Friday, August 7, 2009

vegan not-even-close-to-express

After two weeks of relatively quickly prepared meals, I got spoiled and kind of lost my patience with dinner... Granted, dinner still took only a little longer than an hour, all said, but it just felt like it took so much longer. Jambalaya night should be fun...I know from my other recipe to not expect to eat that for an hour and a half after the cookbook opens.

Tonight's dinner was Baked Tofu with Coconut-Lime Sauce accompanied by a simple soy-sauce stirfry of yellow and orange bell pepper strips with chopped bok choy (thanks for the tip, Vegan Express!) It was very pretty, if not time consuming. It wasn't really labor intensive, though - the tofu baked for an hour and only needed attending once every 15 minutes; the sauce simmered nicely without my constant guidance, and once the vegetables were chopped it only took a few minutes to cook them. Perhaps it was the lack of activity that made it feel long. Perhaps I should have used my downtime to call my mother and apologize for being an ingrate (if you don't get that, go back and read my review of Veganomicon again).

Anyway, eventually it was done and pretty and garnered compliments from Mister, which was especially important, since this is another one of my own creations. So I present to you,

Baked Tofu with Coconut-Lime Sauce
14 oz firm tofu
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider or rice wine vinegar
15 oz lite coconut milk
4 oz apple juice
1/2 Tbsp sugar
zest of one lime
pinch of salt
2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in a little warm water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Slice tofu crosswise into 8 slices and pat dry with towels. Lay tofu slices in baking dish. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combing peanut oil, soy sauce, and vinegar with a whisk, then drizzle evenly over the tofu slices in the baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, for one hour, flipping the tofu every 15 minutes and tipping the baking dish to redistribute the juices.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, apple juice, lime zest, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer, not a boil. Simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by about half its volume. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir until smooth, then add to sauce and stir until thickened. Continue to cook, stirring more frequently, for about 10 minutes more.
By now the tofu should be finished cooking. Remove sauce from heat, arrange tofu slices on a plate or serving platter and ladle sauce down the center of the slices to serve.

Enjoy! Mister said it tasted exotic - the lime is delightfully noticeable without being overpowering. I was originally planning on squeezing the lime juice in as well, but it was quite strong without it, so I think that would have been a bit much. I also wish the sauce had thickened and reduced a little bit more, but like I said, I lost my patience with it and called a draw.

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