Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RECIPE: Baked Barbecue Tofu

Tofu is a weird food. The words "bean curd" freak me out, to be honest. I mean...is it curdled soy milk? I don't actually know the answer, and I've never Googled it because I don't want to know. Just in case I'm right.

The first time I tried tofu was at a Whole Foods near my old office. They had chipotle-lime tofu in the salad bar, and compared with the rest of the lunch options at Whole Paycheck, tofu had one distinct advantage -- the salad bar charges by the pounds, and tofu doesn't weigh much. I mean, a pound of tofu is the size of a brick. (Unlike tomatoes and watermelons, which are pretty much the biggest salad bar rip-offs ever.)

But then I tried to make tofu at home, and to say it didn't go well would be an understatement. I bought a lump of tofu, chopped it up, threw it into a pan with some seasoning, and after about 20 minutes I had a pan full of what looked like spicy curdled milk. So, I resigned myself to the fact that Whole Foods was working black magic on their tofu and I'd have to keep paying them $5.99 a pound to do so.

I waited four whole years before trying again. Luckily, in the interim, someone had tipped me off to the secret of slicing the tofu into 1/2"-thick slabs and pressing it between several layers of paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Once I had that little trick in my wheelhouse, it was a whole different story.

Until now, we've mainly been sautéing tofu in a teriyaki sauce. But then I came across a few recipes for oven-roasted tofu and figured I'd give it a try -- mainly because the cook time was only 25 minutes, and I was working on taxes all day and had forgotten to cook anything. I went with a barbecue theme because, well, those were the ingredients I had in stock.

Verdict: Delicious and so much easier than sautéing!

You'll need:
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a few shakes of Frank's Red Hot

STEP 1: Mix everything but the tofu in a bowl and stir vigorously. Once you add the tofu, you're going to need to be gentle, so now is the time to get your aggression out with the whisk.

STEP 2: After drying out the tofu per the instructions above*, toss it (gently! did I mention gently?) in the bowl with the sauce.

STEP 3: Line a baking sheet with tin foil, non-shiny side up, and spread the tofu out in an even, single layer.

STEP 4: Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until edges start to look golden-brown.

That's it! I served it with a broccoli-cauliflower Steamfresh packet and Alexia sweet potato waffle fries. Yum! Perfect summer meal (since it's apparently already summer here in the Northeast).

* I slaved over a bright computer all night** writing this post for you! Read the paragraphs!
** Okay, I was primarily wasting time on Facebook. And yes, I just footnoted a footnote. That has to be some sort of new literary device -- can we name it after me?

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  1. David Foster Wallace would most definitely approve of your footnoted footnote!

  2. You know, that might explain why my cousin keeps telling me to read his books! :) My footnote addiction comes from reading Dave Barry obsessively since I was 12 years old.