Every once in a while a girl needs a healthy dish to put on the table in a desperate, perhaps too little, too late attempt to give her body a break from all the wine and cheese and chocolate she's been eating lately.
Not this girl, mind you. But you know who you are, and this recipe is dedicated to you.
Citrus-braised Tofu Stir-fry
This is from one of my new favorite cookbooks, The New American Plate. I received a review copy a few months back, and took it with me to visit my friend L. in Washington DC. L. is a dedicated cook but her big fat belly (hey, I can say that, it was hiding baby S.!) prevented her from doing too much on her feet, so I cooked for her and R. and me from this new cookbook. And even though everything in it was healthy -- a mix of legumes, grains, veggies and little fat, with plenty of herbs and natural sweeteners to add flavor and spice -- we loved nearly every recipe we tried. So when I needed a healthy recipe last week, this was the book I reached for.
NOTE: Though the tofu takes 45 minutes to prepare, you can prep the veggies while you wait and the timing is perfect. I also noticed that the dish has a predominance of sweet flavors, and would probably add 2 cloves garlic and more red pepper flakes next time. Maybe even throw some peanuts on top. It was even better warmed up the next day.
1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu
2 TBSP Asian sesame oil, divided into 3 2-tsp servings
12 baby carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced (2 if you like garlic a lot)
1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and diluted with 2 cans of water
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed
6 ears baby corn, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
1 7-ounce package thin rice noodles, soaked in hot water until pliable, 3-5 minutes, then drained
1. Cut the tofu block horizontally into two slices. Place it on a cutting board with another cutting board on top, then place several heavy cans on top. Let sit for 45 minutes, then drain off any liquid and blot the tofu dry. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes.
2. In a very large non-stick skillet, heat 4 tsp of the sesame oil over med-high heat. Add the tofu and fry for 10 minutes, turning every few minutes to brown all sides. Transfer to a plate.
3. Heat remaining 2 tsp of oil, then add carrots, onion, bell pepper, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Set aside 2 TBSP of orange juice mixture in a small bowl, then add remaining orange juice, lime juice and soy sauce to skillet. Stir in tofu, orange zest, basil and red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Add green beans and corn and cook 4 minutes till beans are tender but still crisp. Mix remaining 2 TBSP OJ with cornstarch and stir until completely blended. Add to stir-fry. Cook on med-high another 2 minutes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and serve over prepared noodles.