Monday, April 16, 2012

Tofu Fingers: A Condiment Conveyance Device

Tofu, to many people, conjures up images of hippy-dippy crap from the 60s and 70s.  I don't know why, since many people I know who get these images weren't on the planet during that time period.
It is one of those foods, in Western culture, that seems to automatically be an item of derision.  Many people don't like black licorice, but people who enjoy black licorice generally aren't the butt of jokes either.

If you've been following my blog, you've probably come to the realization that I don't eat things that have or had faces (ie. I am a vegetarian who will eat eggs & dairy).  In order to make sure I'm eating a healthy diet, and to keep my diet more varied, I do eat, and generally enjoy eating, tofu.

I also enjoy condiments.  I love condiments.  I sometimes will purposely make a food, for the express purpose of being able to eat the condiment that goes along with it (ie. I will sometimes make french fries, not because I want the fries, but because I want to have ketchup.  I'm weird, I know).
So, what is a condiment-loving fiend such as myself to do when a condiment craving hits?  Well, we make tofu fingers/sticks.

Here's what you need:
1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu
stuff to marinade it in (soy sauce, hoisin, worchestershire, various herbs & spices - or you can use a store bought marinade, or your favourite meat marinade.  Totally your call).
For the dredge: dijon mustard, mayonaise & thyme
For the final coating: bread crumbs & grated parmesan cheese

The recipe works best, I find, if you press the tofu for a little bit first, to get some of the liquid out, but you don't have to.  I often don't, because I don't feel like it at the time.

Cut the tofu into sticks. You can poke some fine holes into them with a toothpick if you want to give it extra spots to soak the marinade up, but you don't have to.

Put your tofu sticks into your marinade.  You ideally want to marinate the tofu overnight in the fridge, but it works if you let it soak for at least an hour if you're short on time.

When the tofu is almost done marinating, make your dredge & bread coating.  If you like a slightly sharper taste, use more dijon in your dredge.  We generally use a ratio of 3 or 4 parts mayo to 1 part dijon.  The bread coating should be a 1 to 1 ratio of bread crumbs to grated parmesan.

Once your tofu is done marinating, dredge and then bread it, and then bake it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375 F.  If it looks a little soggy when it comes out, stick it back in for a few more minutes.

Then comes my favourite part.  Take your favourite dipping sauce (tonight, I couldn't decide, so I had sweet & sour sauce and BBQ sauce on my sticks).

I hope you give them a shot, since they are so easy-peasy to do, even if you are generally a meatytarian as opposed to a vegetarian.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quick & Easy Noodle Soup

Today's food related part of the post is all about ramen/instant noodles!

In North America, they are known as a quick & cheap instant lunch/dinner - mostly enjoyed by college & university students. 
When I'm feeling lazy, or tired (which is a lot lately), I use them as a basis for a quick & easy veggie noodle soup.

Step one is to throw out the MSG laden bouillon packet that comes in the package.  That stuff is nasty.

Fill up a pot with water, and then dump in any/all of the following to form your broth base:
soy sauce
worchestershire sauce
lemon or lime juice
prepared ginger
prepared garlic
prepared horseradish
hot sauce

Put the pot on the stove on high.  Then, depending on what veggies you have in your fridge & freezer, start chopping and adding, starting with the ones that will take the longest to cook. 
I usually start with sliced onion, frozen green beans and frozen corn.  Last time I made this, I also added carrots, broccoli, mushrooms & radishes. 
For a bit of protein, you can throw in some red lentils at the beginning, or cubed tofu (new or leftover), or crack an egg into the soup near the end (which is what I usually do). 
For the egg option, you can either beat it in a bowl first, to get more of an 'egg drop soup' effect, or crack it straight into a pot for more of a hard-poached egg.
When the water boils, add your noodles, and then turn the heat down so it doesn't boil over.  Then keep adding any veggies/egg/etc that you haven't added yet, and keep on the heat until the noodles are cooked and your veggies are heated.
Then slurp away!

On the note of the bread machine, today I made oatmeal bread.  It is delicious.  Once again, I have failed to take pictures.  Sorry.

Oh, and the baby is doing pretty awesome.  I think she's going to be tall like her daddy - she's already lengthy enough that the doctor called her a long noodle!