My husband Ted, more than three-and-a-half decades into our life together, still doesn't understand the very specific food cravings I get from time to time. I don't want chocolate; I want a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. Or shrimp salad, or Wheat Thins, or ice cold cantaloupe. (Am I the only one who craves?) At least a couple of times a month, I absolutely must have a quick-and-easy Thai curry. I can't explain it, and I never know when the craving will strike, so I make sure my pantry is always up to the task. With a tub of red curry paste in the refrigerator and cans of coconut milk in the cupboard, I toss in whatever protein and vegetables I have on hand, for color and texture. I make rice in the rice cooker, up to a few hours in advance, so this Thai red curry tofu and broccoli with basmati rice comes together in less than 30 minutes.
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Are you old enough to have one of those hippie-dippie days, when you listen to Rubber Soul (on Pandora), throw on a poncho (or a hoodie), go shopping in your Earth Shoes (Birkenstocks?), and get an irrational craving for "health food"? I had one of those 1960s days recently, which might have inspired this broccoli tofu-stir fry with brown rice. I used to cook something just like this on a hot plate in my college dorm room. This stir-fry packs a double whammy of broccoli (florets, and store-bought broccoli slaw), along with healthy soy tofu, ginger and brown rice. Peanuts add crunch, and sesame oil bumps up the nutty flavor. My friend Bob and I had leftovers for lunch the next day; by then, my hippie mood had passed, but the stir-fry was as good as ever.
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Last week in the produce section of our village grocery store, I discovered super-firm cubed organic tofu. Yep, cubed. Which just happens to be how I prepare tofu for my stir-fried dishes. I couldn't pass up the chance to try it. In the way that Fate has of showing you what it wants you to cook, I found some cold cooked rice, a head of bok choy, and a couple of portobello mushrooms in the refrigerator. Fried rice was the obvious route, but I gave it an Indonesian spin with kecap manis for sweet/salt, and Sriracha for zing. If you don't have bok choy, Napa cabbage would be a fine substitute.
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Here in Rhode Island, when snow is on the way, everyone runs to the store for milk and bread. My pantry always holds a full complement of Asian condiments, plus several types of rice to steam up in my little rice cooker, so I run to the store for fresh ingredients to mix and match in enough stir-fry dishes to see us through any storm. This recipe takes one of my basic stir-fry sauces and gives it a twist with the addition of peanut butter. The amount of Sriracha makes this moderately spicy, so adjust for your own heat tolerance. These days, you can find Sriracha in most grocery stores, but if you don't have it on hand, a few red pepper flakes will stand in nicely.
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