Angry rant about the mistreatment of tofu

In accordance with the convention of giving nicknames starting with 'S' to Safeways in the D.C. area, I hereby dub the Safeway on Old Georgetown Road the "Sorry Safeway" or more elaborately, the "Sorry, we only have silken tofu today, Safeway".

I consider tofu a basic staple. I go through tofu the way some people go through milk or bread (neither of which I buy regularly). So when Safeway is all out of firm tofu, to me that's just as pathetic as if they were out of milk or bread.

Today, Martha Rose Shulman for the New York Times declared that tofu is not just for health nuts anymore. It may not be a super-food, but it is a good source of magnesium, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, protein. Though it is NOT just a meat substitute. (It's actually more like cheese.) It shouldn't be put in a category with sodium laden, sorry excuses for food-like substances such as smart dogs. Tofu also has the advantages of being super easy to store safely (as opposed to meat), chop, season, cook, and digest.

A major grocery store should stock more than just a few pounds per day!

So with the rant out of the way, here's a recipe for marinated tofu that I learned from an ex-roommate:

1 part balsamic vinegar
1 part tamari
a few cloves crushed garlic (optional)
a teaspoon or so of grated ginger (optional)
a few drops of sesame oil (optional)

Chop the tofu according to your liking (smaller or thinner shapes will absorb flavor more quickly) and marinate for 1-24 hours. Then just sautee the tofu on it's own or add it to a stir fry. Serve with rice.

Photo from justinhenry.

Building beds and spring planting

Just last week it dawned on me that it's getting late to plant the Spring vegetables. I am new at this afterall. So that lit a fire under me to finalize my plan and start building my beds.

As it turns out, the tomatoes I've started are determinate (bush as opposed to vine) types. I hadn't really paid attention to this before. I had been skeptical of the Square Foot Gardening method just because I remember how big my cherry and Roma tomato plants got last year. Well it turns out that Square Foot Gardening recommends that you give determinate tomato plants 9 square feet. Crookneck squash also need 9 square feet.

I've also decided that I should plant more varieties of fruits and veggies and less quantities of each. So I've gone slightly seed crazy. In addition to the plants I listed a few weeks back, I've decided to plant cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, bok choi, leeks, radishes, cantaloupe, watermelon, corn, lemongrass (thanks to a really helpful comment from lynn'sgarden), container strawberries, and a determinate variety of heirloom tomatoes.

I was yapping about all this to my friend Sharlette who lives in an apartment, and she mentioned that she wishes she could grow a garden. So we decided to do some yard sharing! She'll have a 4x4 plot in my backyard.

So with all of the above considered, I've come up with this new plan:

'Veggie 1' is a 6'x6' square where I'll plant two Roma tomato plants, 1 cherry tomato, and 1 crookneck squash, inter-planted with carrots, radishes, beets, and leeks to use the extra space while the tomato plant is still small. 'Veggie 2' will be for more summer fruits and veggies, to be determined. Last weekend, I built 'Veggie 3', 'Veggie 4' which is Sharlette's plot, and the 3'x3' herb box. Sharlette and I planted cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, bok choi, mesclun, carrots, radishes, beets, and leeks. Here's what it looks like so far:

Notice that the mess of ivy covering two stumps in my before pictures is now a single bare stump. That's because two weekends ago after I ripped up the ivy, I removed a huge rotted tree stump. Yes me. By myself. I'm definitely proud of this accomplishment!