Cooking with Foxfur: Kitsune Tofu Salad


This one is for Serenity, a fellow WordPress blogger, and my friend Jenny who saw the photo I put up on Facebook (I like to tease my friends with foodporn).

I had a tofu salad at a very nice Japanese restaurant 15 years ago. I was looking at what I had left for food stocks the other day and decided I’d try to recreate it. Not only did I come close, I surpassed the original.

Kitsune Tofu Salad

1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (sweetened rice wine)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, sliced paper thin
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sesame seeds

Free the tofu from its plastic prison and slap it on a plate. Place another plate on top of Mr. Tofu and put a few cans on top to press it down a bit. It Mr. T starts to crumble, I pity you, fool. The idea here is to press lots of water out of the tofu so it will be able to soak up the yummy dressing it will eventually be bathed in. The ‘fu will need to be squeezed for up to an hour. Pour off the expelled ‘fu juices every 15 minutes or so. After draining, cut it up into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes.

Mix the soy, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a cup. I added a teaspoon of sugar the second time I made it. It was pretty good but I think I like it better without. If you have kids, they may be more likely to eat it. The second time I made it I also sauteed the garlic and ginger to see what it was like with them a bit crispity. Yum! It’s not necessary but kinda fancy…

Combine the ‘fu, tomatoes, and cilantro in a serving bowl. I like to get in there with my fingers to mess it up real good. Follow your heart here. Don’t worry it the ‘fu crumbles a bit. You’re never gonna get it Cooks Illustrated perfect. I sure don’t. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix it around a bit more. It’s just great right after you finish it and possibly a bit better after an hour or so in the fridge.Shake some sesame seeds on top of each serving before eating.

If you don’t have mirin, either don’t worry about it, or, go out and get some. I use it in everything from marinades to stir fry sauces.

Red onions give the dish a nice look. I ended up using Walla Walla sweet onions and it blew my mind.

By the way, kitsune is fox in japanese.

Enjoy

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Cooking with Foxfur: Foxfur’s Black Bean Salad


Last month while blowing shit up at a friend’s house, his wife made the most deeelicious black bean salad I’ve ever tasted. Hers was much more involved than this recipe but again, my aim is to show those who think they can’t cook that they actually can and quite well at that.

Y’all know I’m not big on measurements. I play fast and loose when I make this stuff (much like I typically conduct my daily affairs). Well, Sweetpea likes it so much that she wants to make it when I go out of town so she made me calcumalate whatall it takes to do it right. Now you, dear reader, get to reap the benefits.

This is an easy one. If you can drive a spoon, you’ll do just fine.

Foxfur’s Black Bean Salad

  • 2 Cans black beans
  • 1 Can corn
  • 1/2 Red, orange, or green bell pepper, minced or chopped
  • 1/2 Onion (red is real purty), minced or chopped
  • 5 – 6 Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 12 – 15 chopped black olives (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 3 Shakes + 1 Dash Black pepper

First off, open the cans and rinse the veggies well! This is the secret to good bean salads. The thick goo in the bottom of the beans does not look good at all and will earn you detention with Foxfur. After draining, throw ’em in a great big bowl. One big enough to toss the stuff around in and lose less than a few spoonfuls.

Wash and slice up the onion and pepper. I like using Vidalia sweet or red onions. As stated above, reds are all purtylike. For peppers, red is really dazzling and gives the best contrast, orange will make your hair soft and silky, and green peppers will allow you to find parking spots up to 40% faster! Why no yellow? Because it looks like the corn, silly! Here’s a place where color coordination just doesn’t work. The only coordination I want to see here is in the form of manual dexterity adequate enough to ensure a complete absence of severed digits in your completed salad. When done, toss ’em in the bowl.

While we’re on the subject of peppers,

Get a good look now, kids. OK, let’s move on…

Olives: You can buy the pre-chopped kind but they’re three times more expensive than whole olives. After rinsing, smash them flat with the side of your knife or machete then chop coarsely. Then, yep, toss ’em in the bowl!

Tomatoes > Chop > Bowl.

Wash and finely mince the cilantro and then? The bowl? Nope. Set aside for the moment.

Now pour the oil, juices, sugar, salt, pepper, and cilantro into a container with a splatter-proof cap and shake the living crap out of it. Then pour it in the bowl.

Getcha a big spoon and stir well. Toss and turn to mix it all up. Now I’d suggest putting it in the fridge for an hour or two to let it stew in its juices and get all flavory but I’d never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Hell, dig in! If there’s anything left over it’ll taste even better the next morning (if that’s even possible).

I highly recommend doubling this recipe. One batch doesn’t usually see the light of day at the Foxes den…

Cooking with Foxfur: Pasta Salad with Bolt Cutters


We’re in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in excess of 73 degrees. Don’t laugh, it’s Oregon. It’s warm enough to dry out the webbing between our toes and evaporate at least an inch of water from the front yard. Seeing as how summer’s here, for the next three days anyway, I felt it was time for whipping up some summer fare: Pasta salad.

I decided to cook the pasta outside lest I risk heat stroking the cat and otherwise negatively affecting indoor air quality. I have a propane stove I made from a barbeque that someone threw off the bridge and into the creek last summer. That’s the thing with living in the sticks, it’s a free dump for the cityfolk. I wrassled the thing to shore with a comealong and removed the side wing burner assembly. I welded up a frame and stand from scrap angle iron and water pipe (that’s bong to you hippies) and since the burner valve was damaged I installed a propane regulator from a dead BBQ out in the yard. So I went out to use Frankenstove and LO! The burner grate thingy was gone!

Similar to cast iron, don’t clean it once it’s seasoned…

After turning the kitchen upside-down and finding no cooling racks, much to Sweetpea’s delight (Mrs. Foxfur), I decided to use the steel mesh from my gold dredge’s sluicebox. One problem: it wasn’t there either. I finally found something that would work:

Good thing the plastic was there to hold the rust together. I used the blade on the BBQ brush to knock the plastic off and the bristles to shine it up a bit.

A little pruning with the bolt cutters…

Let’s see Bobby Flay do this!

That being done, it’s time to start cooking.

Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 2 Cups pasta (shells, elbows, bow-ties, anatomical shapes)
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar (cider, white, rice, glacial acetic acid)
  • 2 Tbsp Mustard, prepared (yellow, dijon, honey mustard)
  • 2 Pinches & 1 Dash black pepper
  • 3 Bell peppers or enough to equal 1 Cup when minced
  • 1/2 Medium onion or enough to equal 1/4 Cup when minced
  • 1 Cup green peas (1/2 can)
  • 1 5 – 6 Ounce can of tunafish

Fine Fixin’s

Set 2 quarts (4 cups) of water on to boil. Add a few dashes of salt. When boiling, dump yer pasta in.

You probably know how to do this but I’m having fun with the new camera and it just looks cool. This camera has a special food mode. My food is special.

Let it go for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s done how you like it. I like mine all denty like (al dente for you purists). Then drain it. If you don’t have a pot lip strainer, get one. Mine is stainless steel from IKEA. It’s imported (from Vietnam)!

Set the pasta aside to cool.

Now we’ll prep the veggies. I recently acquired an incredible ceramic knife. It’s the only knife I’ve ever had that will slice through a piece of paper just like Zorro can do! Got it at The Grocery Outlet, or as Sweetpea likes to call it, The Grocery Whorehouse: You never know what you’re gonna find but it’ll be cheap. Price wise, not quality wise. It’s like a garage sale for food!

I minced the onion up really fine, about the size of pickle relish. You don’t want (I don’t want) big chunks of onion. I mince the peppers a bit bigger. While cutting up the yellow pepper I found clear evidence of either alien life or genetic engineering within:

The tentacles retracted every time I tried taking a photo so you’re just gonna have to trust me…

The veggies were done thusly:

Sexy vegetables!

Combine the mayo, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, and mustard. Now whip it, whip it good. Slather it all over the pasta and mix until homogenous. That’s a big word. I like big words. Fold in the veggies until evenly dispersed. If done semi-correctly, you may just end up with something like this:

I like to throw all sorts of tidbits in mine. Diced ham, cheese, bacon, corn, green onions, crabmeat, etc. Don’t get too hung up on amounts of ingredients. I vary the amount of mayo and seasonings depending on how crazy I get with the tidbits. I’ll leave out the vinegar for the unadventurous and serve it on the same plate as their PBJ with the crusts cut off. You know their kind.

Get reckless with this salad. If you mess it up, put it in a nice bowl, cover it with foil, tie a ribbon over the top, and bring it to your neighbor. Just be sure to get your bowl back…