FOR MOST of my professional life I've prepared nearly all my own meals because I work where I live. As a consequence, I've developed a fondness for "bowl food" -- a quick melange of tiny, nutritious things thrown together and eaten with chopsticks from a bowl. Bowl food can be hot, tepid or cold, depending on what's around or what has been specifically acquired for the meal.
When company comes to dinner, bowl food often gives way to its evolutionary step up, "pan-baked food" -- a complete meal baked in a pan eight inches square. My favorite pan-baked food is Chicken Cheese Mayhem With Tofu/Egg Sauce On Half-broiled Tomatoes. This dish is guaranteed to leave the three other diners shaking their heads in gastronomic amazement.
Despite the ungainliness of its name, Chicken Cheese Mayhem With Tofu/Egg Sauce On Half Broiled Tomatoes is one of the tastiest, most nutritious and easily prepared dishes imaginable. It's akin to crustless pizza, but much better than that, and the only ingredient that might not be in the kitchen is tofu, a soybean curd high in protein, easily found in all health food stores and in more and more supermarkets.
The foundation of the dish is an amalgamation of diced chicken, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, tofu, eggs, 1 large tomato, soy sauce, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce.
To that foundation can be added anything you want. If there are mushrooms that won't live to see the sunrise . . . by all means, too 'em in. Left-over (or fresh) asparagus, spinach, peas, will, you get the picture -- anything goes. This is a style of cooking I've practices for years and have dubbed Cuisine Freeform. Chicken cheese mayhem with tofu/egg sauce on half-broiled tomatoes (4 servings) Peanut oil 1 large tomato Salt and pepper 3 eggs 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup chopped tofu 2 tablespoons soy sauce Hot pepper sauce 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese 1 1/2 cups diced chicken Vegetables of your choice
Put a thin coat of peanut oil on the bottom and sides of the pan. Slice the tomato and place the slices in the pan, with one of the ends skin-side-up and right in the middle. Season to taste.
Crack the three eggs in a mixing bowl and add cheddar cheese and tofu. Add salt, peper, soy sauce, a shake or two of hot pepper sauce and then beat the hell out of it! No kidding -- go at it with an egg beater until it's a thick, lumpy blend with no distinguishable shards of cheese or tofu.
Turn the oven to broil, place the rack in the setting nearest the top and leave the door slightly open. The chicken can be diced while the oven is warming up.
When the oven is hot, place the tomatoes under the broiler and watch the skin-side-up slice in the middle through the slightly-open door. When the skin begins to undulate from within, remove the pan of half-broiled tomatoes. Drown the tomatoes in tofu/egg sauce and distribute little chunks of mozzarella evenly on top of the sauce. Now, gently add the diced chicken and place the pan under the broiler once again.
After 4 minutes, remove the pan, place it one the counter, and commit mayhem to the ingredients with the edge of the spatula. The mozzarella, you see, melts into an impenetrable, cheesy armor, shielding the togu/egg sauce from the heat, but the act of mayhem will remedy that. Now add the vegetables of your choice.
Drop the temperature to 450 degrees and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the surface is golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven ald allow it to cool for a few minutes. Cut the chicken cheese mayhem down the center with the spatula and place on aa serving plate. Then cut each half in half to serve 4. Serve this dish with a Greek Salad and a semi-dry white wine.