Sunday, December 20, 2009

Odds an' Ends

Because I have no car, and it is winter, I am more than usually averse to shlepping myself to and from the grocery store. I hate dragging my ass home with a load of heavy soggy bags at the end of a day. This leaves me with some strange combinatons sometimes. The good ones end up here, the other stuff I pretend never happened.

Delicata Squash with Tofu and Spinach Stuffing
(served with some other stuff to make it interesting, like.)

On the right there is the cous-wa again, that's old hat. The raddiccio is mostly for color, although the bitter crunchyness goes well with the rest of the stuff.

The tofu stuffing came about because I have these enthusiasms for an ingredient, and have to go and get some to see what its like. The peedan was one I actually knew what to do with; those blessed tomatillos were another story... This time it was bacon salt.  Somebody (Dawn) mentioned it and I thought, wow, bacony goodness without having to cook any bacon! Yep, I am that lazy.

Well, I found one thing to do with it: I put it in my do chang. But then what? Attempt to make fake bacon out of tofu, obviously. Not a success, obviously. But I did get a curiously satisfying marinated tofu good for sandwiches. Then I ran out of bread, and besides, I was bored of sandwiches. Some time ago, Cynthia gave me a dinky little squash, and there was pretty much nothing else left in the kitchen when I got home today. This gave me a reason to have the oven on for an extra hour, which is a good thing around the solstice.

1 block super-firm tofu
bacon salt
nutritional yeast
olive oil
some ground toasted flax seeds
bear with me.

Cut the tofu into strips about 1 inch wide and at most 1/2 inch thick. Coat them generously with a mix of the dry ingredients. You can go moderately heavy with the bacon salt, it seems to be mostly composed of garlic powder and paprika. Put it in a tupperware thing and add a slosh of olive oil and shake it around to get the oil distributed. Then leave it in the fridge until you feel guilty about not eating it, which was about 5 days for me. Maybe longer. Then decide that you might as well combine it with that other thing you feel guilty about not eating, and locate your squash.

Mine was a particularly small squash, definitely a one-person size. To fill it, I used:

2 strips marinated tofu
2/3 cups frozen chopped spinach
a toasted heel of bread, torn up very small
salt and pepper

To assemble the squash, cut the squash in half to form 2 little cups, and scoop out the seeds. Put the tofu and spinach in a bowl and microwave it just until it's all hot, then smash up the tofu with a fork. Stir in the bread bits, taste for salt and pepper, and if it is very dry add a spoon of water. Mine had all the leftover olive oil from the bottom of the tofu batch, so it was pretty moist. Cram the stuffing into the squash cups, put them in a pan with a little water in the bottom to keep them from utterly drying out, and bake them for about an hour. The time will vary depending on how big your squash is, and if it's very large, you may want to cover it for the first half of the baking or it will burn on the outside before it gets done through.

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