real food

I walked the dog, made dinner, sat outside and ate without watching television, and organized the freezer tonight. And, yes, I want a standing ovation.

Summer has always been a difficult time for me to keep a routine. The heat makes me dread the oven. Heat. Sweat. Ick. And, once I get home from work, I just want to unfurl in the sun on a lounger. Bathe in rays. The dog is quieter and so I take that as an excuse not to walk her morn and night. In short, I get lazy. Which is a bit hypocritical as I spend most of the winter dodging snowy walks with the excuse of “But, it’s too cold” and “Her [the dog’s] arthritic joints are achey with the cold.” I long for springtime and, when it comes, I do get a spurt of outdoor energy. And then summer comes and I retreat.

It’s July and I’m ready to stop retreating. Ready to enjoy summer. So, tonight, I took on a small part of routine I once had, have lost, and want to regain. I came home, dressed in sweats and walked the dog before hosing us both down afterwards, and while I walked I thought about dinner.

I knew it was going to involve tofu. I’d pulled the block out before my walk, wrapped it in a towel and placed it under a weighted cast iron skillet to press out the water. But what to do with it?

On the way to therapy tonight I stopped at Canto 6 for a decaf espresso. The thought of therapy makes me want an alcoholic beverage and so I trick myself with decaf espresso on the way. It’s a great $5 investment in sobriety. While at Canto 6, I was wooed by a demi-baguette. Yes, wooed. One of six, standing upright in a ceramic vase, its golden, crusty self was just begging to come home with me. So, in a brown bag it went and home it came.

It wasn’t until I was walking, thinking about the leftover guacamole turning in the fridge, that I conceptualized dinner. Caramelized BBQ tofu strips atop a bed of lettuce sitting on an open-faced demi-baguette slathered with guacamole. Yes.

Open-faced BBQ Tofu sandwich with guacamole and romaineAnd so, dinner was born. Pressed tofu became sliced thin and coated with BBQ sauce, then tossed in a piping hot skillet with a dash of canola oil for crisp. The demi-bagette was ripped in half and torn open to reveal soft, feathery white bread, which was quickly slathered with not-yet-brown leftover guacamole. Rinsed romaine dressed the open sandwich and after a few minutes of cooking, the tofu crowned the lot.

I’d forgotten how good tofu smells once its been caramelized in that favorite cast iron skilled with slow-basted BBQ sauce. I’d forgotten the musky earthiness that creeps in nostrils and dances on tastebuds. I’d forgotten about tofu.

left hand with gold weddingringBut, by G-d, I remembered tofu tonight.

And, as the hubby (yes, we got hitched last week) doesn’t particularly love tofu and dislikes guacamole, it was the perfect me-alone-dinner to enjoy on the porch.

Inspired by my recapturing of schedule, I cleaned out the freezer in an attempt to organize and catalogue the remaining groceries. July is going to be my “use ’em up” month, which means there’ll be more cooking to come. What I noticed:

  • I have 3 bags of frozen cauliflower (Curry anyone?).
  • Between breasts, drumsticks, and thin-sliced chicken, there’s going to be some grilling and some shawarma going on in July.
  • Edamame: perfect snack AND protein-packed companion to pesto pasta and spinach-quinoa bowls
  • Frozen evol meals (four). I’m less excited about these than I was when I purchased them, but nevertheless they’re coming to work next week for lunches.
  • Black bean burgers (are just waiting for a side of guacamole)
  • Ground beef means we’re having tacos this month.
  • I have only one bag of broccoli and half a bag of green beans. This is sad. I love broccoli and green beans, but I will not buy more until there is less cauliflower in the freezer.
  • We have a whole shelf of ice-cream. Two half-gallons from the wedding, three pints (two somewhat eaten) that belong to the hubby, and a lonely vanilla quart that just keeps holding out. I may just have to make a blueberry pie.

So, I may not have a full-on cooking plan for July, but I’m going to do better; with cooking, with walking, with planning. Hell, with enjoying summer actively. Because we know the snow is gonna be here before we want it to be… Oh yes, and look for more blogging- because I like it.


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