I love competitions, I always have done. As a kid I liked entering little competitions to win free toys or games that were advertised in kids magazines or on TV and now my daughter has taken to it too. She’s always hopeful that the next giant teddy bear or year’s worth of arts & crafts materials is always going to come her way from a prize draw or from a coloring contest, even when it doesn’t. Don’t you just love that positivity?
On Monday I saw a little contest being run by a great organization called Food 52 –www.food52.com. Food 52 works to exchange recipes and ideas amongst cooks from all over and helps them come together to discuss food. They’ve been running a little recipe tester session on using tofu and had a bunch of tofu recipes on their website for cooks to make and comment on. The most popular community picked recipe wins and you can get credit for testing and commenting. Lots of fun!
I wanted to blog about tofu anyway as I think it’s a really versatile vegetarian ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways, often easily replacing meat. I love tofu and properly discovered it when we lived in China. In Chinese grocery stores they have whole deli-style counters dedicated to dozens of different types and textures of tofu: smoked, fried, firm, pencil shaped, square-shaped, ball-shaped etc. It’s so great to see, plus they treat tofu with a lot of respect in the kitchen.
Tofu is made from soybean curds, is naturally gluten-free and low-calorie, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium. Great for those looking for meatless meals every so often or for those trying to cut down more significantly on meat consumption.
Mideast Grilled Tofu with Studded Rice and Spicy Herb Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp za’atar
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2-3 cups lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 scallions roughly chopped
20 oz extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch slices
For the rice:
2 cups jasmine rice
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cup dried fruit (golden raisins, currants, cherries, chopped apricots or a mixture)
1 cup toasted nuts (chopped pistachios or cashews, sliced or slivered almonds, or a mixture)
1 tspn ground allspice
1/2 tspn ground ginger
1 tspn turmeric
1/2tspn ground coriander
3 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
3 tbspn unsalted butter
2 tbspn honey
Zest and juice of one large orange
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix oil, lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons salt, pepper, sumac, turmeric, and cumin together in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish. Cover each slice of tofu thoroughly in the mixture and marinate, at least 30 minutes.
- While the tofu is marinating, combine the remaining ingredients and 1 tablespoon Kosher salt in a blender to make the herb sauce. Set aside.
- Prepare your grill (I used a griddle pan), making sure the grates are clean and well-oiled. When the grill is hot, place the tofu slices over medium heat, reserving the leftover marinade. Grill for about ten minutes; flip, brush with marinade, grill for another ten minutes. Flip once more, brush with marinade, and remove from grill. .
- Combine rice and three cups water in a rice cooker and prepare according to manufacturer instructions.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and saute 2 minutes. Add the scallions and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes. Stir in the honey, orange zest and juice; cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. When rice is ready, stir together rice, nuts, fruit, skillet contents, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
- Serve the tofu over the rice and top each slice with about a tablespoon of the herb sauce. Gorgeous!