Ain’t Your Mama’s Tofu

Tofu is an acquired taste. It has a silky, moist texture followed by an almost nutty, yet can’t quite place the taste kind of taste. It was also my arch food enemy for about 25 years.

That is until I tried it at the Top of the Hub. Doug was still a vegetarian at the time and the only veggie entree the restaurant offered was a thai tofu dish. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised.

But that’s where it ended until about two months ago.

Tofu popped up in my new favorite cookbook America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. Tofu runs rampant in the book, and they do it right with a crisp fried coating.

Now I’ve been able to branch off of that by baking and broiling the tofu. Remember, it’s an acquired taste, so start with it fried. Everything good is fried. And don’t think of it as meat. It isn’t. It can never have the taste or texture of meat, but it can add a terrific source of non-animal protein.

This recipe is simple. The tofu cooks no longer than 5 minutes. Really, all you spend time doing is cooking rice and prepping. I served with quinoa because that takes about 35 mins. less to cook than rice. I have no patience when waiting for dinner.

And if this picture doesn’t convince you to at least try tofu (only $2.00 for a package), then there is no hope.

Broiled Tofu and Snow Peas
from Everyday Food Magazine
serves 2
one package firm tofu, drained (see note)
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
4 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
4 oz snow peas, trimmed (see note)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
pinch red pepper flakes
coarse salt and black pepper
1 cup cooked rice or other grain

Directions
1. Heat broiled with rack in top position. Cut tofu crosswise into thirds. In a small bowl stir ginger, soy sauce, honey and 1 tsp oil. In another small bowl, toss together snow peas, scallion, pinch of pepper flakes, and 1 tsp oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange tofu in a single layer; drizzle with half the sauce and reserve remaining. Broil tofu 2 mins then add vegetables and broil 1 minute more. Serve with rice and drizzle remaining sauce.

To drain tofu: Slice the tofu according to directions and drain on a rimmed baking sheets with several paper towels. Place a sturdy cutting board or another baking sheet on top of paper towel lined tofu and weight with a heavy object. Let drain for 20 mins.

To trim snow peas: Using a paring knife, carefully trim end and pull back the string along the “rib” of the pea. Rinse snow peas thoroughly.

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How to get a man to marry you

In light of my recent marriage I decided that this may be the perfect topic. I must be doing something right. Right?

So here is a list of items that will get a man to want to marry you.

1. Cook for him.
2. Remember when Hermione Granger had frizzy hair? Apparently that look is in, and some men will marry you for it.
3. Listen to him. Even if you aren’t really listening a few “uh huhs” work.
4. Argue about important things. You’ll know.
5. Laugh at the unimportant things. Like when you put the cereal in the refrigerator.
6. Eat. Sometimes more than him. Okay, always more than him.
7. Say thank you. It’s good to feel appreciated.

Here’s my husband eating our first home cooked meal as a married couple.

Though it looks disgusting, it had to be documented.

Taco salad, my style. Ground turkey fried up with peppers and onions and taco seasoning. Add sour cream, beans, avocado, corn and cilantro lime dressing and you’ve got yourself the perfect meal.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing
from epicurious.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until smooth.

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Another Brilliant Idea

Some days I have brilliant ideas. Saying yes to marry Doug. Brilliant. Making brownie bites. Brilliant. Placing my hand on a 350 degree pan. Brilliant?

Today was one of those days when I had a good idea. No great idea.

Tonight is our weekly community dinner. Sitting in my cabinet were ten store brand Oreos. What to do? Make chocolate covered Oreos. Nobody will even know they are store brand!

Chocolate Dipped Oreos

10 chocolate sandwich cookies
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon vegetable shortening
sprinkles

1. Microwave chocolate and shortening for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving then stirring at intervals until all of the chips and shortening is melted together.

Due to different microwaves I prefer not giving a set amount of time. I wouldn’t leave the nuker unattended because you don’t want to burn the chips.

2. Dip Oreos into chocolate until completely covered. Place on pan lined with wax paper and add sprinkles. Let the chocolate set for about 30 minutes.

3. Devour.

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Another Challah-day!

Get it? Another challahday? I’m full of puns!

When you’re the mother of a bread baker you get your choice of bread on Mother’s Day.

Doug’s mom chose the eggy, flaky, and irresistible challah for her special bread.

This dough was massive, rising more than twice its size.

And, of course, it was nearly nonexistent after a couple hours of five people picking at it.

You too can make this bread if you go here here

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Bikini Busting Brownie Balls

Hi.

I know it’s been a while.

We’ve still been cooking. Actually, there have been many times that I’ve been tempted to snap a photo of something like buffalo chicken tenders, fried tofu, and to die for oreo brownies. But it just hasn’t seemed right.

I’ve been busy.

There’s a wedding coming up you know.

But here’s the thing. Remember when I gave up candy for forty days? Well, I did it. All 40 days without an M&M, Cadbury mini egg or squirrel nut zipper.

Those non candy eating days are over though. I think the reintroduction to candy has caused sluggishness and lack of blogging creativity.

My future nieces in law bought me the Cake Pops book from Bakerella. Inspiration hit.

But these, these are something to write about. Brownie balls.

Inspiration does not want me to wear a two piece bathing suit this year. I guess my new nieces don’t either. These will make you bust out of your bikini. Trust me.

My sister drizzled the tops of the bites to make them look pretty.

She is now a superhero. The Drizzler.

Has a nice ring to it.

Brownie Bites
inspired by Bakerella

1 package brownie mix
1 can frosting (white or cream cheese)
1 cup white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

Bake brownies according to directions.

Let brownies cool completely. Crumble finely into a large bowl. Mix with about 1/2 can frosting (if you use the whole can the brownies will be too sticky– you want this to be more brownie than frosting)– brownies are naturally moist, so don’t overdo it!

Roll mixture into about 1-1/2 inch balls, or small ping pong sized balls. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour or freezer for 15 minutes, but do not freeze!

Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet with a piece of wax paper or foil to place dipped balls onto.

Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave (keep your eye on it as not to burn chocolate). The shortening thins the chocolate. You want to cover the balls, but you don’t want the topping to be too thick or too thin.

Roll balls in chocolate and rest on wax paper or foil until hardened.

Drizzle with excess chocolate for a professional look.

You won’t be able to control yourself around these, so make sure to have many people around to eat them.

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Brownie Mix Healthified

Since March 9 I have not had any candy. That means no M&Ms, no candy from the bulk bin, no squirrel nut zippers or Cadbury mini eggs. Nothing that is found in the candy aisle has passed my lips. Well, except for the M&Ms in cookies. That doesn’t count. You can’t find M&M cookies in the candy aisle.

Chocolate covered ginger does not count as candy. Nor do chocolate morsels. I’m not sure why, but they don’t.

This past week, though, I have had coconut cake, chocolate chip cookies, a sangria (yeah, I count that as a dessert), and M&M cookies. In my effort to curb candy cravings, I have supplemented my sweet tooth with an abundance of baked goods. Coconut cake and chocolate chip cookies look great in a wedding dress, right?

Last night was no exception.

I bought a box of brownie mix from the reduced rack at the grocery store. I mean, really, who can pass up a box of brownie mix for fifty cents? The reduced rack summons me.

It calls to me and says, “Just because I’m accidentally cut open doesn’t mean I’m no good. You can make all kinds of treats with this box of brownies. Fifty cents. That’s just half a dollar. Do it”.

Okay, I may have a problem.

I did try to “healthify” the mix though. I subsituted 2/3 cup of oil for 1/3 cup of Sunsweet Lighter Bake and I also added about 1/4 cup of sour cream to add moisture.

The brownies are dense, moist and fudgy. They definitely hit the spot last night!

“Healthified” Brownies

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup Sunsweet Lighter Bake
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate morsels

Preheat oven as directed for pan size. Grease pan with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until dry mix is absorbed. Add to pan and cook as directed for pan size. Let brownies cool for 30 minutes then cut and eat.

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How to Begin School Vacation

1. Bake cookies
2. Try the new Mediterranean cafe that has falafel
3. Visit the new cafe in an unlikely place and get a piece of coconut cake (cold and soaked in coconut, so yum! with a cup of chai latte–heaven is a place on Earth!)
4. Make sweet steel cut oats

These cookies were a test batch for something that will be making an appearance in a later post. I needed to test this recipe before it makes itself into the world. They are good, but I’m wondering how I can make M&M cookies without the candy coating melting into the cookie.

Then there’s the steel cut oats issue. I always have an egg to top off my oats. That’s what I started making them with, and it’s hard to break from habit.

However, this time I just wasn’t feeling like egg. I wanted banana. Bad. So sweet steel cut oats it was. A bit of local honey drizzled over the top with a spoonful of peanut butter, and a sprinkling of millet just for fun.

So good.

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