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29 June: Monday

Indio, California: A very busy day. Packed every moment. We worked-out this morning, but the wind was just so strong. A lot of sneezing today. While walking over the canal bridge on the golf course, I was nearly blown-over!

We went to our new house early afternoon to meet our MCC gardener, who happily for us, also works in the neighborhood where our new house is located. Though our new home is lovely, no one has really lived there for a very long time and the foliage has gone a bit Snow White (with the briars taking-over the castle). Daniel has a great plan to get our house back to a more lived-in-look.

While at the house, we delivered paper products, garbage bags, soap, etc., so we can work/clean while waiting for our belongings to be delivered mid-July. There was more measuring as well. Zeroing-in on a few furniture purchases, but our first need is to have the house re-keyed... though the past owner lives outside the United States.

Our meal tonight was fairly simple, and really one of my very best recipes. It is a Japanese-style tofu stir-fry, and vegan, but no one needs to know.

Just mixed nuts/sesame sticks tonight for our appetizer. Delicious.

You all know I usually serve a cucumber salad with an Asian meal. I went all-crazy tonight and ran a few radishes through my mandolin this evening. I'm a wild woman! Salt and rice vinegar.

Fluffy puffy tofu triangles, mixed with baby bok choy, tossed in a lovely sesame-ginger sauce. (I will post this recipe below.)

I am meeting a locksmith at the house super early tomorrow, so will close tonight. Wishing you all a great week ahead!

Until my next update, I remain, your scheduled correspondent.

Tofu & Baby Bok Choy in Sesame-Ginger Sauce

Not only is this dish delicious, it is simply BEAUTIFUL! The color of the bok choy is brilliant, and the ginger flavor strong and refreshing. If you cannot find baby bok choy, substitute regular bok choy. I serve it over Japanese rice (like Cal-Rose) in a straight-sided Asian noodle bowl with a fresh fruit platter and cold beer. Don't forget the chopsticks!

1 lb extra-firm Chinese-style tofu
1/2 to 3/4 lb. baby bok choy
vegetable oil for frying (I use canola or peanut oil)
Optional: sesame seeds as garnish

2 teaspoons corn starch
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup strong vegetable broth

Prepare the tofu and bok choy: Rinse the tofu and cut it into one-and-one-half-inch triangles (or squares), about 1/3" thick. Place between layers of paper towels to absorb as much water as possible. Wash the bok choy. Slice bok choy into 1" pieces, using leaves and stems, and spin in salad-spinner to remove as much water as possible.

Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, dilute the cornstarch in a Tablespoon of water, and then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Set aside.

To make the dish: Cover bottom of a pre-heated large skillet with vegetable oil. Using long tongs, fry tofu pieces on medium-high heat, in two or three batches until brown, about 2 minutes each side. Careful - it may splatter! Remove to paper towels to drain.

Remove any excess oil from frying pan - leaving only a thin coating. Add chopped bok choy to remaining oil, stirring on high heat for about one minute, until leaves are soft, brilliant green and fragrant. Pour sauce over bok choy and continue cooking for about one minute, until sauce is very thick. Add fried tofu back into skillet, only to re-heat and stir to coat all with sauce. (If you prefer a thinner sauce, add water - 1/4 cup or so - to thin sauce.) Serve immediately, lightly sprinkled sesame seeds, if desired.

Serves 4.