Monday, October 21, 2013

Spicy Tofu Stir Fry

Unofficially, our Italy/Portugal trip was an early first anniversary celebration, but our actual anniversary was this Sunday so we spent the weekend with some of our nearest and dearest friends! We had dinner at A&E’s house on Friday night, complete with some competitive Wii Sports and giant Jenga.  Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures – I have to get better at that! We caught up with my high school friend Dan and his fiancĂ©e on Saturday; they were visiting from DC, so we caught up over pumpkin beers at 7B in the East Village.  After Dan headed off to the Pearl Jam concert in Brooklyn, KK and I had an anniversary date night at Paprika and Puddin’.  Everything was delicious, and we used our newly acquired Italian wine knowledge to order the perfect bottle of Chianti.  I also continued the day’s pumpkin trend with pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage for dinner and pumpkin pudding for dessert! For our actual anniversary on Sunday, KK and I joined a group of friends for tailgating and football at the Jets-Patriots game.  We got a little sentimental as we headed to the stadium because we passed our wedding venue, the Sheraton Meadowlands! We capped the day off with the traditional first anniversary dessert of frozen wedding cake.  Lasting a year in the freezer, including a few post-Sandy days without power, our dulce de leche cake from Palermo’s was much better than anticipated.  It was actually so good, that we saved some for tonight, too.  I think the tasty year-old cake is a positive sign for the many, many years of marriage we have ahead of us! Cheers!

Here's yet another take on stir fry/fried rice.  Apparently I gravitate towards these simple Asian dishes because there are tons of different varieties in my gmail.  I like them because they're simple, quick, and pack in a lot of vegetables - pretty much any vegetable that I have in stock at that particular time.  This time around, we went vegetarian - partially because we didn't have any chicken thawed and partially because I love tofu.  I didn't realize that marination time was required, so I was a little hungry and impatient by the time the tofu was ready to be cooked.  I didn't allow it to fully crisp so, as I knew it would, the tofu started to crumble when I tossed it with the vegetables and rice.  Not the end of the world - the dish still tasted great with sliced carrots, water chestnuts, and peanuts (note - I excluded the broccoli that was called for in the original recipe).

Spicy Tofu Stir Fry
Adapted from Fake Ginger
Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 cup uncooked rice
5 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tsp cornstarch, divided
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup vegetable broth
Splash of rice vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili paste
2 cup carrots, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained and diced
¾ cup dry-roasted peanuts

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp cornstarch in a large bowl.  Add cubed tofu and toss coat.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. After tofu is marinated, heat vegetable oil in a wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and brown on all sides.

4. While tofu cooks, combine remaining 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch, vegetable broth, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and chili paste in a small bowl.  Add sauce to wok and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute until thickened. Add carrots; cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until carrots are tender.  Add water chestnuts and peanuts; stir to combine. Serve immediately over rice.

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