Thursday, March 31, 2011

Onigiri (rice balls), Tofu Katsu (with Turkish spices and pomegranate molasses) and Broccolini

After quite a blog hiatus I’m back!  Things like work, vacation, and truthfully, just not being interested in posting kept me away.  I have been feeling for a while that this blog needed to grow into something else, because I’d said all I had to say about vegan food at least once, at least for now, and I’m just no good at providing recipes.  I love to cook but I hate to measure.  I wonder if I could write recipes that call for a “bunch” of this, and a “pinch” of that.  It’s an option I’ve considered.

Above all else, I started this blog because I needed to write about something; the writing has always been much more important than the food and politics – though I love food and am passionate about politics (because I’m passionate about justice, and there seems to be so much injustice in today’s politics).

I feel called to write about something else, but I haven’t quite put my finger on it.  I’m ready for a shift, more truth and less surface, more creative liberty and less concern with mainstream appeal, and I think I’m a chicken when so many people – coworkers, family, etc – know about my blog and it’s very hard to put yourself out there.

Actually, if I did just write whatever I wanted to write, I have a feeling everything would be just fine, in fact probably better, but there’s taking that chance.

I’d really like to write a novel. Now if I could just figure out how to do that when I come home from work ready to cook a meal, then kick my feet up before bed.  How do other novelists do it?  I think they probably get into what they’re writing so that it becomes the thing they want to do in all their spare time, more than cooking, more than reading, more than watching Jersey Shore (can you imagine?!).

Just because I write about boring things all day doesn’t mean I can’t write about fascinating stuff when I get home.

All that to say, the picture is our dinner last night.  First, tofu katsu based on this recipe, except I used a Turkish spice mix called Ottoman instead of Japanese 7-spice, and pomegranate molasses for dipping instead of sweet chili sauce (these are ingredients my co-worker Jenn brought me back from her trip to Istanbul, and they are amazing!), making my tofu katsu a sort of Japanese-Turkish hybrid. I also omitted the egg for a flour-cornstarch-baking powder-water wash.

Second, onigiri, or rice balls, using sushi rice and pre-packaged toasted seaweed that was already seasoned with sesame seed and sugar.  I only started getting the hang of making them towards the end.  The secret is to wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands, and press as hard as you can to make a very tightly pressed ball with the rice.  Next time I’m sure my onigiri will look a little smoother.

Third, a little steamed broccolini.  Broccoli is Chris’s favorite thing ever.  He was pretty happy to come home from the gym to a little bamboo tray of rice, tofu, and broccolini waiting for him.  After our travels we both wanted to eat a little healthier.  Airport food is not the best!


  1. Hot damn, that tofu sounds fantastic! As for writing, I totally get what you mean. I write all day at work for the newspaper, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is write. I guess that's why I ended up writing a cookbook (but I do LOVE to's an obsessive OCD thing).

  2. I love it! You could have a little illustrated "measurements" guide for what a "bunch" is. :)

    I was EXTREMELY nervous about publishing my personal blog under my own name. I had blogged anonymously for years and it was so scary. I created my blog and I think I waited almost a year before sharing it on Facebook! But I got some really great feedback from people on my writing and what I was writing about. Turns out I had nothing to be afraid of!

    I have no idea how to write a novel, but I'm a HUGE fan of Julia Cameron. I read her memoir, which is awesome, and she says that in addition to writing her 3 morning pages, she'd work on her books or writing projects 3 pages at a time. Three pages a day. Start there and see what happens! But you have to do the morning pages too so you clear out the mind clutter.

    Whatever you decide to do I'll be cheering you on! xo

  3. Wow, thanks to both of you for the support! Bianca, I can't wait for your cookbook. Stephenie, I think the 3 pages at a time is such a good idea. It might really work because it's easy to take things in baby steps and before you know it you've gotten somewhere. 3 pages is nothing. :-)