I love Ash Wednesday. I've been reading differing views about this day during quiet moments throughout the day. Some love it - others hate it - finding it too gloomy and depressing. As I said in my sermon this morning, I need this yearly reminder of how to live. Ash Wednesday resets my internal compass and re-orients me back towards God.
I feared the busyness of this day might prevent my from actually cooking - but I was able to get home for a few hours. David responded to the question, "Rice and Beans or Pad Thai?" with an enthusiastic "Pad Thai!" Lacking a few ingredients, this isn't authentic Pad Thai, but it is a simple way to cook rice noodles and tofu. (And, for the purists, isn't strictly vegetarian, as it contains 2 tablespoons of fish sauce).
Adapted Pad Thai (feeds 4) - [Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, Wiley, (c) 2007.]
12 oz flat rice noodles
peanut oil (or other neutral oil)
8 oz pressed tofu, cut into small cubes (pressing the tofu helps it to absorb flavor - you can do this by putting a plate on it, and a can on top of the plate - best done in the sink or with drainage!)
1 head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
For the Sauce
2 T fish sauce
2 t ketchup
2 t sugar
For the Topping
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 c fresh cilantro (I only had cilantro in a tube, so I added it to the sauce!)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1. Place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, or so. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
2. Stir fry the tofu and broccoli in oil - start the tofu and add the broccoli after 3-4 minutes. You want the to tofu to begin turning a lovely golden brown before putting in the tofu.
3. When the broccoli is bright green, remove the tofu and broccoli to a bowl.
4. Put the softened rice noodles into the hot pan, with a bit more oil (less than a T) then add the sauce ingredients. (I mixed them together ahead of time, but the recipe did not call for doing so.)
5. When the noodles are heated through, add the tofu and broccoli back in.
6. Serve topped with chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice.
Authentic Pad Thai would have some lightly scrambled egg and some bean sprouts, and would not have broccoli. I can't eat eggs and we had no bean sprouts, so I changed it up. Verdict - worth repeating.