The downside to being vegetarian and having a husband who eats chicken is that I have to handle and cook something that still grosses me out, even after years of working in the industry dealing with it on a daily basis. The upside is, that on the nights when I cook it for the boys of the family I get to cook whatever I feel like eating, knowing full-well that my little trusty side-kick Ada (who has recently and much to my delight given up on eating chicken, most of the time) will happily gobble up anything that I put in front of her. This girl can eat and with all the recipe testing going on around here this is a good thing. When the boys turn up their noses at something I've made that's not to their picky tastes, I can be guaranteed to at least have someone keen try my food and more often than not be asked for more once the first taster has gone in a matter of seconds.
On these nights I tend to cook quick things like stir-fries or curries, two of my favourite foods. See when you have to cook two separate dinners, spending hours cooking both really is not my idea of fun. On the nights when Si and both the kids are eating seafood like prawns or mussels I tend to be even more simple with my meals and fry up an egg or two to have on rice, with salad on the side.
With all the beautiful spring produce around at the moment, asparagus, broccolini, spring onions and snow peas have been making appearances nearly every night in some form or another, and stir-fried asparagus in particular is my favourite way to eat this seasonal delicacy.
I like to always remove the gag-inducing inner string from my snow peas before cooking, which is really easily done. Simply snap off the leafy tip, pulling towards the inside of the pea. A quick little downward tug should take care of the rest.
So do you sometimes have to cook two separate meals in your house? And does it drive you mad or do you enjoy the freedom it brings to cook whatever you'd like to eat?
teriyaki tofu w/ asparagus + snow peas
This made enough to completely fill both Ada and I up for dinner with rice. But could easily be doubled etc, to feed more. I use kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce and you can find mirin in the Asian section of your supermarket or at your local Asian supermarket (where it's usually way cheaper). What I call spring onions, are known in some parts as shallots. Oh and of course if spring veges aren't in season where you are, simple sub in your favourite autumn/winter veges.. broccoli, steamed pumpkin etc.
Serves 2-3 decent sized portions with rice
350g packet firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 2cm cubes
1x 200g bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, then cut in half horizontally
2 good handfuls of snow peas, inner string removed (see above + photos)
4 spring onions, white end only, cut into 4cm lengths with some of the green tips reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if need be)
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon unrefined raw sugar
the juice from 1/4 medium lemon (approx 1 tablespoon)
Cooked rice and sliced spring onions to serve
Hot sauce, to serve if desired (I add heat to everything)
First up make sure you have all your vegetable prep done before you start to cook, as the cooking process only takes a matter of minutes. Combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl, mix well and set aside (near your stove-top) for later. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook tofu over medium heat, turning every couple of minutes until evenly browned on each side (this is a bit of a pain to do, but so worth it when all that lovely sauce sticks to the golden bits). Once all golden and lovely, transfer tofu to a plate. Place pan back on the heat, add a dash more oil if needed and stir-fry all the veges for 1-2 minutes until just starting to wilt, add tofu back into pan, then pour over sauce. Stir-fry for a further minute until veges are just tender and sauce has reduced a little. Serve hot over cooked rice, scattered with chopped spring onion tips and hot sauce, if desired.