Alright. So here’s the deal. Remember all of those times I declared I didn’t care for tofu?
Forget it. Lately, I’ve realized something: I love tofu.
I’m not sure if previously I just wasn’t preparing it to my liking, or I just wasn’t buying good tofu. Not to mention the fact that I had negative thoughts associated with tofu anyways. Every time someone would see me cooking or eating, I was obviously eating/cooking toe-fu something. And I never was. So just to spite them, I would declare “I don’t even eat toe-fu!”
And yes, I would always say it toefu, as if it was fu from somebody’s toes. I was also skeptical of how much conflicting information is out there re: the possible hazards of non-fermented soy products.
Anyways. I found this locally-produced tofu, and I’ve done all sorts of things with it and now I have dreams of tofu, I love it so. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s really fresh tofu that makes all the difference? Or maybe I’ve just finally figured out what to do with it? I don’t know.
First thing’s first – buffalo tofu. I knew I loved buffalo tempeh, and thought maybe buffalo tofu would be a good way to give tofu yet another chance.
I didn’t allow much marinating time – just simply sliced the tofu and placed it in a baking dish, pouring a mixture of Frank’s, olive oil, garlic and water over the top of it, and baked for about an hour. To get a little crispy-crusty action going on, I pan-fried it prior to smacking it in a sandwich filled with fresh herb lettuce, hummus, tomato and pickles.
Oh, yes, please.
After that experience, I knew tofu might be earning a spot in my heart.
My next tofu experiment came from my little black book:
Er, okay, maybe it’s a bulky blue binder. This is where I keep recipes I clip from magazines and such. It’s much more practical than keeping a bajillion magazines around for just one recipe that I don’t even remember seeing.
However, it tends to be put on the backburner for “real books.”
Was there a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with lemon-basil sauce and panfried tofu with onions and mushrooms? Absolutely not. Did I develop a recipe for gnocchi with lemon-thyme sauce into the aformentioned gnocchi dish?
Why yes, yes I did. I feel like I’ve been eating too well lately. Why am I this lucky? Anyways. This is adapted from a recipe out of Cooking Light.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Lemon-Basil Sauce
served with onions, mushrooms, peas and grilled tofu
For the gnocchi:
- 1 medium sized sweet potato
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 t. salt
- water (for boiling)
Bake (microwave or oven) the sweet potato. When cooked, allow to cool a few minutes before removing skin and mashing in a bowl. Add in the flour and salt. Stir to form a dough and then turn out onto a clean surface that’s been dusted with flour, adding in more flour until you get a smooth dough. Divide into four pieces, and roll each piece intoa 10″ log. Cut into 1″ pieces. Press against a fork to get indentations on one side (your thumb will lightly indent the other side)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in 5-10 gnocchis at a time, and leave in the simmering water for 2-3 minutes. When they’re ready, they will float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a strainer. Repeat until all are cooked, and move onto your sauce.
For the veggies and sauce:
- 1/2 block tofu, sliced into 1/4″ slices and then triangles
- 1 t. earth balance or butter
- 1 t. basil oil
- 1 t. dried basil
- 1 lemon – you’ll need the juice and the zest
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 c. frozen peas
- 3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
- salt and pepper (I used lemon pepper)
In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil and butter. Add in the onion and cook until softened. Add the mudhrooms and cook until almost softened. Season with salt and pepperAdd in the lemon zest, lemon juice and dried basil.
In a tupperware or bowl, place a layer of tofu and then veggies, repeating until used. Cover and allow to sit at least an hour.
When ready to prepare, heat the skillet and add in the veggies and tofu. Make sure the tofu is lying flat in the pan. Cook until golden on both sides, removing from heat when done. Add in the gnocchi (you might need to add more oil at this point) and cook just until they get a deep golden crust on both sides. Add in the frozen peas halfway through.
When done, serve over a bed of herb salad.
I’m not sure which dinner I liked better – that one or this one:
And by chicken, I mean tofu. Since it wasn’t marinated and simply added in towards the end of cooking, the tofu was a wonderful way to “cool down” my mouth from the gradually increasing heat of the dish from the ginger and cumin.
I omitted the parsnips and apple fromt he original recipe purely because I didn’t have one, and instead subbed half of a roasted butternut squash and carrots. I also didn’t use quite as much dried fruit, used nutmeg and clove in place of the allspice, candied ginger instead of fresh ginger, regular balsamic instead of white balsamic, applesauce instead of apricot preserves and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. I also added a pinch of white bean flour to thicken a touch.
I think this dish would be superb with figs, too – and maybe fig preserves instead of apricot? Either way – it was a serious winner, in my book. I love you, Rachel Ray.
In other news?
My computer is toast. Well, let’s classify it as burnt toast. I sort of like toast, so just calling it toast is sort of putting it lightly. That’s why blogging’s been a bit sporadic lately – it takes so much more time, and my mom is usually on her computer at night, anyway. I’ve had almost the whole week off from work (hence being so productive in the kitchen) so I have a bit more time for blogging in the afternoons for the time being.
Of course, that’s only after my Teddie time and walks with Kaia, which we’ve been doing lots of lately. We both love it :) And Teddie? Man, that pony is rockin’ lately! I am so proud of him – but I let him gloat about that on his own blog now ;) (even though he posts pictures where I look like a dorkus.)
Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that I’m a proud new Mac momma…but it’s not getting here fast enough!!
Do you like tofu? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?
And/or – what’s something you thought you didn’t like, only to find out you actually do?