Sesame Maple Tofu

This one is a breeze of a recipe to pull together on a weeknight. I usually press the tofu during the day while I'm at work, then slice and marinate it for 15 minutes before searing. It's awesome with rice, or noodles, or even just served with an easy salad and a green veg. I love the subtle sweetness provided by the maple syrup. In a pinch you could use agave or honey as a substitute.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Sesame Maple Tofu

Adapted from Book of Yum

serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of firm tofu 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for cooking tofu)
Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Directions

Remove tofu from packaging and drain water. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top of paper towels, cover with more paper towels and place a second plate on top of the tofu. Weight the second plate with canned goods or other heavy (stable) items. Press tofu for at least 30 minutes (un-refrigerated is fine), or up to 10 hours refrigerated. I do this before I head out to work. Pressing the tofu removes excess moisture, allowing the tofu to suck up the flavorful marinade.

In a wide dish, mix together marinade ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic). Cut tofu block in half length wise, and diagonally in the center to create 4 large triangles (see pictures). Place tofu in marinade in one layer and marinate between 15-30 minutes. Preheat a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil over medium high heat. Gently dry off the tofu with another paper towel to ensure a good sear. Sear tofu on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot or warm. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. Just remember not to "crowd" the pan. Sear in batches so you get it right!

Eggplant Soyaki

This recipe is an easy side dish or meatless main. Top rice, noodles, or serve along with a bit of lean protein and you've got dinner. I love eggplant, but decided to come up with this recipe for an easy way to cook it-no salting required. Keep an eye on the oven rack height to get the cooking just right.

Trader Joe's makes Soyaki. There are many imitations on the market, but you might as well buy the real thing because it's soooo good. 

eggplant soyaki

Eggplant Soyaki

Ingredients

  • 1 large young globe eggplant
  • 1/4 cup Soyaki
  • 1/4 cup hoisin

Directions

Adjust oven rack to approximately 5 inches below broiler. Preheat broiler to high. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile with a vegetable peeler, remove stripes of the eggplant skin. This will help keep the eggplant together, while removing some of the tougher skin (it also gives a nice appearance). Cut off the top and end of the eggplant, and cut into 1/2 inch slices and place in one layer on the foil-lined sheet pan. In a small bowl, combine the Soyaki and hoisin. With a pastry brush, apply the Soyaki glaze on one side and broil on high for 5 minutes. Flip eggplant and apply glaze, broil for another 5 minutes. Repeat two more times for a total cooking time of 20 minutes. If eggplant is browning too quickly lower the rack height. Serve immediately, or at room temperature.