31 March 2007

Tofu and Stones

Two handy cooking tips I've learned recently.

1. Frozen tofu is the way to go. Cut firm or extra firm tofu into squares and set on a tray making sure none of the squares are touching each other. Put the tray uncovered in the freezer and leave it in there for a day. When the squares are solidly frozen, take them off a tray and pack them into a freezer bag. Then whenever you want tofu, just take out the amount you need (this is great when I just want to make something for me, like fried tofu dipped in peanut sauce, or tofu in curry sauce).

The longer it is frozen the better. The texture improved greatly with freezing. You can thaw the tofu in the microwave if you're in a rush. The most important thing is to squeeze out the tofu, like a sponge. Then the tofu will be able to soak up lots of flavor from the sauce it's in. Highly recommended, particularly for people who are nervous about tofu or think it's flavorless or slimy.

2. Stoneware is expensive but it cooks things better. Did I mention it's expensive? So instead of buying individual stone pieces, just get yourself a large flat baking stone (like a pizza stone). Set it in the oven when you turn it on to preheat the oven. Then prepare your food in a regular baking dish like you always do, but bake it on the stone. The stone will help the food bake more evenly, but it works with any baking dish and is a much cheaper alternative.

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