Friday, January 26, 2007
Ginger Tofu with Wasabi Mashed Cauliflower and Greens
Do you like meat and potatoes? No, I didn't think so. How about tofu and cauliflower? But not just any old tofu and cauliflower, how about mixing it up with a little international flair? Yum-O!
Hi there, I'm Chris and I veganize Rachael Ray's meals. Now that means that instead of cooking with all kinds of cruelty- and fat-laden animal products, I'll make a delicious and healthy vegan meal. Though I don't know if I'll do it in under 30 minutes since I don't have a crew of paid lackeys organizing things for me and cleaning up after me. When I say healthy I mean it too. I don't mean healthy compared to pound-o-butter Paula Deen. I mean no cholesterol, not a bit. No "lean" steak masquerading as something healthy, no sir. Tonight I'll be taking tofu to another level, marinating it with lots of fresh ginger and lime juice and grilling it just right. I'll smash some steamed cauliflower together with some spicy wasabi and round out the meal with sesame-soy kale and peppers. How good does that sound? You know, tofu is very figure-friendly too. It's packed with protein but it doesn't have all that saturated fat that you find in all those meat and dairy products. It's versatile too. You can marinate it and grill it or you can even get that silken tofu and make a chocolate pudding with it. And you know how much I like chocolate! But that's another show. (giggle....tee-hee)
So let's get started. Before I left for work this morning I pressed a block of tofu then cut it into 8 pieces. I took out the 'ol microplane grater and grated about a 1-inch piece of ginger then I also zested a lime on that baby. I set aside the lime zest for later then I juiced the lime into a small bowl, to which I also added the ginger. I eyeballed in about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of peanut oil - no EVOO in this case since this is more of an Asian-style marinade. I thought I'd add some grill seasoning too but instead of paying 5 bucks for a bottle of seasoning mix that has hydrogenated oils in it, I just dumped in about half a teaspoon each of fresh ground black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground corriander and crushed red pepper. Just measure everything in the palm of your hand - it doesn't have to be perfect (tee-hee). I mixed that all together and poured it over the tofu in a shallow container that I then covered and put in the fridge. Then I left for work.
OK, I'm home from work now and I've got my grill pan heating on the stove top and my tofu looks and smells D-lish. I've also got medium-sized fairly deep pot on one burner and a steamer set up on another. I want to get my kale going first because I want it to cook for a while and get nice and tender. I've got a small red bell pepper that I'll chop into small slices and I'll put a little drizzle of oil in my pot and start that cooking. I'll let that go for a few minutes while I rinse a bunch of kale and tear it into smaller pieces. Now if the stems on your kale are pretty thick you'll want to remove them. You can do that with a knife but I just like to tear the leaves right off of the stems. I'll just drop the stems into my GB (that's garbage bowl) and dump them into the compost pile later. Now I'll add the kale to my peppers and mix it around a bit. You might need to do this in two batches because you'll probably have a big 'ol pile of kale but it'll cook down pretty quickly. I'll eyeball in about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce then I'll turn the heat down and cover it and just let it simmer for a while. Now I'll chop up a big head of cauliflower and get that going in the steamer. And I'll also spray the grill pan good with oil and get the tofu going on there.
Mmmm.... the kitchen smells amazing already. Once the tofu has been grilling for a few minutes you can give each piece a quarter turn to get the nice grill marks on there. Then you'll want to turn each piece over and do the same thing on the other side. You can drizzle on a bit of the remaining marinade if you want. While all this stuff is cooking I'll get ready for the big ta-da. Take some cilantro and green onions (but maybe you call 'em scallions) and coarsely chop them together with the lime zest. That'll go on top of the tofu at the end. Oh man, I'm really getting hungry now.
Well it looks like the cauliflower is really tender now so I'll dump that out of the steamer and into a big bowl. I'll add a little salt, eyeball in a few tablespoons of soy milk and add about a tablespoon or so of Earth Balance margarine. And now I'll heat it up with some wasabi. How hot do ya like it? I like it spicy but be careful! A little goes a long way! Let's smash everything together with a potato masher then mound some on our plate. I'll put a few pieces of the grilled tofu around the side. Oh yeah... I almost forgot about our kale and peppers. Turn off the heat and stir in a small handful of sesame seeds then mound some of that on your plate too. And now for the big finish! I'll sprinkle some of that great cilantro-scallion-lime zest mixture on top. Man, how good does that look huh? I'm all out of time but remember a great meal doesn't have to be chock full of meat and dairy. Just get creative with your tofu and veggies!
Adapted from Rachael Ray's Meat and Potatoes, International Edition episode. With a nod to the urban vegan too.