Saturday, January 9, 2010

Part 1, Recipe: Barbecue Tofu (or whatever protein) Chopped Salad

Part 1: "I Don't Know How To Cook"
Recipe: Barbecue Tofu (or whatever protein) Chopped Salad (Master File 2)

Do not fear the tofu!  If you've never tried baked tofu, give it a shot.  It's a far cry from the bland, mushy tofu you may have an aversion to.  If you are absolutely against the idea, put some BBQ sauce on a pound of chicken breasts, pork cutlets, steak, or mix it in with some kidney or garbanzo beans.

Salad is great because it comes together very fast and it's easy to make large amounts to be used as leftovers for lunch.  Start this off by getting the tofu in the oven.

large pot or microwave-safe container
large bowl of ice water
chef's knife
cutting board
big serving bowl
small bowl or mug that fits inside your serving bowl

1 block firm or extra firm tofu, well drained
barbeque sauce, about 1 cup
4 ounces green beans
3 large carrots
4 celery stalks
1 ear yellow corn
1 red bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 head romaine lettuce
Barbecued Tofu, warm (see recipe)
1 1/4 cups (about) Ranch Dressing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To drain tofu, wrap the whole block in 3 sheets of paper towel or a clean dish towel.  Put a plate on top and weigh it down with some canned goods or books.  Let it sit for as long as possible while you get the rest of your equipment ready.

Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil. This will help make cleaning up easier. Spoon a thin layer of barbecue sauce across the lined pan.  Start a large pot of water on high heat (unless you want to cook some veggies in the microwave - your choice).  Wash your veggies.  Put your colander in the sink.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Slice pressed tofu into 1/2 inch thick cutlets and place in pan. Spoon a layer of sauce across the top of the tofu and bake for approximately one hour, checking occasionally so as not to overcook.  Don't worry too much about the hour cooking time.  If you finish your veggies well beforehand and you're really hungry, then by all means eat.  You can put the tofu under the broiler for a minute to get some caramelization too.  Tofu is done cooking when sauce has baked in and tofu is moist, but not saucy.

To trim your green beans, line up a handful and cut the ends off.  Then turn them around and cut the other ends off.  You can use kitchen shears to cut the ends off but that takes forever.  Cut your trimmed green beans and carrots into bite-sized pieces.

If you're not using a microwave, add the green beans to your boiling water and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the carrots in with the green beans and cook for 30 seconds, or until the green beans and carrots are bright and crisp-tender.  

If you are using a microwave, put the green beans and carrots in a microwave-safe dish, add three tablespoons or so of water, cover with plastic wrap or (preferably) wax paper, and nuke on high for 1 minute, or until they're bright and crisp-tender.

Drain the green beans and carrots and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again, then pat them dry (be sure they are very dry).

Put a small bowl or mug inside your large serving bowl.  Stand your ear of corn on this little platform and use your knife to slice the kernels off the cob.  Remove the corn for now.  If you want to wash the bowl to make it pretty again that's up to you.

Cut your celery and bell pepper into bite-size pieces.  Use the onion chopping method you learned this week to chop the red onion, but make sure you make your cross cuts as close together as you can so you get a fine chop.

Combine the green beans, carrots, celery, corn kernels, bell pepper, and onion in a bowl.  The vegetables will keep for 1 day, covered and refrigerated.

Cut the warm tofu into 3/4-inch pieces.

Lop the root end off the lettuce and cut off any discolored ends.  Roughly chop or tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.  Toss the lettuce and veggies in your serving bowl with however much dressing you prefer, and season it to taste with salt and black pepper.  Scatter the tofu pieces and cheese over the salad and serve.

Easy BBQ Tofu recipe source
Barbecue Tofu Chopped Salad recipe source

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