Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm Alive! I'm really Alive!

Whoa- what a long strange trip it has been, let me-tell-ya! That was the sickest I have ever been in my entire life, and I wish it upon no one! I had an unbelievable combination of symptoms, that should of damn near killed me. Take a case of horrible food poisoning, add a lung and sinus infection, then slap on a case strep throat on there, then make sure your nose won't stop running and you can't stop coughing up brown mucus- and you might be somewhat close to what I was going through for over a week. I would like to take this time to thank my husband, for not only dealing with my misery but also taking care of me. What would I do without you?

I have never been one to get sick, I rarely ever do. From what I have heard I got what was going around, and it gave me a completely new appreciation for life, food, and health.

I ate next to nothing for over a week, food didn't look good and it sure as hell didn't taste very good. Even today I am not 100%, but at least my love for food is back in full force!

I made my first real meal yesterday, and it was cronic.

Cornmeal crusted stuffed tofu in a leek/portabella sauce with swiss chard

This meal was incredibly easy and tasty to make. I have been noticing an increase in stuffed tofu dishes on others blogs so I had to make one myself. I was very pleased with the way these bad boys fried up.

First I took some local extra firm tofu, and cut it into "cutlet" size pieces. I then chopped (very fine) broccoli and shitake mushrooms. I added a bit of olive oil and some seasonings. I cut open a slot in the tofu and stuffed them with the mixture. Then on a plate I put some soy milk, and on another plate right next to it I put some cornmeal, garlic, salt and pepper. I then took the stuffed tofu and soaked it in the soy milk, then dipped it in the cornmeal mixture. In a hot pan with vegetable oil I lighting fried each side of the tofu. I had the oven set at 450 degrees, and after I lightly fried the tofu I put it in the oven for 15 minutes.

In a sauce pan I had some hot olive oil, and I caramelized the leeks. Then I added the chopped portabellas and cooked it down until it was soft. I then added a cup 1/2 of water, some better than bouillan paste, and garlic. Mmmm...I love garlic, hopefully you do too. To thicken I used arrow-root powder, the only way to make a sauce!

what the funk is Arrowroot?



arrowroot starch = arrowroot powder = arrowroot = arrowroot flour This starch thickener has several advantages over cornstarch. It has a more neutral flavor, so it's a good thickener for delicately flavored sauces. It also works at a lower temperature, and tolerates acidic ingredients and prolonged cooking better. And while sauces thickened with cornstarch turn into a spongy mess if they're frozen, those made with arrowroot can be frozen and thawed with impunity. The downside is that arrowroot is pricier than cornstarch, and it's not a good thickener for dairy-based sauces, since it turns them slimy.

Tips:

  • To avoid lumps, mix the starch with an equal amount of cold liquid until it forms a paste, then whisk it into the liquid you're trying to thicken. Once the thickener is added, cook it briefly to remove the starchy flavor. Don't overcook--liquids thickened with some starches will thin again if cooked too long or at too high a temperature.

  • Cornstarch, arrowroot, and tapioca are the most popular starch thickeners. They have different strengths and weaknesses, so it's a good idea to stock all three in your pantry.

  • Starch thickeners give food a transparent, glistening sheen, which looks nice in a pie filling, but a bit artificial in a gravy or sauce. If you want high gloss, choose tapioca or arrowroot. If you want low gloss, choose cornstarch.

  • Cornstarch is the best choice for thickening dairy-based sauces. Arrowroot becomes slimy when mixed with milk products.

  • Choose arrowroot if you're thickening an acidic liquid. Cornstarch loses potency when mixed with acids.

  • Sauces made with cornstarch turn spongy when they're frozen. If you plan to freeze a dish, use tapioca starch or arrowroot as a thickener.

  • Starch thickeners don't add much flavor to a dish, although they can impart a starchy flavor if they're undercooked. If you worried that your thickener will mask delicate flavors in your dish, choose arrowroot. It's the most neutral tasting of the starch thickeners.

  • Tapioca starch thickens quickly, and at a relatively low temperature. It's a good choice if you want to correct a sauce just before serving it.

http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenStarch.html

8 comments:

Jeni Treehugger said...

AWESOME looking stuffed Tofu!!
Glad you're better - sounds like you had it bad.

Jen aka Jewbacca said...

i'm glad you're feeling better. and thanks for the arrowroot/cornstarch lesson. there's still so much about cooking that i don't know. using the cornstarch in my recent batch of most-arella cheez probably contributed to it not being that great-(because it had citrus juice in it), and i froze it. i wonder if using arrowroot might have made a better difference.

PurpleStick. said...

Mmmm that looks so good.
Tofu+stuffed=I'm sold.

Bianca said...

Glad you're feeling better! That stuffed tofu looks so amazing...I've been wanting to try my hand at that for awhile now.

Lauren said...

i'm so glad you commented on my blog so that i could find YOURS! its awesome, and your name/header is quite original ;)
your stuffed tofu looks great!! and i'm glad you're feeling better..being sick is never fun..
oh and i think i've learned more reading through your entries than i did in my classes today haha :)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh my gosh, that sounds SO SO SO good! I'm sorry you were sick, but glad you're better now!

Stacey said...

Thanks for your comment! :)

That's some crazy sickness you had! What a tasty looking meal to help bring you back out of the funk!

Sal said...

the tofu looks great - i've not made any stuffed tofu before but i love the idea.