My current dissertation chapter deals with veganism and the ways in which certain subcultures politicize it as a way to represent their particular “communities of meaning.” While I will never, ever give up cheese and ice cream, I do agree that meat consumption — especially that of beef — is unethical in terms of its environmental impact and its unsustainable use of resources. Which means that while I’ve been working on this chapter, I’ve been eating a lot more tofu and other vegan/vegetarian dishes. (I did the same thing when my dissertation dealt with disaporic Indians and their use of food/recipes in literature: I ate a lot of samosas, which probably correlates to my recent return to Weight Watchers!)
The deli at Wheatsville Co-op has this really delightful sesame baked tofu that it sells for $2.25 a slice. Since I adore it and one slice is roughly the price of a block of tofu itself, I decided to try it at home. The Wheatsville version is slightly nutty with a wee bit of heat, with a not-too-soft interior and a nice, golden exterior that yields nicely to the tooth. Let’s see how we go!
First, I made the marinade:
Then I took the drained, sliced tofu and drenched it good:
Then I placed the tofu in the container with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. When I got back home, I preheated the oven to 400, put the tofu on a baking sheet and sprinkled it with white sesame seeds:
Ack! Do you see my fatal mistake? I should have put some sort of foil boat underneath and around the slices, or better yet, I should have put the tofu on a pie plate, because the excess oil from the marinade ran off the baking sheet, onto the bottom of the oven, started smoking and turned our house into a beeping, hazy, smelly pit. Boo!
Fortunately, Matt had the grill fired up to cook some steak and chicken, so I made a foil boat for the tofu and asked him to finish off the tofu outside. When he brought it in, it looked like this:
I ate a slice while it was still hot and it was quite tasty. However, it lacked the nuttiness of Wheatsville’s version and had an overbearing note of tamari. It had the nice exterior, but was a little soft on the inside, like an undercooked quiche custard. Next time I will dial back the tamari and maybe not soak it in the marinade for a few hours? I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.
Sesame Baked Tofu
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
3 T sesame oil
1 splodge (1 T?) stone ground mustard
2 T rice vinegar
2 T tamari (will definitely use less next time)
1 splodge (1 T?) honey (note: if you are vegan, you can substitute agave nectar here)
1/4 t chili powder (will probably dial this up next time)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 T white sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400. Mix marinade. Slice drained tofu and dress it with marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the slices over halfway through cooking.