Sunday, August 2, 2009

Experimentation Sunday

I try to use a day off of work, or even any weekend day, to try a new recipe or try something a little bit more involved than the easy suppers I toss together after work.

This weekend I pulled out a cookbook my aunt gave me, The Ethnic Vegetarian, and decided to try an African-inspired supper. I made Senegalese tofu, North African orange salad, and Moroccan zucchini pancakes. I'm not sure if I didn't follow the recipes precisely or what the problem was, but the tofu was tasty even if it didn't turn out as it should have. The zucchini pancakes, on the other hand, were a flop I will not describe here. It's possible that I would have done better to shred or grate the zucchini rather than putting them in the food processor as the recipe instructed. I also used the 3 eggs the recipe called for and the pancakes (okay, mush) tasted eggy - ick!

On with the recipes worth reporting on! First, I made the dressing for the orange salad so that I could refrigerate it:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup olive or salad oil

Serve over salad greens (I used Romaine), red onion slices, and orange wedges.

Next, I made the marinade for the tofu. I don't think I've ever put such strange ingredients together.

Senegalese Tofu

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (the recipe calls for chunky, but I used what I had = smooth)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 serrano chile pepper (the recipe says minced, but I left it in large chunks to flavor the marinade and then removed them)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 springs fresh thyme, finely chopped (again, I used dried herbs here)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound firm silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over tofu slices. My marinade was very chunky and didn't cover the tofu; furthermore, stirring the mix broke the tofu into pieces. So I simply placed a spoonful of the marinade over each slice. This says to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. I happened to leave it out longer, in hopes that the marinade would spread. I removed the serrano before broiling the tofu.

Broil the tofu for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Well, the peanut butter was already brown, so I just timed it and the turned it over, broiled on the other side for 3 minutes, and that was that. The tofu was flavorful, if still soft, and we both agreed the recipe is one to try again with a few modifications. My husband suggested including nuts, which actually would have been present if I used the chunky peanut butter, and I would chop the onion into much smaller pieces.

And this, my friends, is what you get from Experimentation Sunday.

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