Monthly Archives: December 2011

Roasted Tofu with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

I might need to rename this blog. I’m starting to see a theme. I wonder if “” is already taken. First the brussels sprouts, and now tofu – maybe next time we’ll tackle lima beans.

Tofu and I do not go way back. When I attempted vegetarianism as a teenager, I successfully cut out meat from my diet; however, in doing so, I also invented an entirely new dietary classification known as “pizzatarian.” I wanted nothing to do with anything remotely healthy, let alone anything that contained the words “fermented” and “soybean.” I did suck down an alarming amount of processed fake meat (the creepy bacon that even has the fake fat marbling), but that was as close as I got to tofu until a few years ago.

At some point I will post the tofu recipe that won me over. This is the recipe that’s won a lot of other tofu skeptics over, though, and it’s so good and so deliciously simple that you should really probably make it tonight. The high-temperature roast gives the tofu the pleasing texture of the deep-fried tofu you often see in restaurants, without the fat and grease. The outside is perfectly browned and crispy, the inside chewy and soft. And with a side of wasabi dipping sauce, it’s nothing less than addictive. Pop out a plate in the afternoon as a quick snack, or serve for dinner with broccoli and rice. And enjoy – if I’d known how to make this in high school, Mama Celeste pizza would’ve gone out of business.

Roasted Tofu with Wasabi Dipping Sauce
For the tofu:
1 package extra firm tofu (not silken)
4 tsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper (freshly ground, if possible)

For the dipping sauce:
4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp prepared wasabi
1 tsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Cube the tofu into 1 inch squares. In a large bowl, toss with salt, pepper, and oil, coating evenly. Toss the cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the tofu cubes over and roast for an additional fifteen minutes, until outsides are browned and puffy.

While the tofu is roasting, combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Serve tofu warm or at room temperature.


Cranberry Orange Muffins

There are two things I always seem to have around: dried cranberries (because I impulsively bought a five pound bag at Sam’s Club last year) and at least one pathetic-looking orange that I bought weeks ago with the best intentions of juicing/zesting/otherwise providing with a good home. And you know the saying – when life hands you a pathetic-looking, abandoned orange, make cranberry-orange muffins.

I first tried this recipe a few months ago when a good friend had her first baby. I was trying to fill her freezer for the next week or two while she adjusted to life with a newborn, and had already made cupcakes, peanut butter chocolate chip muffins, pizza, and mac and cheese – I was down to staple ingredients and a few stray pieces of produce in my fridge, but I was on a roll and didn’t want to quit yet. After digging out my steadfast sad orange and a bag of dried cranberries, I went looking for the perfect cranberry orange muffin recipe and found it on the first try. These are truly divine – they’re perfectly sweet, balanced by a lovely contrast of tartness from the sour cream and zesty orange topping, and they freeze beautifully for a quick and easy breakfast down the road. I can tell you that since I found this recipe, I have far fewer oranges languishing in the bottom of my produce drawer – and these muffins are even better with new, happy oranges.

Cranberry Orange Muffins
Yield: 12 standard-size muffins

For the Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3/4 cup dried cranberries

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

For the Orange-Sugar Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Make the glaze and orange-sugar topping: Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon orange zest in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and syrupy.

Make the muffins: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the egg, sugar, and orange zest together at medium speed until combined and thickened. Add the cooled melted butter and sour cream in separate additions at low speed until just combined. Add the flour and beat at low speed until combined. Fold in the cranberries with a rubber spatula.

Divide batter into prepared muffin tin. Fill cups 1/2 – 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for five minutes. Brush the top of each muffin generously with the sugar/orange juice glaze, then dip into the orange-sugar topping. Serve, and pat yourself on the back for not having to throw your sad orange away.

Source: Barely adapted from Bakingdom

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

roasted brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap (rightfully so, for the most part). If you’ve ever been assaulted by the distinctly unpleasant aroma of a giant boiling pot of them, you know why. These tiny little cabbages share the unfortunate smell of their larger family members when prepared in the conventional way (boiling, steaming). But when you crank up the oven, toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and let them slow-cook in that dry heat? Oh, that smell seems like a bad dream that couldn’t possibly come from these crunchy little morsels. The edges caramelize and bring out the natural sweetness (I know!! I didn’t know it was there either!), and the outer leaves detach when tossed on the baking sheet, forming salty, potato-chip like bites that you just may end up frantically shoveling into your mouth over the hot oven before anyone sees you.

I was an immediate convert from the moment I first had brussels sprouts prepared this way, to the point where I actually crave them. And I’ve witnessed lifelong brussels sprout haters widen their eyes in happy surprise after trying one (maybe after I virtually forced one down their throats, but that’s not important). Give them a shot, especially right now, when they’re in high season and you can buy them right on the stalk. You won’t regret it.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 lb brussels sprouts (raw or frozen)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Trim off the very end of the sprouts and pull off any outer leaves that have yellowed. Cut in half (or quarters if sprouts are larger than ping-pong ball size).

Toss in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake sprouts in a single layer onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender and dark brown on edges, tossing halfway through. Sprinkle with grated parmesan (if using) and serve.