12 November 2008

Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail

Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail (white, with title)
I am currently in the midst of one of those thoroughly enjoyable e-mail conversations that, thanks to the magic of GMail, is smartly compressed into a single space in my inbox instead of filling up pages of Re: Re: ad nauseam. My friend Duncan asked me if I suffered from "a question-started-must-answer-fully-OCD type of thing, or an irrepressible-helper-syndrome-OCD type thing." Which I'm not sure are really things, but leave it to him to make up the names :) The truth is, I don't consider it very much of a big deal to answer some of the day-to-day questions and favors I encounter, and usually gratitude is forthcoming. Rarely it isn't, and if they're strangers I quickly file those people under "dead to me."
Origami Anemone Flower
I have to admit, though, that people (me included) usually sneer at the "people pleaser" which is the actual thing you might call me, probably because it can be so easily equated with negative things like "doormat," "kiss-ass," "ass-whipped," "spineless," etc. If you'll excuse me for going unnecessarily (?) on the defensive, I have a spine, thank you very much. Maybe I just want others to keep believing that there are still good samaritans out there, though I will say that the things I usually do for other people are nowhere in the league of some amazingly kind souls out there. Anyway, it reminds me of that episode of Ed where he was sued for breaking a man's thumb while he was pulling him out of a burning car. In Ed's defense, his counsel Frankie said that if they punished him for stopping to commit an act of kindness, he might "stop stopping."

What does this have to do with almond tofu, or the Beatles? Nothing at all. In any case, most food bloggers don't come up short in the generosity and gratitude departments anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there (again). Here's hoping that those kind souls out there never stop stopping to help.
Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail (red, with title)
Experimenting with another background. Even if the white one was easier to do, I still liked it better.
The sad fact is, though, that I am really one of those people who can't sleep when he's not in good terms with someone, unless they have joined said "dead to me" list. Oh well, I hope that doesn't detract from my message, heh :)

When Graeme told me he was thinking of photographing Origami figures for his project, it reminded me of a few models I was hoping to finish, and maybe photograph myself. The one above is an Anemone flower-- I have a few more, but I'm saving them for a future post.

I also decided to compile all the digital piano recordings I was making onto a single auxiliary site. Click here to access my music files. The newest ones are Carole King's "Home Again" and The Beatles' "For You Blue" (written by George Harrison for the Let It Be album). I'm particularly proud of "Home Again" because just yesterday I heard it while relistening to my Tapestry album when I thought it sounded nice and a little appropriate for the upcoming chapters of my life. So today I listened to it while deciphering it by ear to the piano. I'm not advanced yet to pick up the bluesy improvisations of King or Harrison but it's not bad for a few minutes' work, I think. I am also quite proud of myself for figuring out how to make an RSS feed for the music site using Feed43.com-- that was a lot of fun.

I made this a few weeks back, and it was a really good, light dessert. I might use the almond tofu base for something else in the near future. It's from The Sweet Spot, which was given to me by my irrepressible friend Allen. I wish I'd used a real peach or pineapple instead of a nectarine-- I found the nectarine too soft and sweet, when I was looking for something a little more acidic.

EDIT: The name "Tofu" is a misnomer (Pichet Ong said as much)-- this dessert contains no soybean mass, only the gelled soymilk, or tau-hu. Sorry for the confusion!

Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail adapted from The Sweet Spot by Pichet Ong
For a dairy-free version of this dessert, use almond milk in place of the milk, or soy milk throughout. In the wintertime, kiwi fruit or pineapple may be a more acceptable substitute for stone fruit (peaches). You may also use an appropriate substitution of agar (for 3 cups liquid) in place of the gelatin if you want this to be a vegan dessert.

  • 335g (1-1/2 cups) milk (can use whole, 2%, or skim milk, or almond milk)

  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

  • 335g (1-1/2 cups) unsweetened, unflavored soy milk

  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and set aside for 10 minutes. Put the soy milk, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and bubbles form on the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the milk-gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Divide between 8 serving bowls or glasses and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. You may refrigerate them at an angle using an egg carton or rack, securing the glasses so they don't tip over.
  • 210g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) sugar

  • 240g (1 cup) water

  • 1/4 Asian pear, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 8 4-inch long strips orange zest

  • 16 seedless red grapes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (thinner if you can manage)

  • 2 small peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly, until the syrup is clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the pear and orange zest. Cool to room temperature. Add the grapes and peaches, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Divide among the serving bowls.

P.S. Jeanne, I will get to the meme someday. This post was just too long already, hee hee :)

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