Tuesday, March 11, 2008

hints that spring is nearly here

Sometimes, here in sunny California, it can be a little confusing as to exactly when it's spring. Sure, you've got that whole equinox thingy and all, but well before that, spring has sprung. The plants know what's up. Some keep track of the temperature while some pay attention to the sun's rays. Some pay attention to neither. Or both. I try to make sense of it all, but it's the little clues of it's arrival, such as these flowers placed so lovingly into the hood of my car. When I see this, I know spring is near.

Another way of telling is by who visits. Think about it. You probably have a few relatives or friends who you only see at certain times of the year. A holiday perhaps. If this regularity can be counted on then you start thinking things like: "oh, hey, auntie so and so is coming to town, it must be (insert occasion here)." When it's Saint Nick, you think x-mas. The Great Pumpkin, Halloween right? And so on and so forth. Well, around here, before that big damn bunny makes his appearance we get a visit from Princess Cinderella and the Pink Princess Mariposa. Yes, spring is here when I find myself making lunch for these two.

Maybe you are a devout eater of what's in season. If that's the case you'd probably say spring is here when you're eating asparagus or something else fresh, green and newly emerged from the cold or recently frozen ground. Now, I love my asparagus and all, but to me nothing says the arrival of spring like eating peach pie. You heard it: P E A C H P I E. The filling for this baby was made back at the end of September and tucked away into the freezer. With the warming weather and trying to imagine what we can cram in the freezer that is the last of winter's goodness, it seems we shall need to make some space. The peachy goodness has got to go. Next up is a bag of Red Haven pie filling. When that one goes, there ain't no more warm peachiness until I feel the fuzz from this year's crop on my lips.

When I really know it's spring though, is when the light streams through the Tofuhenge just so. It will pierce through one of the bean curd windows and illuminate the center with a nice clean line. With high enough air quality in the kitchen the light will even shine through all the way to the pull-down panels on the ancient Wedgewood. Of course you have to have constructed your "henge" with the proper alignment for this to happen, but when it finally does, as far as I'm concerned spring is here.

Silly readers, and you thought tofu was just for eating!

Happy almost sprung..........


K & S said...

Happy Spring! I'm so glad for you. Here in Hawaii, it feels more like Summer, not complaining as when I return to Japan in a couple of weeks it will still be brrr...winter.

Callipygia said...

I'm so thrown by the tofu henge I forgot was I was going to say...

Chilebrown said...

You have finally found a use for Tofu that I can relate to. Meathenge will be proud!! I am still gagging at the Tofurkey that was displayed at the Marin Market. It was disgusting!

HipWriterMama said...

The peach pie looks divine. The lucky princesses. I hope they enjoyed their pie.

And the Tofuhenge...um, that isn't real tofu, is it? (From one who eats a lot of the creamy white version in packages.)

leena! said...

What did you do to that tofu, monkey man? It looks delicious in all of its Tofu-henge-ness. I can never find a delicious way to cook the stuff.

I am sure this is in a previous post, but I am also calling details on the peach pie filling. I took my first stab at a peach strudel not too long ago, and it just didn't do it for me. I'd love to see what goes into yours!

Rev. Biggles said...

Humph. Tofuhenge. Prolly keeps as good as time as it does taste. Wrap it with bacon and get back to me.


Monkey Wrangler said...

Kat: I do hope going back is to a mild end of winter. Thanks!

Callipygia: Hell, the henge threw me too! It was the nature of the blocks that really inspired the building.

Chile: Someday, I'll feed some to you. But I'll have to wrap it in bacon as the Reverend recommended. In fact, I've got a small block of Highland Hills bacon for one of your tastings in my freezer for the next time we meet.

Hip: My wife is the true pie queen. I may have had a hand in the filling but she is the flaky crust master, with far more patience for shaping the dough.

And yes, the tofu is real. It's all about marinading it for days on end and then baking it slowly.

Leena: Baked Tofu. Say it. B A K E D T O F U. Get some firm tofu, marinate it with soy/tamari/teriyaki, some hot chile oil, maybe a touch of rice vinegar. Leave it submerged, or rotate it every half day or so. Do this for at least three days. Take it out and bake it on low heat (250-275) for about and hour (thats a 1x1x3 inch block) Do this and you will like tofu.

That filling thing. My better half used some cornstarch to thicken it, but the rest was magic and I'm not sure I could give you a recipe.

Biggles: Somehow, I just knew that would be your response. And it was no intrusion on the Meatyness of your Henge, especially not being anywhere near meat. As I said to Callipygia up top, it was the blocks arranged on the cookie sheet that inspired the quick building. But I am surprised you didn't go beyond the taste reasons and cite that wrapping it would perform an engineering marvel similar to all the seismic retrofitting they do on load bearing uprights, doing some extra duty reinforcing of the structure overall.

Bacon rules!

Zoomie said...

Love the Tofu Henge. Finally a good use for tofu.

Rev. Biggles said...

Um, what?


Amm the Vagabond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amm the Vagabond said...

Mister Wrangler! It has been with great delight that I have read through a plethora of your backposts. Your writing style is thoroughly enjoyable. However, despite the enjoyable writings, despite the pale-rose moonrise over the ocean outside, despite the live mariachi band playing next door, I find myself troubled.

Something has gone awry with my sourdough! I need help!

I've been baking loaves for quite a while now, but within the past few months some of them have been coming out with a thin, very chewy crust on top. Not at all to my liking. I prefer a thicker crust that explodes with crunchiness in my mouth (wow, was I raised on tv commercials?) The chewiness seems to be correlated with the goldenness of the loaf. When it's pastier, it's thinner and chewier. Leaving it in the oven longer just bakes too much water out of the center while leaving the crust unappetizing. I really don't know what to do to rectify the situation. Seems to be random so far, with regards to starter, oven temp., rise time. Have you any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?
I'd be much obliged!