I think a lot of non-vegetarians think that "vegetarian food" consists mainly of dry, bitter tempeh or naked whey-colored chunks of tofu. At our house, though, we hardly ever eat tofu, and that's just fine with me.
But lately I'd been thinking that I ought to get just a little more familiar with what I could do with it. Making dinners that aren't chock full of blood-sugar-spiking things has led me to rely a little more on eggs than probably I ought to, and the natural way to avoid that would be by way of that good old classic soy staple. I often enjoy it in restaurants, but at home I find it uninspiring. What to do with that block of white stuff?
Then I remembered that when I first got Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a gift, I'd leafed through it and thought, "Boy, there isn't much in here that makes me want to leap up and cook it." It seemed boring. Really boring. But then eventually I tried a recipe or two and began to discover that the secret to that cookbook is that everything in it works. It's not showy -- but then since when did I want that, anyhow? It may not sound fantastic, but it tastes fantastic, which is of course the point. So now I tend to use Vegetarian Cooking reflexively -- I say, "Huh, I have some X and some Y, I wonder what I could do with that combination?" and see what Deborah Madison has to say about it.
A while ago I'd noticed that Madison had written a small cookbook about tofu. It didn't appeal to me. It was called, of all things, "This Can't Be Tofu!" Yikes. And the recipes didn't grab me. But then I remembered my experience with the other cookbook... right, you get the drift. And so I've slowly, slowly started experimenting, and liked the results. The first try was "Stir-fried Spicy Tofu and Cod with Scallions and Peanuts," only without the cod (naturally). I liked it very much and it made S. downright excited. "It's so pretty! It's so tasty! Tofu!" So I guess that was a success.
(The side dish you see up there is sweet potatoes with sesame oil and ginger.)