In the past two months, I discovered more cooking blogs than I ever imagined existed. I've read entries, apprenticing myself to bloggers who particularly moved me and trying to incorporate elements of their style into my own entries. I've poured over food photography pictures and experimented with angles and light and backgrounds (in some beginning ways).
I've commented on blogs every day. Some days dozens. I realize that I can't expect people to comment on my work if I never post my thoughts on their entries.
And I've been overwhelmed and blown away by the rich community that exists among food bloggers. Bloggers in the same city hold potlucks and get together to share favorite dishes. They honestly publicize their failures, in ways that help others to learn. They cook through cookbooks together, sharing tips and tricks and rejoicing in successes. They challenge each other to try daring new recipes and new cuisines.
|The tofu really takes on the spice blend as it simmers in the pan.|
And sometimes, they even cook the same recipe at the same time and tweet about the experience! Kayte from Grandma's Kitchen Table invited me to join with her and several other bloggers (Leslie, Margaret, Peggy and Abby). We simultaneously prepared an Indian dinner in kitchens around the country. I tweeted more than I ever have before in my life. I cooked with tofu, which I rarely do, and enjoyed a delicious meal. Best of all, I felt the companionship when I sat down to dinner that Tuesday night.
Indian Spiced Tofu
adapted from Bal Arneson (Visit the link for a chicken version of the dish)
I pressed my tofu in between clean dish towels. I put a plate on top to weigh it down, and I let the liquid drain out of it for about 30 minutes. I changed the dish towel a few times because a lot of water drained out! Bal recommended serving the dish with rice or roti. I had fresh bread on hand, so I served it with a slice of that. The spices are strong in the tofu, so it's nice to have something more mild to balance it out.
This dish cooks very quickly. I took inspiration from Peter Reinhart. I made a mise en place and ensured I had my ingredients chopped, arranged and ready to go before I started cooking.
1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I substituted three green onions and two shallots, what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon vegetable broth concentrate (or tomato paste, 2 tablespoons, if you have it on hand)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garam masala (or comparable spice mixture)
1/4 cup yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup water
Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Prepare spice combinations in small bowls and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger powder, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion is golden.
Add the vegetable stock (or tomato paste, if using), brown sugar, ground cumin, garam masala, red chili flakes, turmeric and salt, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the cubed tofu, and stir well to coat. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring regularly until the tofu is heated through. I left mine go about 8 minutes.