Chinese New Year

image from here
Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. An auspicious occasion since *I* was born in a previous dragon year. And we can all see how well that worked out for me :)

The Year of the Dragon is supposed to be the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac. A time of great change and opportunity. I haven't shared a lot on this blog about our current situation but needless to say, we're due for some positive change and opportunity. I'm not superstitious, I don't believe in astrology, but in this case, I say bring it on Dragon!

Of course, we had to look up the zodiac sign for everyone. Turns out, the signs pretty closely mirror personality.
  • I'm the quick-tempered, independent loner Dragon.
  • Carlos and Izzy are the loyal, sociable, passionate pigs. (also, if you know anything about Izzy, this fits her on a gustatory level as well.)
  • Jake is the popular, quick-witted, talkative, anxious horse.
  • Zack is the inventive, inquisitive, factual, manipulative monkey (also fits him due to the fact that he is, indeed, a monkey! I find him hanging upside down off the top bunk of his bed pretty much daily.)
In honor of the day, we had to have Chinese for dinner. We tried a new recipe tonight and it is absolutely, without a doubt our new favorite and go-to tofu recipe. The original recipe came from here (totally making the scallion pancakes they have on their blog sometime soon...maybe the next time we have the general tso's) but I modified it a bit to make it vegetarian and use supplies I had on hand.

Yes, that's tofu!
Here is the recipe I ended up going with per my modifications:

2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C vegetable broth
1 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
2 T hoisin sauce
2 t sriracha
2 t sesame oil
3 T sugar
1/2 C cornstarch
1 block firm tofu (pressed for about an hour)
oil for frying
minced garlic (I don't have a measurement for this...go with what you like, I typically add a lot more than what a recipe calls for because I LOVE GARLIC)
1 T minced ginger
1 t red pepper flakes
3 chopped scallions (white and green)

  1. Marinate cubed tofu in apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients: veg broth, soy, mirin, hoisin, sriracha, sesame oil, sugar and 2 t of cornstarch and set aside.
  3. Toss tofu with salt, pepper and cornstarch coating the cubes as uniformly as possible. Fry in a bit of oil until crisp. Keep an eye on it and give it a shake/stir often to make sure all sides brown. Drain on paper towel (I did my tofu in 2 batches so the pan wouldn't be too crowded.)
  4. Dump the remaining oil so that the pan still has a thin coating. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and red pepper flakes sauteing for 30 seconds or so.
  5. Add tofu back to pan and stir in sauce to coat the pieces. The sauce thickens up quickly and turns into a delicious sticky coating.
  6. Serve with stir fried broccoli and brown rice.

Seriously, this was amazing. I strongly encourage you to make it...tofu or chicken or even beef would be great if you're a meat eater. Or, just make some of the sauce and spoon it directly into your mouth.


  1. I am seriously hoping that 2012 is a much better year for our family too. Hope that your family has a fantastic year.

  2. I have a horse, a monkey, and a pig, too : ) Matt and I are both rats. Not my most favorite association, but whatever : )

  3. that looks GOOD!!! I will definitely have to try this. and yes - bring it on, dragon! I'm excited to have a little dragon baby this year. It's gotta be pretty much the coolest Chinese zodiac sign, right? Here's to positive change/opportunity for your fam this year.

  4. oooh, this looks SO yummy!

  5. I tried your recipe on Monday and it was delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it! I have been in a rut with our dinner menu lately and this was the inspiration I needed to change it up.



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