Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Monster!

Today is Monster's birthday. He is five years old. In dog years, he is 35. He is older than me now! I asked him if he has any words of wisdom, anything he has learned in all his dog-time on earth. He responded by licking Olivia's face.

Then I asked the kids to make him some drawings for his birthday. They tried to eat the crayons. Monster was proud. He has taught them well.

Later we are going to bake him some special treats. Monster really is our "oldest child" and we always like to spoil him on his special day.

Monster, your tongue makes everyone laugh.

You are a goofy dog. Sometimes, I wonder if you get into the Scotch while we are not home.

A lot has changed since you joined our little family. Mama learned that bangs do not flatter her, for one thing.

You've rolled with the changes.

Lots of changes.

We love you, buddy!

Last night, I tried out my new grill pan. I made the Chimichurri Grilled Vegetables and the Grilled Tofu with Tamarind Glaze, both from 1000 Vegan Recipes.

The first thing I learned about a grill pan is...have a chair ready so you can stand on it and disable your smoke alarm! It never occurred to me that indoor grilling might produce a lot of smoke. Especially if you have your burners turned up too high, ahem. I had to open all the windows and send Jackson outside to play while the smoke cleared. Yikes.

After I adjusted my burners and got some ventilation going, things were much better.

The chimichurri sauce -- a blend of garlic, parsley, and basil -- was super flavorful on its own, but its herbaceous punch diminished once it was brushed onto the veggies and grilled. I had some sauce left over, so I dabbed it onto the finished veggies to give them some extra flavor. Not that grilled veggies need to be dressed up much. They are pretty tasty on their own.

The tofu was a big hit. The tamarind sauce was sort of like a BBQ sauce -- sweet and spicy. It had just the right amount of heat for me. I pressed the tofu steaks in my Tofu Xpress and they were nice and firm. I marinated them overnight in the sauce, so they soaked up a ton of flavor.

I served everything on a bed of quinoa. The tamarind sauce soaked into the quinoa and it all tasted delicious. I loved the rainbow of colors on the plate. Not bad for my first grilling attempt.

Grilling takes patience. My grill pan is large, covering two burners, but I still had to divide the veggies into two batches, and then grill the tofu. Halfway through, I realized I should be drinking beer to pass the time.

I doubt I'll be using the grill pan much in the coming months -- might as well use the outdoor grill when the weather allows it. That way my house doesn't get all warm and smoky. But it was fun to try it out. What foods do you like to grill?


  1. It wouldn't have occurred to me either :)

  2. Oh my .. those tofu steaks look amazing! I wonder if I could make tofu steaks like that without the presser? I have tried squeezing all the water out between plates/heavy things but it never seems to get enough out.

  3. Happy Birthday! I love the grilled veggies, yummy!

  4. Happy birthday Monster! I hope you like the treats! :)

  5. I could have told you grill pans make a lot of smoke... because I, too, fill the kitchen with smoke every time I use it. (Still worth it!)