One of the nice things about being an improvisational cook is that I can adapt very easily to whatever interesting produce is on sale. For example, my grocery store had a sale on greens (turnip, kale, collard, and mustard). I said to myself, “Wow! A sale on greens (turnip, kale, collard and mustard)!” and went and bought a bunch of the latter sort. I washed them and tore them to bits and put them in a pot.
There were a lot of them, but greens cook down a lot. I added a couple inches of water and some salt and turned the heat on. Then I turned my attention to what was lounging about in my fridge.
It’s your friendly neighborhood block of firm tofu! I chopped it into neat cubes and heated a frying pan with some olive oil in it and set them about the business of sizzling.
With spices. Of course. I used ground mustard seed (to go with my mustard greens, of course), salt and pepper, some ground celery seed, some onion powder, and some garlic powder. I wasn’t feeling very creative on this day.
Meanwhile, my greens were boiling merrily away. I planned to fry them, of course, but I like my food very cooked, so I let them soften up a little and then drained them:
They are sad and lonely and wilted. (You would be too, if you had just been boiled and dumped into a colander and photographed without your explicit written consent.) They need some tofu love.
Delicious. I stirred it around for a bit, to let the spices mix through the whole dish and to cook off some of the residual water from the ingredients. When it was about done, I sprinkled a little soy sauce on it, and served. It came out very salty (I obviously sprinkled with too heavy a hand), but otherwise delicious.
Modifications: Swap out the mustard greens for any other leafy green vegetable, or use a combination: try the above mentioned greens or spinach. Use a different tofu texture, or swap out the tofu for tempeh. Use a different oil. Play with the spices. Leave out the soy sauce; substitute a citrus juice or nothing at all. Skip the boiling of the greens for crispier ones. Throw in extra ingredients: noodles, rice, scrambled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, baby corn, chopped onion, mushrooms… After soup, stirfries are the easiest thing to improvise.