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Stir Fry Soup

I make a lot of stir frys, especially in the summer. Sometimes there aren’t any leftovers, but sometimes the leftover stretch out over multiple days. One the first night of stir fry, we eat it hot. On the second night of stir fry, we eat it cold (with new rice), and on the third night of stir fry, we make soup.

Stir Fry Soup

As you can tell by the tide line on the bowl, I remembered half way through dinner to take a picture.

Stir Fry Soup

This is a really loose recipe, since it depends on what leftovers you have.

Saute a chopped onion in a 50/50 mix of chili oil and your regular oil of choice. Once the onion is translucent and just about to start caramelizing, add about 6 cups of water. Add less water if you don’t want much soup or if you don’t have much left over stir fry.

Now add miso to taste, approximately 1 tablespoon of miso per cup of water. Stop to taste after you’ve added the first half of the miso, because different misos pack a different punch. If you find you’ve added way too much, add some more water.

Left over rice or noodles? Throw it in! Or add some Korean rice cake sticks.

Now add your leftover stir fry, including any liquid/sauce. Did your awesome tofu make it to day three? Add it! You ate it while waiting for the onion to cook? That’s okay, just add the last bit of sauce and greens sticking to the side of the tupperware.

Do you have some kimchi? Chop some of that up and add it too. Maybe add some sambal oelek too, if you like it spicy.

Bring the soup to a simmer. Done! Since the stir fry is already cooked, you only need to heat things through.

This soup is really satisfying, very quick to make, and dresses up leftovers so they seem like new.

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Awesome Tofu

I’ve been making a marinated tofu to go with stir fry for a few years, but only recently had the brilliant idea to add cilantro and green onions right at the end. It really elevated the tofu to something special. Something awesome

Awesome Tofu

The star of the stir fry

Awesome Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons fresh minced ginger, divided
1/2 tablespoon Sambal Oelek 
a splash of sesame oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3-6 green onions, chopped

MIx the soy sauce, vinegar, half the ginger, sambal oelek, and sesame oil together and add the tofu. Let marinate for at least half an hour. If you are serving this with a stir fry, prep and cook the rest of your components and cook the tofu last.

In a wok or frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of light sesame oil on high. Add the tofu (reserving the marinade) making sure the tofu is all on one layer and not stacked. Lower heat to medium high, cover and let cook 5-7 minutes. Check the tofu; it should be getting seared on one side. Flip the tofu and add 2-4 tablespoons of the marinade. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Turnoff the heat and add the cilantro and green onions, cover and let the residual heat wilt the greens. Done!

And it’s even better the next day!

The rest of the marinade can be added to stir fried veggies or used as a table sauce for rice.

Awesome Tofu

You can mix it in to the main stir fry or serve it separately.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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“Lemon Curd” Tapioca Pudding

After making dinner on Saturday, I had most of a can of coconut milk left over, so I decided to make tapioca pudding, flavored with lemon zest and juice, which gave it a lemon curd flavor. I like to serve tapioca with a fruit compote topping, but I didn’t have any fresh fruit. Instead, I soaked some dried cranberries in whiskey, then simmered them in the whiskey, plus some water and sugar (about 1/2 tablespoon) and a bit of lemon zest.

Tapioca pudding with cranberry compote topping

Apricots, nectarines, plums or raspberries would also be a lovely topping.

“Lemon Curd” Tapioca Pudding

1 can of coconut milk (or what is left of the can after making curried veggies)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup small tapioca pearls (not instant, although if that’s what you have, follow the box directions)
zest and juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Pour the coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add enough water (or any unsweetened milk) to make 3 cups.

If your tapioca needs to soak, put it in a covered pot with 1 cup of the liquid for an hour.

Add the rest of the liquid, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil and stir for 15 minutes. Bring down to barely a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes more (until the tapioca goes all transparent).

If it turns out your tapioca needed to be soaked but you didn’t/forgot, you will know at this point because the pudding will be getting really, really thick and the pearls will still have a solid white center. It’s okay, you can rescue it! Add 1/8 cup liquid and stir. Are the tapioca transparent now? If not, add another 1/8 cup liquid and stir. Continue like this until the tapioca is cooked through. It’s sort of like making risotto. You don’t want to add too much liquid at once because your tapioca might finish cooking while the pudding is still liquid-y, and then you either have runny pudding or you have to overcook it.

Let cool for 20 minutes. Add the vanilla and zest. Put into serving bowls, top with compote, and chill. Or eat warm!

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Dinner 6/8/13: Curried Vegetables

Our valiant rice cooker finally died, so I went into the city to get a new one on Clement Street at Kamei Restaurant Supply. They have a wide range of rice cookers, from super expensive fancy robot cookers all the way to super cheap no frills ones (which is what I got). While I was there I went to New May Wah, a Chinese grocery store a block away. It was my favorite grocery when I lived in the city and it’s fun to revisit it when I’m in the neighborhood. They have a really great selection of asian greens, like fresh amaranth leaves. Today I grabbed a cauliflower, some sumer squash, some green beans, cilantro and green onions. My plan is to portion them out into three dishes, which will hopefully get us through the week (with leftovers for lunch).

Here’s the first meal, Curried Vegetables. I was tired when I got home from the city and wanted something quick and easy. Plus I know I have to use up the cilantro quickly, because it will spoil fast. And I got to test out the new rice cooker!

Curried veggies over rice

You can use any veggies you want.

Curried Vegetables

oil
1 onion, diced
curry powder to taste (start with 1 tablespoon)
1 can pureed tomato
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 yellow summer squash, cubed
1-2 cups green beans, in 1/2 pieces
1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
salt to taste

In a pot, saute the onions in oil (I used habanero olive oil for spice). Add the curry powder, stirring well. Add the tomato sauce plus 1/2 can of water.

Add the cauliflower, then a few minutes later add the squash, then a few minutes later add the beans.

When the veggies are as well cooked as you like, add the coconut milk and salt. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro and green onions. Serve over rice.

If you’re not sure what to do with the rest of the coconut milk, consider a tapioca pudding! Recipe coming soon!

Also, you can use any veggies you want. Just add them to the pot longest-cooking first.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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World War Z review

My friend got some free tickets for a World War Z preview on Friday. I never turn down free movie tickets if I can help it, but I was actually looking forward to seeing this. I have a love-hate relationship with zombie movies, and the early reviews had me cautiously optimistic.

And this was a premium preview, with free popcorn and soda, a photo op where they green screen you on to the movie poster, and free t-shirts. Live 105 was there, giving away special “survival packs” of swag, and there were rumors of something special, probably zombie cosplayers.

The movie was supposed to start at 10, but there was some kind of delay, so I was reading my Kindle. All of a sudden I heard cheering from the bottom rows, and looked up, expecting the cosplayers. But it was just some guy throwing out some free shirts. I couldn’t understand why everyone was so excited, since we were getting the shirts after the movie anyway. Then I recognized that the dude flinging the shirts was Brad Pitt. He was just stopping by to wind down his cross-country promotion tour and hoped we enjoyed ourselves. It was pretty cool. I managed to get a free very blurry photos.

Brad Pitt visits movie preview

Brad Pitt stops by to say “Hey.”

And with that, the movie started!

And I really liked it!

[Mild spoilers] Most zombie stories are told from the point of view of an average person who has no idea what is going on and is just trying to survive. This movie is told from the point of view of an ex-UN peace keeper who has a lot of experience surviving chaos and still has friends in high places. Very quickly he goes from man on the street to man officially figuring things out. I really liked seeing the catastrophe from that point of view, partly because I’m an epidemiology nerd, and partly because it gave the movie a bit more of a sense of hope than most zombie movies. That’s not to say that I wasn’t cringing from the tension for the whole movie! At one point when they are in a lab, I had to cover most of my eyes and just look at the lower left hand corner of the screen. The tension was that bad!

I also liked the premise of the zombies. One of the negative reviews I saw was disappointed in the lack of gore, but these zombies aren’t trying to eat anyone. Like the rabies victims they are initially confused with, these zombies just want to bite people. So the lack of gore fits, and was actually a relief to me. The zombie behavior is also based on ant swarms, and in a weird bit of kismet, I just read a book about ants last week. I recognized the swarming behavior immediately, and also noticed that zombies take down helicopters the way ants murder frogs. You don’t have to read a book about ants to enjoy the zombies, but it does add another layer of nerve-clenching.

I really enjoyed myself, and I think if you like zombie movies for the tension (and not so much for the gore), you will like it too. There are also some funny moments and quite a few badass moments. There was one scene when Pitt is walking down a corridor like a huge badass, and the whole theater burst into applause.

I do have a few nitpicks, which I will tell you because I am pedantic and like to share this kind of thing. But even though I was aware of them while the movie was going on, I was able to shove them aside and just enjoy myself.

Nit 1) Cities with international airports are infected fastest, because of air travel. This is the big fear in real epidemics, but since the movie says that zombies incubate somewhere between 10 minutes and 10 seconds, this doesn’t make any sense. Unless there is some kind of generational decrease in incubation time, but they don’t mention anything like that.

Nit 2) The zombies have no circulatory system anymore and don’t seem to eat or drink. And yet they continue to function. The human body, even the undead one, needs something to power it. How long can they really be expected to maintain, especially if they’re expending so much energy swarming? I’d be expecting zombie die offs around 3-4 days after infection, especially for the most active. A sequel could answer this, because it is feasible in the time frame of the movie that they just don’t know enough about the zombies yet to answer these questions.

Anyway, if you like zombie movies for tension more than gore, go see it!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in movies, out and about

 

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Beeutiful

I took a class in After Effects this weekend, and I made an animation! It took all day to do 15 seconds, but it was a lot of fun. I got the music from Public Domain Music, which is helpfully broken up into categories like 70s sci fi and Jungle.

I took the class at BAVC, through a program my job is enrolled in. It’s a really great way to learn new skills or polish up rusty ones. I’m planning to take the After Effects Intermediate class and the AE Effects class, and then I will make even cooler animations! I love learning how to do new things.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in animation

 

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Hummus Potato Salad

Three of my friends have birthdays in May with a week of each other, so they threw a big potluck BBQ tiki Magic: The Gathering party this weekend to celebrate.

I got the idea for this potato salad when I was eating artichokes. I don’t like mayonaise, so I always dip my artichokes in hummus. And that got me to thinking about mayonaise in potato salad, and how I can’t use yogurt as the substitute now that my sister is vegan and wouldn’t hummus be delicious in potato salad?

Yes, yes it is. There were no leftovers.

Hummus Portato Salad

Hummus Potato Salad

About 1 pound small potatoes, boiled and cooled
About 1/2 cup of your favorite hummus (I used Sabra classic)
About 3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
About 1/2 cup of tiny grape tomatoes
About 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
About 1/2 cup pickled celery
pepper

The day before I chopped 4 stalks of celery and put them in a small bowl with a 2:1 ratio of rice wine vinegar and water and about 1/2 tablespoon of salt and put it in the refrigerator. You can add dill seeds, dried dill, or fresh dill to fancy things up, or skip this step entirely if you’re short on time. I also boiled the potatoes and put them in the fridge once they’d cooled.

The morning of, I cubed the potatoes and put them in a big mixing bowl. I added enough hummus to coat the potatoes. Add more or less depending on how you like the consistency of your potato salad. Then I added stoneground mustard, chopped pickle, and pickled celery (drained, no juice), tomatoes and pepper.

Transfer to serving bowl and chill in the fridge at least an hour before serving. Yum!

Hummus Portato Salad

And here is a picture of the wildflower explosion in the backyard where the party was held. Isn’t it wonderful?

Backyard Meadow

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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