Sunday, April 5, 2009

baked tofu with honey grape sauce and cashew fried rice

This meal was the product of having a big bunch of grapes that had gone a little soft much earlier than I anticipated. I can't stand eating grapes unless they're nice and crisp, so I spent half an hour on Allrecipes looking for something to do with them. Most of what I found was pies and jams, but I'm thoroughly sick of baking at the moment, and the rest of the recipes were for salads, which obviously require the grapes to be fresher. I did come across this recipe, which had an intriguing sauce even if there was no way I was going to put it on pork. I decided to go with baked tofu instead, and make a side dish of cashew fried rice to go with the Asian flavor of the sauce. This recipe makes about three servings, or two dinners and enough fried rice for lunch tomorrow.

Honey Grape Sauce

This makes about a cup and a half of sauce. It's probably very good on meat, as the original recipe suggests, but it goes really well with the tofu too. I did all the measuring by sight and it still came out deliciously, making this the easiest sauce I've ever made.

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon Asian five-spice powder

- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic until it's tender (don't let it brown too much).
- Stir in grapes, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and five-spice powder. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Process the cooled sauce until smooth in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan and keep warm over low heat until you're ready to eat.

Baked Tofu

This would probably also be tasty fried, but much less healthy.

* one package extra-firm tofu (preferably not the silken type)
* about three tablespoons soy sauce

- Preheat your oven to 375 Farenheit.
- Slice tofu into 1/4-inch thick pieces (long thin ones are easiest).
- Brush each slice, back and front, with soy sauce and allow it to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Place the tofu strips on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, turning once halfway through, until they turn golden brown.

Cashew Fried Rice

I tend to wing it when making fried rice, so I apologize for the vagueness of the measurements. You can use whatever vegetables are on hand, frozen or unfrozen. I was especially pleased with the radishes, which I'd never used before. I usually use a couple cloves of garlic, but figured the sauce had enough of that flavor for one meal.

* two cups cooked rice
* about three tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
* about two tablespoons soy sauce (keep the bottle handy, you might need more)
* two eggs
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup frozen peas and/or corn
* 1/3 cup lotus root (I froze the last batch I got, it was a hassle to separate)
* 3 large radishes, chopped into chunks
* 1/3-1/2 cup cashews, lightly crushed (I like the plastic bag and knife handle method)

- Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Cook the onions (and garlic, if you're using it) until they're soft.
- Add the frozen vegetables and lotus root, or anything else that won't cook extremely fast. Stir fry until the lotus root picks up the brown soy sauce color and all the frozen vegetables are soft.
- While the vegetables are cooking, scramble the eggs in a tiny bit of oil in a separate pan and use the spatula to cut them into bits. Take the pan off the heat and set them aside.
- Add the radishes and cashews to the vegetables, keep stir-frying for about a minute.
- Add the rice, and stir through so it absorbs the oil and soy sauce and the vegetables are evenly distributed. Add more soy sauce to taste (and a bit more oil, if it's too dry).
- Stir the egg pieces through and serve with Sriracha sauce or other spicy substance.

If you time everything right, the tofu and the fried rice will be done at the same time (it takes about as long to make the latter as to bake the former), and you'll get to eat immediately. The sauce can be saved in the fridge for a couple of days... I'm looking forward to trying it out on other things.

One of the reasons I'm sick of baking (besides my beautiful pie from the other day) is because I made a batch of cupcakes yesterday, using the same recipe as the red velvet ones I made on Valentine's Day. I tried to make them blue with white frosting and moon and star sprinkles, but the blue food coloring turned the cake a weird teal, so they became dolphin cupcakes instead. Bad photo, but they were pretty cute.

1 comment:

  1. cool. I don't think I've ever seen a sauce recipe made with fresh grapes. this looks so yummy.