Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tofu Scramble, I Love You

This morning's meal: leftover tofu scramble + potatoes.

So, last night my smoochy muffin went to Whole Foods and bought lots of yum. I didn't know what time he was going to get back so I made a tofu scramble. This is becoming my go-to meal on lazy nights. It sees plenty of time in the weekend brunch rotation. It's kind of becoming my new comfort food. In another life, that role was played by a pint of Ben and Jerry's, fried chicken, nachos, a giant piece of roast beef or a BLT with about a bajillion slices of the B. Until about six months ago, when I would get frazzled, my mind would still go to those things briefly before I shut it down. Now, though, I'm happy to say that tofu scramble is what pops into my head when all has gone awry.

I guess it will be a good day when my mind doesn't automatically jump to food when I'm stressed, but hey. Baby steps here. This is the relationship that I have with food. It really is amazing how many food things are really about cultural bits or learned behaviors and habits. What we see. What we're taught. What we practice. What we accept into our lives and what we don't. Individually, at the family level, at the societal level... Some family always uses straws to drink. Some other family always puts poppy seeds on their corn on the cob. Some put salt on tomato slices, others use sugar, others use olive oil. One country's largest meal of the day is lunch while another blows it out at breakfast. It's rude in one country to clean your plate while it's an insult to the chef in another to leave any food on your plate. All these little things...

Anyway... These leftovers were going to be for the man of the house, but he remembered this morning that they're doing some sort of lunch thing at work, so the leftovers became mine. Except that he'd already put cheese on it, so then I figured I'd give it to my son, but he'd already put salsa on it, too, and Jacob's been having heartburn problems so is avoiding tomato things. I figured it's easier to pick the cheese off than to try to get the salsa off, so I did that.

This is where I got to that point where I like to talk myself into something. You know, the cow's already been milked, the cheese has already been purchased, the demand has already been made, so why don't you just eat it? It's just an ounce or two of cheese. What's it going to hurt? But screw that. I did not just walk 2 miles to work off some damn cheese. I walked it to work off some other past cheese transgression, not some future one.

Picking my battles. Cheese loses today.

And here's my latest way of making the tofu scramble...

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 pound medium firm tofu, drained and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (sometimes I use curry powder in place of this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak - use more cumin if you don't have this + a little salt, Braggs or soy sauce. You could also use a little asafoetida.)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

Cook the veggies in 1 tablespoon of the oil until just tender. It takes the tofu a while to cook, so they'll burn if you let them go too far. Add the rest of the oil and then after it heats up, add the tofu, squeezing the chunks through your fingers a little. Not too much since you can break it up in the skillet while you're cooking. Over medium heat, let the tofu just sit and brown on one side, then start stirring it up so the other parts brown. When it's to your liking (some like it crunchier, others not so much) add all the spices and nutritional yeast and mix well. Cook one more minute and serve. Good with toast, tortillas, potatoes, throw salsa on top, squeeze a lime over it and serve with avocados, side of vegan sausage and / or vegan cheese... it's pretty versatile.

The omnis at my house love this, but they didn't love it as much before I started using the black salt. That really does make a huge difference. Also, I was using extra firm tofu and accidentally used medium firm one day and I prefer the texture I get with that. Since my son is allergic to eggs, he is always excited to hear I'm making a scramble.

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