Friday, January 16, 2004

Lots of work but very good baked tofu

(Originally posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 by Tim)

This one comes out of our new cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon, that Cathy received for Christmas from her parents (Thanks Jim and Carol). It's actually billed as "Terrible Delicious Barbecued Tofu" in her book, but I really think it fits more into the baked tofu category. Maybe if we had added more barbecue sauce or made it hotter...

Smokey Onion-Garlic Marinade (enough for a pound of tofu)
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, peeled
1/4 cp tamari or shoya soy sauce
1 tbs canola oil
2 tbs cider vinegar
3 drops liquid smoke

Put all ingredients in food processor. Chop, blend, puree, dice, whatever until you get a relatively thin mixture with little bits of onion in it.

Alot of the recipes in this cookbook call for tamari or shoya soy sauce. We have been using the tamari. I've taste tested this against the lite soy sauce we have in the house and the tamari has a richer taste to it. However, I'm not too sure that the tamari would be all the different from normal (non-lite) soy sauce.

Orangy Barbecue Sauce (over 2 cups worth)
2 cans tomato paste (12 oz total)
3 to 4 fresh hot peppers (seeds or not as you choose, use responsibily)
grated rind and juice of two oranges
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Pickapeppa sauce
3 tbs tamari soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (I used about a half a tsp to a tsp in the end)
2 drops liquid smoke

Put all sauce components into the food processor and blend until smooth.

I didn't have fresh hot peppers for this. Instead I threw in half of this long pepper that was labelled as an Anaheim Chille at the store but I don't really think it was. It was only slightly hotter than a green bell pepper. On top of that I threw in about 5 pickled hot chille peppers. In the end, the sauce was tasty but not that hot. I'll have to try harder next time.

Pickapeppa is Jamacian barbecue sauce. To me, it pretty much tastes like A1 so you should feel free to substitute A1 in any recipe in which Cat or I list Pickapeppa.

Barbecue baked tofu
12 to 16 oz of very firm tofu sliced into half inch thick slabs
a pat of butter for each slice of tofu

1. Fill flat shallow dish with Onion-Garlic Marinade. Place tofu slabs in marinade and spoon the marinade over the top of each slab. Marinade overnight in the refrigerator. If pushed for time, you could sacrifice flavor and do a 40 minute, room temperature marinade. What I like to do here is place the tofu in the marinade the evening before the evening I plan to bake the tofu. I then flip the tofu the next morning.

2. Preheat oven to 500 F. I'm not sure why this is done but I do it anyway. I think the earth might spin out of orbit if you omit this step.

3. Spray a baking dish with Pam. Lift tofu (keeping some of the marinade) into pan and cover liberally with Orangy Barbecue Sauce. Place butter pats in the middle of each tofu slab.

4. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Make sure foil does not touch barbecue sauce. Turn oven down to 375 F and put covered dish in oven for 40 minutes.

5. Uncover dish and bake tofu an additional 20 to 40 minutes or until the barbecue sauce has your favorite level of crustiness.

This is another one of those recipes that makes the house smell wonderful. The odor of the baking marinade and barbecue sauce is just heavenly. You'll notice that you have a fair amount of the barbecue sauce and marinade left over after making this recipe. For the barbecue sauce, I bottled half and put it in the refrigerator and put the other half in the freezer. Next time it will be "Kinda alot of work tofu". For the marinade, I decided to just make another batch the next day. I don't know how well the marinade would keep, I expect it will lose it's flavor over a few days.

We had this baked tofu with rosemary mashed potatoes (I wasn't thrilled with these so you will have to wait until I improve the recipe) and an onion zucchini thing that Cathy likes to make (I'll let her post that one). I think it would go well with a number of vegetable dishes as long as they aren't overwhelmingly strong. I think steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts would go especially well with this recipe.

Modi didn't get a chance to taste this recipe. He was too busy snatching up flying bits of scalding potato that resulted from over-exuberant mashing. Both he and Sam got a number of bits that were too hot for them before I could intervene. This is the first time I have seen the dog reaction to food that is too hot before. It involves a quick shake of the head to remove the offending substance from your mouth. Apparently the experience did not turn Modi and Sam off from mashed potatoes as they nearly knocked me down as I was putting some in their bowls after dinner.

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