Friday, August 20, 2010

Thai-Style Grilled Tofu

I have noticed during the past week or so that, when the sun goes down, the temperature cools off very quickly. *sigh* Summer is coming to an end, and I am not happy at all about it! I’ve been lingering outside, where we usually have dinner, until after it becomes dark. I guess that I’m trying to hang on to the last of these long, warm days. We head to the beach soon, and when we return it will be fall.

Because the temps are still hovering around 90 during the day, I continue to grill outside whenever possible. Today I looked through the refrigerator and made note of what had to be used before vacation. Little bits of marinades and dressings, fruit and veggies, and I found a package of tofu in the back which was due to expire in 2 days. Jack does not like tofu, but I’ve been trying occasionally to change that. There is one recipe that he does enjoy, but everything else has fallen flat.

Except for this newest one! :) And there was much rejoicing…

I found a great way to rid the tofu of excess water. Most methods I have seen use paper towels and I try hard not to over-use them (it’s such a waste), so this time I tried a couple of huge flour-sack towels, folded several times, and it worked like a charm.

The marinade/ sauce was very good, an Thai-inspired concoction and I am very glad that I wrote down the ingredients and measurements. And Jack’s opinion “it’s good. It would be better with chicken, but really, this is good”. High praise, indeed, from the avowed tofu-disliker!

Thai-Style Grilled Tofu

14 ounce package of firm tofu

2 T water

2 T reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 T lime juice

1 T canola oil

½ T peanut butter

2 t brown sugar

1 t minced ginger

1 t minced garlic

1 t sesame oil

¼ t red pepper flakes

1 T chopped roasted peanuts

1 T chopped cilantro

Slice the tofu lengthwise into 6 equal slices. Fold a large flour sack towel (or other large cloth kitchen towel) to fit a small baking sheet. Place the tofu slices on the towel, top with another similarly-folded towel, and place a baking sheet on top. Add weight to the top baking sheet (I used a 20-pound bag of rice and it worked great). Allow the tofu to be pressed and drained for 10minutes.

While the tofu is being squeezed, mix the water through pepper flakes in a dish that will hold all of the tofu slices in a single layer. Place the tofu in the marinade, turning to coat. Marinate for 20-30 minutes, turning frequently.

Preheat a grill to medium. Generously coat the tofu slices with cooking spray, then carefully transfer to the grill surface. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the tofu shows browned grill marks, and carefully turn. Grill the other side until the surface is marked.

Divide the rice between 2 plates. Place the tofu slices on top, and drizzle generously with peanut sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

( I would have liked some fresh lime juice squeezed on top, but I only had 1/2 lime in the fridge and used it in the marinade.)

Oh, and there is much joy tonight. We gave the pond a thorough cleaning the other day, the water is nice and clear, and this afternoon I walked by and heard a “plop”. Sitting on the porch, watching intently, I saw a small frog climb out to sit on a rock. I was so sad this spring when I realized that all of our frogs had perished over this past winter, and no toads showed up to perform their spring serenade, either. And now the frogs are returning! Or, rather, a frog has returned. Gotta start somewhere-- yay!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hummingbird Moths

Have you ever seen a large insect hovering over your brightly-colored summer flowers? It may be a hummingbird moth. My phlox is especially gorgeous this year, the flowers a beautiful vibrant deep pink shade, and the hummingbird moths are all over them (as well as are a variety of butterflies).

Here are some photos. I’m going to plant more of the phlox in the fall so next year I’ll have even more moths and butterflies. Unfortunately, the flowers last only 6 weeks or so, but they are so intensely gorgeous during bloom that I forgive them this flaw.