Food co-op; soba madness ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

26 January 2009

Food co-op; soba madness

Last week I went down to the east village, found the 4th St. food co-op, gave them money, and became a member. Oh man! Bulk food! Bulk bins from which I can get my desired amount of bulk food! It seems like forever since I walked down to the Ann Arbor food co-op every weekend. It was an excellent first day of new administration.

I bought:

- soba
- quinoa
- green lentils
- pinto beans
- sesame seeds
- green onion
- red onion
- ginger root

I feel better.

The soba is by far the most exciting part. You can feel the rough grain edges down each piece. Clearly, this calls for immediate eating.

Soba with tofu, broccoli and peanut sauce

firm tofu
safflower or peanut oil
peanut butter
soy sauce
sriacha sauce
lime juice or vinegar
soba noodles

Put water on for soba at the beginning, then cook at an appropriate time in the process.

Press, cube, and sear tofu. This was the first time that pressing Nasoya tofu has actually left me with something non-crumbling, which was exciting. I used half a block and cut it into pretty small, thin squares. Get a nonstick pan medium-hot, warm a little oil in it, and put in the tofu in one layer. I splashed mine with a little soy sauce too. Sear until golden brown on all sides, then take the tofu out of the pan and stick it in a bowl to wait its turn.

Turn the heat down and let the pan cool off the heat a bit. This should only take a minute. While you're waiting, mince a couple cloves of garlic. Then put the pan back on the heat, add a little more oil, and throw in the garlic. Let it soften while you put together the sauce.

Whisk together a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter, some soy sauce, some sriracha sauce, the juice of half a lime, and a big splash of water. I winged the proportions, as usual. The most important thing here is to go pretty easy on soy, since it's so salty. You can always add more later. Substitutions: if you have any rice wine vinegar, you can use it instead of the lime juice. Lime juice also kind of wants some coconut milk instead of the water, but I didn't have any, so. Mix the stuff together, dissolving the peanut butter as well as possible.

By this point the garlic should be good and soft, so pour your sauce into the pan. Cook, stirring often, for five minutes or so. Taste it and see if you want to add more of anything. I wanted more sriracha. You can also always add more water if it gets too thick.

Now chop up as much broccoli as you want to eat. I used 2/3 of a bunch for two people, but the whole bunch would have been fine. Use as much of the stem as is tender. Do it! You know you love it! You could also use all kinds of other vegetables along with/in place of the broccoli: asparagus, green beans, red pepper, whatever will steam quickly. Things like (peeled) eggplant are really good but require longer steaming time, so I'd probably cook them separately.

Throw the broccoli into the pan of sauce, along with a splash of water. Cover the pan immediately and let the water steam your broccoli. This should take about three minutes. Take off the pan lid, admire your bright green broccoli, and add your tofu. Stir everything together, cooking for a minute or two longer, until the tofu is warm. Now you are done.

Serve bowls of soba with peanut tofu broccoli business on top. Use chopsticks to improve your manual dexterity.

It is delicious!

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