Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quick and easy

A carnivorous but open-minded friend, wanting a healthy meal after a lunch he described as "a wad of meat and cheese," asked me: "What can I make for supper out of a block of tofu?"

After some discussion, we settled on barbecue-baked tofu. What could be simpler? Slather your favorite barbecue sauce on thin slices of tofu, and bake it. He wanted more details, though. So here goes....

You'll need:

A pound of firm or extra-firm tofu. Use the kind that comes in a water-filled tub in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores – not the silken kind that comes in little shelf-stable bricks.
A cup or so of your favorite barbecue sauce.
A baking sheet.
Foil or parchment paper.
An oven.

It's nice if the tofu is gently pressed for 15 minutes or more to drain more liquid from it. The easiest way to do it is to use two dinner plates. Set one plate in the sink, set the block of tofu on top, put the second plate on top of that, and top it with some weight. A phone book and some canned goods work well – you want enough weight to press out the liquid, but not enough to crush the tofu. Although this step will improve the texture of the baked tofu, it is not essential.

Meanwhile, cover the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Once the tofu is drained to your satisfaction, slice it crosswise into slabs about a half-inch thick.

Cover all sides of the tofu with barbecue sauce, and lay the slices on the baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour, until the sauce has baked in. (This part is flexible; you could increase the heat and bake for a shorter time, too. Actually, all the parts are flexible; you could use different sauces on the tofu. Experiment and enjoy!)

Another easy-bake tofu dish I really like is adapted from the recipe for Crisped Creamy Tofu in Carol Adams’ book Living Among Meat Eaters. We’re up to four ingredients now, but it’s still simple. Drain and slice a pound of tofu as described above, and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Mix 1/4 cup light miso with 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate. Spread this mixture on top of the tofu slices. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) sesame seeds, or finely chopped nuts or seeds of your choice. Preheat the oven to 475 and bake tofu for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Here are a few more suggestions for making a quick meal out of a block of tofu: Add small cubes to soup (silken tofu is especially tasty this way); cube tofu and use in a stir-fry with your favorite vegetables and sauce; make scrambled tofu and have breakfast for supper.

With the holiday season of overindulgence and limited time upon us, we could all use more ideas for quick, healthy meals. What would you do to make a simple supper out of a block of tofu?


At 11/30/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Countess said...

As I have confessed in prior posts, I am not much of a kitchen gal and frozen foods are my mainstay. However, you two are inspiring me to at least look up vegan recipes.

Here's one I found that's quick and easy:

5 ounces firm tofu, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy or crunchy - your preference)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Place chopped tofu, soy sauce and peanut butter in a small sauce pan.
2. Add enough water to just cover the tofu.
3. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens.
4. Serve hot with steamed rice.

At 12/01/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

That sounds good, and VERY easy!


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