Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baked tofu.

I know I said I'm not going to post, but I have to post because I just made baked tofu.

What you do is you take some firm/extra firm tofu, wrap it in paper towels, put it on a plate, set another plate on top of it, and set something really heavy on top of that (cast iron cookware, whatever). I wasn't aware of just how much liquid is in tofu until very recently (read: tonight) when it flooded my countertop. A cast iron dutch oven is quite heavy; heavy enough to make that block of bean curd lose water like Richard Simmons in a plastic sweatsuit.

Anyway, once I wiped up the flood, I figured the bean curd had drained enough, so I dumped a bunch of soy sauce into the bottom of a tupperware, sliced the tofu, and let it sit there at room temperature for... well, a while turning it over and moving things around so all the slices got soy sauced over the course of a while. I can't tell you exact times or amounts, but I put just enough soy sauce to cover the bottom and pool up somewhat. Then, when nearly all the soy sauce was absorbed, I preheated the oven to 400 F. I put the slices on a very lightly greased tray (I used olive oil - obv it doesn't matter what grease you use), and chucked them into the oven. Once they got browned and caramelized, like after roughly 30 minutes, I turned them over. Then I cooked them until when poked, they felt firm and not jello-like. I think the total cooking time - though I can't swear to it - is about 45 minutes to an hour.

During all this time, I cut up a salad and cooked literally 2 lbs of green beans. Trader Joe's had some beautiful 2 lb bags of them, so I bought one. I found out exactly why it never seems like one pound in enough. It's because of Danny. He eats everything, so now that he's traveling for work, I am left with an insane amount of green beans in soy with garlic and ginger. (PS - I am SO not complaining. Along with having the ENTIRE expanse of the bed to all 5 feet 11 inches of myself, I do so love green beans with soy and garlic and ginger.) But now I have to eat them all.

Anyway, when the tofu came out of the oven and was barely cool enough to pick up, I grabbed the slices, cursed a little because they were hot, and cut them into strips. I heaped my plate with salad and green beans, and haphazardly arranged the tofu strips on top. I drizzled some balsamic vinegar on my salad, and that was dinner. Perfect. I guess rice vinegar might have been more congruous, but I didn't care. The soy on both the tofu and green beans was plenty salty, and the balsamic was tangy with a hint of sweet, and I was thrilled with the outcome.

The baked tofu has opened up a world of flavor. I can squeeze out the water and re-inpregnate bean curd with whatever crazy flavors I want! I'm so excited. There is great potential for cubed, marinated, and baked tofu for finger food, salad toppings, in sandwiches, whatever. This is brilliant.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Commitment issues.

I was thinking about saying I'm taking a formal hiatus from blogging (because I know the throngs of humanity that read this are trembling on the edge of their seats for the next entry), but then I figured I'd want to write something the second I posted it, so I did nothing.

But just in case, I figured I'd write that work is like a terrible hemorrhoid that won't go away. Or how I imagine a terrible hemorrhoid that won't go away would be. It's consisting of a lot of writing which on one hand is good because it means I've made meaningful progress, and on the other hand is bad because it's sciencese. I don't think in sciencese, I can't force myself to, and the whole process blows. When I ask how I should set up my figures, no one tells me, and then I have to redo them like 14,987,677 times in like 3 different file formats in multiple separate completely inadequate programs that I have to learn and I suck at computers because dealing with computers is like dealing with passive aggressive people which I hate.

So yeah, I'm eating. I'm eating well. :) But beyond discovering that I can make a spinach/garlic/egg white omelette in one nonstick pan with the tiniest bit of oil, I haven't exactly been making culinary fireworks happen. I have an entry in my head about making red chile sauce a la New Mexican cuisine, but I want to experiment with the chiles I use. I made it once with just Anaheim chiles and it was incredibly flat and disappointingly mild. It does, however, taste good on top of the aforementioned omelette. But I'm going to work it into something that is a good chile sauce, but it lets you know what's what. I'm not going for authenticity with this one. Anyway, we'll see. Man, I hope I graduate before I completely lose my mind...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


So I just redid more ratatouille the way I did it here in this post, sans biscuits, soy sauce, and tempeh bc I'm craving a simple vegetable stew. I haven't eaten this much crap for so long in like forever, and I need to clear my head. Not that the crap was bad per se but the usual proportion of fruit + veg to, well, everything else was heavily skewed toward "everything else" for too long a time. Although somehow my insides continued to function properly, happily enough... :-P

Anyway, I realized a great way to add body and depth to the veggies is the old standby of dumping in a bunch of anchovies. Yeah. Funky fish is the reason Thai food tastes so meaty and awesome, and I'd be willing to bet that much of the pasta sauce bought at various restaurants gets an umami kick from anchovies, too. When you use them this way, several tossed in with the tomatoes, the fishiness is dispelled immediately. Tastes awesome.

I like the Cento anchovies. I've tried Roland, but they're redolent of dirty underwear IMO. Granted, I've eaten them without dying or getting sick. You can't really tell once they're in whatever you're making, but I like to eat the leftover fillets with salad or on bread for some salty omega 3's, so the whole dirty underwear thing is completely unappealing.