crispy blackened tofu

I know. That title may sound scary to some of you. Tofu is mushy, slimy, and gross. Or is it?

Meat and I are still on the rocks so I wanted to attempt a new tofu recipe. The first time I tried to cook it it turned out too soggy, the second time was pretty good, and this third time was freakin’ spectacular thanks to Emily over at the Daily Garnish.

To start out I took a block of extra firm tofu, covered it in paper towels, and then stacked a couple of books on top to press out the water. The longer you let it sit, the less mushy it’ll be. I started mine at about noon and cooked the dish at 5.

You can’t see the tofu in this photo but it’s under the cookie sheet! To prevent a soaked countertop, I placed the tofu on top of my cutting board that has a little moat around the edge so that it’d collect any excess water.

Next, I lost my mind for a bit and couldn’t understand how to cut the tofu block properly per Emily’s instructions. This is why I have multiple slabs instead of a couple thin ‘steaks’. Course I got the concept after I did my cutting. Classic.

Then I marinated the pieces in a little bit of soy sauce.

There are lots of spices to this dish but it’s a snap to put together!

Did I mention that Al, my husband, doesn’t enjoy change and/or funky textures in food? I’ve only forced him to eat tofu one other time (the second ‘pretty good’ time I made it) and he didn’t like it. Even with the cards stacked against me I still had hope. I thought, there’s no way he can’t like this! It’s too good! as I shoved another crispy piece in my mouth when I was done.

Whenever I have to make a rub or a coating for a recipe I always end up with extra stuff that I have to throw away. With this recipe, I had absolutely none! The perfect amount of spices for the tofu. A pleasant surprise.

The spices create a great outing coating of what’d I’d call Spicy Asian BBQ. So tasty. You could totally use this as a rub on chicken or beef if you’d like. Or shrimp! That’d be super good. But that’s not really the point, the point is that it’s amazing on tofu, a meat alternative!

Just look at that color.

__________

Crispy Blackened Tofu
(source)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)

    For the Tofu

    • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or other cooking oil)

    For the Spice Blend

    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon corn starch
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Instructions

    • Start by pressing a block of tofu to drain out the excess water.
    • While the tofu drains, go ahead and make your spice mix. Add all spices to a shallow bowl, and stir to thoroughly combine.
    • Once the tofu has drained, slice the block into four even rectangles – once through the width, and then cutting in half through the top (did that make sense?).
    • Place tofu in a shallow dish and add soy sauce or liquid aminos – it doesn’t need to be much. Just enough to let it soak into the bottom a bit. After a few minutes, flip each piece to coat the other side.
    • In a saute pan, heat sesame oil (or other oil of your choice) over medium high heat – you want your pan to really get hot! I prefer to use my non-stick pans for this, but you can try it in stainless as well.
    • Take each piece of tofu and press it into the spice blend, ensuring to coat the whole bottom in a thick crust of spice. Flip it over and repeat on the other side.
    • Then carefully place each piece into the hot pan – it should sizzle and pop, and you’ll see immediate color forming around the base of the tofu.
    • Add all four pieces to the pan and continue to cook over medium high heat. After only a minute or two, the bottom should be pretty dark in color – flip to the other side!
    • Cook for another minute or two on the other side, until both are crispy and blackened to perfection.
    • Slice and serve on a bed of rice with a side of roasted greens!

    __________

    I served it over brown rice, split peas, tomatoes, and a little soy sauce. Super random but we needed to use up the tomatoes from the garden and I wanted more veggies so I added the peas. It worked out really well!

    Al even admitted that the dish was ‘pretty good’. He said that he wouldn’t eat the tofu alone (he’s crazy) but he’d eat it like I served it. I’ll take what I can get! Thank you Emily for your recipe! I’m so glad it was successful.

    I don’t care if you think you hate tofu. You’ve got to make this dish!

    Do you eat tofu? How to do prepare it?

    Advertisements

    yummy: banana (protein) bread

    This week I needed to refill my husband’s stock of homemade protein bars. Even though they’re very tasty, I decided to change it up since we’ve been eating the same kind for over a month.

    I made banana bread instead!

    It’s a treat from my childhood that my mom would sometimes make when she has too many bad, frozen bananas in the freezer. I’ve followed in her footsteps and do the same thing when it happens to me.

    I think I had 6 frozen bananas and 2 that were going bad. Oops!

    Again like my mom, I turned to my Cooking Light cookbook for help and used this recipe. When I was a kid she used to get the magazines. I don’t remember reading them at all but I DO remember looking at all the delicious photos.

    I decided to make two loaves so that I could freeze one to eat next week.

    Prepare yourself. I changed a couple of the ingredients per the usual but this time it all worked out swimmingly. It was not a  Mama Pea’s Cookie repeat!

    The first change up was the flour. Instead of using  two cups of all-purpose flour (white flour), I used one cup of white whole wheat and one of just plain whole wheat flour.

    I’ve read many times that if you want to add whole wheat flour to a recipe you should put in half of what the recipe calls for and then use normal all-purpose flour for the rest. This is what I normally do for recipes but I thought I’d try the white whole wheat and see what happens. I’d say the bread is a bit more dense but still very very good with a lot more nutrients!

    My next change up was subbing Earth Balance for butter. If you didn’t know, Earth Balance is a dairy-free buttery spread. I didn’t know what it was until last month when I needed it for a different recipe! But anyways, I didn’t taste any difference at all!

    Belle follows me EVERYWHERE when I’m home by myself so to help her settle, I have to bring one of the dog beds into the kitchen so she has a place to rest. It’s sweet and cute. 🙂

    Fun little tip: Don’t freeze the bananas whole like I did. You end up with something mushy and super kinda gross when they defrost. Instead, when you’re bananas go bad, peel them, cut them into a couple chunks, and then freeze them all together in a freezer bag. That was you can use them for smoothies, bread, or maybe even banana soft serve!

    Alright, my main ingredient change was this protein powder. Since this bread is supposed to be a substitute for protein bars, I added some (the recommended serving) into the batter. I just put in a little less flour to make room in the recipe. I think the vanilla flavor helped bring out the bananas. It didn’t change the texture or anything! That surprised me because some brands often have a gritty/chalky texture. Trader Joe’s for the win.

    Ever wonder what the difference is between baking in a metal non-stick pan and baking in a silicone ‘pan’? Look no further.

    Honestly, there wasn’t much difference at all. I thought the ‘fancy’ silicone would somehow make the bread better but it didn’t. They both tasted great! The bread from the silicone DID taste more moist but I think it’s because the bread bakes quicker in the metal pan. Interesting, eh? I thought so.

    Proof of my official taste test. A little Earth Balance on top.

    Shockingly, I only ate the two slices pictured here!! And I haven’t had anymore… yet. Course now that I’ve had to write this post and I see all the tasty goodness, I might just have to get down to the kitchen and get myself a slice.

    So if you ever decide to make a protein-filled snack, remember it doesn’t have to be just bars. Throw your protein into anything! I bet it’ll work out just fine and you’ll have another healthy food to add to your snack arsenal!

    What snacks do you eat? Do you make anything in advance?