Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thunder, tornados, and other adventures on the plains.

This has been an adventurous week for our blogging Oklahoman Swede-Pole. In fact, it could be argued that the beginning of this week was eventful for most Stillwater residents. Here is a quick summary.

On Monday night, a pretty intense thunderstorm swept trough town, illuminating the sky with thunderbolts and featuring plentiful rainfall. As chance would have it, the Thunder (Oklahoma City's NBA team) were playing the Dallas Mavericks that same night. Our postdoctorally employed blogger had made plans to meet up with friends at Finnegan's Public House to enjoy the game over a beer or two, and for a while it seemed like these plans might have had to be canceled. But after waiting on a nearby porch for 30 minutes or so, the rain paused for a couple of minutes, giving the little basketball loving group enough time to bike to the pub. The lightning storm continued, and egged on by this, the Thunder were doing well. Regrettably, OKC ended up losing in overtime despite their initial 15 point lead--a rather frustrating outcome for Oklahoman basketball fans as the team had been doing so well for most of the season. At least the Tallgrass IPA was pretty tasty.

Tuesday afternoon was even more adventurous. Early that day, the National Weather Station in Norman issued a statement advising the state of Oklahoma that weather conditions were currently very favorable for tornados. As the day progressed, it became increasingly clear that the likelihood of very powerful twisters was high. Radio stations were turned on, weather updates were monitored, and tornados eventually did appear south of Oklahoma City. Emergency chocolate procured, our blogging mathematician left his 5th floor office for the safety of friends' basement. A food team was formed, and a quick (but tasty) meal was cooked and eaten. (This meal will hopefully be documented elsewhere. ) Minutes later, Stillwater's tornado sirens went on, and the town's PA system said to take cover immediately. The tornados' progress was followed on the radio in the basement, and after an hour or so, the coast was clear. In the end, Stillwater was hit by an EF2 tornado that smashed a number of houses on the south side of town; downtown Stillwater was spared. Sadly, other parts of Oklahoma and the neighboring state of Missouri were not as lucky, as has been reported extensively in various media.

Of course, today's culinary adventure pales in comparison. But still, this was an exciting meal to cook, and it didn't turn out bad--and the end result was very spicy. In fact, today's dish could be (pretentiously) labeled as "cross-cooking." It could also, less pretentiously, be filed under "the tofu and all the vegetables need to be cooked now!"

1 package of firm tofu

1 zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic
2 habanero peppers

soy sauce
sesame oil

whole wheat spaghetti

First up is the tofu. Open the package and cut the tofu into medium sized cubes. In a frying pan, fry the tofu with some butter and pepper, until the cubes' surfaces are crispy and golden brown.

Next, remove the tofu and put it aside. Chop up the habaneros and the garlic. Put them in the frying pan, and crisp them up a little. Cut the onion into rings, and add them to the pan, simultaneously turning down the heat. Wait until the onion rings are soft, then chop up the zucchini into cubes and add it to the pan. Add just a little salt and pepper. (Take it easy on the salt, we have soy coming up.)

Cut the bell peppers into strips, and saute them with the other vegetables. When the vegetables are sufficiently soft, bring on the sesame oil and the soy sauce. Don't overdo it with the sesame oil, but do add plenty of soy to the pan. Turn the heat down low, and let the vegetables simmer in the soy filled pan.

In the meantime, attend to the spaghetti. Cook the pasta in boiling water (don't forget the salt) and make sure to avoid overcooking. We want the spaghetti al dente, of course. (I wanted to use soba noodles, which I thought I had--but alas!)

Strain the pasta once it's done, put it back in the pot, and add the soy-drenched vegetables. Toss the mix! Finally, add the tofu and toss again. Invite over friends and serve immediately. Done!

Serving suggestions: "My ____ is pink" by colourmusic on the side, a bottle of chilled sweet tea.