You never know

When my mother first tried to give us tofu, my oldest sister had just come back from a semester at a vegetarian, cow-milking, everybody loves everbody school in New Hampshire and had been talking to my mother. I was unconvinced. I said to her flat out, “are you kidding me”? There were no more hamburger Fridays, no more twinkies, no more white rice, white flour, white sugar and there was no way that I was going to drink anything called Tiger’s milk or eat some kind of jello and egg white wiggle they were calling tofu. I stuck to my guns on that until I ate some darned good tofu. Not all tofu is created equal. You need to get yourself a few and have a taste test. Don’t do it raw, because if you start raw, you may never be able to start again. Just get a little olive oil going in a pan, add a hunk of fresh garlic cut in half, and a hunk of ginger. Get them to go golden and remove. Add some tiny squares that you have cut up of different tofu, and you can mark them one with a piece of onion, two with a piece of chive, three with rosemary, just so you know which is which, and don’t touch them until they are gorgeous and deeply golden on the bottom. Sprinkle some sea salt over and then flip with a thin metal spatula so you don’t lose the crust. Whichever one tastes good to you, that’s the one to use. If you have no time for taste tests, start with extra firm.
Your goal with tofu is to add as much excitement as you can to it. Start with the same system I suggested for the taste test, and then go ahead and chop up about two cloves of garlic and an inch of fresh ginger pretty finely and add that to the pan along with a little more olive oil and some baby yellow onion slices, once you have removed the tofu. When it is all going golden, add a handful of peanuts and just a few little red pepper flakes or a whole pepperoncino (cayenne pepper). Add a few handfuls of baby arugula leaves, another bit of salt and then turn off the heat. You can add about a few tablespoons of really ripe, seeded and chopped tomatoes or fresh corn kernels that you have sauted, or leave them out. Toss it all with the tofu and serve along side basmati rice. (Cook the rice in twice as much water, add salt, a dash of olive oil, a bay leaf and a thyme sprig and simmer coverd, without stirring, until tender). This is going to win over the unexpected and you are going to have to guard your dinner.

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