Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vegetable Stir Fry with Marinated Tofu

Ah Stir frys. Nothing better than a recipe that has mostly vegetables and simple cooking.  Stir frys are great because you can use almost any kind of vegetable you want, add a few spices and/or sauces and it will be delicious. I find almost everyone likes stir fry and why wouldn't they? Plus you get to use your wok which is not only fun to say, but looks pretty.

I use normal pasta for my noodles, you can use whatever you have on hand. If you like/buy chinese noodles, then use them in your dish, but I find standard spaghetti noodles work great and I always have some around. Also if you put a dash or sesame oil or braggs in the noodles once they are cooked, they get more of an asian flavor.

Tofu. BAH! I used to really hate this stuff, it reminded me of eating a sponge. Over the years I've grown to appreciate it and even love it. The annoying things about tofu is drying it out and trying to get it flavorful. What I have found is marinades are your best friend and the longer you marinate them the happier your taste buds will be with you.

Everyone has different methods for drying tofu out. I place paper towels or dish towels on a plate, cut the tofu into strips and lay them on the towels. Then place more paper towels over the tofu and place another plate or heavy pan on top. I rotate the towels once they are soaked through, and do this for 30 minutes or up to a few hours if I have the time. Basically you need your tofu dry, so use my method or find one that works for you.

Healthy boyfriend knew he wanted to have tofu in the next few days, so he found the simple marinade below and let it sit for two days. It can be hard to remember to plan ahead of time, but not impossible. A good rule, is if you know you'll eat tofu within the week, just whip up the marinade on monday and let the tofu soak. It will keep in the fridge for a few days and one day you'll come home and have nice flavorful tofu! The marinade could also be baked, or sautéed in a regular pan.

Neat trick: When cooking pasta, put the strainer over the pasta bowl in the sink. When you drain your pasta the hot water goes into the bowl, heating it, which helps keep your pasta warm until its ready to be served. Great trick I learned from my parents.

Bummer Note: This tofu was not as crispy as I wanted it. Tofu is something I still struggle with, I think next time I will bake the tofu. The rest of the dish is great and the tofu was good, just not as cripsy as I desired. If you have a great way of cooking tofu that always works for you, then just cook it that way and stir fry your vegetables as directed below.

Vegetable Stir Fry with Marinated Tofu

The Goods: Serves 2-3

Marinated Tofu, cut into small cubes(recipe below)
1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1 ear of corn, kernels chopped off
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 large zuchhici, sliced into discs
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil(or olive oil)
4 medium cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

The Deal: 
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook spaghetti as instructed on the package.

2. Heat oil in a wok or large saute pan on medium high heat. Heat until hot, about 1 minute, and then add garlic. Saute until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.

3. Increase the heat to high and add tofu and marinade. Saute until crispy about 5 minutes.

4. Add the broccoli and zucchini and cook until tender about 3-5 minutes. About 3 minutes after you added your broccoli and zucchini, add corn.

5. Once your vegetables are tender, remove from heat and serve over pasta.

Marinated Tofu

The Goods: enough for one package of tofu
1 package extra firm tofu, as dry as possible
1/3 cup soy sauce or braggs
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons ketchup

The Deal: 

1. Combine all ingredients besides tofu in a shallow bowl. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch strips or cubes.
Toss tofu in marinade and let soak for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

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