Saturday, 9 February 2013

February 9, 2013 - Great Vegetarian Experiment


My best friend and I cooked a fantastic vegetarian meal last night. It was tasty, colourful and had a variety of cool textures. We sautéed marinated tofu and kelp noodles in a dressing out of tamari, rice vinegar and honey. Then we threw some steamed vegetables over top, tossed in the same dressing and toasted sesame seeds. 

Tamari is premium Japanese soy sauce. Most soy sauce is made with a rough combination of half soybeans and half wheat. Tamari is made with soybeans and very little wheat or none at all. The result is more flavourful and complex than regular soy sauce. 

Kelp noodles are a riot. I've never eaten or even heard of them before yesterday. They are sort of like glass noodles but made entirely of raw kelp (a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (a salt extracted from seaweed) and water. They are great for you and really fun to eat. The texture is hard to describe. I want to say squishy, yet crunchy and soft at the same time. They carried the flavour of the dressing really well.

Let's talk about tofu for a second. It seems to be one of those foods that people either really like or really don't. I love the stuff. If tofu isn't your thing, it could easily be replaced with shrimp or chicken. My friend bought pieces of firm tofu that were already marinated in spicy, sweet and sour flavours. Tofu on its own is very bland but it takes on other flavours perfectly. It just takes longer for tofu to marinate properly than meat does. Buying tofu that's already marinated can be very handy. Otherwise, if you ever want to marinate your own, make sure you leave yourself time to let it sit overnight or 24 hours. 

We had equal parts (about a cup each) of broccoli florets, bok choy and green beans. We steamed them separately in a bamboo steamer for a few minutes each and then dumped them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. We steamed them separately because the broccoli takes about five minutes whereas the bok choy and beans need only two to three. Then we patted them dry with paper towel. 

This was a very satisfying meal that was very easy to digest. Sometimes vegetarian meals can end up more like a combination of sides rather than a complete, cohesive meal. I love finding exceptions like this. 

Stay tuned, this weekend I'll be putting together a perfect dinner idea for Valentine's Day with not one but two simple desserts, It will be classy, delicious, romantic and full of aphrodisiacs. You are going to fall in love with it.

B

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