Monthly Archives: February 2008

Pockets full of gold. I mean, "oro"…

I’m a big fan of Mexican food. One can’t be sure when it started or how, being inundated with meat and potatoes or Italian food as a child, but now it’s tough to see me go more than a week without some form of tacos or nachos.

This is easy enough when it comes to being vegetarian — use black beans, right? Which I often do. But one day, I decided to take it a step further, and now it’s something Dan and I enjoy reguarly — last night even.

Here’s what you need:
1 can of black beans
1 pkg of tofu
1 pkg of taco seasoning
and anything else you might want for tacos

Basically, I take a package of tofu (any kind really) and drain it as much as my time, patience and hunger will allow. Smash it up with a fork, your hands or whatever other kitchen implement you have on hand.

Rinse and drain a can of black beans and throw these together in a small sauce pan on the stove. Then mix in a package of taco seasoning — using some water, just like you would with meat (only probably not as much water as you would for meat, especially since there’s so much water in tofu). What’s cool, too, is that Ortega now makes bulk shakers of it, similar to a large container of Lawry’s seasoning salt, for example. So, instead of making sure you have a little packet of seasoning, you always know you have that on hand. It should last a long, long time, using only a couple of tablespoons at a time.

Sometimes I include onions or fresh jalapenos at this point too.

Cook it up and then make it into burritos or tacos or use as a dip for chips.

It’s really, really good. And a good way to get some protein in there. I think this is something even meat-eaters would like, but maybe that’s just me!

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A love letter to my dearest La Croix

Feb. 15, 2008

Dear Makers of the Best Drink on Earth:

You may think this is a joke, but it’s not. I love La Croix. Love’s not even the right word. I look forward to drinking it every day. I drink it like it’s the Fountain of Youth. I need it like I need air.

In my circle of friends, the word is out and La Croix is in! I’m shouting it from the rooftops and it’s gotten great reception. While I enjoy my La Croix all day everyday, my boyfriend and I have taken it to the next level. We’ve created the cocktail that will be sweeping the nation before too long: the La Crunk. It consists of the La Croix flavor of your choice (we prefer lemon) and your favorite vodka. You should make that stuff into candy because it is GOOD.

I often joke that you should pay me for all the PR I do for you. But the truth is, maybe you should. I have an extensive background in media relations and if you’re ever looking for someone to do public relations, sales, you name it – I’m your woman.

First stop: Trader Joe’s – why doesn’t that store carry you? I would shop there more if it did. Second stop: television placement. Every reality show bumpkin on weight loss and modeling shows should be drowning themselves in deliciously zero calorie La Croix-ness.

But really, I just wanted to tell you how much I love La Croix. I hope to be drinking it for the next four or five decades, so keep it up!

Sincerely,

Kirsten Buys

The perfect peanut sauce…

I want it!

D and I go to Thai Cafe on Washington Street in Royal Oak. If you live in the area and haven’t yet tried it, do so immediately. You see, D has long had them create his custom-built dinner: the V4 Pad Prik with peanut sauce instead of brown sauce.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this dish too, and now it’s MY obsession and he still enjoys it. I fantasize about getting to Michigan so A) I can get back in his lovin’ arms (of course), and B) we can immediately depart for Thai Cafe.

V4 Pad Prik consist of tofu, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and sometimes red peppers in a sea of the perfectly spiced peanut sauce. Now that Thai Cafe offers brown rice, it’s downright perfection on every level.

Sure, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes the onions are a little underdone. Sometimes the sauce is just a little off… but nothing can dissuade me from returning for it again and again. (And if peanut sauce isn’t your thing, I like their green curry too).

There are DOZENS and dozens of peanut sauce recipes out there. The first I tried involved vanilla yogurt. D liked it for what it was. I didn’t like it, for what it wasn’t. It just tasted totally different than Thai Cafe. Too sweet. Not sassy enough.

Our trusty watiress Kane finally let us in on a secret — there’s red curry in the sauce!

I started incorporating red curry paste when I would give it a shot (you know, since I have a little jar of it in the refrigerator for when I make the Best Soup in the Whole Wide World). With each attempt I liked it better, but still it was never close enough.

I put the detective work on hold for awhile and we went back to patronizing Thai Cafe reguarly. I mean, maybe I should just give up. Why do I need to know how to make it when I can drive 10 minutes and taste perfection for $9? (Or $11.50 with the brown rice).

But I took another stab at it last week, based on a recipe I found on the Food Network site. It went a little something like this:

2 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 c. Coconut milk
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
lime juice
salt and pepper

I must say, it was the closest yet. Though I liked the spice, I think next time I’ll use a little less red curry paste and a little less soy sauce. But overall, I’d say it was a success!

If anyone else has a great peanut sauce recipe, I’d love to see them.