Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beer #44-46 / Day 9: Cooking With Beer a.k.a. Pretending To Be Healthy

Not like I've ever been slim & trim, but I definitely fell off the wagon diet-wise over the Holidays. Is it possible that drinking 46 beers over the course of 9 days may have anything to do with it?  Nahhhh....

I had surgery for cancer last October, and since then I've been eating much, much healthier overall.  The Wife & I have gone vegetarian or vegan over the course of several weeks at a time. We're trying to cut down on meat and dairy, and also consciously exercise more. When I'm not vegetarian, I try to eat a lot more fish.  I feel better, I'm less tired, and I poop more regularly (OK, too much information?!).  And yes, I KNOW drinking a shit-ton of beer is not conducive to weight loss, but I decided long ago that 2014 would be my Big Year In Beer, and damn it, come Hell or Artesian water, this IS my Big Year.  I'll just need to take extra precautions to eat healthier than ever, and exercise more than ever, in order to compensate for the accelerated beer consumption. Is this akin to having a burger but ordering a DIET Coke because you think it's more healthy and "balances" out your unhealthy meal?  Most likely.

When I started dating my Wife in 2006, my life experiences expanded greatly through art, music, and just enjoying every day things like cooking.  I never, ever cooked prior to this, and had no interest in it whatsoever.  Throughout these past years, I've learned a lot about cooking from my Wife, and while not every dish is a winner, in my completely biased opinion, I'm a damn good cook these days.  I don't always use beer in cooking, but for obvious reasons, I try to integrate it more.  Tonight I modified a vegan recipe by adding GREEN FLASH WEST COAST IPA - Beer #44 to the dish, instead of veggie stock or water.  It's an Asian dish, and as noted by our trip to Orochon Ramen last weekend, IPAs go great with spicy Asian food (who knew???).  In all honesty, this excellent beer is not prominent in the flavors of the dish, but I took great pride in integrating it into this awesome recipe.  I finished off the Green Flash while cooking, so I went for the garden variety STONE IPA - Beer #45 to drink during dinner.  Even though this is one of the more "common" Stone beers that one can find in any rinky-dink, corner liquor store nowadays, it's freakin' great, no doubt about it.  Hail Stone for knowing when they have something good and not futzing with it.  I capped off the evening with the DESCHUTES BREWING OBSIDIAN STOUT - Beer #46, a malty, inky, delicious everyday stout from these Oregonian stalwarts.

Not to get all "Foodie" on y'all, but for the hell of it, and just because it's damn tasty, here's a mildly spicy vegan recipe with beer (the best part is you drink most of the beer while cooking):

- Serves 2
- Prep time + Cooking is about 30-40 min.  Put on some good tunes & just do it.

1 block of firm or preferably extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp peanut oil
a few large cloves of garlic, sliced
a large piece of ginger root, sliced
4-6 green onions
6 Tbsp soy sauce
6 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp agave nectar or simple syrup
2 Tbsp Sriracha
4 Tbsp IPA
White, Jasmine, or Basmati rice for 2

*Drain the tofu. You need to get as much water out of it as possible.  Let it sit in a colander to drain for a while, then press it (not too hard) between paper towels to absorb additional moisture.
*While the tofu is resting between dry paper towels, start cooking enough rice for two, according to the instructions on the package.  Start it now, so it's ready by the time the tofu is done cooking!
*Cut tofu into long strips, about 1 inch wide.  But don't be all OCD about being exact.
*Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, agave nectar, Sriracha, and IPA in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
*Cut the garlic cloves and ginger root into slices. DO NOT worry about being too accurate or uniform with these slices because you will eventually discard them!
*Heat a large pan on High.  Once hot, add the peanut oil.  After the peanut oil heats for about a minute, add the sliced garlic & ginger.  Cook them in the oil for a minute or two.  Once everything smells awesome, then remove the garlic and ginger and discard. You have just flavored the oil, so keep it in the pan!
*Add the tofu strips to the pan and brown them on all sides in the oil.  This will take 8-12 minutes.
*While the tofu is browning, prep the green onions by cutting them into diagonal slices.  This will be your garnish when the tofu is done.
*Drink the rest of the IPA.
*While you're waiting for the tofu to brown, your rice should be ready by now, so plate it in two large bowls right before you start the next step.
*Once the tofu is sufficiently browned to your liking, turn the heat to low, add the sauce and coat the tofu well. Leave it on the burner for about a minute, but not too long or the sauce will become too thick.
*Pour the tofu and sauce in equal portions over the rice in two bowls (you did already put the rice in the bowls, didn't you?)
*Top with your fancy, sliced green onions.
*Have an awesome meal with your spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend / companion, and prepare for an evening of incredible sex because they'll be all over you after this tasty dish.


1 comment:

  1. I made enough for two and I'm still waiting for all my sex.