Ohio doesn’t have much local produce this time of year, and the polar vortex has kept me from outdoor activities like skiing and biking. Holed up in my home for weeks, I’ve been enjoying the canning off-season by making some new recipes. Here’s a couple of my favorites.
My partner is a vegetarian. She’s a vegetarian that doesn’t like vegetables. She’s been working to expand her palate though, so I’m not complaining. I’m just setting the scene. While I am a omnivore, I don’t cook with meat at home. All of these things lead to us eating many meat substitutes. I like Gardein, Quorn, MorningStar Farms, tempeh, seitan, and others. Notice, tofu is not in that list.
Tofu, without modification, achieves something unthinkable. It tastes like nothing, while simultaneously being unpleasant. I don’t know how something that lacks taste can be gross, but tofu manages it. My tofu arithmetic: no flavor + no texture = bleck.
Then I found this. http://www.daringgourmet.com/2013/02/27/thai-peanut-tofu-noodles/ This recipe has all the things that I love: fresh ginger, peanut butter, noodles, noodles, garlic, carrots, chilis, and green onions. Whip all of this up and top with Sriracha, and I am in heaven. But that tofu.
The first time I try a recipe, I always make it exactly as instructed. I like to start with a baseline before I customize it to my taste. This recipe was no different, in spite of my troubled past with tofu.
Imagine my surprise at finding this method of tofu preparation quite good. Let’s be honest, when you salt the shit out of something it will taste pretty good. This tofu treatment is a testament to that. The sherry, sesame oil, and soy combo add some nice complexity to round out the salt in the soy. The sesame oil imparts a great nuttiness, and the soy brings much needed umami to the tofu.
Pairing this salty, nutty tofu with the peanut sauce in this recipe is heaven. I’ve made this compulsively since I discovered it. If it didn’t feel too self-indulgent, I would have a bowl of these noodles in my fridge at all times.
I liked this tofu so well that I added it to this recipe too. http://www.monsoonspice.com/2009/03/tofu-pineapple-thai-yellow-curry.html
I bake the tofu separately and top the curry with it. The coconut-based sauce is sweet. The baked tofu is salty. Top this with a bit of Sriracha or some Thai chilis, and you have a the sweet, salty, spicy trifecta that Thai food nails.
These recipes led me on a couple of other food adventures that I will save for a subsequent blog. Coming up… canning homemade veggie stock, homemade mustard, and making nut butters.