Ancho-honey glazed tofu steak with black bean sauce and tomatillo salsa

Ever since we got back from Vegas, I’ve had a dish I ate at Mesa Grill on my mind. I’ve been dying to try cooking it so this weekend seemed like as good a time as any! Especially since it was the perfect excuse to clean up the grill and put it to use for the first time this season.

This version is hardly complete, I’m missing two of the sauces (roasted red pepper and jalepeño crema), but the flavors were still really good. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, you could use a grill pan or broil the tofu.

I’m definitely making this one again – it’s got a lot going on, but it’s totally worth it!

cilantro-oil

Cilantro oil

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Finished dish

Recipe modified from Food & Wine

Ingredients

Ancho honey glaze:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Cilantro oil

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime

Black bean sauce (the original recipe calls for raw beans which need to be soaked. I didn’t have time for that so I used a can.)

  • 1 can black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water

Tomatillo salsa

  • 2 small tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Juice of one lime
  • Cilantro as much or as little as you prefer
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 14 oz package extra firm tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill. (Or you can use a grill pan.)
  2. Combine ingredients for the bean sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined.
  3. Transfer bean mixture to a saucepan, add salt and pepper and heat on a low flame, about 8-10 minutes or until warm. Be careful to not let it burn!
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the honey with the ancho chile powder and mustard and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice the tofu into two equal pieces and set over paper towels to drain the water. Coat the tofu steaks with the vegetable oil and season each side with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and cook on each side for about 2 minutes. After each side has been cooked, brush the glaze on the steaks and cook an additional 2-3 minutes each side.
  6. To make the salsa, chop all of the ingredients, mix in a bowl and coat with the lime juice. This can be done ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge.
  7. To make the cilantro oil, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until well combined. Strain mixture through a sieve, discarding any cilantro leaves that are left behind.
  8. Plate the dish by spreading the black bean sauce on the plate, then the tofu steak. Top with the tomatillo salsa and drizzle the cilantro oil around everything.
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Pad thai pizza

I concocted this little recipe a few years ago, and now, for the first time I’m putting it down on paper. I had other plans for dinner this weekend, but this just sounded better and I haven’t made it in a while. Plus, the kitchen is closing early tonight in order to be ready for the season premiere of Mad Men!!! I’m excited but also irritated that they’re copping out and splitting the final season into two seasons. Greedy much? Gah! Anyway….back to the food.

I love pad thai, it’s really versatile and you can probably make it a hundred different ways. My brilliant idea was turn it into a pizza. It’s got all the same flavors and ingredients as pad thai, just not the noodles. (And no scallions either because I hate those, so include them if you’re into that sort of thing).

pad-thai-peanuts

Once it’s all pulled together, it’s going to be a bit of a mess to eat. Keep a fork handy!

PS – this peanut sauce is really good and could be used for any other recipe that calls for peanut sauce.

pad-thai-pizza

Recipe

Peanut Sauce

  • 2tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 2tbs teriyaki sauce
  • 1tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1tsp honey

Pizza

  • 1 pizza crust (If you want to make your own, I have a recipe here. Today I just used a store-bought one.)
  • Tofu (or other protein of choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (or more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • Fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 lime

The peanut sauce is going to be your base, so mix to incorporate all ingredients and spread it over the pizza crust. Toss the tofu in what’s left of the sauce. Throw the tofu on top of the pizza and cook according to crust package ingredients.

While the pizza is cooking, scramble the eggs, set aside.

Chop the peanuts and the cilantro and mix them together.

When the pizza is out of the oven, top with (in this order) the scrambled eggs, sprouts, then the peanuts and cilantro.

Squeeze lime over pizza before serving.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

It’s new recipe day! I found this one earlier in the week and was drawn to it because it involved some flavors I don’t typically work with. I pretty much love anything made with shrimp, so this was a no-brainer. As is always the case, I needed to make a vegetarian version for Terry, so I grabbed some tofu for her share.

Full disclosure: the store I went to didn’t have the right sized shrimp and I didn’t feel like making an extra trip, (lazy today) so I got the largest they had. (Fun fact, did you know that shrimp are not sold by size, as in small, medium, large, but rather how many equal a pound? The recipe called for 21/25 shrimp, but all the store had was 26/30. It seems like a small thing, but these kind of details really do make a difference.)

I have to admit, the amount of butter in this dish is a bit startling. And to be honest, I wanted to quit when I got to the 8th tablespoon of butter, but I always follow a new recipe as instructed the first time I make it. Into the pan went the 9th and 10th tablespoon of butter.

Look at all this butter.

allthatbutter

I have to let you know that as easy as some things are to do, even when you’re really good at something, you can still screw it up. My pan was too hot and my first 2 tablespoons of butter burned and I also burnt the garlic. I had to trash it and start over. So if anyone has any tips on how to cook garlic without burning it, I’m all ears. It trips me up every now and then, but I expect I will master it eventually.

This dish is pretty easy to make, and despite my hesitation with the butter quantity, it was really good. Even the tofu version. The sauce was delicious and was perfect to soak up with bread. If I ever make this again, and I’m not sure I will, I would cut back on the butter and amp up the seasoning. I like spicy food and this could use a little more heat, too.

Happy Saturday night, folks. Here is the original recipe, courtesy of Kitchen Riffs.

Now go cook!

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Mini tacos two ways: Peanut-panko tofu and tequila-glazed shrimp with boozy salsa

I was looking for the perfect mini food for the big game, and had these two recipes on my list of things to try. Both were amazing, and with a few tweaks, can be made even tastier the next time around.

For the tofu tacos, I subbed arugula for the cabbage, any greens would probably work if cabbage isn’t your thing.

For the shrimp tacos, I subbed tequila for rum, because that’s what I had at the house and didn’t feel like buying rum just for this.

Peanut-crusted Tofu Taco

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Tequila Shrimp taco

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Recipes:

Peanut-crusted Tofu Taco (Original recipe found here).

Makes 4 mini-tacos.

  • 1  (14-ounce) package water-packed extra-firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  1. Cut tofu lengthwise into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Place tofu slices on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Cover tofu with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Cut each tofu slice, lengthwise, into 1/2-inch-thick strips; cut strips in half crosswise.
  2. Place peanuts in a food processor; process until ground. Combine peanuts and panko in a shallow dish, stirring well. Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish, stirring well. Place flour in a shallow dish.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Dredge half of tofu in flour; dip in egg mixture. Dredge in peanut mixture. Add coated tofu to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until golden and crisp, turning to brown on all sides. Remove tofu from pan, and drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with 1 tablespoon canola oil, tofu, flour, egg mixture, and peanut mixture.
  4. Combine cabbage and the next 4 ingredients (through jalapeño). Drizzle the cabbage mixture with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup slaw. Divide tofu evenly among tacos. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Rum-glazed shrimp with boozy salsa (Original recipe found here).
Next time, I want to try it with scallops – shrimp are a lot of freaking work to clean up!

Makes 10 mini-tacos.

  • ¼ c. red onion
  • 2 T honey
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • ½ c. Captain Morgan White Rum
  • ¼ c. chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp cornstarch
  • 10 10-15 ct. shrimp
  • 10 mini-tortillas (we cut circles out of small tortillas)
  • 1 c. shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
  • 1 c. boozy tropical salsa, recipe below
  1. Finely chop the red onion, and bell pepper (I used orange bell peppers because they’re attractive), then combine everything except the cornstarch and shimp in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the ingredients, making sure the honey is fully dissolved in the marinade. Taste it before you add the shrimp! Make sure it’s delicious.
  2. Devein shrimp and remove shells up the tail. Add the shrimp to the marinade and let them rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat your grill or pan to medium-high heat. Take the shrimp out of the refrigerator and skewer them (this isn’t strictly necessary, but I find they’re easier to handle this way), reserving about a cup of the marinade.
  4. In a small bowl, add about a tablespoon of the marinade to the cornstarch, whisking briskly until no lumps remain. Brush the shrimp on both sides with the reserved marinade. Grill the shrimp for about a minute on each side, flipping them every 30 seconds and brushing the hot side with the reserved marinade after flipping, until they are bright pink and slightly charred.
  5. Remove the shrimp from the skewers. Place one shrimp on top of each mini-taco, then top with lettuce, avocado, and salsa. Fold them in half and use a toothpick to secure. Serve immediately.

Boozy Tropical Salsa

Makes about 3 cups.

  • 1 c. finely cubed fresh papaya
  • 1 c. finely cubed fresh mango
  • 1 c. finely cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 c. finely diced red onion
  • 1 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • juice from 4 key limes (about 2-3 TBS)
  • 1 TBS Captain Morgan White Rum
  • 1 TBS orange juice
  • 2 TBS finely minced cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings (juices, cilantro, salt, jalapeno) as desired. Keeps in the fridge for a few days.