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.