While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

onion + red pepper tofu bites

Dances with Onions!

Photo notes:

"onion + red pepper tofu bites

recipe: (yield 10 squares or a meal for two. measurements are all approximate)

1 handful fresh cilantro (soaked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped)
2 small cloves cloves garlic (more or less to your taste. i add much more when i eat this as a meal, less for a fingerfood, if sharing)
1 tsp e.v. olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated. (alternatively, use big hunks of raw ginger to flavor the other ingredients while they sit. they will need to be removed)
1 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar (i use this to salt most food, you can use salt if you prefer)

1Tbsp(ish) cooking oil, be conservative. (i use coconut, and this is why)

1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced

7 oz firm tofu (about half a block), cut into squares less than a centimeter thick, as wide as the block (these will be the base of everything else, they should be substantial enough to pick up with other ingredients on top, but thin enough so as not to be the main focus)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp turmeric

1 red pepper, slightly wilted (mine has been wilting slowly since it was picked almost a month ago. but you dont have to wait that long! even a fresh red pepper is fine, but its a little sharp and overpowering. if you dont have time to wait or wilted, wrinkly peppers, i'd suggest purchasing prepared roasted red peppers) cut width-wise into 10 rings (pre-purchased roasted red peppers are also great here)

ok. so combine cilantro through umeboshi in a small bowl, cover + let sit.

use half or more of the cooking oil to pan-fry the onions over medium low heat, (just toss them all in) loosening/stirring them every couple of minutes, for about 10 minutes, until golden and almost crispy.

(at the same time)

use half or less of the cooking oil to pan-fry the tofu on medium to low heat. (use as little oil as possible. start by just coating the pan, add more if it seems dry- remember, if you're making these as finger-foods, you want them to be dry enough to pick up. some of the oiliness will dry when they are taken away from the heat. )
the tofu should be laid in the pan without overlapping.
sprinkle on the turmeric and garlic powder during cooking.
the tofu will take about as long as the onions, flip each square once or twice, they are ready when they get golden and a little crispy on the edges.

i use the same pan from the onions, emptied but not cleaned, to quickly heat the peppers. do not add more oil. i throw them all in on medium to high heat for about 3-5 minutes. i stir them up once or twice. some of the skin should be burnt, other parts barely cooked at all. be careful near a finicky smoke detector! make sure you have the fan on, there may be a tiny bit of smoke.

ok, now everything is cooked!
let everything cool enough to be handled.

if you're making finger food:
arrange the squares in a single layer on a plate.
put a pinch of the onions on each.
place one red pepper ring (or roasted red pepper slice) on top.
put a generous pinch of the cilantro mixture on top (you will need to remove the ginger hunks now if you used that method)

you can store these at room temp for awhile, or refridgerate if you are going to bring them out later. they are fine and delicious cold, but i prefer them when they're fresh and still warm.

if you are making a meal, you can combine the ingredients however you like, i suggest cutting the tofu to smaller pieces, throwing all the ingredients in a bowl, and mixing it up to eat with chopsticks. or a fork.

bon apetit. <3"

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