Kosheri: Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice

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I am in the throws of an intimate relationship with Ottolenghi. I take it to bed, fall asleep with it in my arms, and think about it when I’m strolling through my day. As much as I hate the use of this word to describe anything related to food–it sounds so damn pretentious and snobby– the book is approachable (ahh, there it is. And now¬†you can hear the local sommelier going on some preachy diatribe about approachable tannins and relatable mouth feel..blah blah blah). But in all seriousness, Yotam Ottolenghi & Co simply deliver recipes and techniques from an unfamiliar culture to me in a way that excites and delights. So frequently I find cook books to be an exclusive conversation between a chef and his mirror, an arrogant array of feel-good notes about how great that sourdough starter was one time at band camp. I do not like that.
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Honey Glazed Tofu

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I recently stumbled upon the Herbivoracious blog and have been having an absolute ball flipping through his recipes. That man knows how to get his vegetarian on like it’s his JOB (which, actually, I believe it is. He’s a chef.)

This recipe is all about the sauce, so if you’re not a tofu kind of gal/guy/whatever, then you can sub it out for beef, chicken, water buffalo, etc. Let me warn you: it’s insanely delicious. Lock away the portions you don’t plan on barreling through well before you begin, or you may end up like me: black-out snarfing over the sink while my cat shot me judgmental looks. She thinks she’s so superior.

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Honey Glazed Tofu

adapted a tad from Herbivoracious

20 oz tofu
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 thinly sliced yellow onion
Sauce:
1/2 c honey
1/4 c rice wine
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 t sesame oil
1/3 c soy sauce
dash fish sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 t freshly grated ginger
1/2 t red pepper flakes
sliced green onions
2 T crushed minute tapioca (food processor or mortar & pestle)

Prep the tofu by slicing it into 3/4″ slabs and laying it out on paper towel. Press out some of the moisture with more paper towels and set the tofu aside. In a medium bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk together. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high. When hot, lay the tofu out in a single layer and brown for about 5 minutes. When the tofu is loosened from the bottom of the pan (if it doesn’t “give” fairly easily then it’s not ready to be flipped), flip and cook another 4-5 minutes. Pour off about half of the oil into a heat-proof ceramic bowl. Add the sliced onion to the pan along with the sauce and reduce the heat to medium low. After a couple of minutes, remove the tofu pieces and allow the sauce to come to a simmer. It will thicken nicely, but add some stock if you want a thinner situation.

I served this over coconut rice (a must, in my opinion) with some grilled bok choy and it was delightful. Crispy, saucey goodness–what more could I want?

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