Ellen’s Silken Tofu Chocolate Pie

This recipe is taken from one of Alton Brown‘s recipes.  Very easy and so delicious!  Another great way to introduce tofu into your diet and save on some calories!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I use 60% cocoa – bittersweet)
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (optional – it’s just as good without it)
  • 1 block silken tofu (this is also sold as “Soft” tofu)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 – 9″ pie crust (chocolate, graham, cream cheese [baked] – they’re all good 🙂

Melt chocolate and liqueur in a double boiler, add vanilla, honey and salt.

double boiler

Combine sauce with the tofu in a blender and liquify until smooth. Pour into pie crust.

Chill for 2 hours or until set.

rich creamy chocolate pie

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Crispy Seared Tofu

     It seems to me that quite a lot of people have heard of replacing meat with tofu, but hardly anyone knows what to DO with those questionable-looking white blocks of it that they see in the store.  First, you have to decide what kind of tofu you’re needing.  The soft tofu is good to use in smoothies and also sauces that call for soft cheeses (light ricotta).  However, if you’re going to be putting tofu in a dish and you don’t want it falling apart, you’ll want to purchase the “hard” or “extra-firm” version of this soy-wonder.  What I’ll be describing is how to prepare crispy seared tofu made from the extra-firm variety.  This would be the kind of tofu that would work well in curry dishes, hearty stews or eaten on their own with a yummy dipping sauce.  So, here we go!

Tofu

  • As I mentioned before, you’ll want to start with a very firm block of tofu.  You can find these in almost any major super market near the produce or the cheese sections of the store.  If you can’t find it, just ask!
  • Tofu is stored in water, so you’ll want to drain the water off of the block of tofu and pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Next, cut the tofu into cubes (or whatever shape you like, really) that are roughly the same size.
  • Using a non-stick skillet, lightly coat the pan with oil (preferably one that doesn’t have a low smoking point– I prefer canola oil) and set the heat on high.  You want that sucker to be good and hot!
  • Once the pan is nice and hot, arranged the cut tofu around the pan so that they are not touching and are evenly distributed.  What you’re going to do is sear the tofu until it is golden and crispy.
  • After a side has been seared, gently turn tofu and start searing another side.  You will repeat this process until all sides are golden and crispy.
  • Once all sides have been seared, remove the tofu from the pan and place it on a towel (or paper towels) in order to get some of the excess oil off– you don’t want your tofu to get soggy.
  • Lightly salt (or season with whatever seasonings you’ll be cooking with) and set aside.crispy tofu

Now you’ve got some great looking, crispy tofu that’s ready to eat, thrown into a sauce, mixed with rice or eaten with pasta!  It’s easy, it’s cheap, and now you know how to work with it.

fried tofutofu patties

Stuffed Butternut Squash

This dish can be served as a side or as a main dish.  It’s a great vegetarian option for a Holiday Dinner because of the flavors and seasonality of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut Squash (I prefer smaller, round squashes)
  • 8oz. 0f Bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6-8oz. Fresh Spinach or Seasonal Greens* (chopped)
  • 4oz. mushroom* (diced)
  • 2oz. of sweet peppers*
  • 1/4 cup of Flat-leafed Parsley*
  • 8oz. extra-firm Tofu* (optional)
  • Lemon (or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter (softened)
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices:
    • Sage,
    • Rosemary
    • Salt & Pepper to taste

*These ingredients should be organic whenever possible

Mise en place~

Before you begin, it makes sense to complete your mise en place— this makes assembling the dish much easier.

  1. Turn on oven and pre-heat to 450ºF
  2. Dice bread, then spread out on dry backing sheet.  Put into oven while you wait for it to pre-heat.  The bread should toast until dry (but not crumbling).
  3. Dice onion (preferably white) and then rinse in cool water; set aside.
  4. Mince garlic cloves; set aside.
  5. Rinse and dice sweet peppers; set aside.
  6. Rinse, dry, and chop Spinach (or whatever seasonal green you like/have on hand); set aside.
  7. Clean mushrooms by wiping down with a clean towel.  Chop them to roughly about the same size; set aside.
  8. Rinse, peel, and scoop out butternut squash– be sure to keep the squash intact, and also to cut the bottom off so that the squash is flat enough to bake “sitting up”. (If you want to take the time, you could save the seeds that are scooped out during the cleaning process; rinse, salt to taste, and toast until yummy!).  Once cleaned, oil the squash inside and out with olive oil; set aside in roasting pan.
  9. Be sure to check on your bread in the oven– you don’t want to overly toast or burn it.  (This is a great way to use up any stale bread you might have in your fridge.)
  10. In a bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, softened butter and  1/4 Cup of milk.  Add salt, pepper, sage and rosemary to your taste/liking.

Now comes the fun part!

Directions:

  1. Let toasted bread cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, add them to the egg mixture.
  2. To the bowl, add the rest of the mise en place vegetables and juice of 1/2 of a lemon.
  3. Mix ingredients together until ingredients are uniformly dispersed.
  4. At this point, if you have decided to include tofu in your recipe, this would be a good time to gently fold it into the mixture.
  5. Once finished, stuff the dressing into the empty cavity of the squash. (If there’s not enough room inside the squash, you can always oil some ramekins and bake the dressing separately, covering ramekin with foil.)
  6. Once stuffed, return squash to “sitting position” in roasting pan, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper (It should stick because the squash was oiled during prep.), cover pan loosely with foil
  7. Bake at 450ºF for 30 minutes.
  8. Then, uncover the squash and reduce heat to 400ºF
  9. Bake for another 20 minute (or, until the butternut squash is well-roasted– you should be able to easily puncture the squash with a fork).
  10. When squash is done, take it out of the oven, and let it rest for a good 10-15 minutes.
  11. Once it has cooled a bit, turn squash over onto it’s side and carve horizontally.

Once plated, you can sprinkle a few of the toasted seeds (if you so choose to save them) and/or a little bit of finely, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!