Well, our sauna is finally finished!! It’s been almost a year since we decided to use the money my dad left us on a six-person panoramic barrel sauna. We thought it would be a nice way to honour him since his grandchildren would likely enjoy it for many years to come!
So after much deliberation over whether to get wood-burning or electric, we ordered an electric sauna at the end of June 2020. It would arrive in six to eight weeks we were told. Four months later, the nine-hundred-pound sauna arrived on a crane truck. The young men who managed to get the ginormous box off the truck and onto our property received a round of applause from the two of us (and the offer of a $50 tip…which they refused!).
Unfortunately, the fall tends to be rather sodden here at Sideways Cottage, so we were unable to assemble the sauna until our first sunny day, which occurred at the end of November, 2020. Next came the electrical. Two electricians and much discussion later, we discovered that the heater would require considerable rewiring of our cabin (not to mention the loss of a window!!).
At that point, we thought about giving up and simply disassembling and selling the sauna, but we eventually decided to shift to wood heat and went on the hunt for a tiny wood stove to accommodate the little space. Fortunately, James’ dad sent us a generous Christmas cheque at the perfect moment and we ordered The Grizzly–a delightfully tiny wood stove, which James fit into the space meant to hold the electric heater.
So, as it turns out, the six-person (that, as it turns out, is really a four-person) sauna is now actually a gift from and so honours BOTH our dads–Don and John. We were thinking of calling it “The Don-John Sauna,” but I have proposed calling it “Don John in Hell” after the third act of Shaw’s play Man and Superman, “Don Juan in Hell,” which is a dialogue for four people.
The sauna is, after all, a very hot place…for four people. And it was HELL getting the damn thing into operation!
Now for the food!
I made a big batch of my Seitan Pork-Fried Rice yesterday and decided the dish needed a saucy-tofu accompaniment!
I didn’t fancy my usual peanut-sauce tofu, so I did a bit of browsing and decided on General Tso Tofu. My source recipe contains oil and brown sugar, so I adjusted the recipe to remove the oil and replace the sugar with dates. I also added a bit of hoisin sauce because most other recipes include it. Finally, I doubled the recipe.
General Tso Tofu
First, air-fry a quick batch of my Crispy Tofu
Next, throw the following in the Vitamix and blend until smooth:
- 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable broth
- 3 TBS hoisin sauce
- 3 medjool dates
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 TBS cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
Pour into a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Stir in the air-fried tofu and mix until well coated and heated through.
Serve over rice or alongside some delicious seitan pork fried rice! DEE-licious!!
And the song of the day is Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love”: