My boyfriend is a liar.
I mean, his particular brand of lying is relatively innocuous, but still.
"I feel your pain," my mother says to me, when I tell her about his wrongdoing. "Your father did the same thing to me."
What I'm talking about here is sports. Specifically the fact, when we met, he claimed to not follow them. A fact which, until learning the truth, I was pretty thrilled about.
And look, I had good reason to believe him. He once texted me after a pick-up game of softball that he had "scored so many points!" Points. He called them points.
"It always starts this way," my mother says to me. "When your father and I were first dating, he would read me Shakespeare love sonnets over the phone and declare that sports were silly. But soon enough, he was yelling at the television on Sunday afternoons."
I always knew Evan loved his home state, Wisconsin, and therefore had affection for teams from Wisconsin (the Packers, the Badgers), but until recently, I didn't know that he actually pays attention to the details of the current rosters and understands football strategy. I didn't know that, like my father, he has the capacity to yell at the television. That was his dirty little secret.
"It's not football! It's the Packers!" he insists.
"Do the Packers play football?"
"So, we're still talking about football."
But when you love someone, you must find a way to accept them, flaws lies well-disguised differences and all. That is why, in the past few months, I have found myself in more than one Packers bar (they are in nearly every city, it turns out), and that is why I hugged him as he mourned the Pack's tragic loss to the Seahawks a couple of weeks ago. And it's also why, on Sunday, I will make my sneaky, mostly vegetarian man a special Superbowl snack. If his beloved team is not in the game, he might as well get some delicious comfort food out of it.
And, unlike balancing a Spotted Cow and a plate of cheese curds in a packed bar, it's very easy.
First, you make a simple, spicy, buttery Buffalo sauce (named after the city in New York, not the animal).
Then, you get your extra-firm tofu ready. Cut it up into wing-size bites.
Get it really crispy in a pan.
Pour on the sauce and let it really flavor the tofu bites.
Then serve it up with a creamy dressing and some crunchy carrots and/or celery.
I suppose you could offer people toothpicks with these, but why should the chicken wing-eaters have all the finger-licking sauce fun? I say dive right in.
- 8 ounces of cayenne-based hot sauce, such as Crystal or Tabasco $3.50
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar $1.50 for 8 ounces
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar Pantry
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (use Earth Balance if you want the bites to be vegan or pareve) $1
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder $1.50 for 1 ounce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste Pantry
- 2 cloves garlic, minced Pantry
- 3 tablespoons canola, vegetable, grapeseed, or coconut oil Pantry
- 1 16-ounce block extra firm tofu, cut into 1 1/2-inch x 1/2 inch pieces $1.50
Recipe Serves 4
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, whisk together the hot sauce, white vinegar, brown sugar, butter, chili powder, salt, and garlic. Stir well to combine.
- Let the sauce come to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium and let cook for 10-12 minutes, until thickened.
- While the sauce cooks, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Working batches if necessary, fry the tofu pieces on one side until a thick, golden crust develops on one the bottom, 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the tofu pieces and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. The tofu should be quite crispy at this point.
- Pour the thickened buffalo sauce into the pan and swirl it around to coat the tofu pieces evenly.
- Let cook for 5-7 minutes, turning the tofu pieces a few times during cooking to ensure even coating of sauce.
- Use tongs or a spatula to carefully transfer the cooked tofu onto a serving plate.
- Serve with a creamy dressing, like yogurt ranch, or prepared blue cheese dressing, and carrot and/or celery sticks.