Celery and tofu sounds like just about the most bland combination of too-healthful foods you might imagine, right? Naturally, Mark Bittman--or, rather, Mark Bittman's favorite local Chinese restaurant--found a way to make those ingredients interesting with a complex chili oil. I added some carrot and made seared sushi rice balls to add a little bulk to the meal, and I also pressed my own tofu* rather than purchasing pressed tofu.
A few grinds of salt and pepper on top of the finished product did the dish some good. I would have liked the oil to be stronger: the ginger and clove were very, very faint. Bittman's instructions said just to heat the oil with the various spices in it until it was sizzling, then turn off the heat and let the oil cool; I'll probably sizzle the spices for a few minutes next time to extract more of their oils.
The orange slices on the side were my buffer in case the oil was very spicy. It wasn't, so instead they were just delicious in their own right. Other thing I'm going to do next time: increase the amount of red pepper flakes.
Still working on that second container of ice cream... but later this week, there should be baking excitement for the posting.
*Just so you know, homemade pressed tofu isn't precisely equivalent to store-bought pressed tofu, that is, unless you're a true tofu maven. "Real" pressed tofu involves some serious compression, some sort of flavored crust, etc. and so forth. Mine involved freezing to get that chewy texture, then pressing with large books and paper towels to extrude as much moisture as possible. Making an extra trip to find pressed tofu might have been worth it, but I really didn't feel like it.