Thursday, November 21
Blackened Tofu and Spicy Fries
This is going to be one of those weekends that is completely dictated by our television and movie watching schedule. We decided to start it out early with a theme dinner. Let me give some back-story here, first. A few years ago, the Barnes & Noble website, in its infinite wisdom, suggested The Hunger Games as a book I might like. It was on sale and I had a coupon, so the paperback worked out to be something like $6 and I get free shipping, so I decided to give it a shot. I read the first chapter and promptly ordered the rest of the trilogy. I couldn’t stop reading the series and was obsessed with it for months. Seth finally gave in and read them, and he loved it as much as I did. So, of course we had to go see the movies when they started coming out. The other key piece to this puzzle is that, in case you don’t know, Seth is a video editor. He goes to meetings for a post-production users group, and on Wednesday night, the editor of Catching Fire was the guest speaker. Seth really enjoyed listening to him and learning from him, so he was super motivated to go see the movie as soon as possible. I was thinking we’d go at some point this weekend, but it’s a pretty big weekend for our other obsession, Doctor Who, so I wasn’t sure when that would happen. Seth started looking up movie times and found that we could go on Thursday evening, which would not interfere with the Doctor viewing schedule. Score. So. What the hell does this have to do with tofu and French fries? Well, a lot. We like to do movie theme nights from time to time - we went out for Indian food before we went to see Slumdog Millionaire and one night when we first started dating and I still lived in Charlotte, Seth made an Italian café dinner complete with a candle stuck in an empty Chianti bottle and a red plaid tablecloth so he could show me the Fellini movie, 8 ½ which was one of his favorites from when he was in film school. Anyway, we were not about to eat the kind of food Katniss would in District 12, because there’s no way I’m hunting and eating squirrel, so we decided to go with something hot & fiery, you know, for Catching Fire. Get it?
So blackened tofu it is! There are a couple of recipes for this that I like a whole lot, and this one is my current favorite. I added a little extra cayenne to make it a little hotter this time. I also like to use half smoked paprika and half regular, and I make a little extra of the spice mix because we like to cut the tofu into eight pieces instead of four, so we need a little more to coat all of them. In the summertime, we would have grilled corn alongside this, but since it’s not in season and we needed something spicy, we decided to make spicy fries instead. I normally make potato wedges, but I wanted skinny taters today. I used the basic seasoning mixture I put on the wedges though, and just modified it a little – smoked paprika, garlic salt, black pepper and cayenne. (The wedges get oregano and no cayenne.) I just coat them with about half a tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle the spices on and mush it all around in a bowl with my hands. I don’t measure anything – I just do it until it looks right. The fries came out really good, but weren’t as crispy as they looked when I pulled them out of the oven. They were perfectly spicy though. I made a batch of Buttermilk Ranch from Cookin’ Crunk, just to have a little something cool and creamy to go with the spicy tofu and fires, which we loved. I like to use the extra tofu in salads for lunches, so this works out perfectly. I had some steamed green beans with mine, and Seth had a bowl of the collards that were leftover from Tuesday night. Then off to the movie we went. And no, it’s not as good as the book, but still, it’s worth seeing. Although, if you haven’t read the books, you’re missing out on most of what makes the story so compelling, because neither of the movies has done a good job with that.