Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tofu for You-oo (aka Baked Tofu with Tamari Soy Sauce - Gluten Free)

Can anyone come up with a word that rhymes with tofu? I’m drawing a big blank on this one, hence the “you-oo” in today’s title.

I love tofu. I know not everybody starts twirling cartwheels when it comes to consuming the bland white brick, but this recipe is really good. Really. Years ago, when I used to earn my keep in downtown Portland, my girlfriends and I would meet for lunch at the Georgian Room housed in the old Meier and Frank department store. This chandeliered establishment graced the upper floors of the eight story building, and was a hold out from when women used to meet for tea and cakes while sitting properly with straight backs and gracefully positioning their parallel ankles off to the side. When I ate there, they served a loyal clientele, many of whom came to feast on the 4” high beer rolls and the amazing salad bar which boasted all sorts of freshly prepared goodies. It was at that salad bar that I fell in love with tofu as they served a marinated tofu that I couldn’t get enough of.

Fast forward to today. Meier and Frank is long gone, yet another family business absorbed by Macy’s, and the Georgian Room is no more. Luckily, though, I can prepare tofu recipes at home, and this one’s a winner.

I first saw this on Kalyn’s website and was immediately smitten. She got the recipe out of Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook, which I immediately snagged from my local library.This is so ridiculously easy and inexpensive to prepare, and tastes terrific. I gave it a go today and loved every bite. The soy sauce, tamari in my case, gives it just the right amount of salty goodness. My littlest gal, who’s graduated to a pureed AND soft diet, tentatively tried a bite and proceeded to snarf down the extra bit I had planned to eat tomorrow. (You know ... cook once, eat twice. Seems like no matter how much I cook, there’s never any left. I guess that’s a good thing.) Anyway, it’s great, full of calcium, gluten free, and really hits the spot. We ate ours sans accompaniment, but it would be terrific on a salad or with rice or rice noodles. My tofu snarfing gal asked me to make it again tomorrow as part of a stir fry. Um, that’s a terrific idea. Except, um, she can’t chew yet. *sigh* Still, I repeat, that would be a great recipe.

Anyway, for you tofu-phobes, this is a great way to give it a try. I love it and can’t wait to try this again. Next time I think I’ll spice it up a bit with some chili oil. Mmm, mmm, good.

Here we go:

1 pkg FIRM tofu
Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce (or the regular stuff if you don’t worry about gluten)
Garnishes: Green onion or toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Drain, rinse, and drain again the tofu.Pat dry. (Boy, it’s hard to photograph white food!)I opted to cut the tofu brick in half horizontally. Um, I know this looks like a vertical cut, but I flipped it upright so I could slice it easier. You'll see what I mean in the next photo.Ta-da! Pat all the surfaces dry. Don’t go overboard drying it, just give it a good pat-down.Here’s what I use for soy sauce. It’s gluten free and called Tamari. LOVE it.Next, simply pour soy sauce over the tofu, coating all the surfaces. I didn’t measure but I’m guessing it was a couple tablespoons. I used a spoon to coat all surfaces, but a brush would work, too. Tofu acts like a sponge, and after a minute or two, it absorbed all the soy sauce. Place in a baking dish, do NOT cover, and bake for 1 hour. Serve immediately.See how it looks here? The texture firms up quite pleasantly while baking.
It’s kind of like a very firm egg custard. Those edges are amazing: crispy and a great contrast to the interior. Yum!See how firm it is on the fork? Don’t you just love that little green onion bit that is lassoed on one of the tines? I think this would taste great basted with other sauces, too, such as teriyaki. This is gluten free, too.

So, who’s game to give it a try?


Mickle in NZ said...

Thanks for reminding me - I used to marinate firm tofu in soy sauce plus other things and saute it. Never though of baking tofu in the oven.

Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that has a wonderful flavour and is usually wheat free. You've struck a triple bonus with this recipe: your poppet can eat it as is gluten free and soft, and my dodgy innards can cope with it too.

Good to learn your poppet is progressing well, hope you all have a Happy Easter,

Michelle and Zebbycat (quadruple bonus - I won't have to share tofu with him), xxx and purrrrumbles

Manggy said...

Tofu does mop up flavors so wonderfully. A squirt of lemon is also a great addition (tabasco is nice too, but maybe just for me! ;)

Cathy said...

Hi Paula - I have great memories of the Georgian Room at M&F. My mother used to take me there and I always ordered a turkey sandwich with chive mayo and a Summer Girl (sherbet and 7-Up float). I miss it.

Happy Easter wishes to you and your family.

Marjie said...

Tofu is like crisco for me. I just can't get it past my brain. Yours looks quite pretty, and I'm glad your little princess could eat it! Life is better when soft foods can re=enter your world!

Pam said...

It does look good, but tofu is just sort of icky to me.

Gloria said...

mmmmmmm! Paula you always have yummy recipes, look wonderful! gloria