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When You Hanker for a Bowl of Brown

15 April 2008

Sometimes, I get a hankering for brown food. You know, broth, soy sauce, sauteed mushrooms, soba noodles, tofu (OK, that’s more golden, but work with me here). Add it all together, and you’ve got yourself a tasty (and healthy!) brown meal.

1/4 cup oil
1 lb tofu, 1-inch cubes, patted dry
8 oz sliced mushrooms
grated ginger (1.5 tsp? 1 Tbsp?, whatever you like)

1 head broccoli, florets only,* cut into bite-sized portions
8 oz (or 1 lb, if you’re me and like to cook for an army) soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)

4-8 cups broth (depends on how much noodlage you have)
1/4 c. soy sauce

Heat the oil. Saute the tofu, in two batches. When golden, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Saute the mushrooms until they release their juices; remove from pan and set aside. Add the ginger (you may need a dash more oil at this point), saute for a minute, then return the tofu to the pan and stir up. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a pot of water to boil, add the soba noodles, and cook according to package directions. In a stockpot, heat the broth to boiling. Add the broccoli, turn off the heat and let sit until the noodles are done. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water.**

Plop the noodles into the broth, add the soy sauce, tofu/ginger, and mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Enjoy your bowl of brown!***

If you have leftovers, let me share this genius (genius, I tell you!****) method the Consort recently came up with: Strain the noodles and vegetables from the broth and store them in the fridge in separate containers. No more soggy noodles!

*Yes, you can use the whole thing. I use the stalks in something else. i like the aesthetic of florets only in my bowl of brown.

**Why not cook the noodles and the broccoli together, in the pot of broth? Good question. But the package directions frightened me. They always insist on a rinsing of the noodles under cold water. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t rinse the noodles before eating them. i don’t dare test it out.

***In George RR Martin’s Songs of Ice and Fire series, a “bowl of brown” is what one finds to eat in the streets of Flea Bottom, the dangerous and poor district of King’s Landing. My bowl of brown is much better. Believe me.

****Don’t tell me if everyone already knew about this method. It’s new to us, and that’s all that matters.

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