Ladies and gentleman, it’s a sad day in NMA world.
Last night, for the first time ever, my wife spit out the food I made for her. I don’t remember her exact words, but it was something to the extent of “If I swallow that, I’ll puke.”
The food in question was a piece of lightly-seared tofu, coated in a delicate peanut butter coconut curry sauce, served with snow peas over soba noodles. And she frickin’ spit it out.
[Chewed up tofu in napkin photo removed by censors.]
It’s not as bad as it sounds. Erin is 14 weeks pregnant and this is her first instance of being otherwise-inexplicably grossed out by a random food. At least, that’s her excuse. She says the texture of the tofu, combined with the pastiness of the sauce (didn’t seem pasty to me), is what made it impossible to get down. Funny, I used to be the one who couldn’t stand the texture of tofu.
But by all means, don’t let the vision of chewed-up, peanut-buttery tofu in a dirty, crumbled napkin prevent you from trying this one tonight. I actually really enjoyed mine.
I found the recipe in my recent go-to cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian. Time and time again, I’m finding this book to be an ass-saver when Erin is going to be home in 45 minutes and I haven’t even thought about dinner. Not that there’d be trouble if she came home and I hadn’t cooked, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the wheels of marriage greased, you know?
Anyway, I usually change the recipes a little based on what I have in the kitchen. (This also allows me to post them without getting threatening phone calls from guys in suits.) This time, among other things, that meant curry paste instead of chili paste and using different noodles.
And, most notably, substituting for coconut milk.
Ok, I have a coconut milk question. Usually when I open a can of coconut milk, it smells nice. Like coconuts. But this can and two of the past three cans I have opened, from different brands, have smelled like feet. Nasty, sweaty, feet. Rotting feet, perhaps.
I’ve chosen to throw them out and then swear I’m going to write a stongly-worded letter to the grocery store. (I won’t.) But is this common? It never seems to happen with other canned goods. Anyone else have this experience? Should I just put the rotten feet coconut milk in my food and hope you can’t taste it? I mean, if Erin’s going to spit it out anyway…
So here’s the recipe I’ve used, just in case you still have some semblance of an appetite. I really liked the peanut butter sauce; substituting almond milk and coconut oil seemed to work just fine in it. And the peanut butter (which I hardly ever eat anymore) reminded me of my college days, when I was hell-bent on gaining weight and muscle and used to set my alarm for 2 a.m. every night so I could get up and eat a peanut butter sandwich for extra calories.
I do weird things.
Peanut Butter Tofu with Snow Peas
- One carton extra-firm tofu (14 ounces)
- 1 tsp coconut oil or other cooking oil
- ½ lb Asian noodles, like soba
- 1 cup snow peas or snap peas, trimmed
- 2 tsp curry paste
- ½ cup coconut milk (or sub other milk and coconut oil)
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ cup peanut butter
- Cut the tofu block into two slabs, then cover on all sides with lots of paper towels and set some plates or a skillet on top to weigh it down and remove water. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then cube the tofu.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lightly salt and add snow peas for 30 seconds; remove and set aside. Cook the noodles according to the package directions; when they're done, drain and rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking and set them aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the tofu cubes, turning after about two minutes and repeating until each side is lightly browned. Lightly sprinkle with salt and remove from heat, but you'll be adding the sauce to the pan with the tofu.
- While you're searing the tofu, whisk together the peanut butter and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste (you may want more or less, to taste), soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar and whisk to combine.
- Dump the sauce into the tofu pan and add the noodles and snap peas. Let the flavors combine over medium heat for a minute or two before serving.