Tonight's meal is brought to you by both Epicurious and What Geeks Eat. I was wandering around on the internet last night and found What Geeks Eat for the first time, and really enjoyed both the recipes and the quite excellent photos. As soon as I buy more yeast I intend to make her cinnamon rolls and maybe the snickerdoodles too. Yum... Anyways, what inspired me was her marinated, pan-fried tofu recipe. I didn't reference her recipe at all as I was going, but I did remember one very important thing she said, which is to leave the tofu alone. Yes, it's in a pan on medium heat and anything else that size would be burnt to a crisp after 8-10 minutes per side, but just leave it. Don't push it around, and don't peek until at least 8 minutes have gone by. The cumin part of the stir fry is a hold over from when I made "cumin-scented stir-fried beef with celery" a few months ago. I had never considered putting cumin in a stir fry, but it is simply fabulous. Especially if there are mushrooms involved, because they soak up the flavor like nothing else and mmmmmm. I just love the way cumin smells, and tragically the whole house now smells like it! As with all stirfries, use whatever veggies you've got-- I happenned to have green beans, onions, and portabellas. Mushrooms are highly recommended. Anyways, on to my approximate recipe:
1 large splash vinegar (apple cider or white are fine)
1 large splash soy sauce
1/2" ginger knob, microplaned or otherwise liquefied
1/2" t. cumin
Combine ingredients in a shallow dish or ziploc bag. Lay in 1/2 block extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1/2" slabs and patted dry with paper towels. Allow to marinate for about an hour, turning a few times. When you take the tofu out to cook it, reserve the marinade that didn't absorb.
Start water for noodles (I had soba on hand so I had to boil them, not just soak) or rice.
Heat a few generous tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet to medium, then lay in the tofu slabs and leave them be for 8 minutes. Really. They are browning very, very slowly. When they reach a nice deep golden brown, flip them and be patient with the other side too.
Then remove to a plate (perhaps in a warm oven) and cook up:
1 small onion, sliced
1 large handful green beans, snapped
1 large handful sliced portabella mushrooms (about 2 caps)
In the same skillet and remaining oil, cook onions on medium for 2-3 minutes. Add beans and mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes longer. Then add:
1-2 t. ground cumin
1/2 T. vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1/2" ginger knob, microplaned
1-2 cloves garlic, microplaned
1 t. hot pepper flakes
2 T. water
plus the leftover marinade
Allow veggies to simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes or so, or until they are tender. At this point you can thicken any remaining sauce (mix one forkful cornstarch into about 1/4 c. water until smooth, then pour into sauce will stirring) or leave it be. Plate over rice or noodles, with a tofu slab on top.
I have now officially returned from my "I'm too lazy and it's too hot to cook" hiatus!