Avoiding the autumn posts – the ones with pumpkin cookies, hay rides and colorful leaves. Not because I’m feeling like a scrooge, but because I’m trying to feel my own rhythm and settle this year. Kevin and I drove up to Salem on Friday night for a party. I decided to bring back my childhood and dress up as a Nintendo Gameboy. On Friday, I poked out of work during lunch and hopped on a train to Chinatown to find costume fabric. I sometimes forget what it feels like to move with purpose. Around midday, I am usually just eating or reading, but it felt nice to go somewhere that I don’t usually go. Do something out of the ordinary.
I found myself on a cool fall day tucked inside Windmill Fabrics. I have been going here for seven years for all my Halloween attire. I can’t believe I’ve been in Massachusetts for seven years now. This is my favorite fabric store in Boston. I poured over the seasonally appropriate lines of felt rolls and squares. Talked with the woman at the front desk about business, Halloween and I left my company badge on the table so she continued to ask me about the website and investments. I’ve lived in Boston long enough now to see businesses come and go. I passed by my favorite bakery in Chinatown that is opening back up again, a new cafe on the corner with free WiFi and the golden doors to my old job.
Kevin and I spend the night getting ready, slow. We talk over our favorite thai food and stress over the survival of the lead characters in our latest anime obsession. This is what Friday night is suppose to feel like – a warm hug, a smooth kiss or a cold tingle under the skin. On our way up to Salem we wind our way through the Big Dig. The tunnels are lit up in yellow and I can’t help but stare at their strange brilliance. I am always amazed to be here – sitting 3,000 miles away from home, tucked away in a city that has more people than the town I grew up in within one medium-sized apartment building. A forest orphan or a city adoptee. Loving both places, but never fully committed to either one.
Fall and winter in New England taught me how to appreciate the night. There is magic that happens when the sun goes down. It’s like a whole new city stretches out before me, inviting me to corners I have never been before. I am in love with the lights down by the water, the sweeping lit up bridges and the old street lights that still carry some New World decor. The next night, Kevin and I went for an 11 mile run in the city. We ran through Roxbury, the South End, Chinatown, the Leather District, the Seaport, the North End, Bunker Hill and back. Ate a couple of pizzas while we talked about dreams, travel and saving up to experience more adventure.
I stay in the bed this morning with a cup of tea & a stack of cook books. I’m pouring over new recipes trying to find one that sounds delicious. I can feel myself gravitating toward the familiar and I push toward new ingredients, techniques and recipes. I close my eyes and can see Salem covered in fog from two nights ago, jet black water streaming underneath a bridge near the North End and the tree line from the Boston commons snaking its way along Beacon Hill. I know that every day is an adventure, all I have to do is wake up and remember.
– Tofu Scramble –
Scrambled tofu is perfect for fall days when you want a warm breakfast and a slow morning. You can add other vegetables to enhance this recipe, but I just chose vegetables that were simple and savory. This recipe is full of flavor!
1 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped into 1/4 chunks
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch
4-5 broccoli florets
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound firm tofu, drained & crumbled
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Prepare you vegetables by mincing the onion into 1/4 inch chunks, slicing the mushrooms into 1/2 inch pieces and cutting a lemon in half and storing 1/2 in the refrigerator. You can also save time by draining your tofu and setting it aside.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté chopped onions until translucent, which takes 2-3 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms, broccoli florets and minced garlic. Add the spice blend and slowly mix until the vegetables are coffered in spices and oil. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add 1/4 of water to deglaze pan.
Crumble tofu in the pan and mix well, make sure not to mash the tofu. Once the tofu is covered in spices, turn the heat to low and cook for 12-15 minutes. If your tofu is sticking to the pan, then you can turn down the heat or add water by the tbs. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, guacamole, salsa or ketchup.
– Pan Seared Tempeh –
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
1 tsp vegetable bouillon
1 cup of water
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs honey (substitute with agave nectar or pure maple syrup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
In a small pot, bring one cup of water to boil. Mix in 1 tsp of vegetable bouillon until completely dissolved. Set aside. In a medium-sized pot, bring water to boil. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the tempeh in half then cut each square diagonally to create four large triangles. Add the tempeh to the water once it started boiling. Reduce heat and simmer tempeh for 10 minutes or until you are able to pierce the tempeh triangles with a fork or knife. Place the warm tempeh directly into your marinade and let sit for 1 hour. If you are in a hurry, then you can always let the tempeh sit for less time, but you may have less flavor.
Sear the tempeh for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until sugar from the honey starts to caramelize. Pair the tofu scramble and the pan seared tempeh with a mix of arugula greens, apples and pistachio halves.