Pictures are up!
So, last night while running the treadmill at the gym, I was trying to think of a way to add something fun and exciting to this post. Any fun stories or anecdotes? Crazy experiences? Silly segues? No, no, none of that. How can I relate this awesome episode of Survivor I’m watching while on the treadmill to this recipe? Did I use tofu to make a fake immunity idol? Did I giggle incessantly while making it as the contestants did in tribal council tonight? No (by the way…I’m not normally a Survivor person, but this season started in the midst of my bed rest period-i.e. the night I broke my toe-and all I was doing was studying for the GREs and watching TV, so I got addicted but only catch every 4th or so episode now. I was psyched that they had it on at the gym.) No, no, none of that. I guess this is just going to be boring. Let me know if you fall asleep while reading this.
This cooking adventure took place several weeks ago (which, let’s be honest here, 90% of my posts do) when I was jonesing for some baked tofu. Now, many of you might remember, I don’t have a good track record with tofu. I basically mess it up every time (do you remember when I had this post and I thought it might be a fluke? Yeah-it was a fluke. That never worked again), so I’m always trying new ways to cook it because I don’t have a good standby. And almost every time I follow a recipe, it fails, so I just make things up. I still eat tofu frequently, but 99 times out of 100, it’s just a chunk cut fresh with some tamari sauce poured on top and eaten plain and cold. Good, but kinda boring. I was in the mood for something different, specifically baked and delicious.
I hit a snag here though…when baking tofu I think the key is an even single layer-no double stacking. However, my kitchen cabinets are severly lacking in terms of cookware-all of it save for some bowls and my mini quisinart that I purchased are hand-me-downs from my mom or my roommate’s parents. Therefore, I don’t have a large enough pan to bake a whole package of tofu in a single layer. It was time to get creative. I have 2 loaf pans that I use frequently that I tried to fit it all in…nope. Double layers everywhere! Disaster in the making. How ’bout a nice glass baking dish? No way Jose! It also didn’t fit and things burn in glass easily and are impossible to clean up. Wait a minute…what’s that I see in the back?
Why yes…it’s a mini muffin pan! It hit me like a load of bricks. Or a load of mini muffins. I thought “Man Betsy, you are one genius…this is going to work perfectly!” So, I talk to myself a lot..don’t you? I thought so. Mini muffin pan it was!!! Awesome. So, I set about cutting my tofu (which I had pressed) into small squares (maybe 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches and half an inch or so thick) and making a spice rub to make them yummy. I’m trying to remember the exact mixture, but let’s go with cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, fennel seeds, black pepper, paprika (don’t know why I added this-I hate paprika), salt…maybe something else or that might be it. I put a heavy sprinkling (or sprinklin’ like how Sarah Palin might say it) on each side of each piece of tofu, using the wetness of the tofu for the rub to stick. I then put each piece in each muffin spot (? what would you call this) in the pan, pressing them down a little so they formed a little cup.
The tofu wasn’t touching the bottom of the pan (it would have to be much smaller to do that) and stuck up a little on the edges. It was kinda the cutest thing ever when I put them all in there! Lil’ tofu cups! Everything little is cuter.
I stuck the pan in the oven for about 40 minutes or so at 375 till I decided it was done. And it was done!
The result…the cutest little slightly crunch tofu cups. The edges were crispy and the middle was chewy. They weren’t soggy at all because they weren’t touching the bottom of the pan. You could totally put sauce in middle like those Tostitos Tortilla Scoops things.
I could totally market these like that. Who would buy them? Let’s be honest…probably no one. And the taste? Let’s be honest again…not great. That rub was not a winner. It was that darn paprika, I swear! So, I got a technique down…but not a rub.
Here’s a question for my loyal readers (probably only my Mom if we’re really being honest all around here)…what rubs and sauces and marinades for tofu can I use that work great and taste great? Any sucesses? I just want my tofu to taste good. I need some serious help here.