Meat-Free Mondays

I was recently inspired by a post on someone's blog, I now forget exactly where, about Meatless Mondays. Though this idea may be fairly new to me and Paul McCartney, others have apparently done posts on the subject for some time now, including Allie who was posting "Meat-Free Monday" recipes quite regularly - every Monday, from Feb. in '08 until this past March. Not to mention, Catholics were meat-free, one day of the week for about a thousand years, until the Pope put a stop to it in recent history. It was fish on Fridays throughout my entire deprived childhood. There is actually a move by some Catholics to revive this ban.

So, due to various considerations, "Global Warming" not being one of them, I've decided it might be a good time to do both - Meatless Mondays and Fishy Fridays. It would help with meal planning, stretch our food budget, promote awareness of those less fortunate (I at least have a tendency toward self-indulgence), be good for health reasons, and encourage creativity in cooking, among other logical benefits that I'm sure are out there.

To start things off, for our Meat-Free Monday(yesterday), I did some tofu experiments. I'm trying to come up with a recipe for the Cook the Books Club August deadline anyway, which for this segment is based on The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones.

There is a particularly intriguing dish described in the book, which involves boiling tofu to make it spongelike. A bit of research revealed that freezing will produce the same effect, after which, the little tofu sponges soak up whatever wonderful sauce you simmer them in.

With that in mind, I cut my brick of tofu in half, then each half into thick slices. One half I quick froze, the other half of slices I boiled.

Then, for the sauce base, I made a mushroom broth, using fresh shitake mushrooms, a variety of dried mushrooms, carrot, celery stalk, sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.

After simmering 45 minutes, the stock was strained, reduced over high heat to about 1/3 of the original volume, then thickened with cornstarch blended into a bit of white wine, a tablespoon of shoyu, and some sweet chili sauce. Both types of tofu were simmered in this for about 5 minutes. Steamed green beans were added to the dish at the end and then topped with chopped green onions.

Tofu and Green Beans in Mushroom Sauce
Though quite good, the recipe is not yet perfected. Next time we'll be pressing the tofu under a weight before freezing or boiling. Bob liked the boiled one better and I liked the frozen one, but both could have been more "sponge-like" with less water in them.

1 comment:

figtree said...

Wow what a delicious meal!!I look forward to trying it!Much thanks Figtreeapps