Tofu Sweet Potato Pancakes

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Tofu at breakfast? What was that the question again? Wow, yes, that sounds interesting, maybe next time, or are you kidding me. Yes, that used to be me too. I get it, many of us still view tofu as that dish you try out of politeness or its that once in a blue moon occasion. No dispute, there are a lot of unappealing tofu dishes out there. I see tofu more as  a creative journey with health benefits, an adult chemistry experiment if you will, rather than a substance to swallow.

I got this recipe from my mother. Who got it from her mother. Who won it in a heated game of Crazy Eights from a Chinese widow who immigrated to the USA shortly before 1945. Actually no, though it would be a cool story. I did get the recipe from my mother. Originally it was a sort of tofu hash. This was the late 90s and my mother, who is always ahead of the curve, was experimenting with firm tofu. The turmeric colored the tofu yellow. To the un-expecting, my father, it appeared you were eating a chunky scrambled eggs. I believe he ate it once, maybe?

Okay, in case you are still skeptical, we will tart it up with sunny side up eggs and greens. And if you are still not sold, feel free to add as much of your favorite breakfast meat, e.g., turkey sausages. After all, you are eating tofu.

You need one large or two medium sized sweet potatoes, a packet of cooking tofu (firm), an egg (or three), and curry and turmeric for a bit of zip.

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Drain the tofu and place it in a medium sized mixing bowl. Break up the tofu with a fork and then add the curry and the turmeric. I use two teaspoons of each. If you are eating with the tofu adversed, dial it up or back accordingly. Add the egg and mix.

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Peel and shred the sweet potatoes. If you do not own a food processor, cut the sweet potatoes into thin long strips. Add the sweet potatoes to the tofu mixture and mix.

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Turn on your skillet. Let it heat up for at least one minute before you add one Tablespoon of cooking oil. I usually wait for three minutes as I like my skillet hot, yet not smoking. Take a small handful or approximately 1/2 of a cup’s worth of the mixture and gently place it in the frying pan. Flatten it with a spatula so the pancake is not too thick and makes as much contact with the pan as possible. I fit three in my skillet. I set the skillet on high heat for at least three minutes and then reduce the heat to medium for two to three minutes more. Adjust the heat according to attain desired doneness: golden brown, extra crispy, or blackened.

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After about six minutes you will need to flip them. I recommend a firm spatula and a swift motion. There is a chance the pancakes will break apart.  Try adding a bit more egg next time as a binding agent. If all cooking oil has been absorbed, I usually add a 1/2 teaspoon on the flip. Fry the pancakes on medium heat for another five or six minutes.

Remove pancakes from the skillet and repeat the process. The ingredients should yield six pancakes. I place the pancakes into a bowl and cover to keep the heat in. Of course you can put the bowl in the own on warm heat if you have a lot of pancakes to fry.

While I am frying the pancakes, I usually stir fry a green vegetable too, e.g., bok choy, bell peppers. Today, I went with blanched asparagus. Snap off the ends and place them in boiling water for two to three minutes. To review numerous asparagus prep options, paddle on over to Jamie Oliver’s and check  how to prepare asparagus.

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What about the eggs?  Okay, the asparagus is cooling and the pancakes are nearly done. I usually go with sunny side up and crispy. This allows me to let the yokes drain into the pancakes. Paddle over to Smitten Kitchen and check out Deb Perelman’s take on the crispy egg. If you have the time, forty minutes, try The Best Scrambled Eggs by Mark Bittman. While I rarely get forty minutes for anything, they look great, plus he learned from James Beard. How cool is that?

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Assembly and presentation: I usually overlap two pancakes slightly, add the asparagus/greens, place the eggs on top of everything and tuck the turkey sausages in under the eggs.

Tofu sweet potato pancakes
Makes about six pancakes 

2 medium size sweet potatoes (12 ounces)
1 packet of cooking tofu (12 ounces)
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 egg
cooking oil for frying

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Five Reasons to Attend 21st Century Learning

Hello Cyberfaithful!

Before everyone walks, runs, or jets into their vacation, I just wanted to remind you that the The 21st Century Learning Conference will be held next month in January 2013 @ Renaissance College in the New Territories from the 24th to 26th.

Why should I attend you ask yourself? 

21st Century Learning (21CL) provides attendees with the opportunity to extend their own learning. From digital storytelling to visual literacy, you can dive in and explore, discover, and learn with local, regional, and international experts. Whether your interest is in the latest game based education, cyber safety & security, the future of the cloud, or just finding new tools to support inquiry, attendees can interact with data and information in a way that reading online articles, following Twitter feeds or commenting on blogs can not complete. OK, the five reasons…

Professional Networking

Sure, you can communicate via email, SMS, Twitter, WhatsApp, Voxer, or even Skype. Yet, to be sitting next to or around educators who already working on connecting learning with skills, students, and school can be empowering. You might be able to renew some old friendships. Or maybe you can make some new friends. Attendance at 21CL is a great way to surround yourself with like-minded people who can help you grow and nourish your own creative ideas and processes. Collaboration is contagious!

Leading Innovators are Headlining @ 21CL

We all have creative and interesting ideas. Yet, sometimes it helps to be around other leading innovators/experts. Dr. Larry Rosen, Nicole Pinkard, Ph.D., Dan Meyer, and Dr Jennifer Lane will all be headlining. You can hang out, hear what they have to say, weigh in on what you believe, and maybe even catch up with them socially. Make an effort to make a connection!

Extended Sessions

Friday the 25th is the day when you can listen, sample, work, and learn for three hours on the topic of your choosing. You can really dig in and explore the subject matter of something that interests you, e.g., Digital Storytelling, Teaching Visual Literacy, Becoming A Networked Educator, etc. Educators just like you run these extended sessions. They want to share and give back.  So, why not partake, ask questions, push boundaries, and challenge yourself. Learning is a great team sport!

Fun

I’ll just say it; going to conferences can be fun! The conference sponsors and vendors show of their latest wares. Sometimes, there are giveaways and/or prizes. Unfortunately, free t-shirts seem to an anomaly these days, yet usually you can find a free thumb drive or at least a free water bottle. And if you push yourself and join a hands session or flipped session might end up creating some “fun” content. Here’s short video I did for a Kim Cofino workshop back in 2010.

Convenient & Affordable

21CL is being held at Renaissance College in the New Territories. There’s no need to book accommodation, you can stay at home for free. The MTR goes directly to the conference venue; just get off at the Heng On Station on Ma On Shan Line. Think of all the money you will save on flights, all that airplane food you’ll miss, no immigration lines to wait in, and you won’t have to carry your passport with you each day. Registration starts at 400 USD for two action packed. If you register before the 21st of December, you can enjoy an additional 10% discount. If you are interested in attending, please drop me a digital line or see your ICT Facilitator when you get back in January.

Until January Cyberfaithful, travel well, stay safe, and all the best this holiday season.

Pray for surf!