I decided, somewhat accidentally, on a new take of a previous dish. This time, the soup would be more of a soup and the cauliflower on the side. The idea was to take a tomato-basil soup, provide the creaminess with silken tofu instead of dairy, and throw in grilled rice cakes for the hell of it. I ate it with two quick side dishes - blanched snow pea with rice vinegar and quick sweet pickles - and the mentioned cauliflower. The sides were, frankly, somewhat conflicting with the soup and I wouldn't recommend them. But the soup itself - yes. To further confuse the reader is a photo of the previous night's dinner of salad and toast.
Spicy Rice Cake Soup
2/3 cup uncooked sushi rice + water
12 oz silken tofu
1 large heirloom tomato (or maybe 6-12 oz canned tomato)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sesame oil
spiciness to taste (sriracha, dried cayenne, fresh jalapeno, anything really)
several leaves basil
Cook the sushi rice per instructions - rinse thoroughly, heat to boil, cook covered until the water is gone, fluff the rice and let sit covered for 10 minutes. After the rest, put the rice in a bowl to cool. Do some prep-work on sides if you want. When the rice is cooled, use a wet spoon or your fist to mash it into a pulp. With a spoon, use the back to smear sections along the side of the bowl, doing this until you get something like a paste or get tired. With wet hands, form it into a log and set aside.
Prepare the soup. In a saucepan, add the water, mirin, and sesame oil. Heat to a boil and let reduce for a minute - consider adding onions or garlic before, but I didn't. Add the tomato, mushed, to the soup - try and avoid adding skin as it will add texture, but a little bit is fine. Simmer for another minute or so, then add tofu and spiciness. Reduce heat to low. Prepare a cast iron over medium heat with a bit of oil. Slice the rice cake into patties and grill until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Split soup between bowls, add the rice cakes to each, and top with torn basil (or basil chiffonade if you want to be fancy).