Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tofu and Carrots done Japanese Style

So I was perusing my library's cookbooks in search of Japanese, and I happened upon what I humorously consider the sequel to French Women Don't Get Fat. It is, you guessed it, Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat. It's by Naomi Moriyama and her hubby William Doyle and includes recipes more often than not pulled directly from Moriyama's mother's recipe book (not that she has a literal recipe book but you get the idea). As such, the recipes, thus far, are absolutely fantastic, producing better-than-restaurant quality Japanese right in my own kitchen. This is no small feat.

The problem: to get the recipes, you have to withstand (or ignore) a lengthy diatribe on why eating the Japanese way is the healthiest way to eat (including how it's best if you invest in new Japanese tableware). Now, I'm not saying Japanese isn't healthy. It's loaded with seaweed and miso paste and I just can't get enough. I just get a little sick of hearing how everybody has the secret for THE way to eat a healthy diet, and everybody thinks they're right. I also find it troubling to try to convince people to exclusively eat foods that have to be imported, rather than showing them ways to use the food that grows right in their own communities. Lastly (and then I will end this mini-rant and get on to the good stuff), I find it unfair that homecooked rural Japanese food is being paired against, rather than homecooked rural American food, fast food American food, as though all of us here in the states know only how to use a McDonald's drive thru and the number of our favorite pizza joint. It made for a bit of a straw man argument, even if the book did make some good points and reveal some kickbutt recipes.

CarrotyTofu with Sesame
-adapted from Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat-

what you need:
1 block extra firm tofu
2 T cider vinegar
2 t sugar
2 t white wine
2 t soy sauce
1 t salt
1 T canola oil
5 carrots, matchsticked
1/3 c toasted ground white sesame seeds
2 c. brown rice

  1. Make rice via rice cooker or the more intensive stovetop method. While it's cooking, cut up the tofu, season (if desired) with allspice and pop it in the oven for about 20=30 minutes, flipping once during baking. Cut tofu into cubes.
  2. Combine vinegar-salt in small bowl until sugar is dissolved. (Of course, the wine should be sake, this being a Japanese dish, but lacking that, I opened a bottle of white wine spritzer from, I believe, Africa. Consider my version African-infused Asian.)
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add carrot and tofu and sauté until carrots are tender, 3 min, Reduce heat to med-low and add sauce mix. Cook 2 more min. Turn off heat and add sesame seeds. Toss it all together.
  4. Serve with rice, and if you want to be Japanese about it, serve them in separate bowls.

My table setting ended up quite lovely if I do say so myself. And because I opened that spritzer, I enjoyed a glass of bubbly with my repast.

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