Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Simple Meals
Like I have probably mentioned a hundred times by now, I LOVE the oven. I love being able to prepare the food and stick it in the oven - and go read a good book - instead of having to cook it and watch it on a stovetop. For this reason, most of our weeknight meals (and weekend meals as well ;)) are different dishes prepared in the oven. Sometimes I even change a recipe, just to be able to cook a stove-top meal in the oven instead.

Today I'll show you an extremely simple, yet a tasty meal. It takes some time to prepare, but very little hands-on work. It is so easy to make it doesn't even require a recipe; but I will include one for those who are not as big of oven-lovers as myself, or who are terrified of soggy tofu.

If your only experience with tofu are big, uncooked chunks served at a cheap Asian restaurant (don't get me wrong - many cheap Asian restaurants will serve the most amazing tofu, too), I don't judge you for not ever wanting to eat it again. However, there's hope - tofu doesn't need to be soggy and bland. ;)

The key to getting crispy tofu is to press it - the more the better. This time, I was going to cook tofu for dinner and therefore placed it in the fridge to drain for a couple of hours. I ended up eating out, however, which meant that the tofu got pressed overnight. Another trick is to freeze the tofu, which will slightly change the texture (to the better, if you ask me). Most of the time, I'm in a hurry and only quickly pat the tofu dry with some kitchen towels, or let it drain while I chop my veggies. If you do have the time, however, I recommend pressing it for at least 15 minutes - preferably longer. To do this, just place the tofu in a flat-bottomed strainer, place a flat-bottomed plate or a small cutting board on top, and complete with one or two cans of beans for weight. If you plan on pressing it over a longer period of time, place the whole thing in the fridge.

Once you have solved the texture  problem, you're ready to tackle the taste problem. Sure, tofu tastes quite bland - but that exactly is the beautiful thing about it. You can spice it up and turn it into any flavor you like! I use different spices every time, but here is a quick marinade if you're completely at a loss as to what to add:

Simple Marinated Tofu
  • 1 lbs/225 g extra firm, plain tofu
For the marinade: 
  •  1/2 c water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp tamari or other soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tsp vegan Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (powder)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
Press the tofu and slice into thin, about 1/2" thick, slices.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Layer the tofu in the marinade, sprinkling some marinade on top as well. Cover, and let stand in the fridge for at least 30 minutes - preferably longer. If you have the chance, turn the tofu a few times, so that all pieces can soak up some marinade.

Once the tofu is marinated, place it on a baking rack on top of an oven dish (just a baking sheet placed lower in the oven will do. The purpose is to keep the bottom of your oven clean). Like this...

Bake in 225 C/440 F for about 30 minutes or until brown and crispy, flipping halfway through, and brushing with more marinade if desired.

I served this tofu with some sweet potato fries - equally as simple to make. I took one big sweet potato, peeled it, and sliced it into thin fries. I placed the potato pieces in a bowl, poured some olive oil on top, added about 2 tsp dried thyme, sprinkled with spicy Herbamare, and mixed until all pieces were covered.

Bake in the same temperature as the tofu, for about 15 minutes.

Adjust the baking time according to your own taste - I prefer mine quite brown and very crispy. :) Enjoy with a little sriracha hot sauce - or just tomato ketchup.
posted by Seglare at Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | Permalink |


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