Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday fixations

Last night, I had the most epic frying disaster. As you know, I'm not very confident when it comes to frying, but I thought this recipe might be easy to handle as a first go. It involved shallow frying, so I felt a little more secure attempting it since I wouldn't be having to fill a whole pot with oil.

Honestly, everything was going sorta ok at first. I filled up my pan with oil and heated it up. My test piece of tofu looked as though it was cooking, but it took a long time to get golden brown. I wasn't entirely sure I had the heat right, so I kept inching it up higher. By the time I finished all the tofu cubes, the smoke -- oh, the smoke! It was pretty hazy in here. Almost as much as outside. We were forced to open the windows (to let the fresh air in? We exchanged smoky for smoky, I guess).

I saw on a cooking show later that evening that they probably should have sat in the oil for three minutes per side. I was just being entirely too nervous, fidgety, and impatient.

So after that was done, I was supposed to take that tofu and stir fry it a bit with the vegetables I'd cooked earlier. In my infinite wisdom, I didn't want to use a fresh frying pan. Don't even ask me why. Like it's so hard to wash another frying pan. I don't get it either. So I thought, I'll just pour this boiling hot oil into a jar to cool and continue on with the recipe.

Yes. I did. I poured boiling hot oil into a glass jar like the dumbest person ever.

And yes, it did immediately shatter, spilling boiling hot oil all over the counter, down the cupboard doors, and on to the floor.

I don't know how many times I need to be taught this lesson but boiling hot liquid does not play nice with cold glass. At least this time it was just a washed out relish jar and not a precious antique. I think the next time I open a can, I'm going to keep it just in case such an occasion should arise again. "Fat Can," "Drippings Can" they now have a whole new (enlightened) meaning.

Now we haven't had much success with tofu. We're that in love with it. But on those days when we've chosen to try to eat meat free, it's become something that's really easy for me to revolve a meal around. Usually I'll bake it, and the results are ok. I mean, they're not perfect. It still tastes like weird spongy tasteless egg, but it's got a little crunch around the edges and isn't so bad dipped in ketchup or tzatziki, so we manage. But whatever flavour I've put on it always disappears. I'm starting to think there must be a trick to making tofu taste like something other than tofu or all the vegetarians are lying to us, because I have yet to ever get any taste to adhere, soak in, or layer on to a piece of tofu. No matter how long I press it, how long I soak it, even if I baste it with something at the end of cooking. Nothing makes it taste like some other more delicious flavour.

This recipe, on the other hand, tasted quite delicious (and I skipped the step about stir frying the tofu with the vegetables. You know, cuz there was oil, like, everywhere). We could taste the salt and pepper more than the tofu. They were crunchy little cubes of salt and pepper (in a good way), and they were good on their own. And that's saying a lot. Yes, we dipped them in ketchup, but paired with only the vegetables, they were still really delicious. Really. I changed the vegetables in the recipe and only used mushrooms and green onions, but I loved the bit of brown sugar and soy sauce cooked in with them. It's such a simple way to make a delicious sauce. If the tofu had had a chance to mingle with that sauce, I'm sure they would have been even better. Now that I kind of have a better idea of how to go about shallow frying, I might just try this recipe again. Later. Next month. When I build up my courage.

Current fixations:

{ginger} Last night was also the first time I've ever bothered to buy and use fresh ginger. Why wasn't I buying fresh ginger before? I found a small piece which only cost me 11 cents, so there's no monetary reason not to purchase it regularly; and the smell is so good! All I did was smell it, actually. I loved it so much, I forced Idle Husband to smell it, too. I just kept going back to it and taking in another whiff of that bright fizzy scent. So good. I'd like that bottled into a perfume, please;

{military inspired coats} I think it's about time I get a new winter jacket, and I'd really love it to be one like these: Gap; Old Navy #1 and #2; Urban Outfitters #1, #2, and #3 except more Edmonton winter appropriate. I think they'd look super cute with a flower brooch or a really feminine scarf (preferably in really bright colours);

{Magpie's Cake} Her cakes are so amazing. They're simple, elegant, and artistic. I think they're so much more impressive than cakes that look like real-life things or cakes that are so huge you need five guys to carry them (which are both trends that are starting to get real old, real fast);

{straws} I seriously had dreams all night about getting some. Wow, right? I'm weird. I have some really fun drink ideas, though, and they just wouldn't be right without a straw! Maybe some of these; love these; reusable would be awesome; and these are just too cute;

{fun popsicle molds and grown-up popsicle flavours} I know it's almost fall and I shouldn't be thinking about popsicles (in fact, my nose is even cold right now), but I think they're starting to get really interesting and I like the idea of them as a sweet after-dinner treat. I have a popsicle tray which looks kind of like this except more like it was abandoned from a Tupperware party back in 1979. I think popsicles in this shape look much more grown up and sophisticated. I'm hoping there's still some to be found (maybe on clearance since no one other than a Canadian would ever dream of making popsicles in the winter);

{gifs} Maybe you've noticed, but I'm getting kind of obsessed with putting these together. I do all of mine right here. Also, don't you love it when a facebook friend posts pictures and has failed to edit them and there are three or more pictures in a row that are exactly the same except for one little detail? Going through those albums are so enjoyable because there are mini gifs everywhere (just page back and forth)! We get a huge kick out of it;

{unlikely things baked in muffin tins} I'm inspired by this and this, and I still want to make both of those, but I also find myself thinking up other things you wouldn't normally cook in a muffin tin. Maybe more on this later;

{cool videos} I almost fell off my chair laughing at this (don't miss out, there are three parts to it); there's a sweet new Simon's Cat animation; this was pretty cute;  yesterday, I discovered Supermarket Sweep on tv again! The hair! The glasses! The outfits! The host! The lame prizes! Crystal Pepsi! We totally set up a recording; I'm so obsessed with this song; and I don't know why, but I've watched this four times already. I can't look away, it's too strange;

{dinosaurs} I love them. They're so fascinating. We're definitely going to be checking out these places when we go on vacation next week! That also means I'll be taking an internet vacation, so I won't be blogging until we get back. But I promise to return with lots of interesting pictures!

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