Wednesday, May 04, 2016

General Tso's Tofu

I've been going out to dinner a LOT lately (and will be going out to dinner a LOT in the next couple weeks, too) so to make up for it, I'm trying to make meals at home as much as possible this week. I somehow had everything I needed to make this. It's my favorite thing to order from Chinese takeout, but it's hard to find a restaurant that does it well. The tofu needs to be crispy or else it gets too saturated in sauce and is like eating a wet sponge. This recipe actually makes the tofu a very nice texture. Nice and crispy, nicely seasoned. I added some baby carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts, and served it over rice. It was ok...

tofu

The problem is the sauce! It just isn't as flavorful as I'd hoped (even with extra sambal oelek!). I ended up adding a little sriracha. And by "a little," what I mean is this:

tofu

I would not make this recipe again. Sorry, guys.

General Tso's Tofu
Vegetarian Times, March 2015

1 pkg. firm tofu (16 oz.) drained
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. mirin (rice wine)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
4 tsp. mirin (rice wine)
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. sambal oelek chile paste, optional
2 tsp. vegetable oil
4 green onions, green parts chopped ( 1/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cups steamed broccoli
2 cups steamed brown or white rice

To make Crispy Tofu: Cut tofu block into two broad slabs. Wrap tofu slabs in paper towels, and place between two cutting boards. Weight top cutting board with soup cans, and press 30 minutes. Unwrap tofu, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, oil, garlic, and ginger in resealable container. Add tofu, and toss to coat. Marinate 30 minutes, or overnight. (Tofu should absorb all liquid.)

Preheat oven to 350°F, and coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Sift cornstarch over tofu, and turn to coat evenly. Spread tofu on baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until firm and crispy, turning several times to brown all sides.

To make Sauce: Whisk together broth, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, tomato paste, and sambal oelek (if using) in small bowl. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add broth mixture, and cook 1 minute, or until thickened. Stir in Tofu. Serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

Servings: 4

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Dark Chocolate Stout Cookies

I had a lone bottle of oatmeal stout in my refrigerator and decided to make these cookies. Even though it calls for Guinness, I decided my oatmeal stout would be a good substitute. Turns out it was an excellent decision. These cookies were delicious and fluffy. Not quite a brownie cookie, but definitely cakey. I thought they were okay when they came out of the oven, but the next day they were great. I ran out of cookies by 2:00 PM. Success!

Moral of this story: as long as it's a stout, use whatever kind of beer you want. I bet this would be even better with a milk stout or a chocolate stout!

cookie

Dark Chocolate and Guinness Cookies
Heather Christo

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Guinness Stout
2 cups flour
1 cup dark cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare sheet pans with silpats or parchment paper.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy.

Add the eggs and beat until fluffy.

Add the Guinness.

Combine the dry ingredients and add to the batter. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.

Scoop the batter onto the sheet pan, and bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan.

Yield: this recipe makes 24 very large cookies, but I made smaller cookies (and got about 50) and reduced the baking time to 9 minutes.