You have your tailor, your deli man, your produce guy, and florist.
Well I, I have a tofu guy.
On the corner of Grand St. and Bowery just past Little Italy, with all its pasta and bakeries, there lies a small garage opening where soy bean magic happens.
This is the freshest, naturalist, yummiest tofu I have ever tasted.
Not to mentioned cheapest!! For $1 you get 4 blocks. Yes, 1 dollar!! Better than the McD’s dollar menu for sure friends.
He doesn’t speak English very well, but we don’t need it. I just point and he gives me exactly what I want, and it’s delicious. Best / easiest relationship ever. He speaks the prices in English fine though, haha.
He also has this amazing sweet hot tofu and soy milk. I do not even like boxed soy milk – but fresh made is just so good. I have had one other and I loved that too. Just more evidence that fresh and natural is the way to go!
When I can refrain from taking bites of this just raw (see missing corners in above photo).i It really is that good. Then, my favorite preparation is baked. I know Laura is on the baked tofu bandwagon – hit up her blog for some really good marinades.
I decided to stray from my typical asian themed preparation and go with a middle eastern take.
Za’atar Baked Tofu
Za’atar seasoning is a funny thing. It is usually a blend of dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, salt and sometimes mint, mixed with toasted sesame seeds and sumac. Every middle eastern country has its variation and takes pride in their unique blend. My particular blend is a Lebanese blend from a NYC spice market.
And baked tofu is the perfect crispy on the outside and fluffily on the inside. If you are iffy about tofu or think you do not like it, give baking a shot. Then, make your decision.
Yields: 2-4 servings
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed (or 2 of my fresh blocks)
- 1T liquid aminos (or soy sauce/tamari)
- 1T white wine vinegar (or balsamic)
- few squirts of lemon juice (this is a standard recipe measure, right??)
- 1- 2 T lebanese Za’tar mix
- parsely, for garnish
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Drain liquid from tofu, cut in half, and press for 15-20 minutes with heavy pans or cookbooks. (I need a tofu press – are you listening Santa?).
3. Mix together liquid aminos, vinegar, lemon juice and spice mix.
4. 3. Cut tofu in 6-8 slabs and marinade for however long you have 15 minutes each side to overnight. I did the quick and dirty 15 minutes.
5. Spread tofu out evenly across baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10-12 mins on each side, or until golden brown on the outside.
I’ve been eating mine for lunch over salads with hummus. My Elf for Health Maddie had it along side a yummy sounding asparagus side dish. It is summer where she is in Australia – jealous! It’s officially winter in NYC. Cold and dark by 445pm.
How do you like your tofu? Baked, fried, grilled, not at all?? My friend Rae recently gave it another ago and baked it after I posted about doing a Korean BBQ baked dish and now she is a believer.
In other news – I currently really love my jobs!! I’ve been up at dawn working doubles at both Lulu and Pushcart almost everyday this week. Everyone is so happy and inspirational that I’m just thrilled about it all. The holiday spirit may be playing a part too
Now, I am off to do laundry which does not thrill me so much—
In Happiness and Health,