I made a birthday dinner for my friend Martha last night. I spent the day getting my kitchen in order and chopping things with a large knife, and then I got home from orchestra and made a huge mess. This always happens: just when I've finally done all the dishes, I go and make something that gets nearly every single one of them dirty again. Sigh.
Anyway, this was the menu: a vegetable pot pie filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, marinated tofu, peas, and mushroom gravy; fresh green bean, blanched and covered in butter, salt and pepper; apple pie with sharp cheddar baked in and covered with some struedel topping (sugar, flour, and butter). Everything turned out well, I redeemed my favorite pie crust recipe, and there were enough people here that I don't even have too many leftovers. Just a lot of dishes to do.
One of my favorite recent food discoveries is the marination and baking of tofu. I made a broccoli stir fry recently that featured a curry-spiced baked tofu, and I fell in love all over again. Baked tofu has this crispy, chewy texture that I really like, and the marination makes it taste so good! Here are my two marinades so far:
(from the Thai Broccoli Tofu Stir-Fry recipe in my Chicago Diner cookbook, which was excellent) 1/4 cup oil
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp curry powder
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
This had a nice bite from the curry powder that enhanced the peanut sauce that is the other main part of the recipe.
(from last night. I made this up! I was so relieved and proud that it tasted good. No measurements, of course)
rosemary (I used fresh from my under-utilized plant)
salt and pepper
(As a bonus, I used some of the marinade in the mushroom gravy for the filling.)
If you've never baked tofu, all you have to do is cut it into small cubes, marinate for a while (I like to do this for about two hours, but minimum half an hour), put it on baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, stirring once or twice so that all the sides get crispy. Delicious!