Thursday, April 24, 2008

Single girl's rice bowl

Brian is off on another work trip. This is a bummer family and company wise, but kind of a relief on the culinary front because I can get away with half-assed food for my dinner which would surely cause an extended session of late night cereal consumption by Brian if he was subject to such meals. (Sometimes this is how I gauge the relative success of a meal--does he turn to a big bowl of cereal an hour and a half later? Not so good. Does he skip the cereal that evening? Pretty good meal.)

Two nights ago I had the big salad meal--an extremely large pile of greens, whatever raw vegetables I could find in the fridge and some feta and toasted walnuts for protein. Last night I had the "classic": a half a bottle of crappy Chardonay, a large glob of sorta crappy brie, some crackers and a little pile of cornichons all consumed while watching god knows what on TV and recovering from a Fiona melt-down of epic proportions (a few choice quotes "I'm not going to be your kid any more" and "you have to go in a cage and stay there with no food and no water." The girl comes up with imaginative punishments, eh?)

Today I resorted to my standby grad school meal: a mess of rice, tofu, cucumber and kim chee. I probably ate this at least three times a week when I was going to UC Davis. When you feel the need for something cooked, but don't have a lot of patience for fuss, this really is quite satisfying (though it does assume you have cooked rice on hand, that slightly dried out rice left over from take out last weekend works great, or grab one of those boxes of frozen cooked brown rice for moments like this when you are too impatient to cook it).

First take a cucumber--preferably one of the little un-waxed salad cukes, also known as a kirby cucumber--slice it up (peel it too if you have a standard waxed cuke) and toss it in a bowl with a little soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Let it sit in this while you make the other stuff.
Cube half a cake of firm tofu (or less if you aren't that hungry.) Pour about 1T of canola oil in a non-stick pan and use a garlic press to squash one clove of garlic into the oil. Heat gently (don't brown the garlic, just let it infuse the oil with flavor and get the raw burn out of its system). Then chuck in the tofu and a little salt and pepper. If you are feeling patient, go ahead and brown your tofu. If not (I rarely am), just make sure it is warmed through.
Then get out a big bowl and warm up a pile of rice. Dump the tofu over the rice, dump the cucumbers and their dressing over the tofu and, if you want it spicy, pile it high with as much kim chee as your guts are capable of handling (or squirt on some sriracha sauce if you prefer it).
If you are feeling fancy you can drizzle it with a little sesame oil and sprinkle on some sesame seeds, but really, if you were feeling fancy, you probably wouldn't be making this.