Saturday, January 21, 2012

Taper Madness

At this time next week, I will have finished my first half marathon.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep myself busy in order to make sure I don't spend an evening absolutely freaking out.
In the countdown to the big day, I've decided to avoid meat as much as possible.  I, of course, haven't mentioned that to The Husband yet, and he came home from picking up our vegetables bearing not only said veggies but also some cedar planks and salmon, so I suppose I'll have to choke that down.  Darn.
At the same time, my desire for carbs has taken over my thoughts about food, and most other thoughts as well (which is actually a good thing, since I'm thinking about bread instead of the new running shirt that I decided that I "need" to get before the race).  I gave serious consideration last night to calling Oregano's and ordering eight loaves of garlic bread and a side of their "Bollo Pasta."  To go.  I mean, you don't think I'd eat all that bread in public where people would judge me, do you?  That's an in-the-car-in-a-deserted-parking-lot kind of activity.
Fortunately, I held myself back, and my quest for carb-y goodness led me to have what, at the time, I determined to be absolute genius - tofu-angel hair stir fry in peanut sauce.
OK, that kind of sounds weird, but we don't have any udon or other appropriate noodles.  However, we did have two bok choys in the fridge needing to be used in a fairly timely manner, so there you have it.
While rummaging around the fridge (which totally needs to be reorganized and wiped down, but I'm ignoring that for now), I came across a jar of Thai peanut sauce, and I took it out, thinking that I'd use it for the stir fry sauce.
Then I looked at the ingredient list.
"WTF IS SODIUM BENZOATE?????" I screamed in my head.  The nice people who made the sauce's label were kind enough to tell me that it's a preservative (duh - isn't that what the "sodium" part implies?), but it still creeped me out.
Especially when I read that when it's combined with Vitamin C, it can create benzine.
I'm not really sure on what molecular level that "combining" needs to occur for benzine to be created, but since I was using vegetables, known to be rife with Vitamin C, I decided to make my own spicy peanut sauce.
It was a Good Idea.

My I-Totally-Don't-Measure-Anything Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • reduced sodium soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • Sriracha (or other Asian hot sauce)
  • peanut butter (preferably homemade and crunchy, but go with what you've got)
  • water, as needed
I had just made the peanut butter, so it was still warm...mmmm...
Add about equal parts soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, plus a few squirts of the Sriracha.  Whisking together, add the peanut butter until you get the taste you want, tweaking the other ingredients as necessary.  Add water to think as desired.  
Let the sauce sit for a bit so the tastes have some time to "meld" or whatever fancy-ass chefs and cooks would say at this point.

This would also be tasty, I am guessing, eaten with a spoon.
The tofu, cut into little 1/2-inch cubes, was fried sauteed stir-fried in some sesame oil.  I am, um, NOT good at flipping said tofu, so my fingertips are a wee bit burned from giving my spatula some assistance as I made sure that all sides were crispy, but it was totally worth it to have that lovely texture.
Once the tofu was done, I took it out of the pan to set a bit while I threw in some onion, carrot, and garlic, followed by the chopped bok choy.  Once the bok choy was cooked down, I threw the tofu back in along with the peanut sauce, turned off the heat, and tossed everything until it was well combined.
No, I only had one bowl.
The other bowl was for The Husband.
Sorry it's not prettier - I was starving.
And then I inhaled.
Don't judge - I went on my last "long run" before the half marathon (5 miles), 5 kilometers of which was for the first ever Twitter Road Race.  This was a necessity to refuel and feel human again (that and the post-run shower, or as I like to say, "gettin' my stink off").
The peanut sauce was nice and spicy (I am a tad bit heavy-handed with the Sriracha) and coupled nicely with the bok choy, and I am very pleased at how the tofu turned out.  But, even more exciting, The Husband, who, as we have discussed before, tends to think everything is "OK," said that our lunch was "pretty good."  I know - it's no mushroom pie, but it's at least two steps above simply "OK."  Plus, since it was a meal free of animal protein, I feel like that the positive feedback is weighted kind of like an honors course.
The stir fry wasn't completely what I had envisioned, but it most certainly hit the spot.  Next time, I'll add more leafy greens (if I have them), use green onions instead of the yellow onion (we actually received scallions in this week's CSA share, but I had already chopped up the yellow one), play around with either rice or a more Asian noodle, and probably cut the tofu into a bit smaller pieces; they were perfectly bite-sized if eaten alone, but I like to have a little of everything in each forkful, so I'll have to be aware of how much I can cram into my mouth at one time.  Without playing the tofu version of "Chubby Bunny."

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