Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tofu Cutlets

It's cold again in the Hill Country. Not as bad as last week, but still unreasonably cold. This is Texas for goodness sake! Woke up to snow flurries and when that stopped, the wind picked up. The day only got colder. When the weather gets cold, I get cooking. It keeps me from going crazy and warms up the house at the same time. Last week it was onion tart, roasted beets and baked sweet potatoes. Today it was roasted turnips, tofu cutlets and apple chestnut heart tarts. The apple chestnut heart tarts I will post on Friday so maybe they can be made for Valentines' Day. They are luscious and-surprise!-vegan, made with a coconut oil pastry.
I have been roasting all our veggies about quick and easy! Cut up the vegetables, douse with some extra virgin olive oil and a bit of kosher salt and spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake 8-15 minutes (depending on the veggie) in a 550 degree oven until browned a bit and ever so slightly tender. Cauliflower is our favorite, but broccoli is also good (I lower the heat to 500 for broccoli), beets are amazing, as are sweet potatoes. My sweet and remarkable neighbor Warren (someday I will do a post on September he will be 87 and he can do ANYTHING!) dropped off 3 beautiful big turnips he grew at the house the other day. I roasted them today and they were the best! With some tofu cutlets, they made a great lunch for Scott and I. I've been making tofu cutlets for 30 years (gee, I feel too young to have been doing ANYTHING for 30 years!) and my technique has changed a bit over the years. I use to pan "fry" them, but now I bake them.  Way less oil and I can bake them all at once. Same crispy outsides and tender insides.
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. I cover mine with foil because it makes clean up easier. Then start with a pound of firm or extra firm tofu.
Slice into 1/3-1/2" slices.
Now make the Tofu Breading Mix! Back in the early 1980's when I had my funky, little health food store in Boerne, I used to package this mix and sell it. Some customers told me it made the best breading for fried catfish. Never tried it...
Mix 2 cups stone ground cornmeal (organic is oh! so good) with 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes, 3-4 Tablespoons whole sesame seeds, 1 Tablespoon garlic granules and 1 Tablespoon kosher salt. Mix this up real good. This makes much more than you'll need for a pound of tofu. I store the extra in my freezer...who knows? maybe I'll want to fry up some catfish sometime...
Now dredge the catfish tofu in the cornmeal mixture covering both sides. The tofu is wet so the mixture should stick just fine. Remember to get the sides covered also.
Place the cutlets on a well greased cookie sheet.
Pop these in the oven for 15-20 minutes (they'll be light golden brown), then take the cookie sheet out of the oven and turn them over. If you have teflon hands like me, you can do it with your fingers. If not, use a spatula. Place the sheet back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Take the sheet out of the oven and let the cutlets sit on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes as they firm up a bit while sitting. When my girls were little we ate these most every week. They loved them with catsup. I'm still partial to them that way.
See the roasted turnips? We ate an entire tray of turnips and a whole pound of tofu for lunch. Burp!
If you have leftovers, they heat up in a skillet just fine. Maybe someday I'll post how to make tofu at home. The process is pretty much the same as making the mozzarella I wrote about last weekend, but instead of using cows milk you make soymilk and use that! I even wrote a booklet called "60 Minutes To Tofu" many years ago. I think I have a copy in a desk drawer somewhere. Here's to "doing it yourself"!
Have a great week and stay warm!!

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