Archive for the ‘tofu’ Category

Interview with the Authors of Secret Restaurant Recipes (plus recipe for Eggplant Tofu)

December 2, 2014

Secret Restaurant Recipes Cover - HI RES.jpgDisclosure: Artscroll supplied me with a review copy of Secret Restaurant Recipes and gave me access to the authors for an interview. Opinions expressed are my own.

The recently released Secret Restaurant Recipes is an especially attractive cookbook: large 9”x9” format, nicely designed layout and lots of photos of beautifully plated food. Add to this the intriguing theme of recipes “from the World’s Top Kosher Restaurants,” and you have my full attention.

Authors Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek spent a year getting recipes from popular kosher restaurants and then testing them and adapting them for the home cook. In the book, they reveal that “not everyone believed that we’d be able to complete a book like this, and our publisher agreed that if we could, it would be a great accomplishment.”

I asked Victoria and Leah how the challenge of creating this cookbook compared to their work on their earlier cookbooks. Leah explained that the “most difficult part was getting the chefs to give over the recipes. When we wrote our own cookbooks, we could easily go into the kitchen and create a dish. Here, we had to wait to get each recipe. Once it finally came in, we had to test it. If it didn’t test well, we’d have to get back in touch with the chef to perfect it. We couldn’t just make changes on our own, because it had to be authentic.” “Believe it or not,” added Victoria, “tracking down and testing other people’s recipes is way, way more time-consuming that simply writing our own in our kitchens.”



Maple Tamari Tofu

June 9, 2014


The problem with most tofu that I get in restaurants is that  the sauce just sits on the surface of  thick pieces that are flavorless on the inside.

Here is my tricks for getting  flavor all the way into the center of the tofu:

(1) Put salt and pepper on the tofu while it drains. The seasoning works its way into the tofu. The longer the tofu absorbs the seasonings, the more flavor on the inside of the tofu;

(2) Cook the tofu a long time before adding the sauce to drive off excess moisture and make the inside of the tofu a bit spongy; and

(2) Add water to the sauce. If you dilute the sauce, the sauce will soak into the tofu. After it soaks in, then you can boil down the remaining sauce into a thick glaze.

The following maple soy sauce has become my new go-to glaze for tempeh and tofu.


Tofu Teriyaki

February 3, 2014


This started off as a fairly complicated recipe from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. The original recipe involved using half the teriyaki sauce for marinating tofu “steaks” and simmering the other half of the marinade with orange juice and sake to make a reduction sauce. The tofu steaks then get baked and served with the reduction over udon noodles with basil, snow peas, water chestnuts, wild mushrooms and a basil/red chile/scallion garnish.

I have a much simpler approach. I use the teriyaki sauce for marinating cubed tofu, which I then sear in a skillet. The leftover marinade is poured over the seared tofu in the skillet and reduced down and thickened with a little cornstarch. The tofu can be served over rice or noodles.


Easy Blender Chocolate Mousse (Vegan)

April 18, 2013


I had made chocolate mousse with tofu before. And it was very nice But when I saw a tofu based mousse recipe from Francois Payard, I had the feeling it would be a bit better than what I had tried before. It was excellent: although denser than some mousses, it was surprisingly light given that there was no whipped cream or egg whites folded into it.

I changed the recipe out of sheer laziness. The original recipe calls for heating soy milk in a pot, pouring it over chopped chocolate in a bowl, whisking to make a ganache and then folding in silken tofu that was pureed in a food processor. I found a way to make this a one appliance, one step recipe. I dump freshly brewed coffee, chocolate chunks and silken tofu in the blender and whirl away. The resulting mousse looks hopelessly liquid, but it sets up in the fridge. Somehow or other, the blender whips some bubbles into the mixture, giving it that fluffiness characteristic of mousses.

The original recipe calls for a pound of 61% chocolate, a pint of vanilla soy milk, 12.3 ounces of silken tofu and a fresh vanilla bean. There was no indication of serving yield.

I tried two different formulas:

(1) 6 ounces hot coffee, 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 2 ounces chocolate chips, 4 ounces silken tofu, 2 tsp. vanilla; and

(2) 5 ounces hot coffee, 1 ounces coconut oil, 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 1 Tbl. cocoa powder, 4 ounces silken tofu, a pinch of salt, and 2 tsp. vanilla.

Each version was good and yielded 4 servings (or 5 smallish servings).


Vegetarian Pad Thai-Style Fried Rice Salad

July 12, 2012

This recipe caught my eye when I saw in the new NYT cookbook by Amanda Hesser: she said she wants this in her refrigerator at all times as the perfect work at home lunch. I eliminated the shrimp and chicken and substituted tofu. You can serve this warm or cold, which makes it handy for Shabbos lunch.


Miso Happy

May 16, 2012

Is there anything as cheering on a gray, rainy day as a bowl of miso soup? It is so healthy and energizing.

This isn’t authentic miso soup, but more of a simple cheat. All the same, it strongly reminds me of the kind of soup I have had in restaurants.

It is really pretty easy. Combine miso, water, a little soy sauce, cubed tofu, sliced scallions and sliced mushrooms. Heat to not quite boiling. Put a spoonful of fried onions in a ceramic bowl, add the soup.

Miso is very versatile–no need to save just for soup making (although I hear that a little bit added to French Onion soup is fabulous). You can use it in dressings, spreads and marinades for fish, poultry and vegetables.

Miso-glazed cod is a classic, but you can use miso on salmon, too. I concocted a marinade with 2 Tbl. white miso, 2 Tbl. Mirin, 1 Tbl. honey, the juice of half a lime, a few shakes of dried ginger and a pinch of white pepper. This is enough marinade for a pound of fish. Roast at 425 for 25 minutes.

Here is another thing you can do with miso that is extraordinarily easy: combine peanut butter (2 Tbl.), miso (2 tsp.), and honey (to taste, maybe a teaspoon or two). Spread this on toast and top with sliced apple, pear or banana.  This sandwich idea (with the apples) originally came from Serendipity. The recipe was published in The Serendipity Cookbook, which is out of print. I don’t have a copy of that book and can’t find the recipe online, so my version is from memory. Actually, I think I remember first learning about it from this episode of this show, where the owner of the restaurant Serendipity, Calvin Holt, demonstrated how to make the sandwich. I think the original sandwich involved alfalfa sprouts, but I can’t precisely remember.


Sweet Chili Lime Mushrooms with Collards and Quinoa

February 13, 2012

I had collards that I needed to use up. Originally, I was thinking of making a recipe from Food52 for kale and quinoa, and then I saw this recipe at VeganYumYum for Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok Steamed Collards and Quinoa. The only problem was that I had no tofu and I needed to use up a box of cremini mushrooms and some portobellas.

It occurred to me that the tofu marinade (sugar, lime, soy, garlic, red chili flakes) would work perfectly with grilled mushrooms. The resulting mushrooms were spicy, sweet, hot and tangy. A nice change from the usual grilled portobellas.

The mushrooms are worth making separately from the collards and the quinoa if you are looking for a side dish instead of a vegetarian main course.


Moosewood’s Easy Baked Tofu Over Japanese Noodles

June 8, 2010

This is an easy and delicious dish from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. (more…)

Eating Up My Pantry: Curried Coconut Noodles and Tofu Stir-Fry

March 3, 2009

curried noodles stir fry

Have you heard about the eGullet challenge to skip your weekly grocery shopping and just live off the bounty already in your pantry/freezer/fridge? I’m so there!

Part of the challenge involves posting your meals under this week-long experiment. So far, I have finished off the pizza dough in the fridge, made veggie tacos, and prepared curried coconut noodles (Curried Noodles with Cashews in Coconut Sauce from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, pp.245-6). Tonight, I turned leftover curried coconut noodles into another meal by combining them with a tofu stir-fry. (more…)

Faster Vegan Spinach Quiche

December 7, 2008

I have had my eye on a vegan spinach quiche at 101 Cookbooks for a while now. Heidi reported that it took her 3 hours to make. A bit discouraging. I took a few shortcuts and cut it down to 1 hour prep time, 1 hour bake time.

I sauteed 1 cup of onion and 4 cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil until translucent, and then dumped in 1 1/2 pounds of frozen spinach.

While that was cooking, covered, I made the crust. I pulsed 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of whole wheat flour in a food processor, and then pulsed in 1/3 cup each of olive oil and water until the mixture started to clump. I pressed the crust mixture out into a 12″ round on a square of non-stick heavy duty foil. I put the dough circle (still on the foil) on a baking sheet.

I mashed up the spinach and seasoned it. I then pureed it with 1 package of extra-firm tofu in the food processor. This made plenty of filling, which I poured into the center of my crust. Then I lifted up the foil all around the filling to create edges for the tart. I flipped some of the crust over the filling to make it more like a galette. Then into the oven to bake.

It was OK. Truthfully, I missed the eggy-ness and cheesiness of real quiche. Also, I really should have added in the mushrooms. But, not bad.

Much yummier was the vegan stew that I made last week.