Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weekend Cooking; I love tofu and you can too!

I love transforming this basic square of protein into delicious dishes.  I fell in love with tofu soon after leaving college and exploring my own vegetarian choices after spending my college years eating mostly from the salad bar and well, mashed potatoes!

Tofu is so easy to cook and add to recipes but I run into many people, including vegetarians, who just don't like tofu.  I generally think it is because they haven't experimented with it on a deeper level.  Last week I made baked tofu with coconut rice and we ate it all up.  If you've wanted to experiment with tofu give it a try.

This is what the tofu looks like after you cut it out of the plastic container and dice it into bite-sized squares.  With other tofu recipes you often need to drain some of the water out of the tofu by wrapping it in a dish cloth and setting a plate on top.  This recipe didn't request that but it is good to know that you should squeeze water out first before cooking, which will help the tofu take on flavor better.

Gather the  tamari or soy sauce, organic ketchup and sesame oil together to create the sauce.  

Happily drizzle it over all that tofu.  Yum.

Stop to read the recipe again and have a sip of wine.
Start the coconut rice (recipe to follow)

Add the coconut milk after rice has had a chance to toast a bit with spices.

Sadly, once I plated this whole deal up and we sat to eat, we were all too busy eating to snap any final pictures.  There are mixed feelings about soy but my motto is "moderation is the key" and it is fun to experiment with and will pick up flavor from what you cook it with.  Groovy Girl's favorite tofu is stir fried with just honey and tamari sauce.  I buy wheat-free, low-salt tamari from the bulk section of my organic store.
Both of these recipes are from Moosewood Restaurant; Cooking for Health.

Any Easy Baked Tofu

1 cake tofu, 16-oz firm
2 T. dark sesame oil
2 T. soy sauce 
2 T. organic ketchup

Cut the tofu into bite-sized squares and place in an un-oiled baking dish large enough to hold a single layer.  Stir together next 3 ingredients and drizzle over tofu squares.  With a rubber spatula, gently turn to coat.  In a 400* oven, bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice until tofu is browned and firm.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Serve over rice or noodles and add a sauce ( like Trader Joe's wonderful simmer sauces.)

Basic Brown Rice 

1 cup rinsed organic brown rice
2 tsp olive oil
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups water

In a saucepan or skillet on high heat, stir together the rice, oil, and salt for one minute, stirring constantly.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to very low, stir once and simmer covered until tender, about 45 minutes.  If you like a softer rice add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water.

Coconut Rice
Replace 1/2 the water with unsweetened coconut milk or dried, unsweetened coconut with the raw rice.  For a golden hue, add ground tumeric (1/2 tsp)

The baked tofu did not get as crispy on the outside as I was expecting.  The kids didn't seem to notice or care.  The rice was mellow and yummy and I liked cooking it this way instead of in a big pot of water. 

 I served the rice and tofu separately as all three of my children are not big fans of "mixed" food and this way they could add as much or as little of the tofu as they wanted.  I did add several shakes of curry powder to my husband and my plates of mixed rice and tofu to spice ours up.

This post is linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking!

Happy Eating.


Unknown said...

I love tofu - it's so silky and smooth and what a flavor sponge!

Christine said...

I'm glad you got around to trying the baked tofu. So are you thinking you wouldn't make it again?

I have maybe only three tried and true tofu recipes that I seem to repeat. I need to find a few more.

Alex said...

I wish I liked tofu more, but maybe I should give this recipe a try, especially since the coconut rice sounds wonderful.

Sarah said...

Yay I love tofu! And coconut rice. This looks delish, I'm going to have to give it a try. I need to invest in some sesame oil though.

Beth F said...

The coconut rice sounds wonderful. I have to be careful about eating soy, but I used to like tofu.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Don't laugh...I like tofu too but the only time I've ever eaten it is in miso soup. I'd love to hear more about its possibilities :)

Lisa said...

I would like to try tofu again, my experiences with it have been very mixed. Also, maybe I'm crazy, but I thought you had two kids?

Margot said...

Hi Michelle. I wanted to welcome you to the Foodies Read 2 Challenge. I thought this food post was a fitting spot to do that. I'm glad you joined the challenge. Hope it's fun for you. Can't wait to see what good food books you uncover.

Tales of Whimsy said...


I like to make Asian sweet and spicy tofu (flash fried) with skinny pasta.

Christine said...

Juju! We need your recipe! LOL!