Basic Pan-Cooked Tofu

Sometimes my eating is just everyday sort of stuff. Well, my everyday sort of stuff. Here is how I cook some tofu when I am in basic mode. For example, I might need something to put on top of the quinoa or brown rice I cooked earlier in the week. So here it goes…remember, I said basic! In my book that means quick. Nothing fancy here.

1. Press your extra-firm tofu using a tofu press or the heavy book method or press lightly on all sides with clean towels/paper towels. The goal is to get rid of the extra moisture after you have removed it from the packaging liquid.

2. Next lay tofu on a cutting surface and cut into slices (sort of like cutting a stick of margarine into slices). I recommend cutting into about 10-11 slices for quick cooking.

3. Heat up a light coating of oil on medium heat in  your non-stick pan. I got this Danny Seo skillet for Christmas, and I am very happy with it…however, the pan definitely needs a light coating of oil before you start.

4. Pan-fry the tofu for about 5 minutes or until the “down” side is golden brown, or darker if you prefer.

tofu lightly browned

5. Flip the tofu slices when ready and cook the other side, about 5 minutes.

6. If you want more (Asian) flavor before taking the slices out, pour a light amount of soy sauce into the center of the pan and flip the tofu over a few times to coat. This will lead to a more flavorful but less crispy outer coating.

tofu cooking in ds pan

7. Use this basic tofu anyway you want. Ideas include: dipping into bottled sauces such as an Asian sauce, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce. Serve over a grain such as brown rice, quinoa, etc. Serve over veggies such as stir-fry veggies or stir-fried spinach/greens.

tofu on plate with cilantro

This was my tofu, after being tossed–while still in the pan–with a little soy sauce. I dipped it into Panda Express bottled Orange Sauce and ate it over rice. Easy lunch on a non-work day!

Maybe my battles with tofu are officially over. Peace Out!

P.S. Angela from a blog I admire very much (Oh She Glows) did this very similar post this week as I was compiling mine. Here’s another take on pan-frying tofu, with vastly superior photography (smile).

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Trust Yourself Cauliflower

This came out really well-trust me. I went out on a limb over the weekend and only loosely (gasp) followed a recipe. I didn’t even measure everything exactly. And this has been, by far, my best roasted cauliflower. It’s based on this recipe, which I had followed closely in the past and found to be tasty and satisfying, but too oily for me.

best cauliflower

Here’s what I did:

Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4 as a side dish. But just try to be that restrained!

  • small head of cauliflower, cut into very small pieces (see photo), slightly damp.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • about 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • coarsely ground pepper according to your taste

(Note: all seasonings should be adjusted to your tastes-trust yourself! You may need to increase amounts of all ingredients if you have a large head of cauliflower)

Directions: In bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, sea salt, onion powder, pepper, and any other seasonings you desire. Add in the cauliflower and toss. Taste a few pieces to determine if you want to add anything else. Add a bit more oil if needed; I like it best when there is a light layer of oil over most of the pieces, but they are not drenched.

Spread cauliflower out in 9X13 inch Pyrex glass baking dish or similar pan. I have had better results in this dish vs. my rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or when lightly browned. Stir after 20 minutes and as desired to ensure even browning. I stirred twice at 20 and 30 minutes, and took mine out at 35 minutes. Watch it carefully for that perfect amount of brown and a bit of near-burn on a few tips.

Enjoy!

Just eat more plants!

New Year’s Resolutions? I’m not too into them. I find I’m usually working towards the same long term goals every year. They are good goals, but they are ongoing because they include hard work and time. Every year. That’s just me. As you might guess, an ongoing goal is to eat more plants…

I read a lot of blogs, and try to leave comments. I find myself often saying “Keep eating plants!” or “Keep eating more plants!” It seems like a great phrase to encourage anyone who is (hopefully) thinking about going veg or is dabbling in eating more fruits and veggies. Even for the non-vegetarian world, it’s a good thing.  After all, it’s not rocket science anymore…everyone, I mean everyone has to know by now…we all need to eat more plants and less of the bad stuff. And we all know what that stuff is, right? So it’s my new year phrase, my mantra for every day–Just eat more plants! (My apologies to the footwear company where this thought may be loosely rooted).

Along those lines, three ways I am working on this (non) goal:

1. Awesome organic “Power Greens” salad mix I found at Whole Foods…spinach, kale, and red and green chard. They are all young greens and very tender to eat.

 

Power greens salad 1

 

2. Meal Planning–I am using a chart to write down three home-cooked meals I will make each week and then making a complete grocery list for all needed items. The real change for me is trying to cook in bulk. Doubling recipes or whatever it takes. Cooking and prepping on the weekend or one of my days off. My inspiration comes from Diana at Veggie Next Door. She’s got loads of veg tips, enjoys veg cookbooks also, and will certainly get you in the mood to eat at restaurants around Chicago. Cooking large amounts is a challenge around here with 2/3 other family members having much larger appetites than mine. I never seem to make enough with standard recipes to have leftovers! It’s just not instinctive at all for me to cook large amounts. The purpose of my plan is to have some leftover meals, maybe two each week. This leaves less tendency for us to get take-out on my 2 work nights. I am also cooking a large batch of brown rice each week in my Zojirushi cooker, which I still need to do a post on. I love this rice cooker, mainly because of the timer and its ability to cook oats. Cooking the rice has been a time saver to use in planned or unplanned meals or to take to work. I alternate the rice with a large batch of quinoa.

3. Attend a VegFest or similar event this year–VegFest Asheville NC or Chicago…or Vegetarian Summerfest in PA, seem most realistic for me. I hear they have cooking/nutritional seminars and of course, the food! Here is a great calendar of these events and more.

Keep on eating (more) plants…