Today – a story and a question.
But first a disclaimer. This story has to do with me drinking. Those who know me can tell you I love my wine. I drink it often but I don’t usually drink too much of it. I love the way it tastes with food and a glass at 5pm can really help me through the boys fighting/fixing dinner/bathtime/stories/teeth brushing/bedtime part of the day. Okay, maybe two glasses.
Remember we went to Whidbey Island for New Year’s Eve? What I didn’t tell you is that I drank a lot that night. A lot of red wine and then toasted the New Year with a large glass of champagne. Friends, my advice to you is do not ever end the night with champagne.
I took Advil before going to bed and woke up feeling a little rough but not terrible. Here is the thing with me and hangovers though. I usually wake up feeling as described above but as the day wears on, things get worse. I start feeling more off and by the late afternoon, I am a bit of a mess. On Whidbey, we all ventured off to go to the park, only to find it closed for renovation, so we went into the darling town of Langley. All ten of us (four adults, six kids) piled into a coffee place. I drank water. We walked around the town. I eyed lots of benches longingly. No one would notice if I just laid down, right? Jen steered me in the direction of a new gourmet food shop which, because of the holiday, was closed. I peered in the window at all the gorgeous food and thought, “I must feel really bad if I’m thankful this place is closed”.
Why am I telling you this story? Well, because eventually we ended up in this adorable shop which is part grocery, part clothing, part toy, and part kitchen gear store. (It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it does.) They always have an eclectic selection of cookbooks and, even in my state, I pulled down a new-to-me one called New Vegetarian.
Because I have so many, a veg cookbook has to have some really innovative and interesting recipes for me to want it. With this book, I immediately saw three or four recipes that I was dying to try. So, of course I had to buy it. If I was in the middle of one of the worst hangovers in my life and was moved to want to cook – this had to be a special book.
I brought it home, put it on my overflow shelf and promptly forgot about it.
End of story.
Now the question. Why do they only sell buttermilk in large quantities? Yes, once in a while I can find a pint of it, but usually I am stuck with a quart. Just about any baking recipe that calls for it uses somewhere around ½ a cup. That leaves you with 3½ cups. Yes, I could make pancakes but I don’t really like pancakes (don’t tell anyone). Yes, it’s inexpensive so I could really just pour it down the drain but – ugh! – I hate that kind of waste.
And here is where the story and the question magically weave together to make perfect sense in this post. While paging through my fun new book that I forgot about, I found this recipe. Not only did it include some of my very favorite spices, it calls for a full two cups of buttermilk. Because I seem to have misplaced my brain lately, I can’t remember why I had an almost-full quart of buttermilk in the fridge, but there it sat – just waiting to be used in this delicious and unusual entrée.
This is one of those “use what you have on hand” recipes. I bought the cauliflower and zucchini because I happened to be at the store anyway, but really any vegetable you love would be great here. The only advice I’m giving in this post is to drink champagne as your first beverage of the evening, not your last.
Is this post weird? I just went to type the name of this recipe which is “Tofu-Cabbage Karhi” and realized that I added no cabbage to my recipe. I know I can be absent minded in the kitchen, but did I really leave out a title ingredient in this dish? But no, on closer inspection, the recipe was wrong – no cabbage was called for. So I changed the name.
Adapted from New Vegetarian
I had some toasted coconut on hand from another recipe, so that is what is garnishing this dish.
12 oz. extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 small zucchini, julienned
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
2 large red jalapeños, seeded and diced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger 2 cups buttermilk
½ cup chickpea flour 1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro
Cube the tofu and set aside. Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Be careful as the mustard seeds will start to pop. Immediately and the shallot, and stir. Add the tofu to the pan and cook until golden on each side, then turn over. Add zucchini, cauliflower, jalapeños, and ginger and stir, cooking until the vegetables are slightly softened and golden in spots.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk ½ cup of the buttermilk into the chickpea flour to make a paste, then gradually whisk in the rest of the buttermilk. Whisk in the vegetable stock, tumeric, coriander, and chili powder. Pour the mixture into the pan of sautéing vegetables and tofu. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook oer low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, adding water or stock if the sauce becomes too thick. (DT: I probably added at least another cup of liquid.) Add the salt and brown sugar and stir well.
Just before serving, sprinkle in the lemon or lime juice and the cilantro. Serve over rice.