I am a self-proclaimed cookbook addict. Always have been. From a very young age, I would make a beeline to the cookbook section of bookstores. After seeing which Fear Street books were new first. I’ve spent many hours sitting in the corners of bookstores, looking at every cookbook I could get my hands on. I used to watch lots of PBS cooking shows (no cable in my house. nor ninendo. i had to get my share of “Hey Dude” and Duckhunt practice at my friends’ houses), and always looked at any of their chef’s cookbooks. I remember one show in particular, “Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen, Encore with Claudine” (I swear I didn’t google it. I have a crazy memory), with Jacques Pepin and his daughter and I always would look at his cookbooks. I’ve looked through everyone of Molly Katzen’s Moosewood cookbooks, and had an unhealthy obsession with Martha Stewart cookbooks in college. To this very day, I spend a lot of time in the Barnes & Noble at Union Square, sitting on their floor, my back very uncomfortably leaning against other, lesser books. And, when I visit home, I’ll often eat lunch while looking through a cookbook of my Mom’s, even though I’ve read them all cover to cover. I could tell you every cookie recipe in “The Silver Palate Cookbook”, but I’ll look through them again soon, and I really don’t care what gross 70s southern recipes are found in “Charlotte Cooks Again” (Mom-alot of them really are nasty. You know that), but I still read it.
The catch is, I never, ever, actually buy any of these. I am the opposite of a compulsive buyer. Don’t ask me where I got such an odd quality cause I love shopping! I’ve spent many a day browsing Anthropologie for over hour before heading to J Crew to see what they have on sale, and finishing my afternoon at Paragon Sports and Jack Rabbit (my favorite running store in New York). But I never buy, unless it’s on some crazy super sale. It’s like I lost that part of the female gene. I always feel really guilty spending money on something I don’t need (and even then I have to seriously talk myself into it), and even have a hard time spending gift certificates without thoroughly researching my options. And my Mom can confirm that I have a hard time spending her money too. Should I just leave the female gender now??
Anyway, I look at them and drool over them and long for them, but I never buy cookbooks. However, I’ve been reading so much lately about Dreena Burton’s cookbooks all over everyone elses blogs. Raves and raves and raves. Maybe she’s paying people (just joking Dreena!!!!! you’re awesome!!)? I had to check out her books to see what all the freaking fuss was about. So, 2 weekends ago, on my way downtown from picking up my race packet from New York Road Runners, I stopped by Barnes & Noble to do a little “browsing” (i.e. spending my afternoon looking at cookbooks and magazines). I grabbed some books (Vegan Cupcakes…, the new Martha Stewart Cookies book, Vive le Vegan and Eat, Drink and Be Vegan) and snuggled into a corner and hoped that an employee wouldn’t yell at me for physically drooling on them. Ok-yes. Dreena is amazing. Her recipes sounded amazing!! Everyone was soooo right. I’ll never doubt you again, fellow bloggers! Would this be the day I finally bought a cookbook? NO! My super ridiculous self-control when it comes to shopping strikes again.
I did, however, check out her blog the second I got home. And I drooled on my computer screen as well. This woman just can’t stop! If I wasn’t going to buy her book, I at least had to try something from her website. And it wasn’t that hard to pick. Just look at this recipe, and tell me that you don’t want to lick your computer screen: Olive Oregano Wine Baked Tofu. I almost did. I needed to make this one ASAP. And make it, I did, this past Sunday.
It was soooooo easy to put together. So so so easy. I got the marinade together in about 5 minutes and then it cooked for about a half an hour. I’m still raving to my roommate how little time it took. But was it good, you’re probably asking… Oh man-it was soo flavorful. You could taste all the ingredients seperately but also together. The wine was really good in it, as well as the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and especially the grapes. And every day after it’s been getting better and better. I’m so excited to eat my final serving of it tonight and I might have to make it next weekend it’s just that good! So Dreena, you truely are a genius. So much so, that tonight, on my way home from work, I went against my reluctance to buy anything, I bought your book (ED&BV). Feel proud.
Olive Oregano Wine Baked Tofu (adapted from Vive Le Vegan
1 block extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 2 inch x 1 inch pieces.
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp honey (she called for agave nector, i didn’t have any)
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinager
1/3 cup kalamata olives (she called for dried mediterranean, i didn’t have any), chopped
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/3 cup green grapes, quartered
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix thoroughly all the ingredients except tofu. Spread out the pieces of tofu in a single layer in a 8″ x 12″ baking dish. Pour over all the ingredients. Put dish in the fridge for about 20 minutes (she didn’t call for this, I decide to let it marinate for a little while). Put the dish in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes. Flip the tofu over. Cook for about 20 more minutes. Serve and enjoy the flavors overwhelming your mouth.