Summer doesn't just mean guilt* about work, hot depressed cats, allergies, and sweaty subway stations. It also means delicious, seasonal, local, organic Community Supported Agriculture vegetables! (And a pint of local raspberries, too!)
Our CSA farm is owned by an Asian-American couple, and they plant a lot interesting greens. They especially love the bok choy. So in honor of Sang Lee Farms, and my old roommate Kris, who ruled the tofu world, I made (or tried to make) Ginger Baked Tofu and Bok Choy Stir Fry
Serves two hungry kitty-sitters**
1 box of firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1 Tbs honey
2 inch of ginger root, grated (less if you're not a ginger freak)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbs of lite soy sauce (and some more to taste)
1/2 Tbs of toasted sesame oil (and some more to taste)
1 Tbs of a neutral oil
sesame seeds for garnish
pepper to taste
2 baby bok choys, well rinsed with stalks removed from leafy parts
3-4 small carrots, chopped into thin slices
handful of sugar snap peas, cleaned and chopped
1 c. of jasmine rice (white or brown)
Ahead of time, you can freeze the tofu and thaw it. This takes at least a day. This is not necessary, but frozen and thawed tofu absorbs marinate better. If you're not crazy, you can just wrap the tofu (uncut) in 2-3 paper towels, and stick a cutting board and a book on top, and this will draw out most of the moisture (for at least 30 minutes).
Slice the tofu in 1/2 length wise, and then cut those pieces into quarters. If you can, cut these into quarter height wise (so you're slicing them thinner, not smaller).
This picture was meant to show the texture of thawed, once frozen tofu. The freezing process expands the water pockets, helping it "soak" up marinades
Make a marinade with 2 Tbs of soy sauce, 1 Tbs of honey, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, half of the ginger, some salt, and 1/2 Tbs of sesame oil. Stick it in a Tupperware and let it in marinade in the fridge. Go file your nails or something. Or chop up the vegetables.
After 1-2 hours of marinading, preheat the oven to 350. Place the tofu in a single layer on a pan, and bake for 25 minutes, taking out to flip the pieces half way through. They should be firmer and take on a nice golden glow.
While the tofu bakes, cook the rice according to the directions.
For the stir fry, warm up the oil in a wide pan, over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, stirring. Separate the leafy part of the bok choy from the firmer stalks.
When the garlic/ginger has cooked a few minutes, increase the heat to medium-high add the stems of the bok choy. Stir. After a few minutes, add the carrots. Cook 2 more minutes. Add the chopped sugar snap peas and then the leafy part of the boy choy. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seed to taste. Add the finished tofu and serve over rice.
*Mostly joking. I do love summer, but I love fall more. I think summer, as a season, is a bit overrated. I hate dem pesky mosquitoes, and all of NYC goes nuts during that time.
**Blokey and I have a new kitten in our lives. Aw...