Let me explain before you get your feminist panties in a wad or cheer that I’m fulfilling my womanly role.
I do about 95% of the cooking not because Jay won’t or because it is my “job” (although some days I feel I owe the guy cooking as I am a lousy housekeeper). I cook because I’m a Kitchen Nazi. I’m a total control freak when it comes to meal preparation. “How much oil did you just dump in that skillet?” “Why did you cut the zucchini that way?” “For the LOVE OF GOD MAN, don’t you know to run the prongs of a fork down the side of the cucumber before slicing for pasta salad?”
At times the Kitchen Control Freak beast that lurches out of my otherwise petite frame can be terrifying. And tremendously embarrassing. As soon as the criticism or curt instructions come out of my mouth I regret it. I adore my husband. He is a wonderful, caring and endlessly selfless person. All he wants to do is help.
I have been working hard at relinquishing some kitchen control and allowing him to assist. When he asks what he can do to help I try not to tell him, “You can help by sitting down in the other room and keeping me company.” Instead I ask him if he minds washing the cabbage. And he has learned, sadly, to first ask HOW I would like my cabbage washed.
I’m trying to share the kitchen responsibility. And sharing is caring, right?
All this said, it is still a rare occasion that Jay gets to prepare a meal without my hovering around trying to help (i.e. take over). Last weekend, however, I went to Washington, D.C., to visit family and cheer for my amazingly fit father on as he ran the Marine Corps Marathon. The weekend consisted of everything that makes a trip awesome – family, hugs, laughter, food, adventure AND costumes (see photo gallery). The only thing it was lacking was sleep, which is to be expected when one only takes a vacation in only three days.
I called Mr. Husband from the Dulles airport on Sunday afternoon and was surprised when he announced that he would have dinner waiting for me upon my return around 9:30 p.m. “Really? What is for dinner?” I said, trying to disguise the skepticism in my voice.
“I’m making Korean Cabbage Soup and adding baked tofu for protein.”
Too exhausted to scrutinize or protest I thanked him, hung up and then busied myself in efforts to keep from calling back with directives.
When I entered the house that night I was greeted with a rich, hearty smell. I peeked into the pot and was thrilled at what I saw – large chunks of golden tofu floated in a rich brown broth with large pieces of cabbage, celery, carrots, turnips and seasonings. And the taste did not disappoint! The meal was delicious, filling and, most importantly, required NO kitchen activity from me.
While slurping our soup (because when you are childless you can do such things with little regard to corrupting young minds and manners) I asked about the soup details. He had thought of everything – the meal was well-balanced, vegan and not fried. On this Third Day of Vegan MoFo I am ever so pleased to share with you what might be the first meal prepared by Mr. Husband in which I asserted ZERO control.
I guess I did write this blog entry… does that negate the zero control claim? Damn. A Kitchen Nazi and a Blog Nazi.
Korean Cabbage Soup with Baked Tofu
Adapted from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”
Note: The recipe below is a double batch and makes a gigantic amount of food. We ate this for lunches for a week and I must say, it only gets better with age!
3 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 small poblano peppers
3 carrot, sliced into rounds
4 celery stalks
4 cups peeled and chopped turnips
12 cups veggie stalk (we love the Gaylord Hauser veggie broth powder that comes in a green box – sadly I can’t find it online tonight)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
garnish with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds
Double recipe of Susan’s baked tofu – cut into half-inch cubes
1. Marinate tofu according to directions.
2. Put two tablespoons oil into a large stock pot over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic. As soon as it begins to sizzle, add the peppers, carrot, celery, turnips, and cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes or until the veggies are coated with oil. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
3. Adjust heat so the mixture bubbles gently and cook until all vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place tofu in oven to bake and toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet (for garnish later).
5. Once tofu is done, slice into 1/2 inch cubes. When soup vegetables are tender, gently add tofu and let simmer for a few additional minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve in large soup bowls garnished with green onion and toasted sesame seeds.