Saturday, February 18, 2012

General Tao's Tofu and some other stuff...

I'd like to start off by talking about the fact that I have not blogged much this week. I find that cooking is sort of a therapy for me. It brings me, mentally, to a calmer place. I find a bit of solace in it. It hasn't always been this way though. I started out telling my mom and sister, both of which cooked often, that I would never learn because I would marry rich and have a cook. Well, many years later I became that cook after attending culinary school. I went for my BS in Microbiology and Chemistry and when I felt I was bored with that field I moved on to culinary school. It was that or massage school(the thought of touchy excessively hairy bodies of those I did not know grossed me out so culinary school was my choice). I basically taught myself to cook because of my food issues, not being able to eat processed foods and all. But, I went anyway and it turn learned more than I went in with.

So, since then I've used it as a form of therapy. I feel good when I cook. Even when I'm running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off and ranting and raving I still enjoy every minute of it. It fuels me, it excites me. This week, however, I just didn't even have the energy to muster to cook. My mood was pretty low and I didn't even want to use cooking to perk me up. I had quite the stressful week.

In August of last year I was involved in a car accident. I was hit from behind which then pushed me into the truck in front of me. I was far enough behind him that I didn't expect to be moved that far ahead to hit him. I basically became a Beetle sandwich. Initially only my neck and back bothered me but by late that evening my left arm near my elbow really started to bother me. A few days later it felt as though my arm had fallen asleep and nothing I did would wake it up. So, fast forward to now. I have nerve damage(found by surgery) which had to released so to speak. I had one of my nerves, the ulnar nerve, relocated in my arm and my medial nerve was released as well. I've been through physical therapy, acupuncture, and pain medications. It's been a long tough road.

This week after going through this since the surgery(November of last year) I was told that I wasn't giving my short term disability people through my work the information they actually needed. The problem is, I was told(this whole time) that I was. So, my claim has been denied which puts me in deep trouble with work. Because I have not been then quite a year nor have I worked 1250 hours I do not qualify for FMLA so my job is not secure. All this time I thought I was doing the right thing because I was told that I was. Anyway, I'm going to appeal the decision and hope for the best. But, in the meantime this week has just been rough. I'm in pain every day and have been since August. This can wear on ones mind, hence the therapeutic cooking sessions. And now this. On top of it I'm going through, ironically, painful pain management therapy and I have to pay for it out of pocket. This too wears on me quite a bit.

I will do my best to get to Valentine's Day dinner, it was a tasty evening. After that I hadn't cooked until tonight.

Just throwing some non-food blog out there because I feel it's something that needs to be said.

As for tonight:
I made General Tao's Tofu. I must admit I really enjoyed it. I'm not generally one for sweeter sauces but this one was quite good. The hubby, however, thought the "breading" on the tofu was too chewy. Next time I will coat it better with the coating mixture and fry a bit longer. I think that may satisfy his palate. The recipe I used was from I used egg replacer and water to coat the tofu then threw in some cornstarch. It made a thick paste. I then fried it in vegetable oil. I removed it from the pan and cooked up garlic, ginger and green onions. To that I added veg stock, soy sauce, sherry, white vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar. I mixed up some cornstarch and water and threw that in to make a thick sauce. Tossed the tofu back in and served over rice. I also steamed up some broccoli for a side. Again, I thought it was great!!

General Tao's Tofu

I'll definitely make this dish again but modify to my own liking.

And, I'll do my best to get back to what I love, cooking. My therapy, my solace, my peace. One day I'll write a cookbook. I think that will be the ultimate!

Cheers and happy eating!

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