I've been away at a conference which is why I haven’t written in a while. It was an amazing event and my favorite session was one on Leadership taught by two instructors, a professor and a lawyer/teacher, from George
Washington University. It was a great week of connecting, networking and most importantly, learning. I’ve been in HR for many, many years and I learn something new with each experience!
I will tell you this for sure, the time away did not fade the memory of the delicious meal that Singer prepared last Wednesday…my mouth is still watering. She consulted her Cooks Illustrated cook book for a go-to favorite in her household, Stir Fried Portobellos and Tofu with Chili Garlic Sauce. She told us about this dish one evening during another gathering and we shamelessly begged her to make it.
The recipe includes stir fried tofu. Growing up in a spaghetti-and-meatballs-meat-and-potatoes-Italian-Irish household, it never occurred to me that I would try, let alone like, tofu, but, I do.
Tofu is made by pressing soy milk curds into soft white blocks. Tofu has a subtle flavor and easily takes on the flavors of complementary ingredients such as soy sauce, chili paste, pepper flakes or garlic for savory dishes or fruit, nuts, spices or syrups for sweet dishes. According to my extensive Wikipedia research, tofu is relatively high in protein and studies suggest that soy protein helps to reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Also, some think that soy may reduce post menopausal hot flashes in women…perhaps I’ll order a vat.
This is a multi-step recipe, but it's so worth it!
Stir-Fried Portobellos and Tofu withFrom: Cooks Illustrated
Garlic Sauce Chile
Glaze2 tablespoons of maple syrup, agave or honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
Sauce¾ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic
Vegetables and Tofu4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 ½ lbs. Portobello mushrooms caps, gills removed and cut into wedges
1 14 oz. block of extra-firm tofu, cut into triangles
1/3 cup cornstarch
8 oz. green beans, trimmed
½ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 pound napa cabbage, cut into ¾ inch strips
¼ cup roasted cashews
Vegetable oil for browning
For the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
For the sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in a separate bowl
For the vegetables and tofu: Combine garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon oil in a third small bowl and set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in 12-nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add mushrooms and brown on one side (without stirring), flip and brown on the other side. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
Spread the cornstarch evenly in baking dish and dredge tofu in cornstarch to coat evenly. Add a little more oil to the pan, add tofu, in a single layer, and cook until golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Flip to brown on other side. Add glaze mixture and cook, stirring, until glaze is thickened and mushrooms are coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer tofu to the plate with the mushrooms. Rinse skillet and dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes. Add broth, cover and cook until beans are just tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates, about 30 seconds. Transfer beans to the plate with the mushrooms and tofu.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add bell pepper, cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Clear the center of the skillet, add garlic mixture and cook. Mashing mixture into pan, until fragrant, 15-20 seconds, then stir mixture into the cabbage.
Return the tofu and vegetables to the skillet, add sauce and cook, stirring until sauce is thickened and vegetables are coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer the entire mixture to a serving plate and top with cashews. Serve with brown rice.