Our weekend was busy and full, Adam's younger brother came up from New York to celebrate his birthday. I didn't have a chance to spend my usual Sunday afternoon in the kitchen cooking for the week ahead (instead we spent the afternoon roaming through the woods on an early springtime, rain-soaked hike... pure heaven). So, while I sit here this Monday morning before I head off to work, I feel totally unprepared for the week meal-wise, and I'm letting that be a good thing. I'm curious to see how the week will play out without having a plan. My guess is it will reconfirm my thinking that a little time spent planning and preparing ensures there is always something healthy and whole to eat on hand.
I do have some wheat berries cooking as I write this and will turn those into a salad. In my next post (or very soon) I'll talk about these often mentioned around here grain salads, some of you asked if I'd get into more detail about that. Happily! Today though, I'd like to share more specifically how I bake tofu. Instead of giving you a straight up recipe, let's talk about technique. That is really what it comes down to after all.
First, slice a pound of tofu into quarters, as shown above. Place in an 8 inch square glass pan. Next, whip up a basic marinade... try something like this, it's what I've been using lately:
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbls Tamari (or soy sauce)
2-3 Tbls water
1-2 Tbls maple syrup
1/2 tsp garlic (I've just been using granulated garlic lately [these photos are oldies] so it dissolves nicely and doesn't get overly browned when baking the way fresh garlic can sometimes do)
a little freshly grated ginger if you like
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over sliced tofu in the baking pan. Carefully flip and turn tofu pieces to coat all sides.
- Marinate for 1/2 an hour or so. Turn/flip tofu and marinate the other side.
- After it has marinated, place the pan (with marinade), uncovered, in a 300-325 degree oven and bake for about an hour, maybe a little more.
- Take the pan out, flip the tofu and re-drizzle the marinade. Put the pan back in the oven for another hour or so. This should just about do it. Between 2-3 hours is about right.
I don't worry about timing this too perfectly. Just remember, you are going for low and slow here. You are basically dehydrating the tofu - the longer you cook it, the firmer and meatier the texture.
Some recipes suggest you press the tofu first to release excess moisture (I used to do this), I find that it isn't really necessary. The moisture will bake out in the oven just fine.
I hope this is somewhat clear to you. I actually made a video post this morning as these instructions are really better understood in a conversation rather than written out, and if you were here at my house it would be so much easier to just say "don't get hung up on the measurements or the list of ingredients in the marinade... I don't even measure any of it, just drizzle a bunch of things in the pan and stir it up with a whisk... the baked tofu will firm up a little more as it cools... slice it over salads, wraps or sandwiches, or keep it in the fridge (or freezer!) for a night when you need something to throw into a stir fry or diced into soup... also... know your tofu! tofu doesn't grow, therefore it is processed in some way, there is some junky tofu out there, be familiar with your tofu maker... and blah blah blah."
You can imagine how much I rambled on in the video and hence my reason for skipping its posting here today. ;)
However, I'd love to invite you to join in the conversation. Please share within the comments if you have any questions or would like to discuss your own experiences/techniques, maybe marinade additions that you love (sesame oil is great too!). I've enabled Typepads new interactive comments feature which I think is perfectly brilliant. Feel free to take advantage of it's community building vibe and talk amongst yourselves (you may reply directly to each other, so cool!). I too will be able to speak directly to your questions and such right below your comment. Sounds like a good time.
I hope this sheds some light on the subject of baked tofu for you. Soon, let's talk about grains...