Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the stories will come

by Lisa

Today I bring you another post. Two posts in week! Even two posts in year is almost like setting a record now!

(That's how productive I am.)

The stories will come, I tell myself. For now, I must just post, post, post.

Today's dish is one of Kathy's favorite. It's a homey, Vietnamese tofu with tomato dish that I imagine every family will make differently. Considering I'm not Vietnamese, I'm sure mine is like none other. Huzzah!

"Vietnamese" Tofu and Tomato

1 package fried, cubed tofu (I think it's 16 oz? I threw away the package. It cost me about $2.)
3 tomatoes*, cut into wedges
1 large onion (or 2 small), sliced (in the direction of stem-to-root)
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled, but not minced (for the lazy)
6-8 oz (1 small can) tomato sauce**
1-2 cups water, depending on how much tomato sauce you use (see note below)
1-3 T fish sauce, to taste, also depending on how much water you use...
freshly ground black pepper
sliced green onions, for garnish

Heat wok or dutch oven (something higher-walled than a skillet is ideal), add a round of vegetable oil, saute onions for a few minutes. Add garlic, and stir for 30 seconds before adding the rest of the ingredients. You can do the fish sauce and black pepper last, so you can season according to how much water you used, and how sweet/salty the tomatoes/sauce are. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and let simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes (depending on how hungry you are). The tofu will absorb some of the juices, and the sauce should be very watery in consistency, but not in flavor. Adjust fish sauce and pepper to taste. Garnish with green onions if you want to be professional, and serve over hot Jasmine rice.

*I used fresh, Roma tomatoes. This is a good fall/winter dish, because it can hide the dullness of winter tomatoes. I think I've done this once with canned tomatoes, and if you do, you can cut out the sauce, and maybe add some ketchup instead? See ** below.

**Although there are some alternatives to using tomato sauce, I think it works the best. You don't quite need 8 oz, but that is the size of the can so sometimes I just dump the whole thing in, then add enough water to dilute so it doesn't taste like you're eating spaghetti with rice. In a pinch you can use a bit of ketchup or tomato paste.

And if that wasn't enough to entice you to visit, please admire the new pillow I got for our guest bed. It is calling your name!

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