I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the beauty of imperfection. I’ve written about this before – specifically about the Japanese practice of wabi-sabi – that is, of finding and embracing beauty in flaws and imperfection. And then recently, a friend told me that Mennonite women deliberately stitch errors into their quilting because they say, only God is perfect.
That perfection is neither possible nor even desirable, is such a beautiful and consoling concept. It’s worth repeating and embracing. I have a note on my bulletin board that reminds me to be grateful, to think about deliberate happiness, to consider the concept of consistent, principled altruism, to remember that EVERYONE needs love, and now, there’s a new note….”embrace imperfection.” And I don’t mean just embrace imperfection in things – but in people – in nature – in art – and in myself.
I haven’t been blogging as much lately and not because I haven’t been cooking. I have. In fact, I’ve been cooking a lot. For one thing, my eldest daughter and I catered a party last week – a dinner party of finger food – lamb sliders with onion mint chutney, Vietnamese tofu spring rolls with spicy dipping sauce, vegetables with a spinach pesto dip, a charcuterie platter, and homemade baby sausage rolls served with chipotle mustard. For dessert – individual tiramisus and mini chocolate truffle cakes. We didn’t manage to take a single photograph! Somehow we were just too busy.
But the fact is, I’m in my kitchen all the time. Sometimes, like last week, I simply forget to take photographs. Sometimes I take really lousy photographs or the food is just not photogenic. Iced pink cupcakes are a lot prettier than vegan curries. And too, sometimes I wonder what is truly worth blogging about.
My daughter introduced me to this fragrant, coconut milk infused, velvety smooth yet hot, Thai green curry. And I’ve made it myself since. It’s a perfect vegan dinner. If you’re not vegan or you don’t like tofu – you can substitute chicken or just leave the tofu out and add more vegetables. I just can’t seem to get a photograph that does this dish justice. I’m not skilled enough with a camera or props. And while I respect the art of photography and staging food shots – I do sometimes wonder if staging food and adulterating images isn’t a bit like the staging and photoshopping women (or men, for that matter) – creating a form of non-existent perfection. This is not a slight to my fellow bloggers more talented than me at photography – I admire those photographs so much. But I sometimes try things from magazines and sites like Pinterest that look absolutely divine and are so incredibly ordinary in real life. Possibly I’m just making excuses for my own lack of skill in the photography arena.
Time to embrace imperfection. The kitchen is a very imperfect place. Sometimes it’s a large mess. Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes the very best things really look quite ordinary but you know the moment that first taste hits your tongue that the combination of flavours is sublime. Make the curry. Embrace the imperfection…
Thai Green Curry
- 1 pkg (425 g) firm tofu
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 -3 tbsp Green Curry Paste – make your own or buy a commercial brand like Thai Kitchen
- 3 small to medium zucchini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 14 oz can (398 mL can) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable stock
- 1 cup green beans, halved
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
Cut the tofu into small cubes – really whatever size you like. Slice the zucchini into rounds. Wash and trim the green beans.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the curry paste and salt, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and vegetable stock; bring to boil.
Add cubed tofu, sliced zucchini, and green beans. Reduce heat and simmer until the zucchini and green beans are tender – about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. It may require a little extra green curry paste depending on what brand you’re using and how hot you like things.