Friday, February 2, 2007

Tonight's Dinner: Marinated Baked Tofu, Kale and Rice Pilaf

This one's easy to make, and it's a bit time consuming in that you have to drain and marinate the tofu ahead of time, but aside from that it doesn't take very long at all.

The tofu is my recipe, and I used a whole block today although I don't usually. Usually 2/3 of a block is more than enough for the two of us; the leftovers from tonight will give us each a decent lunch tomorrow. Anyway, here's how to do the tofu:

Take a block of extra-firm tofu and drain it by setting it on a plate, with another plate on top and something heavy on the top plate (I used a sack of flour). Leave it for at least 15 minutes; when you're done, pour off the drained liquid.

To make the marinade, you need the following:

(all measurements are approximate, don't be afraid to play around with the recipe)

• 1/4 c soy sauce
• 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 3 tbsp red wine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 garlic clove-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled and minced (you can use a cheese grater or better, a garlic press for this)
• 3 tbsp water (more or less depending on how much marinade you need to cover the tofu)
• a pinch of brown sugar or a drop of molasses

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl (or you could be lazy like me and mix them in the container you intend to marinate the tofu in). Pour into a dish, zip bag or ziploc/gladware container (that's what I use - there's one size that's slightly bigger than a brick of tofu that's perfect for this). Slice the tofu into pieces approximately 1" x 2" x 1/4" thick (or whatever size you like) and arrange in the dish/bag/container and cover/close. Marinate for at least an hour, stirring/flipping occasionally.

Arrange the tofu slices in a baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Bake at 375 for 20-40 minutes (depending on how baked you like your tofu), turning once.

Okay, I swear it's less work than it sounds!

For the rest of dinner, I made some rice pilaf while the tofu was baking, and while that was simmering, I made some sautéed kale. The recipe I used is here (although I made half of what it called for), and I was really impressed with how it turned out: even though I don't usually like "bitter" greens, it didn't taste bitter at all, and the lemon juice was a great touch. It cooked up fast too.

The last thing I did, once the tofu came out of the oven, was to pour off the remaining marinade from the baking dish, mix it with a little corn starch and water, and heat it in a little dish in the microwave to make some sauce -- but I will totally admit I did that mostly because I knew I'd be taking a picture and the tofu looks way better with sauce drizzled over it than it does sitting in a puddle of marinade. If I wasn't taking a picture I probably wouldn't have wasted the time.

Anyhow, dinner was cooked and eaten in an hour, excluding the time it took to drain and marinate the tofu. The tofu was great as usual, and I was pleasantly surprised by the kale -- I'll be making it again for sure.

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