I had my baby shower this past weekend with so many of my favorite people. I felt extremely loved and celebrated. While making the rounds to fifty-plus people that I truly care about wore me out, it was incredibly special. Even if you have a few babies, you do it for the first time just once, and it's sort of a surreal thing, growing a tiny person. My sister went full throttle with her "camping" theme. There were arrows and cactus, southwestern printed pillows, and a tee pee for the gifts. Even the food was in theme with grilled skewers and mac n cheese and a smores dessert on wooden plates with adorned utensils. If your shower can be "cooler" than you, mine certainly was thanks to my little sister. My mom's garden was decked out and in full bloom and my dad played bartender for all the ladies. Obviously I was thrilled to get set up with a lot of the equipment we need along with a good loot of books and mini clothes, but I was most humbled by how many people stepped up to help out and the lengths my sister went to to make this day thoughtful and special. There is nothing that inspires generousity more than being on the receving end of it. I am not the most awesome gift giver and I know I could not match my sisters party throwing skills, but giving time or skill or words... there is always a way to give something. Be it in very small but significant ways, I resolve to pay closer attention to celebrating and anticipating what may make someone feel special.
I contributed a few recipes and a couple of quotes for the special issue of Epicurious: America's Best Recipes, which came out this month. The issue has some gorgeous looking recipes (Hugh has requested those blueberry handpies a few times now) and it's neat to see our cuisine divided by region. These bowls stuck out to me as a riff on the tofu bowls we make around here often. I love lemongrass and the unique freshness it brings to a stir fry as well as anything that can be topped with a ripe half of an avocado. It is clearly delicious warm out of the skillet but leftovers the next day were just as welcomed. It's definitely worth taking a peek at the issue if you come across it.
LEMONGRASS TOFU BOWLS // Serves 4
- 1 cup brown rice
- 12-14 oz. package extra firm tofu, drained
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and outer stalks removed
- 2 tsp. thai chile paste or sriracha
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
- 2 cups-ish broccoli florets
- 2 large carrots, julienned or sliced thin
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 2 avocados, for garnish
Rinse and cook the brown rice according to instructions.
Cut the tofu into cubes and set it on a few paper towels or dish towel to drain.
Smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife and mince it well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemongrass, chile paste, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, pinch of salt and stir to mix. Add the tofu and stir everything to coat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Warm the coconut and sesame oils in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the tofu and it's marinade and saute for 4-5 minutes, until edges are browned. Add the broccoli, carrots, coconut milk, remaining Tbsp. sesame oil and soy sauce and saute until the vegetables are warmed through. About 3 more minutes. Add the greens onions, stir and taste for seasonings.
Serve each bowl with a scoop of the brown rice, the tofu vegetable mixture in sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a half of avocado, sliced, on top.