I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately with isolation and self-distancing, so this post is jammed packed. First off, we’re still on breakfast with Tortilla Tofu Scramble, but let’s also discuss creating beautiful times, day 18 of lock-down, and… Zoom???
How today’s Tortilla Tofu Scramble came to be…
Every Sunday when I was a kid, after Mass, we would have brunch. In those days, you fasted before Church, with Communion being the first thing in your mouth, since the night before. I was too afraid to sneak food, which looking back now, surprises me (BTW, he doesn’t believe I didn’t sneak food for twelve hours.) But I can vividly remember salivating in line at the Communion rail waiting for the Host. The holiness was lost on me, it was all hunger, pure and simple.
So we’d come home starving
We looked forward to Mom’s Sunday brunches. Weekday mornings were a race, our choices consisted of; Oatmeal, Wheat Hearts, (I was an artist at covering every lump with a healthy dose of sugar), Wheaties or Cheerios. And she, bless her heart, delivered on those holy Sundays; scrambled eggs, bear claws, danishes, and served with stacks of slightly burned sourdough toast; in order to save time she broiled on a cookie sheet, and inevitably forgot the toast in the oven. One of us was assigned the job of scraping the char off the toast.
Nobody complained, that’s what starving will do to you, you’ll eat anything.
Sometime in the sweet 70’s
Mom started making, “Hippie Bread” (when I can find Uncle Rodgers Hippie Bread recipe, I’ll post). The recipe was my Uncle Rodger’s who we referred to as a hippie, because he was the first adult in our life who wore his hair long. Big changes were happening. After her attempt to get us to eat bean sprouts which she added to the eggs, we didn’t dare complain, but crunched away silently.
Then, she got the brilliant idea of tearing up corn tortillas and pan roasting them. In went minced white, sometimes green onions and green bell pepper. I can’t walk into a kitchen, or restaurant and be met by the aroma of green bell peppers and onions and not be transported to our kitchen at home. After everything was cooked fast and hot, almost scorched, she’d pour in a dozen whipped eggs (counting Mom and Dad, there were six of us), and cook just long enough for the eggs to set… Tortilla Eggs were born!
She even went so far as to heat up the salsa
Mom felt it was uncouth to serve eggs, and then top with anything cold. Classy lady.
The ‘piece de resistance’, was the orange juice concentrate blended with the prescribed amount of water, and ice in the blender and served in stemmed glasses. Ahhhh, a wonderful frothy delight.
As we got older, (I think we were all over 21), we tried our best not to chug her creation of fresh squeezed orange juice, ½ jigger of dark rum with a sprig of mint, served over ice, in short stem glasses. Killer!!
Those wild brunches could last into an early dinner.
Those were beautiful fun times
With music playing, a sort of competition of joking would ensue, as we are all well-versed in the art of one-up-man-ship; short of impaling ourselves on the wall, we’d do anything for a laugh.
My mom had four kids in 4 ½ years. The first time Rick came to the house, he thought there were eight of us. He told me years later, he just wanted to belong. In a way, he married the whole family when he married me.
Sunday brunches have been one of those traditions carrying me through my life. This meal is either honoring the end of a week, or the celebration of a new one just starting and definitely a must.
At this point in my life, I can count the times I have had tofu. Hello!! Thinking back, how could I have not introduced tofu earlier into our diet? I’m hiding it in all kinds of stuff now, but I think Rick is on to me. I swear to God, he has hidden cameras in the kitchen.
“Did you put tofu in the smoothie?” He asked.
I have found the best defense is a good offense; answer with a question, “Don’t you just love the color of the blueberries? Isn’t nature wonderful giving all the color we need in our food. Can we plant some blueberries?”
Tofu Took Some Convincing
Surprisingly, it took some convincing him to eat the stuff, especially since this guy eats about anything. But, when it came to tofu, “Naw, not interested” he would say. Being a vegan now, I was on a mission. You can’t help but run into a ton of tofu recipes while searching for good food replacements. I tweaked the recipe for the Tofu Scramble from myVeganomicon Cookbook.
Our Tortilla Tofu Scramble is fabulous. Now you’ve learned how scrambling tortillas became a staple in our lives, so now get out of the fridge the aforementioned tofu…
Tortilla Tofu Scramble Ingredients
Serving size: feeds two adults who are really hungry.
- 15 Oz Firm Tofu (I use Nasoya Organic Tofu)
- 3 Corn Tortillas
- 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Red or green bell pepper (optional)
- 3 green onions (optional)
- Dash of water
- 2 Tbsp. Cumin
- ¼ Tsp. Turmeric
- 2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- Cut Tofu in half, wrap in a paper towel, put on a plate and place a brick on top or something heavy to press out the water, 10 minutes
- Tear tortillas into uniform pieces, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and roast in a pan on medium heat until pretty crispy. (My brother Greg adds sunflower seeds and poblano chilies when roasting the tortillas)
- Add finely chopped yellow onion or green onions, green or red bell pepper (don’t freak if you don’t have it; it’s okay)… while those are roasting enjoy the tantalizing aroma.
- Once Tofu is drained, pat dry with paper towels and break tofu up into a bowl.
- To the bowl add remaining olive oil, water, cumin, turmeric, nutritional yeast, black pepper and salt.
- Mash with a fork or potato masher.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low and begin to fold in the tofu mixture to the pan with tortillas, and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve with; heated salsa, avocado, Cholula Hot Sauce, or Jalapeno Peppers (Mild, I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy).
I always serve this with a side of whatever fruit is in season. Beautifully sliced, garnished with a sprig of mint or a dollop of yogurt (in our case Kite Hill Non-Dairy Yogurt). I’m a libra, for what that’s worth, I need balance in everything I do, in regards to cooking; sweet with savory, there ya go.
When we became vegans…
I have to admit, I grieved the loss of Tortilla Eggs served for our Sunday breakfast. The recipe above has delivered. Rick has become a believer in the Church of Tofu. He was going through the fridge tonight assessing what we needed to order on-line from our E-cart and saw the Nasoya Organic Tofu, “Making a scramble tomorrow?” he asked hopefully.
A riff on beautiful times
We had a jump on the coronavirus shut-in, because Rick came home on the 12th sick. And did nothing but sleep and watch TV for that first weekend. Thank God it wasn’t the virus, but he was definitely fighting a bug. So, by last Saturday after a long emotional week watching heart wrenching videos from all over the world, we needed to see our people and decided to do a friend Zoom Meeting.
Zoom is a cloud based service which offers Meetings and Webinars (I love the new language). This wonderful technology has provided to the world, no exaggeration, a way of staying connected.
Did any of you experience a shift in your emotions watching the apartment bound Italians singing, and from the balconies in Spain hear the people simply pounding their pots and pans in a loud exercise of support for the healthcare workers? Or the video of the precious Sicilian brothers giving the performance of their two young lives playing Viva la Vida. Tearful love oozed from all of us to them. I know it, somehow, someway, inexplicably love was felt. You could see it on their faces.
The 80 Year, Harvard ‘happiness study’
This project revealed the one key factor in having happiness in our lives is being connected with each other. My grandkids teachers have been setting up Zoom Meetings with their whole classes, 26 little faces waving and chatting with each other. Isn’t that brilliant. They need to see each other as much as we do.
Okay, here’s where you might leave off; let me preface this with the fact; I’ve been shut-in 18 days; a think-tank of one.
In the book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harai
I read about Gobekli Tepe, a neolithic structure built 11,000 years ago; that’s six thousand years older than the Great Pyramid, five and half thousand years older than the earliest scratches on cuneiform tablets!
What! How could I not have heard of this before
And why Clio, is this pertinent to this conversation. “The temple structures at Gobekli are dated 9500 BC, and all evidence indicates that they were built by hunter-gatherers.. The capabilities for ancient foragers, and the complexity of their cultures, seem to be more impressive than was previously suspected.” Take a second and google; amazing.
Well get this, “for many years, geneticists have been tracing the origins of domesticated wheat, one of which, einkorn originated less than 20 miles from Gobekli.”
This is what I think
It was all about food, all about coming together, trading seeds, and sharing new techniques. I can just see an earlier me, eyeing the purple linen being traded for a couple bushels of wheat. The conversation that ensued in the barter. And the talk about our children and our husbands. And so it began; first the connection, and then the temple. Perchance, the temple is the connection…
Once felt, once it’s experienced, it’s needed.
We have scheduled a Family Zoom for tomorrow.