Tofu. And Tyler. Now who really thought you would see those two words together in the same sentence? Tyler is just such an All-American meat and potatoes kind of guy,not that he doesn't love his veggies, but he does tend to spend a lot of his time cooking with beef. That being said, the tofu recipe isn't his...it's from Veganomicon...but I figured I would add a little flair to it by eating it with some of Tyler's creamed spinach. And, really, it never hurts to add a little Tyler to every meal, especially when the aforesaid meal is just in time for Tyler Florence Fridays!
I got the creamed spinach recipe from the Food Network website, and I will concede that I did make some changes. Instead of heavy cream, I used part half and half part almond milk. Also, because I have been reading Anthony Bourdain lately for Cook the Books, I substituted shallots for the onions. In his book Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain claims that one of the main differences between restaurant and home cooking is that restaurant chefs use shallots. Always. Even if they say they are using onions, they are actually using shallots. Trick of the trade. Honestly, that book is rubbing off on me more than I care to admit, so hats off to Cook the Books for choosing it as their next read. I also may never order fish in a restaurant on a Monday again. Or be able to enjoy brunch. Ironic, because Bourdain's restaurant, Les Halles, serves brunch.
In honor of St. Paddy's day/weekend, my roommate and I are going to a Dropkick Murphies concert tonight. They are basically the posterband for Boston and the Red Sox (yes even though I am a New Yorker, I am an avid member of the Red Sox Nation) and are probably most famous for playing the theme song of the movie The Departed. SO excited, it's bound to be a great show.
And before I forget, a little feedback on the tofu recipe. I really liked the crust on the tofu. Really. A lot. Except I couldn't help thinking that it would be even better on chicken. This is the one time that the softer texture of tofu has left me thinking that, so heads up for anyone who decides to make this. It grew on me a bit as I was eating it, but it definitely took some getting used to.
Chile-Crusted Baked Tofu
Serves 2, adapted from Veganomicon
1 package of lite extra firm tofu
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1. Squeeze the liquid out of the tofu. Cut it into 8 slices, and then cut each of those diagonally across into 6 triangles. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients except for the cornstarch. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and the cornstarch until dissolved. Piece by piece, dip the tofu in the milk and then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet.
3. Spray with cooking spray and then bake for 12-15 minutes/side. I ate these inside a pita and didn't seem to have the drying out problem that some other people have claimed to have had with these. Go figure.
Serves 2, adapted from Tyler Florence
20 oz spinach
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup almond milk
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a pan until the butter is melted. Add in the shallots and garlic and cook for 5 or so minutes or until the onions start to soften.
2. Add in the spinach bit by bit, pushing the spinach to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so that it wilts. Do this until all of the spinach has been cooked.
3. Add in the milk(s) and nutmeg. Simmer for 10 minutes, constantly stirring. Add in salt and pepper to taste.