Monday, April 22, 2013

meatless mondays - kung pao tofu

Tonight I made kung pao tofu.

I'd share the recipe, but it was really more of an un-recipe. I looked through some recipes, realized I didn't have any of the ingredients, and decided to wing it.

I started with cutting the tofu into tiny squares, and then putting it in an oiled pan to get brown. Once browned on both sides (mine wasn't perfect, but the browner it is, the more it will be crispy, and Jefferson will like it), I mixed in some pepper, and a tablespoon of Trader Joe's brand serrano salsa. I mixed it up, and then added a handful of diced cashews, red spring onions, and yellow bell peppers.

I stirred it around for a few minutes until the onions and peppers were starting to get soft. Then, I added a squirt of Bragg's amino acids. You can use soy sauce if you'd like - I think the Bragg's is less salty. At this point, it still wasn't as hot as I wanted, so I added more pepper, and some crushed red pepper flakes, and let it sit and meld for a few minutes. Then I realized it was too hot! So I added just about a half tablespoon of brown sugar to even it out. The brown sugar also mellows some of the saltyness from the sauce.

I let it sit until the rice was done, a couple minutes more. Then we devoured.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

spinning sundays!

I did not spin at all this week. I just ran out of time.

So here is a yarn that I recently finished. It's 2 ply, which means I had two separate pieces that I twisted together. That's why the colors change, and it looks like a barber pole in some places.

I used a technique with this one called fractal plying. You can see the process in the second photo. You start with the whole prepared fiber, and rip it in half down the middle (trying to be as accurate as possible). Put one to the side, and with the other, rip it in half and then rip each half in half.

Then you spin one whole half, and spin the other 4 pieces and ply them together. Makes for bright color changes and it's great for colors that are complementary on the color wheel.


Monday, April 15, 2013

new blog series - meatless mondays

lemon tofu
Ok, I know. I feel like I'm cheating a little bit by participating in meatless mondays. But it's important. There are hoards of articles about environmental and health benefits of cutting meat for one day a week. For me, being vegan has really helped balance my stress level - and for most, monday is the day of most stress. Plus, it's a good day to start the week off, and re-evaluate what you're eating the rest of the time. Even if I just inspire one person to participate in meatless mondays, it's enough for me. (and, of course, I'm meatless all the time. and animal-productless).

So tonight, in homage, I made one of our favorite meat meals. Lemon chicken. I used to have this recipe memorized, I made it so frequently. Tonight, I made a few substitutions - obviously. I used tofu triangles instead of chicken, and I used ener-g egg replacer for the egg in the batter. I didn't like the ener-g very much, it made the batter a little spongy. The more well-cooked pieces tasted less spongy, so I stuck with those. Jefferson didn't notice.

To meatless mondays!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

new weekly series: spinning sundays

To keep this blog up, I am going to start a few different weekly series.

Spinning Sunday's will be posted every Sunday (duh). I'll post a photo of what I'm currently spinning, and anything else interesting that happened during that weeks spinning.

spinning photo 
This first week, I'm working on some merino. I have 2oz of this color, and 2 oz of a complementary color that I will ply together. I don't have any plans for this one yet, and it'll probably be around a worsted weight when it's plied. I've been spinning it a bit thicker than I usually do for a 2 ply.

There is definitely a series of steps that a person goes through when learning how to spin. First, you start of super bulky with hardly any twist (or too much twist). Then, you gradually learn how to thin it down, but a lot of your yarn is thick and thin (inconsistent). Once you finally get some consistency, you forget how to spin thick. And you start to wish you could do bulky or thick and thin yarns again. So you re-teach yourself how to do it.. but on purpose, this time.
So I'm at the consistent stage. I can get a pretty consistent, thin yarn, but now I'm working on spinning for a weight on purpose. One of the things I've been trying to do (this is going to sound strange) is listen to the yarn. Let the yarn be the weight it wants to be. Once I stopped fighting it, I find it's easier to be consistent.