a little something extra

Sunday, January 13, 2008

delicious day

Two parts to this entry -- first a movie review (really more of a movie remark), then a recipe.

This afternoon I trucked up to Pasadena to see a matinee screening of The Savages with my friend S*. Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco. There was some seriously wonderful acting going on.

I experience movies very differently than I take in plays. I don't work in film at all, and I am not very well educated about its history, nor especially sensitive to its techniques. When I watch movies I am very alert to the stories and characters, but not terribly hip to how that story is being told with film's visual and editing techniques.

Nevertheless I enjoy movies very much, and when the artists are working at as high a level as they are in The Savages, there's a lot there for me to enjoy.

I got home a little before 8 p.m. I had bought fresh kale at the farmer's market earlier in the day, intending to make a favorite dish that would provide me with portable suppers this week. They're important because I won't have another evening off till Friday, or possibly later. Tomorrow I have Pacific Chorale rehearsal after work, and Tuesday and Wednesday I'm staying at work to conduct post-show discussions with our audiences. Thursday I have church choir rehearsal, getting that Mozart ready. Greens will keep for a day or two in the fridge, but I didn't think this kale stood a chance of lasting till Friday in good shape.

So I cooked when I got home, and now I am well fed. Here's the recipe, from Moosewood Cooks at Home:

Gingered Greens and Tofu
1 cake water-packed tofu, which you tossed bodily into the freezer when you brought the tofu home from the store. Earlier upon the cooking day, you took it out and let it thaw.
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
6 cups or more fresh greens -- kale, chard, Chinese cabbage, bok choy... whatever you like -- they should be washed and spun dry. Chop 'em if your palate prefers that texture
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (the stuff in the jar is fine, but truly fresh is even better)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp lime juice - fresh is best
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a dash of chili oil (optional)
chopped toasted cashews (not salted)

1. Cook some rice to serve with the finished dish. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Combine the soy sauce, sherry, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
3. Unpackage the tofu, pouring off the liquid. Press the whole cake between your hands over the sink, squeezing out as much of the liquid in the tofu as possible. Cut the tofu up into 1" dice and place them in a nonreactive dish.
4. Pour the cooling marinade over the tofu pieces and set aside for 5 minutes or so.
5. Wipe down a baking sheet with a little nonstick spray. Place the tofu pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet, reserving the marinade. Bake the tofu pieces for 10-15 minutes; watch that the bottom surface doesn't get browner than you like.
6. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Stir in the ginger, then add the greens -- you may need to do this in batches until the greens cook down in volume.
7. Add the lime juice to the reserved marinade. Add the chili oil or cayenne if you're using it, and stir well to combine.
8. Stir and cook the greens until they are done to your taste. Some varieties take longer than others. If you are working with particularly sturdy greens or you're in a hurry, you can cheat by adding 1/4 cup of the marinade to the pot and clapping on the lid, letting the greens steam to hasten their cooking.
9. Remove the tofu from the oven and add the pieces to the pot with the greens. Add the rest of the reserved marinade and stir well to combine.
10. Serve over rice, topped with toasted cashews.

Omnivores, I think this method of preparing greens would also be nice with seared shrimp or scallops, or with stir-fried chicken.


At 8:21 AM , Blogger Laurie said...

I haven't seen The Savages, but your post made me think of the best acting I have seen in awhile -- Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Wow. He was impressive, as were many of the other actors as well.

The kale recipe looks good! I might try it sometime, but maybe with seitan or the morningstar chicken strips, as R does not like tofu.

At 9:54 AM , Blogger Colleen said...

What's a "nonreactive" pan? I've not cooked tofu, but that doesn't mean I won't!

At 10:49 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Basically it means a dish that is not made of bare metal, which will react with certain chemicals, especially acids. I marinated my tofu in a big ceramic bowl. Corningware, tempered glass, or (I think) metal with a nonstick treatment will also be good.


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