Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunkering Down

Hurricane Sandy is upon us.  Girlfriend and I are both off work today and tomorrow because of the storm, and when we woke up this morning we decided we'd better do some cooking while we still had power.

The cooking actually started last night, with chickpea curry from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla.  This is not a vegan book (although Anupy has another book, Vegan Indian Cooking, that is also excellent), but most of the recipes are vegan.  I love these recipes because a) the quantities are huge, and b) most of the recipes involve dumping everything into the slow cooker at once and ignoring it for a long, long time -- 14 hours in the case of the chickpea curry.  I woke up this morning to the smell of delicious curry, and first thing I added my finishing touches.  This curry comes out very soupy, so I thicken it up and turn it into a complete meal by adding cooked rice, a pound of frozen spinach, and a pound of frozen broccoli.

Then it was on to some more cooking.  First I started an enormous pot of kitchari with whole mung beans.  Kitchari is such a huge part of my diet it deserves its own post, and I promise it will get one before long.  Then I scrubbed some potatoes, both white and sweet, and put them in the oven to bake.  Next item was a pot of brown basmati rice, the second pot of the morning as I'd already made a pot to stir into the chickpea curry.  Finally I tried a new recipe:  Hot and Sour Cabbage and Tofu Stew.

I wish I knew where I got this recipe.  I know I xeroxed it out of one of the Moosewood cookbooks, which I had checked out of the library, but I can't remember which one.  It might be Low Fat Favorites.   Anyway, here's my version:

One onion, chopped
One bell pepper, chopped
About 6 cups savoy cabbage, cut into thin strips
Two 14-oz cans diced tomatoes (one of mine was fire roasted with green chile, because that's what I had in the house.  It actually worked really well in this recipe)
About 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated on the microplane
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 lb extra firm tofu, cut in small cubes
2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I think sriracha would work here too)

Get the onion, pepper, and cabbage cooking in a big pot.  The original recipe said to saute in oil, but I used some sherry I'd been using to store a hunk of ginger.*  After this has cooked a bit, add everything else, plus some water.  The original recipe called for two cups but I used closer to one cup and it was plenty.   Cook it until the tofu is heated through and the cabbage is done to your liking.  Serve over rice.  Om nom nom.

I think this counts as "Asian fusion."  I used Japanese soy sauce, Vietnamese chili garlic sauce, and I served it over brown basmati rice.
Whew!  That was a lot of cooking.  Good thing I had a sous chef on hand:

Couldn't care less.
I ate a big plate of the cabbage stew for lunch.  Girlfriend had a smaller plate, then had seconds a few hours later.  I said, "You don't have to eat it at room temperature, you know.  We do still have power."  I guess she was practicing.  The good news is, she reports this tastes great at room temp, so if we do lose power we are set.  I have to admit this is something I love about vegan food -- with very few exceptions, leaving it unrefrigerated for a few hours (or more than a few -- I've left stuff out overnight, or all day while I was at work) is no big deal.

I hope all you East Coast vegans (and vegans everywhere) are safe and dry and have plenty of yummy food.

*I learned this way of preserving my fresh ginger from a roommate years ago, and it is the bomb.  As soon as you get your ginger home from the store, peel it, put it in sherry to cover, then cover the container and store it in the fridge.  It will keep indefinitely like this -- no more moldy or wrinkled ginger! -- and the flavored sherry is good for stir fries and other Asian applications.

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