As the Thanksgiving holiday approached I looked at my kitchen and my meal plan with dismay. I knew that I was going to need food - that was a foregone conclusion. I also knew that I wanted no part of any grocery store between then and Thanksgiving. Furthermore, most cleaning chemicals set off my asthma, so I have to buy the "all-natural" stuff. I was going to need to make a trip to Whole Paycheck and both of the nearby locations are in large shopping centers. There was no way that either place was going to be tolerable between then and Christmas, not if I was going to stay out of jail. I decided that I would make a big, stock-up-on-all-the-things run and deal with smaller stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas - there's a tolerable market that just doesn't carry the cleaning supplies I like. I did my shopping and that was great, or at least didn't wind up with me in the back of a patrol car, and I went home. I needed to buy things that were going to keep for a while, preferably without taking up much room in the fridge. (There was a lot of squash.)
Of course, my computer was in the shop with that whole floppy-screen thing, so I couldn't really put the receipt into the spreadsheet where I track all of the costs for this website. I was kind of afraid to because I did a lot of stocking-up that day and I just didn't want to look. I was also buying for a couple of classes I was teaching. Of course, once those things are filtered out, the costs turned out to be a lot lower than expected. See, things like squash are in season. And blocks of tofu don't take up much room in the fridge - not like hunks of meat. Furthermore, a block of tofu is much less expensive than a similar quantity of, say, ground turkey (the item above it on the receipt.)
I guess we'll be eating a lot more tofu.
That's fine. The offspring loves it, and eating less meat is healthier for all of us. Don't worry, we're not going vegetarian. I just don't see a problem with reducing costs and getting healthier. Of course, I say that now. Let's see how things actually work out over the next year or so.
Anyway, this was a tasty, quick and nutritious weeknight dish. My notes tell me that I served it up with barley. They tell me this in the form of spilled barley, on the notes. One cannot argue with that. I used ginger salt as you might expect, because I have it. I sped things up by pre-steaming the squash. Squash takes a long time to cook and is not usually amenable to stir-frying, so I cheated a bit. Steaming keeps some of those nutrients right where they belong instead of boiling, which leeches them into the water and drains them away. Or so nutritionists keep telling me.
Tofu with Squash and Broccoli (serves 4; approx. $1.57/serving)
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 block extra firm tofu, drained and diced
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Ginger Salt
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce is fine unless someone in your home has a gluten issue)
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper sesame oil
- Bamboo steamer
- Put some water in the bottom of the wok and bring to a boil.
- Put the squash in the steamer and par-cook the squash. Cook until the squash is mostly cooked. This will happen faster than you expect squash to cook.
- Remove the steamer from the wok. Discard the water, wipe out the wok (safely, mind you) and proceed.
- Heat the wok.
- Add the oils.
- When the oils become shimmery add the garlic and the ginger salt. Saute about 30 seconds.
- Add the tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu is becoming browned.
- Add the broccoli. Stir-fry about a minute, maybe two - until the broccoli is thickly coated in the pan mixture.
- Add the tamari and broth. Bring to a boil.
- Cook until the broccoli is about half tender.
- Add the squash. Stir-fry until the sauce is almost evaporated and the vegetables are tender. If the vegetables are taking too long to cook, go ahead and add some more broth.
- Serve and enjoy.