Summer, Fall; Fall, this is Summer

In our farm box last week it was clear that summer and fall are in a passionate embrace and we are the voyeuristic onlookers. Tomatoes, melons, and zucchini were all still there, but a butternut squash showed up too. And what says the cold and rains are a-comin’ like a winter squash? So last night I let Ernie choose the entry in Project Eat That Rice (a little short grain brown number from the Central Valley), made his favorite zucchini and tofu stir-fry, and cooked the lovely little butternut with garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. The whole thing was sort of painfully good for us–so healthful and frugal and all–but we loved it just the same.

Zucchini & Tofu Stir-Fry

1 Tbsp. (or so) of vegetable or grapeseed oil

An amount of garlic you like (I like about 5 o 6 cloves for this), minced

Same with fresh ginger (for me it’s a nice 3-inch piece), peeled and finely grated or shredded or whatever you want to call it

Red Chile Flakes (to taste and optional, a chopped fresh chile works great if you have one)

4 green onions, chopped (optional)

1 Tbsp. fermented/salted/Chinese black beans

2 Tbsp. sherry or rice wine vinegar or white wine if the pantry is in that bad of shape

3 medium zucchini, chopped into large but manageable pieces

1/2 cup broth or water

8- to 12-oz. silken firm tofu (the shelf-stable kind), cut into small but still bite-size pieces

Soy sauce to taste

Heat the oil is a large and deep frying, saute, or braising pan. Add garlic, ginger, red chile flakes, and green onions. Cook, stirring, until all pasty-looking and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add black beans and sherry. Stir to combine. Add zucchini, stir; add broth or water and stir and cook until zucchini is tender and liquid is mostly gone. Depending on how fresh and tender (or not) the zucchini is, I’ve been known to cover it to cook for a few minutes. Add tofu, combine and cook until hot. Season with soy sauce to taste.