I know I have let “Baking with Beckville” languish of late, and I promise to get back to it soon. But first, I must start this more general food feature: Taste and See. As the Gabba Gang are always singing, “Try it! You’ll like it!”
Early in our marriage, Mike and I (by which I mean “I”) went through a pretty serious Risotto Period. Beans and greens risotto. Rarebit risotto. Spinach and artichoke risotto. It was a very delicious time in our life together.
I loved making risotto, especially in the winter, because there was a heat vent right next to the stove, and I got to stand right in front of it while I stirred and stirred that arborio rice. In a perpetually frigid apartment (pro tip: if there is always snow on the ground but never snow on your roof, you do not have sufficient insulation and will spend hundreds of dollars on heat without ever feeling warm), this was a treat.
When I shared this simple pleasure with the pastor at my teaching parish, she–a working mother of two–burst out laughing.
“Stirring the risotto? Try ‘stirring the mac and cheese.'” My risotto making was a clear indication that I did not have children.
And I got it then, but now, two years into parenthood, I really, really get it. The magic combination of time to cook, energy to cook, and free hands to cook is stunningly rare. Add the finnicky palate of a toddler and you wind up with a pretty high mac and cheese: risotto ratio. We eat a lot of pasta, pizza, waffles, and black bean tacos around here.
But last night! Last night I had bok choy from the Litchfield farmers market. I had tofu, which Zoe loves when prepared in exactly one way* (handily, the way Mike also prefers it). I had time. I had energy. I had Mike and Zoe cozily curled up on the couch with The Backyardigans. And so, we had a blogworthy supper!
Lemon herb tofu, Mediterranean bok choy, and lightly toasted sourdough bread. I’m not saying it was gourmet, but it was real cooking, with real recipes, and we all enjoyed it. (Pro tip: Zoe enjoyed the leftover broccoli more than she enjoyed the bok choy, but that is clearly a win-win situation.)
And furthermore: Mark Bittman calls this bok choy recipe “quite classy”. What finer endorsement could there be?
*P.S. Although in my mind I make the “lemon herb tofu” recipe from one of my many Moosewood cookbooks, in reality what I do is: press a block of extra firm tofu, slice it up into little cubes, fry it in olive oil till crispy, and add soy sauce, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, and pepper toward the end of the cooking process. Tastes like . . . lemon herb tofu.
What are you cooking these days? Or, what do you wish you had the time / energy / free hands / budget to cook? Let us know in the comments!