The challenge: To cook all 115 recipes from the first Thug Kitchen cookbook within 365 days.
71 recipes down, 44 recipes to go, and 113 days left of the challenge.
Prepare to have your minds blown by these flavours.
bad I am at cooking good I am at burning stuff!)
I decided to make the Spring Veggie Bowl with red curry and lime sauce because it’s that weird No Man’s Land between winter and spring right now. We had a bit of sun, I got excited, made this dish, and then this morning it snowed. WTF.
I am sure if cooked correctly this recipe will dazzle your senses. The flavour of the sauce is intense, the flavours of the asparagus and bok choy are more subtle, and together they are a match made in Thug Heaven. (Yes I capitalise, because I believe that to be an actual place, with city limits, state laws, and the whole shebang)
However, despite preparing the sauce to perfection, I managed to royally ruin the tofu. I’d love to plead ignorance on the whole thing and be all like, ‘I just don’t know what happened.’ but I know EXACTLY what happened. My oven happened.
My oven is an occasional asshole.
Sometimes he’s well-behaved and normal, and other times he’s just an asshole. Never having any idea of how he will react to the food that is placed within his care, makes it all the worse. At least if he was consistently a pyromaniac who liked to char things I could adjust cooking times, or have a fire extinguisher ready. But because things go well for several weeks I am lulled into a false sense of security. I never see it coming. It feels like he suddenly holds my food hostage, and despite me desperately wanting to pay the ransom, he never lets me know the drop off point. Sadistic creep.
Anyway, back to the Spring Veggie Bowl recipe. This is technically three recipes in one.
- spring veggie bowl
- red curry lime sauce
- sweet citrus baked tofu
First I made the noodles (easy peasy), and the Red Curry Lime Sauce (yum). I set all that aside and moved on to the Sweet Citrus Baked Tofu.
I had marinated the tofu in the sweet citrus marinade for several hours so that it would be good to go for dinner time.
I asked Siri what 450 degrees farenheit was in celsius. She reassured me in soothing, robotic tones that it was 230 degrees celsius, which seemed a bit high, but I went with it. I even turned it down a smidge, because like I said earlier, my oven can be unpredictable.
I laid the tofu out in rows on parchment paper.
After 10 minutes I took them out of the oven, flipped them and basted them with the citrus marinade. Once that was done I popped them back in.
Looking back, maybe I should have stopped there. I mean they were already looking darker than the ones from the photo in the cookbook. But they’d only been in 10 minutes and the recipe said it would probably be about 30 mins total cooking time. And the Thugs had said not to worry if the edges started to look a bit burnt ‘that’s the right way to do it, so just calm the fuck down.’ So I followed the recipe, but my oven is a bastard. They came out ten minutes later looking a bit, um, let’s say crispy.
Okay, so maybe crispy is a bit of an understatement.
But still, I am an optimist, and it was spring (for all of one day) so I was feeling good. I propelled myself onwards to grill the veggies. Now, I had to use the grill setting on my oven for this, which of course was a bit of a gamble, but one that paid off. It did mean there were no grill marks, but who gives a flying fuck.
Look at the colour of that asparagus. BEAUTIFUL! Let me give you a close up for you to feast your eyes on. (I’ve got to replace the image of chared remains that’s doubtlessly burnt into your mind, with something that looks tastier)
Once all that was done, it was time to assemble the bowls. I layered and I drizzled, and then I slapped this bad boy on the table.
The sauce was delightfully intense. It’s the sort of mild torture where you have to keep wiping your runny nose, but you’re happy about it. The taste of the asparagus was my favourite part of the meal. It tempered the heat of the sauce, and something about the salt and lime juice on the asparagus took it to another level.
The tofu, though I ate some of it, was too burnt to really enjoy. Maybe I sliced it too thin, maybe my oven is the culprit. Whatever the reason, it was burnt beyond recognition, and you could’ve told me I was eating a slice of a rubbery doormat that had been marinated and I would’ve believed you. However, the marinade itself was promising. I’d try it again and keep a closer eye on it while it was in the oven.
I ended up with loads of marinade left over, and I never know what to do with it. It seems a waste to throw it away, so maybe if I can get my hands on some more tofu I’ll try again. Maybe even get it right this time. Asshole oven permitting.