Mapo Tofu and Chinese Broccoli

There isn’t a whole lot going on in my life right now. Here are some random snippets:

I traveled Monday/Tuesday for work. Spent 8 hours onsite and around 18 hours traveling.

Cooking really is therapeutic.

My shoulder/back are really sore.

I’m going to Chicago this weekend to visit some friends. Going to a retreat the next weekend for the IV group I volunteer with. Then on another work trip the weekend after. Won’t be in Madison a lot in the near future I guess.

The tofu recipe came from a friend. Usually I would put some ground pork in there, but this was sort of a spur of the moment thing and I didn’t have any defrosted.

Anyway, I don’t really have anything else to say for now.

19 oz package tofu, diced (I used firm, but I’d use a softer one next time)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp Lao Gan Ma
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
garlic powder

Chinese broccoli
sesame oil
Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce

In a large pan, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are soft. Add water and chili sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add tofu and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add salt and garlic powder to taste.

In a large pot, boil water, sesame oil and salt. Add broccoli and cook until tender, but not too soft. Remove from water and serve with oyster sauce.


Strawberry Icebox Cake

I’ve never heard of icebox cake before. But it was a friend’s birthday and her husband told me she liked “fruit cakes” that are “not too sweet”. If you take a look at all the other dessert recipes I have on my blog, well, “fruit” and “not too sweet” are not my M.O. No, my style is usually heavy on chocolate and sugar. Out of the 27 dessert recipes I’ve posted (well, now 28), only 5 do not involve chocolate. And maybe 4 involve real fruit… and that’s if you count bananas. Personally I wouldn’t really consider banana nutella wontons as a “fruity” dessert.

Anyway, I was a little skeptical of the idea of softened graham crackers, but it looked really good and had strawberries and homemade whipped cream, so how bad could it be? It ended up being pretty good, but my guess is that it won’t keep for very long because the graham crackers will get progressively soggier. But all in all a really good, simply dessert.

Hm, what else has been going on in my life? Work has been fine… I carpool with a friend so that helps me strike a better work/life balance. I have weekly Bible studies through my church and the Intervarsity chapter I volunteer with. My roommate and I started having a weekly “roommate night”. This week we cooked dinner and watched the Joy Luck Club (I have mixed feelings about the movie). I’ve been playing drums again… I don’t know, nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve also been recently feeling the need to have alone time. Time to journal, reflect, pray, and just be… still.

Ok, enough of me. It’s 10:30 (I’m soooo old and tiredddd) so I should wrap up!

Recipe adapted from Let’s Dish

2 lbs strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 oz dark chocolate chips
18 graham crackers

In a large bowl, whip 3 cups heavy whipping cream with a stand or hand mixer. Add powdered sugar (1/3-2/3 cups, depending on how sweet you want it) and vanilla extract.

Spread a layer of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Lay 6 graham crackers on top of that. Spread another layer of whipped cream, then a layer of strawberries. Repeat (whipped cream, graham crackers, strawberries) until you run out of graham crackers (3 layers). Garnish the top with strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I refrigerated overnight).

When you’re ready to serve, make the chocolate ganache. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of cream until bubbly. Whisk in chocolate and take off heat. Continue whisking/adding chocolate until it reaches the desired chocolatiness (this is not a word, but you know what I mean). Drizzle on top of the cake.