It’s four o’clock in the morning. I’m up partly because I can’t sleep, but mostly because I crave this time alone. The one time of day where I can sit in almost complete silence and think without being distracted by that handsome man or the neighbors or a screaming tiny human at the fancy restaurant across the street. I call this moment the calm before the storm. And in its stillness, I swear I can almost hear the soft hum of this dormant city.
I prepare my coffee and sit quietly on the couch. I remember there’s a man in the other room who has a love for me so massive that it could circle the world 582 times, exactly. I tip-toe into the room, run my fingers through his hair, and whisper, in his ear, just how much I adore him; how thankful I am that he chose me. He tosses and turns, seemingly annoyed by my whispers, but as I go to leave, he grabs my hand and squeezes it. Hard. He doesn’t let go. I sit there, hand clenched, thinking about how much I love him, But mister! My coffee is going to get cold. SERIOUSLY, LET GO. MY COFFEE IS GETTING COLD.
I escape from his sleepy claw and return to the living room, where my coffee awaits. It’s cooled and ready to be sipped. I turn on the twinkly lights and pick up a magazine, but I quickly grow tired of it. Why are there so many goddamn irrelevant advertisements? I toss the magazine across the table, where it will sit far beyond its expiration date and serve as a coaster for perspiring drinkables. We subscribe to all of these magazines and they never get read. (Tell me we’re not the only ones.) I keep thinking one day, in the not so distant future, I’ll sit down and go through each and every one of them, but I never do. Time that would be spent reading magazines is reserved for other things. Like rubbing Thom’s back or soaking in the tub or making another batch of those brownies we enjoy so much.
It’s five o’clock in the morning, now, and the buses are just starting their routes. I listen for the familiar sound of their brakes; like a massive exhale followed by the softest, most delicate squeal. I listen to the morning hellos and eavesdrop on conversations from the probably very sleepy people below. Don’t worry about them, I tell myself. Sit back and relax. I take it all in, each and every bit of it, and reach for my cup of coffee. It has since turned cold and another pot is made. This time, I go into the bedroom to savor my warm cup of caffeinated goodness. The spot where I laid just an hour before is now cold, and a somnolent man is hogging all the covers. That throw blanket I keep at the end of the bed has finally made itself useful. I pull it up over my chest, use my right hand to rub Thom’s back, and relish in this cup of coffee.
I sit in this moment and think about how lucky we are. How incredible it is to finally be living the life we’ve dreamt about since sewing our lives together, five years ago. Right now our bodies are settled and happy, preparing for the chaos that will come within a matter of weeks. Final projects and presentations, a 30th birthday for Thom (!!!!!), and a much needed visit back to the place where we first fell in love. This is the calm before the storm. And I really like it here.
Notes: I recommend using sprouted tofu, as it doesn’t collect nearly as much water as other water packed tofus. If you want to omit (or replace) the vegetables, that would be just fine. I know peanut butter sounds like a weird addition, but trust me on this one. And make sure you use natural, unsweetened peanut butter – peanut butter of the hydrogenated or sweetened variety will not do in this recipe. I like to use the Whole Foods brand creamy peanut butter for cooking because it’s super oily (and salty!) and doesn’t turn into one big glob when heated – but any other natural peanut butter will work.
14 oz extra firm sprouted tofu
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp filtered water
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp organic canola oil
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped red cabbage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Remove the tofu from it’s packaging and drain water. Wrap in a dishtowel and set a heavy pot (or two) on top; let the pot work it’s magic for 10 minutes. If you want to skip this step, you can – but you’ll have to cook the tofu a bit longer. When the tofu is finished pressing, crumble it into a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, water, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon; set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and onion; sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the crumbled tofu and stir to combine with the vegetables. Pour the peanut butter spice mixture over the tofu and toss to evenly distribute. Add the spinach and cabbage, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring/flipping every few minutes. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the roasted pieces (those are the best part) off the bottom. Once cooked, add the salt and pepper. Scramble can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to three days.
I typically serve tofu scrablmes with herbed quinoa or a side of roasted potatoes (cut into 1/4″ thick disks, tossed with a bit of oil and salt, then roasted at 400˚F for 15-20 minutes).
Yield: 2-3 servings