Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Drrrrrrrty South (Virtue and Vice)

Time for some comfort food around here, and who knows how to do that better than the Southerners? I don't know either. I wanted some barbecue (and I don't mean cooking out on the grill, as we tend to say here in the Midwest) sauce. I wanted some FRIES. Heck, I even wanted some greens! So you know what? I had them all - just cooked it all up the veggie way.

The barbecue sauce craving? I could easily satisfy that with tofu. I've purchased 11 containers of tofu in my lifetime. This is the first that has even been opened, much less cooked with. I've always been fearful that it would suddenly jump out of the container and run around the kitchen taunting me or successfully yield to the inevitably awesomely bad dish I was about to create. In fact, it wriggles around happily in its own packaging until removed and easily molded itself into the barbecue flavor I was seeking. The recipe simply could not be any easier.

Barbecue Tofu
-Slice extra-firm tofu into 1/2" sections widthwise as desired. Lay flat on a couple of paper towels; cover with a couple more paper towels; place a pan or cutting board on top for weight and let drain 15-20 minutes.
-Cover with BBQ sauce and let marinate as desired. (I let mine sit about 30 minutes while I worked on the fries.)
-Preheat oven to 350. Cook for about 20 minutes. (Yes, really, that's it!)

The fries? I bumped up the nutritional value by using a sweet potato and baking instead of frying. Have you ever made sweet potato fries? Cooking them to a lovely crisp is next to impossible, until now. I searched the internet looking high and low for a cooking method that would make it happen and tried a couple of the tips. They worked! The sugar does not allow them to crisp as a regular potato would, but these were far better than the charred mushy mess that usually occurs.

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato (Depending on size this could feed up to 4. Mine was medium sized, and I used a little less than half)
1 egg white
a dash of flour (slightly less than 1 tbsp)
parchment paper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice sweet potato into thin (about 1/4") strips. Break egg white into a sealable plastic bag or other covered container. Add fries and shake well to coat. When fries are coated, add the flour and shake again, coating fully. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Distribute fries in one even layer with as much space as possible and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning once.

The greens? I didn't have any collards on hands, but I did have chard, another great dark leafy green vegetable. While the tofu was baking I sauteed the chard in a little bit of cooking spray and a dash of nutmeg. I used about a cup since it wilts down pretty well.

Lest you think I'm all virtue and no vice I threw in a beer to wash it all down. The meal may be Southern-inspired but I'm still a Chicago girl and you won't find Bud Light anywhere near my fridge. I'm a Miller girl! The Beanpole and I had picked up a case for our ill-fated bowl game against the Hawkeyes last weekend so I grabbed one and enjoyed every last drop!


Elaine McDonald said...

I want to try this one as soon as I finish the lemonade diet. I have been looking for ways to prepare tofu. I used the lemonade diet to cleanse the toxins, cholesterol etc out of the body and I am going to try the vegetarian way, also. One question though, I saw where you had an egg sandwich was that before you switched to vegan? You should make one of the my publisher books with your recipes and sell it on your blog. You use ingredients I have never even tried! Amazing they all look so good! I would love to see more of what you can do with tofu!

LoraBB said...

Thanks! As of right now I'm technically a pesco-vegetarian and not vegan, though I may progress to that at some point, so eggs, dairy products, and fish are still fair game. I'm primarily reserving the fish option for dining out to avoid an endless parade of portabella sandwiches and roasted veggie wraps! Definitely stop back for more tofu recipes - I have some in the works!