Celebrate Saturday

Even during Great Lent, which is the strictest fasting period of the whole year, Orthodox Christians relax their fasting just a little bit on the weekends. On Saturday, we give honor to the Old Testament Sabbath, while on Sunday we commemorate Christ’s Resurrection. From a cook’s point of view, this means that wine and oil may be used on the weekends in Lent, and wine, oil, and fish are allowed during the Nativity fast.

During Lent and sometimes Advent at the monastery we would have fried potatoes nearly every Saturday morning. It was a way of acknowledging the relaxation in the fasting rules and celebrating the end of another week. I introduced this custom to my husband early in our marriage, and over time it evolved into a habit of cooking a big breakfast every Saturday, fasting or no. Although I occasionally resent the effort and the pile of dishes first thing Saturday morning, I also appreciate it as a way of marking time. It gives us a moment to celebrate being together as we transition from the weekday world of work and school to a weekend centered on home, family and church.

Tofu Scrambler

There are many delicious variations on tofu scrambler, but this is the most basic method I use.

Ingredients:

1 lb. firm tofu                                                                                                                      2 tsp No Chicken flavor Better Than Bouillion (or other vegetarian bouillon substitute)*    1/2 tsp curry powder                                                                                                          olive oil

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*Imitation bouillon does have some ingredients that I wouldn’t exactly call “natural,” such as hydrolyzed corn protein. I don’t worry too much about using a little every now and then, but I do have a recipe for making tofu scrambler without it. I’ll post it in a few weeks!

Method:

1. Drain the tofu. Place in a medium bowl with other ingredients. Mix thoroughly, crumbling the tofu into small pieces. (You can try doing it with a fork, but this is one of those tasks that is just plain easier if you use your hands.)

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2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until it feels hot when you hold your hand over it. Add a generous swirl of olive oil (about 2 TBSP – enough to easily cover the bottom of the pan). Give it a minute for the oil to get hot, then add the tofu. Spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan, then LEAVE IT ALONE.

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Why let the oil heat up, you ask? Because hot oil + cold food = sizzly, crispy crust. If the oil is cold it won’t sizzl and your food will soak up too much oil, stick to the pan, and become greasy rather than crispy.

3. Don’t touch anything for 10-15 minutes. You want the tofu to form a nice brown crust on the bottom of the pan. Lift a little bit with a spatula and peek underneath if you can’t tell if it’s ready. When the bottom is getting nice and brown, flip in sections, scraping the spatula along the bottom of the pan to be sure you get all that brown yumminess.

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This looks almost ready to flip.

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See? Brown yumminess.

4. Continue to cook the tofu until it gets brown on the other side. The second side usually takes a little less time – more like 5 minutes.

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This plate is just waiting for some color to liven it up. Try this with ketchup, salsa, chopped tomato and avocado, or whatever floats your boat.

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My little Crash Test Boy prefers ketchup. Take a BIG bite!

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