Places mi amor and I have been together: Portland, Willamette Valley, San Francisco, Russian River Valley and around Sonoma, Iowa City, Miami.
And now, we’re headed to Chicago. Danny has been there several times, joking that it’s Iowa’s best city, but this is a first-time visit for me. It will be cold. It will be fun.
We’ve got tickets for Book of Mormon and two birthdays to celebrate with his parents. We’ve got lists of restaurants, bars, and shops to hit while meeting some friends who live in the city. I’m definitely one who likes to do a bit of research and plan a tentative itinerary so I don’t show up and waste too much time looking around for something to do. The anticipation built up with making these lists is part of the fun.
I read somewhere that it’s better to take lots of short vacations rather than one long several-week getaway. I read somewhere else that travel is very good for your well-being because it brings long-lasting happiness in several ways. There’s the build-up, which is the planning stage and fun because you’re excited about what you’ll do, see, and taste. Then there’s the actual vacation/adventure, which will be fun and new. And when you get back, there are the memories, the pictures, and the stories to boost your spirits for a long time.
That sounds about right.
Early on in our relationship, we wrote down a list of places we wanted to go. We listed more than 30 cities. I still have that napkin. There’s a wine stain on it and it’s written in his bad reporter handwriting. Later this year, we’ll also check off Austin. Maybe soon we can cross off New Orleans and Key West. Tuscany? Might be a while before that one.
This tofu was a chance to reacquaint myself with an old book I hadn’t picked up in a while and make something light for lunch before a big trip. It’s a basic recipe to cook tofu that can then be used in all kinds of ways. Dress it in any kind of sauce, crumble it, or serve as is with some sides. The edges are browned and crisp an inside the tofu is chewy and soft.
I’m too excited to eat anything complex and rich right before a trip. I like to take it easy in preparation for hitting so many restaurants in four days. Yogurt, tofu, tea, beans, greens. Do you do this, too?
So, do you have any suggestions for visiting Chicago? Do you have a similar list of cities? Where are you traveling to this year?
easy broiled tofu
This is a basic and quick recipe for tofu to get you started. The edges are browned and slightly crisp, but inside the triangles of tofu are chewy and soft. Take this simple tofu and throw it into any savory recipe or simply serve it up with a side of roasted vegetables and rice.
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup water
1 large garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Turn on the broiler.
This is optional for this recipe, but I like to lightly press the tofu before cooking. Do this by wrapping the tofu in a couple of paper towels and placing something kinda heavy (I used my pizza stone) to weigh it down and press out some of the water. Meanwhile, make the marinade. Mix the water, garlic, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
Remove the weight and unwrap the tofu. Cut the block of tofu into triangles. To do this, start by slicing the block of tofu widthwise into four equal slices. Cut each slices in half widthwise to make eight squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.
Drizzle about 1 teaspoon olive oil on a small baking sheet and use a paper towel to spread it out in a thin layer. Dip each tofu triangle in the marinade and spread them all out on the baking sheet. Place the tofu in the broiler and cook until it is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and pour a few spoonfuls of the marinade over the tofu. Don’t worry about getting the garlic on the tofu until about the last round or they’ll just burn. Return baking sheet to the oven for another 3 minutes, and then pull it out again and spoon almost all of the marinade over the tofu. Cook until golden brown and some of the edges look a bit crispy, about 3 more minutes. Serve.
Serves 4. Adapted from “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.