It’s been a good summer for Cameron and me, but it’s been a GREAT summer for our dog Charlotte. If you met her in our apartment, you would think she’s the laziest dog in Denver. Her de facto pose involves making eye contact with an unsuspecting victim and then flopping at your feet, belly presented, silently willing you to give her a rub. Once you’ve rubbed her belly, she’s on to you. You’ll never be able to be in the same room with her without a doleful look. She’s a dog whose primary indoor goal in life is to hang out with humans.
That quietly clingy pup transforms into a leaping superhero as soon as we’re out on the hiking trail, though. No doubt if we ever let her off leash, she’d make her getaway so quickly we’d be left wondering if she’d been a mere shade in our consciousness. Charlotte the Dog has a serious case of Call of the Wild.
A couple of weeks ago, Cameron, Charlotte, and I headed out to Evergreen, Colorado, a foothills town about 30 minutes southwest of Denver, for a Saturday morning hike in the Arapaho National Forest. We made our way along Lower Maxwell Falls Trail to get in a Colorado waterfalls sighting before cold weather freezes any and all water in the area. Don’t expect Niagara Falls if you do this hour-long hike up. This is Colorado, land of little rain. Still, we glimpsed the steady stream of cool water making its way down the creek.
More importantly, Charlotte had a chance to romp in the stream in her characteristic romping fashion: she goes at the water like it’s a best friend, diving in, doing a little prance, and then playfully nipping at the current.
Since we’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside this summer, Cameron and I have worked on creating meals that won’t keep us in the kitchen too long. Below you’ll find vegan sweet and sour tofu, another of these quick-prep, quick-cook entrees.
Unlike the Sichuan tofu featured in an earlier post, this dish is less spicy and doesn’t use a tomato paste base, offering an easy sweet and sour sauce that can be used with many other protein-rich entrees. To make a meal, put on some rice to cook while you prep this and a sauteed greens recipe. This one and this one are easy options.
Sweet and Sour Tofu (adapted from an Every Grain of Rice recipe)
Serves 2 as a main dish
1 14-16 oz. tub of firm tofu, cut into chunks
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 cup canola oil
1 TBS finely chopped garlic
1 TBS finely chopped ginger
For the sauce
5 TBS sugar
1/2 TBS light soy sauce
2 TBS Chinkiang vinegar
1 tsp. Sambal oelek
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp potato flour
5 TBS vegetable stock
1. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 cup oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame to about 350 degrees F. Carefully place tofu chunks in oil, and deep-fry until lightly golden. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain. Once drained, pile the tofu on a serving dish.
3. Drain off all but 2 TBS of the oil from the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly until they smell wonderful.
4. Give the sauce bowl a stir and pour the sauce into the wok, stirring as it thickens. Add the spring onions, mix well, and pour over the waiting tofu. Serve it with a bowl of rice and sauteed greens.