The crocuses are peeping up in Bob’s garden. What more proof could we need?
What is it about Tofu that brings out such passion in people? Tofu is, after all, a bland soy product that takes on the character of whatever food it finds itself associated with- a veritable Zelig of gastronomy.
My husband didn’t exactly recoil at the thought of eating tofu. He loves Asian cuisine which uses a lot of it. But he never ate it at home. I didn’t care. I can cook anything (Ok, I was not successful when I tried to make phyllo dough from scratch. I don’t mean Baklava, I mean the dough. It is incredibly difficult to make.) but I don’t cook that often. As a child, I listened to my mother complain every day about how she hated to cook. It wore on me. I don’t iron either. (Same reason).
Which brings me back to tofu. My husband started eating it for health reasons. So I started looking for a good recipe which, to me, means something he’ll eat plus it has to be easy and fast.
All of the recipes I saw contained directions for draining the tofu and getting the water out. Yikes, what a bunch of messy chemistry experiments! I was directed to wrap the tofu in paper towels which I don’t use, or cloth towels, to soak up the moisture. Some directions recommend strainers and colanders in addition to the towels. What a waste of time.
Here’s how I do it to make oven baked tofu nuggets. I open and drain four 1 pound packages of extra firm tofu. I grab two loaf pans. I place two, 1 pound blocks of tofu into each loaf pan. I nest the pans and place a third pan on the top. Then I place a 5 pound dumbbell in the top loaf pan. If you don’t have a dumbbell, use something else.
I let the tofu sit for a few hours and drain off the liquid.
Next, I line a pan with parchment, spray it with cooking spray, and sprinkle it with a layer of tofu coating. This is kind of like a Shake-n-Bake for tofu. There are a lot of recipes on the Internet, like this one and this one. If you want your tofu crispy, I recommend you use cornstarch as your base ingredient. A little baking soda helps add crispiness too, but not too much. You can add spices to the mix. I use powdered garlic, onion flakes, and a wonderful salt-free mix from Pensy’s Spices called Mural of Flavor. You can add sesame, flax, or poppy seeds, red hot pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, seasoned breadcrumbs and panko-use your imagination. I’ve also used leftover rice from takeout meals. It gets crispy when you bake it.
Add the tofu cubes, sprinkle on more coating and toss to cover. I like to bake at 400 F for an hour. You can stir the tofu after 30 minutes to insure even cooking. I turn off the oven after an hour and let the oven’s residual heat crisp up the tofu even more. Store in refrigerator in a covered container.
I have a bad cat. Yes, Boris is wanted for Destruction of Furniture. This is a Felony in my house, but cats and small children get automatic immunity.
We have some storage hassocks that we use as foot stools and coffee tables in our living room. When you live in a small (916 sf) house, every piece of furniture has have more than one function.
Boris keeps his sleepy pad one one of the hassocks where he hangs out with his stuffed mice. The little monster does not deserve a new cover on his hassock (never mind that he has three scratching posts on the first floor, plus a cat tree and he uses them all) but I decided that a pandemic sewing project might be interesting.
I used some heavy canvas fabric I got in a free bin at a house sale. I added a design with some fabric paint. The hassock was an 18″ cube, so I measured a strip of fabric 72″ long (the material swatch was huge. I could have also cut and sewn a strip 72″ long) plus an extra inch, and 22 inches wide. I made a giant tube snug enough that I had to finesse it over the hassock. The bottom of the fabric was already hemmed.
So, what’s to keep Boris from destroying this? And I also decided that I didn’t want to make three more covers for the rest of the hassocks. And I’m not crazy about the fabric. Light colors don’t work to well for a foot stool. Replace the hassocks? And have them destroyed again? But I think I found a solution.
When I was in the first grade, my father promised to build me a desk. He finally started building it my senior year in high school. He completed it and painted it in my room while I was in bed, violently ill with the flu. I didn’t dare ask him to finish the desk when I felt better because it might have become one of my wedding presents.
My mother painted our whole house except she stopped in the upstairs hallway and never did finish. You could see where the paint just stopped. And we never get the house fully furnished because she had a hard time making up her mind.
My brother had a hole in his dining room wall for months. During one visit, my father asked him when he was going to fix it. My brother didn’t answer. I remembered the desk and felt smug enough for the both of us.
My niece gave birth to a little boy a few months back. My brother let me know she was expecting a few months before she was due. I found out she had a little boy after the fact. Better late than never.
By now, you have probably realized that I come from a family of procrastinators. The trait runs sluggishly through my blood. Nothing to get upset about once you accept it. It’s there like the Rock of Gibraltar.
Which brings me to the baby dishes. I made them after my great nephew made his entrance in October. Or was it September? Anyway, the pottery studio closed because of the pandemic and they went unglazed until 2021. Then I packed a box with the baby dishes and some other items I thought my niece might like, and found her address. Next stop, post office. Here are some pictures.