I say!  As spring is nearing, we won't be craving those comfort foods much longer, so let's get them out of our system!  This week I had been craving one of my very favorite meals Pad Thai.  I used to make this meal like it was going out of style due to an ex who was extremely fond of it and would harrass me continually to make it.  (Not that I needed much convincing.)  Well, it had been ages since I made this...okay, like 4 months.  This recipe comes from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.  It's simple and heats up very well.  You can be creative and add whatever veggies you like to the mix: snow peas, broccoli (my fave), red peppers, whatever tickles your fancy.  I really love using local organic sprouts in place of the generic bean sprouts.  Double up of the spice if your adventurous like me!

Pad Thai

8 ounces rice noodles
Sesame or canola oil, for sauteing tofu
1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed* and cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup tamari soy sauce
1/3 cup lime (or lemon) juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped broccoli or snow peas, steamed or stir-fried
1 bunch scallions, chopped (including green parts)
1 cup bean sprouts
Sliced lemons, for garnic (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions, drain, and immediately return them to the pot, secured with a tight lid to keep them from drying out excessively.  They will re-moisten once you add them to the sauce below. 

Heat oil in a pan and satue tofu until golden brown.  Sprinkle on salt and pepper while it's cooking.

In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, sugar, tamari, lime/lemon juice, and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.

In a separate large-size saute pan, heat oil or a little water or stock and add garlic and broccoli; stir-fry for 5 to 10 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green.  Add scallions and saute for a few minutes more.

To that pan, add the cooked noodles, tofu, peanut butter mixture, and bean sprouts.  Combine well, and cook just until all the ingredients are heated through.  Garnish with slice lemons and cilantro, if using.  Serve immediately.

Yields: 4 servings

Per serving: 387 calories; 17g fat; 18g protein; 44g carbohydrate; 4g dietary fiber; 0mg cholesterol; 1423mg sodium.

*Pressing tofu: I've said it once, and I'll say it again, get a TofuXpress!  This is a wonderful tool for your kitchen.  Press the tofu to desired consistency.  (You can use something flat like a plate or cutting board then place heavy items like books on top of that to press it as well.)

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