Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eating Down the Fridge, Day 1: Tofu stir-fry with brown rice and veggies

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EDtF, Day 1.

There was a plan. And I executed it to the letter.

Which is kind of boring.

I had this vision of peeking inside the fridge, finding forlorn vegetables and abandoned meat just begging to be paired together. Instead, I had the makings of a perfect and easy meal at my disposal.
Perhaps it was too early in the week.

I tore open my freezer with a flourish, grabbing the half-consumed bags of frozen vegetables that were getting used, tonight (damnit). I got out the tofu, brown rice, a big pot and my largest skillet. Ponzu, tamari, mirin…oh, and rice vinegar.

Nikki arrived (bottle of wine in hand – bonus!), and we set to work.

While assembling ingredients for the stir fry, I tried to take some time to reflect on why this food had been left to sit for so long. Everything I was using tonight (except the tofu) had spent at least 6 months, even up to a year in my fridge or freezer. I felt somewhat guilty, remembering the nights when I exclaimed, “I have nothing to eat!” before taking off for the grocery store, the perfect meal in mind. In large part, this habit is why I decided to take on the challenge. I need to change my ways.

First order of business: sampling the Fat Tire of much repute that has been hyped to astronomical levels as it is finally, FINALLY available in North Carolina. They took out an ad in the paper for heaven’s sake. Last week, Greenlife had a centrally located display overflowing with the 22-oz (or were they 32-oz?) bottles. I couldn’t resist.


Is that it? Light, hint of fruit, smooth. Nothing remarkable.

Dare I say it? It was blah, even neutral. Well above your PBR and Yuengling, but…

Sorry folks, I won’t be a Fat Tire convert any time soon. Gimme a Pisgah Pale Ale any day.

Updated to add: Looks like this guy over at Creative Loafing agrees with me. Ha!

Impromptu beer tasting over. Back to the food. Open the wine, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from... Australia? Huh.

Yes, I am fully aware it was a Monday.

Quite unceremoniously, I dumped the hodge podge of frozen vegetables into a colander and gave them a quick rinse and inspect. No freezer burn. The edamame, however, was a lost cause. A sacrifice to the gods. Sad.

I drained, pressed and dry-fried the tofu (my tofu preparation of choice, thanks to the magnificent Melissa Ray Davis) and mixed up the marinade. Little of this, little of that. Taste. Blech. Add some ginger and rice vinegar. Mmm, getting closer. Whisk in a clove of pressed garlic. Perfect. Toss in the tofu and let it marinate for all of…5 minutes.

What? We were hungry! Despite the fool-proof rice method, the brown rice still took forever to cook. And it was already after 7 PM.

Heated up the skillet and added a little ginger oil and some of the marinade. Tossed the veggies in the sizzling skillet and let them cook for a few minutes. Added the tofu and sautéed a few minutes more.


A success, if a simple one. The rest of the week will not be this easy.

Running total of things used up in my fridge/freezer:

Brown rice (I cooked up all the brown rice I had and froze the leftovers. Would that qualify as feeding the demon, or encouraging me to use up the brown rice at a later date?)
Three bags of half consumed frozen veggies
The rest of a bottle of tamari
Block of tofu
Remainder of rice pudding from Sunday

Remainder of Zuppa Toscana (lunch @ work)
1 parcel deer meat
1 can kidney beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 sweet onion
1/2 leftover red onion
Rest of a very old head of garlic
Remainder of Chili seasoning spices
1 avocado
all of the red quinoa
2 sheets nori
rest of a block of Parmesan
2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
almost an entire quart of milk
ancient ravioli
wilted parsley
leftover lentil soup
the rest of a block of cream cheese
the rest of Nikki's Jezebel sauce
some all of the greens
two boneless pork chops
jar of sauerkraut

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