Air-Fried Tofu & Shiitakes + an Exercise Routine

Coming out of this pandemic, I wouldn’t want to be friends with the woman I’ve become.

Quarantine Toy #1

My new best bud, for example, is a squirrel named Rachel who stops by daily for granola. Our relationship is grounding. She understands me, gets me more than my pre-apocalypse friends.

Quarantine Toy #2

In my uniform of near-blacks and grays, my swishing bushy ponytail and my beady eyes––darting, always on alert––I’m beginning to resemble her. I wanted to post a pic of Rachel, but, like me, she scuttles away from cameras. We’ve a sisterhood, Rachel and me.

These days, I get my giggles sharing memes—where have they been all my life? They can be so freaking funny—I laugh so hard I cry.

Drain tofu and cut into desired sizes.

And then there’s the news—I cry so hard I laugh. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. No novelist has this much talent. I’ve got to get a grip. This nonsensical hysteria won’t bode well in the civilized world, unless civilized world is now an oxymoron.

As for hygiene, it’s tooth brushing, a quick shower, comb through and done. It’s liberating wearing the same sweats for weeks on end. This newly embraced slobdom has saved me so much time.

With that time, I’ve taken on new projects. Some purchased puppies in 2020, I purchased an Instapot and an Air Fryer. We’ve been having a rocking good time getting to know one another. The resulting spare tire around my midriff, I imagine, makes me look invigorated, robust.

Pat in cornstarch and desired seasonings.

Which brings me to today’s recipe and exercise routine. Down the tunnel, the light is burning and every day it brightens. Soon, I’ll be emerging from my bunker and rubbing my eyes in the glare. In fact, I don’t look robust, unless robust translates to slovenly in this topsy-turvy world.

I need to use my air fryer for more than making olive oil sponge cake and fried chicken. Believe me, even if I’m not frying in fat with the air fryer, when I include all that chicken skin in the recipe (which makes it so good) I’m spackling it into my hips. I’m overdue to give that chicken fat back to the chickens, as the seventies workout song goes.

Into the air fryer!

Last week on FB, I  posted a pic of fried chicken I’d just made in my air fryer. A FB friend then messaged me a recipe for air-fried tofu. God speaks in mysterious ways.

I’m not using Denise’s recipe to the letter, but it gave me the idea about the cornstarch and seasonings. I’ve baked and fried tofu and this is sort of an in-between—a hybrid of the two techniques. So, here’s a recipe and workout routine designed to whip me in shape.

I’ll leave you with this Chicken Fat U-Tube that I’ve begun working out with. I wish I’d remembered it back when my gym shut down.  Be well, friends. I always LOVE hearing how you’re coping (or not)!

Recipe: Air-Fried Tofu and Shiitakes

Ingredients

  • 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cooking oil or cooking oil spray, as needed (Nut or Seed, Canola or Avocado Oil)
  • 3-4 ounces Shiitake Mushrooms,washed and sliced

Instructions

  1. Cut tofu, sandwich-style, into 3, 1-inch slices and drain, weighted down on paper towels, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Moisture content varies so you may need to change the paper towels when they become soaked through.
  2. Cut the drained tofu into 2X2-inch cubes. In a separate plate or a shallow dish, combine corn starch, curry and salt. .
  3. Spray or brush both sides of tofu squares with oil
  4. Press both sides of tofu into corn starch mixture.
  5. Heat air fryer to 400 degrees.
  6. In two batches, layer tofu squares evenly on grid. (You may want to lightly spray grid with oil. If doing so, remove basket from machine.)
  7. Air fry 7-8 minutes on each side. Tofu squares should be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle..
  8. While tofu is frying, heat a couple of teaspoons oil in a sauté pan. Sauté sliced shiitakes with a pinch of salt until just tender.
  9. Top with shiitakes and serve immediately.
  10. Optional garnishes: Chopped Cilantro, Toasted Sesame Seeds

* I served this with brown rice and broccolini.

AMOUNT OF TIME:

Soaking time: 30 minutes-1 hour

Air Fry time: 14-16 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 3-4 SERVINGS

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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Thanksgiving Corona-Style

So here come the holidays. Heaven help us.

Baked Apples stuffed with Sweet Potatoes

As the pandemic rips across the planet, this will be a tradition-bashing year. I’ve friends who are delighted with the excuse not to have to drive six hours to eat an overcooked turkey and canned green bean casserole. I know others who, come hell or high water, are keeping a modified version of their holiday tradition.

I read an excellent article in the Times, which introduced suggestions on how to manage families getting together (or not) over the holidays in these unprecedented times.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Products of second marriages, Richard and I have a combined family that includes five children (with partners) and twelve grandchildren. Richard and I have been together thirteen years and have created new traditions that incorporate all of the expected shoulder-to-shoulder hoop-la, celebratory food and trimmings.

Since February, we’ve managed visits with individual families when all parties had previously quarantined.  But with five families to think about, combined with record-breaking Covid numbers, this year’s holiday get-togethers…well folks, they ain’t gonna happen.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Fruity Wild Rice

Prior to our marriage, we each had shared custody and are accustomed to spending holidays alone. It became my tradition, in fact, to declare other days Thanksgiving. The promise of effective vaccines gives hope. Perhaps Thanksgiving 2020 will be celebrating during the summer of 2021.

In the meantime, I’ve been perusing menu idea for the two of us. On the right column of this page, just beneath the Find Your Favorite Recipe, you’ll see a Gold Holiday Ball.

Poached Pears and Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Tap on that, the Holiday Cookbook, and you’ll find a slide show (including the pictured dishes) with dozens of well-tested holiday favorites, all just waiting for downsizing. For a scaled-down bird, perhaps a Cornish game hen or turkey breast? Roast Turkey Breast with Cranberry Jus is the featured image on this page.  Baked Apples Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes might be all the accompaniment you’d need.

For kicks, I’m going to try making a couple of new recipes. One, Crusty Baked Cauliflower and Farro, is adapted from Ina Garten and come’s from Deb’s Smitten Kitchen. The other is for Spatchcocked Buttermilk Brined Turkey. I’ll have leftovers, which will be made into soup for the freezer.

Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie

It will be a long winter, and nothing soothes my soul like soup.

I’d love hearing how Thanksgiving will look to you this year. However you intend to paint your Thursday––be it broad strokes or scribble-scrabble––it may look and feel like solitude, but poetically speaking, you’ve never found yourself in such an expansive community (-:

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Lake Michigan Fish Fry

First, dunk fillets into egg wash.

Covid-fatigue. Election fatigue.  Looky, looky––the country’s in free-fall! I’m sick of reading about it–the words I type, are embarrassed to add to the cacophony. To stay mentally well, we need to create our own distractions. Stop the noise, right?

So pour me another glass of wine. You say the bottle’s empty? Open another while you’re up from the couch. Flash to tomorrow–searing hangover. Wasn’t clarity the objective?

Then, dip into dry mix.

Fry fillets in peanut oil that’s at a 350 degree temp until golden. (Skillets on stovetops work too!)

I read a suggestion that one way of fending off the blahs is surfing the internet for a jazzy new mask.

Seriously? I’ve been a card-carrying member of the pro-mask camp since March, but don’t get my jollies shopping for them.

Much of what use to bring me pleasure–friends, travel, restaurants, theatre, the gym—has been hacked off my list.

Praise heaven, there are books, writing, music, cooking and the natural world to satisfy. And–with the kids working remotely–our immediate quarantined fam is spending  more time together. There’s much to be grateful for, after all.

During the pandemic, we’ve migrated from Ann Arbor to the great woods and waters of Northern Michigan. Of late, we’ve been searching for good vibrations–a bit of retro beach boy vibe.

We served this with wild mushroom risotto and a simple tossed salad

A few days back, we had a fish fry on the beach. My son-in-law may be fine with just a hat and swim suit in mid-forty degree weather, but I am bundled head-to-toe. The secret, I’ve found, to living life comfortably up here is having the right gear. It’s called survival–we have Lake Michigan beach parties in January.

Food always tastes better when someone else is doing the cooking, so I’m thrilled when the kids take the reins.

The top four  Great Lakes fish are arguably walleye, perch, trout, and whitefish. Of these, walleye and perch are my favorites for frying, and these are the two we used.

For our beach fry ingredients, my son-in-law used a pre-seasoned box product he found at our local grocery, Shore Lunch. It was less hassle than my favorite recipe for fried fish, Nut-Crusted Walleye, which could have been substituted for the Shore Lunch .But I wasn’t the cook. And this boxed concoction, I confess, was  quite delicious.

So stay safe and well, friends. These months will soon be history!

BOOK NEWS GIVEAWAY!

As you may know, I’m one of the host authors on Blue Sky Book Chat, a book club group on Facebook. Until November 8,  ten of us authors are each giving away a book. If you win the random drawing, you may have enough reading material to get through the pandemic!

If interested, use this link to participate. You’ll see the page for the giveaway. You enter on the condition you sign up for the free, no strings, we hate spam as much as you Blue Sky Book Chat newsletter. There’s also a link for you to join Blue Sky Book Chat if you’re not already a member. Don’t forget to answer the three simple questions that are required that basically insures that you’re a nice person who enjoys literature (-:

Good luck!

 

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