All about tofu and a minor explosion

Earlier this year (back in April), I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at Bloomingfoods (a local food coop) and happened to run into Pei.  She was demoing a raw food compote, I took a bite, and fell in love.  After talking with her a bit, I realized we had a lot in common… and I also learned that she hosts cooking classes!

I’ve long been interested in going to a cooking class, but being a vegetarian makes things a bit difficult…. I don’t really have a desire to make meat based dishes and it isn’t easy finding veg-friendly classes that aren’t for dummies.

I took Pei’s vegan cooking class that she hosted in her home kitchen and learned how to make a lot of great vegan dishes.  Not only was the food great, but the class was totally affordable (even on my measly grad student stipend). I met a lot of really cool people, and Pei was such a sweetheart and oh so patient at teaching me little tricks (like how to expedite things in the kitchen without slicing myself  ;-p)

I ran into Pei again recently at Bloomingfoods (I live in a small town), and was happily surprised to hear that she’s moved her cooking classes from her home (which was a bit limiting due to space constraints), and is now hosting her cooking classes through the Bloomington Parks and Recreation  as part of the People’s University Cooking Classes.  When I heard this (and that she was hosting a class on tofu), I signed up immediately.

The class moved quickly and we made several dishes. I’m thinking Ben and I will try making a couple on Sunday 🙂

Preparing tofu patties
Pei demonstrating sauteing technique
Finishing off a dish
Pretty food!
Kabocha squash with avocado and sweet dressing
Some of the dishes we learned to make


In other news, I was recently informed by EHS that there was apparently an explosion in my lab at 3 am.

That brown stuff is grease from the aerosol can that exploded.
Such a mess!
Look at that range!

The culprit?

…an aerosol can of some graphite in some solvent circa 1980-something… the label is so worn on the can, we can’t even tell what it is!

Caution tape, gloves, and the split-in-half aerosol can

I’m just glad I wasn’t around at 3 am to witness all of this, and that the janitors who were around during the explosion were at the far other end of the lab. What a mess!



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    1. a) The tofu dish WAS amazing! One of the trickiest things (that I’ve finally figured out now after taking this cooking class), is getting tofu to be the perfect texture. Apparently, you pan fry the tofu in canola oil (or coconut oil if you don’t mind taking in extra sat. fat) in a non-stick pan. Sounds so simple, but every time I’ve tried doing this in the past, things end up not working out…. I think the main trick is pan frying in an oil with a high flash point.
      My mom is also curious to know how to make this, so I think I’ll make this dish at home in the next week or so and take pictures/post the recipe.

      b) On the explosion… nothing was damaged… it just made a mess! EHS did a further investigation on everything (contacted the company that produced the compound and what not) and apparently there were reports back in the 90s that document similar explosions ( I think this can may have even been recalled).
      Even though the carbon/solvent mixture is completely inert, I’m hoping this will inspire my boss to get rid of old stuff that just lies around.

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