Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Tofu Chronicles


As I mentioned in my last post, I used half a block of tofu in an eggplant rollatini recipe. That meant I had half a block left. What to do with the rest? I'd read several places about marinating tofu. Some opted to marinate then cook. Others pan fried then marinated. The logic was that the tofu would absorb more marinade since pan frying would get rid of some of the moisture.

I gave my friend the reins and she simply sliced the tofu into pieces, added some water and then every single seasoning in my cupboard. From scotch bonnet peppers to mojo to spanish paprika to garlic, it all went in. I asked how long the tofu would keep and was told that it would keep for about a week. That wasn't good. I had a lot of other food in the fridge that needed to be used up, I didn't want to add tofu to the list. I wasn't going to waste it though.

First I pan fried it and added it to a spinach omelet. Yes, I was eating two things that I didn't like - tofu and eggs. But guess what? I loved it. The tofu was flavourful and it didn't have that texture that I hated. I didn't do anything special to the tofu so I couldn't understand why I liked the tofu that I made and not what others had made. But then I remembered - I was using extra firm tofu while in almost all the other cases, I had tried soft tofu.

Later I did a pad thai with the tofu. But still there was more tofu left - I'm pretty surprised that one block stretched that far. I was heading out of town. What to do with it? I googled freezing tofu. Sure enough, you can freeze tofu. However, the texture and colour changes. It was suggested that I freeze it without the marinade so I poured it off and tossed it in the fridge. Freezing it in the liquid could lead to ice crystals in the tofu.

When I returned, I tossed some in a pot of black bean chili that I had made in my slow cooker (ode to my slow cooker coming soon!) and it was delicious! The black bean chili was GREAT. The tofu? It tasted almost meat-like. The texture had definitely changed and it now seemed just like meat. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I pan-fried a few pieces and put them on top of a salad and let me tell you, you could really fool someone into thinking they were eating chicken. Seriously - you just need to marinate it in tons of seasonings so it has a lot of flavour. I liked it so much that I honestly might buy a block of tofu again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Google thinks I'm Vegan

I follow a few food blogs via Google Reader but only one of them is vegan. Nevertheless, whenever I check the recommended items, my Google Reader tends to suggest more vegan blogs than non-vegan ones. At first I refused to click. If I didn't click them, Google would think that I didn't like them and stop recommending them. Right?

One night curiousity got the best of me and I started clicking. I was hopping from one vegan blog to the next when I came across this Eggplant Rollatini. It looked interesting. I have never cooked eggplants before and I have always wanted to try but just never knew what to make. I liked it even before since my vegetarian would be visiting in a week and I would need to think of meals for her.

One thing that bothered me however was the tofu ricotta. I don't like tofu. I've had tofu on numerous occasions but the texture has always been a turnoff. It has never had enough flavour to counteract my dislike for the texture. It has that eggy kinda thing going for it and I don't like eggs. I also don't like ricotta (again a texture thing) so I figured that I'd just use some cottage cheese with a mixture of shredded cheese instead. I asked my friend what she thought of the dish and she mentioned that she was avoiding dairy. Great. I guess I needed to think of a new dish then. Or... try the tofu?

I thought of a few other dishes but just couldn't get the eggplant rollatini out of my mind so I reluctantly purchased a block of extra firm tofu (with veggies). The next day I cut it in two and followed the recipe to make the ricotta. We ended up added a ton of other seasonings to the tofu ricotta - pretty much anything in the kitchen to punch up the flavour. We tasted as we went along. You can't go wrong it seems so do what works for you. I like bold flavours so I added accordingly. I followed the rest of the recipe as is but used store-bought pasta sauce tossed it in the oven and hoped for the best.

It was DELICIOUS! I loved it! It didn't taste anything like tofu. This was the first time that I was eating a dish that had tofu and loving it. I eventually sprinkled a little parmesan on my rollatini and loved it even more. Some vegan recipes suggest adding nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavour. I've never worked with nutritional yeast but I think it would be a great addition. If you're not dairy-free, sprinkle on some parmesan.

Go to This is Vegan to check out her step by step pictures of this recipe

Or go straight to the recipe here. You'll see that there are several steps but none of the steps are difficult. It is actually a pretty easy recipe.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eggs Florentine

I have a love-hate relationship with eggs. Some days I tolerate them and other days they make me sick. For unknown reasons I had a craving for Eggs Florentine this week. Well, let me clarify that. I've never had eggs Florentine before so what I was actually craving was a combination of spinach and eggs. I may a spinach and tofu omelet at the beginning of the week and I wanted more. I googled a few recipes and that's when I realized that it called for a poached egg. Hmm. Interesting. I have never poached an egg before. This could get messy.

I followed Emeril Lagasse's recipe and sauteed my spinach, set my water with vinegar and salt to boil and put my bread in the toaster oven. I didn't have white pepper but I added some cayenne pepper to my Mornay sauce. After the required poaching time was up, I opened the pot and stared at my egg. And that's when it hit me.


I don't like runny yolks. I ran to Google. Apparently, the yolks don't have to be runny. They could be "almost set." But something told me that set was not going to happen. I sighed and lifted my egg out of the pot, placed it onto the bed of spinach then poured the Mornay sauce all over it. And you know what? It tasted GOOD - runny yolk and all. I really enjoyed my breakfast and it kept me satisfied for hours.

I enjoyed it so much that I may make a variation of this tomorrow. I'm out of spinach so it may be more like an Eggs Benedict but with sausage instead of Canadian bacon. I won't be attempting a hollandaise sauce though. I like the Mornay - especially with the extra cayenne.

*I've since learned that I can get a hard yolk from a poached egg. I just have to leave it there a lot longer than Emerill suggested.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quick hair update

On Saturday morning I cowashed with La Bomba and then rollerset my hair. I was in such a hurry that it was not until my hair was almost dry that I remembered that I had not put anything else into my hair - no setting lotion, no leave in conditioner, nothing. That should tell you how good La Bomba makes my hair feel.

I had beautiful curls when I removed the rollers. I was able to wear those curls until the wedding the next day. My roots felt and looked great. I'll relax my hair in about 3 weeks at about 16 weeks post. I really think that adding the Organix Keratin is going to help me with those additional 3 weeks. My roots shouldn't be as tangled.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Organix Brazilian Keratin Take 2

I mentioned that I would be trying the Brazilian Keratin again. I was pretty hesitant because I will be travelling a lot and need my hair to be perfect when I get to a wedding on Sunday (It's currently Wednesday night). Would using the BKT be my best option at approximately 13 weeks post relaxer? Or should I simply relax? After a lot of debate, I decided to try the BKT again. I must say that I like the way my hair felt and behaved after the last time.

Step 1

So here I am, it's 11:38 PM and I just used the pre-treatment shampoo. I only lathered my hair once this time because I washed my hair last night (I added a rinse) and I didn't add any product to it since I knew that I would be clarifying it for this BKT. As soon as my hair gets to what I believe is 80% dry, I will be moving on to step 2 - applying the treatment. Let me just say again that I LOVE the smell of this shampoo. I almost want to taste it.

Step 2

It's 20 minutes later and my hair is pretty much at what I would assume is 80%. My hair dries quickly! I don't know if it's since the BKT or if my hair is suddenly really porous. I came straight out the shower and didn't use my towel at all and the front is barely wet. Time to go apply the BKT.

It took about 20 minutes for me to apply the BKT. I may have over saturated in some areas. I'll know for sure if my hair is smoking. Or maybe it's the right amount if it's smoking. I still have a wee bit left in the bottle! I tried to add more to other areas because it's possible that some areas didn't have enough but figured I would just be oversaturating some areas in the process.

I love the fact that my comb glides easily through my hair after I apply the treatment. My hair felt "clarified" after the shampoo so it's a comfort that it feels "conditioned" when the treatment is applied. Now it's time to wait the 30 minutes until step 3.

Step 3

I just blow dried my hair. I suck at using a brush so I didn't use it much. One day I'll learn. As I mentioned above, I added a rinse to my hair last night - just a temporary colour. I couldn't see it much today which was expected. I didn't use a lot and you often don't really see the colour very well until a few days in. I just blow dried and the BKT seems to have highlighted my colour. I can definitely see it more than before.

Whew. Flat ironing takes a while. I don't have much practice flat ironing so I know that it takes me longer than others. Plus, you are supposed to go over each section 7-10 times. Yes, that's a lot of heat. However, there's a heat protectant in the treatment if that makes you feel any better. I know that some sections didn't get 7-10. None got more than 7. I wonder if I did 7 the last time? Anyway, as usual, my roots aren't super straight. I'm just not good at doing it.

One other thing about flat ironing. It's well, HOT. My hair burned my finger several times! I kept trying to find ways to protect them. I had gloves (not plastic) on my left hand at times but I like being able to "feel' my hair so it felt weird. Other times I would just have to take a break in between. Now that I'm finished, I am holding onto my water bottle for comfort.

Colour - My colour is pretty vibrant right now. Loving it! I would recommend colouring before you BKT. If not, you have to wait a couple weeks.

Flaking - I saw a tiny amount of flaking but it was so little that I attributed it to my own dry scalp before I remembered that this could possibly lead to flaking.

Smoking - very little. I saw some for a few seconds and that was it. My flat iron got a little smoky but it always does if there is any buildup on it so I simply wiped it off.

Smell - I didn't smell much of anything, really. Even when there was some smokiness, I didn't get a strong smell and my eyes weren't irritated. I don't have windows open nor do I have my a/c going.

Waxy buildup - None.

Overall feel of hair - Feels great! I was worried that it would feel dry since it hasn't been moisturized in a couple days but it feels pretty good. Hopefully it still looks and feels good in 3 days when I need it to look amazing for this wedding I'm attending. My biggest concern is that it will be rainy that day and the rain could do bad things to my hair. I think I may go for a half pinned up do to help with this.

Time - That took about 2.5 hours. I was texting while flat ironing my hair so that surely slowed me down.

Now for the hardest part - keeping it straight while I sleep!