I had a few things to use up last Friday and the heat had broken just enough that I could bare to think of cooking over the stove. Plus, my end-of-week reward was a trip to the theater to see Midnight in Paris had me motivated to cook up something nice instead of having buttery popcorn for dinner. As I may have done when I saw Harry Potter the week before. Can't quite remember. (Midnight in Paris, by the way, was wonderful. It was one of those movies that as soon as it ended, I was tempted to buy a ticket to the next showing just so I could keep absorbing it all in. The synopsis on IMDb sells the film short, so have a look at this movie cheat sheet from The Atlantic instead.)
I needed to use up a package of tofu, half a jar of homemade swapped BBQ sauce and leftover whey (from the cheesemaking! Ouy, let's schedule that recap post right now, shall we? How about... next week. I will tell you about making cheese next week. Tuesday.) The result was much better than I anticipated, and I credit the rice-cooked-in-whey and the BBQ sauce with that. I'd never cooked rice in whey before and to tell you the truth, was a little skeptical because boiling leftover milk remnants sounds a little strange. The resulting rice was so smooth and flavorful, though, that I was completely won over. Of course, you could follow this recipe and just cook the rice in water or vegetable broth without a problem. And the BBQ sauce! At the June food swap in 'Toga, I had traded the lovely Sarah Without A Blog For Me To Link To some strawberry-rhubarb muffins for a jar of strawberry-rhubarb BBQ sauce. (Super seasonal, eh?) Her strawberry rhubarb BBQ sauce was phenomenal. Unless you can persuade her to make you some, you may have to settle for regular ol' run of the mill sauce. Still delicious, but maybe not quite as delicious as what I had on hand.
BBQ Tofu Bowl with Peppers & Onions
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups whey (water, or veggie stock)
- one package extra firm tofu, sliced into one-inch chunks
- olive oil for sauteing
- 1/2 onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce*
- Start your rice! I always forget this part until too late and am waiting forever for it to finish cooking. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups whey (water, or veggie stock) to a boil. Add in the uncooked brown rice, return to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. As always, watch it carefully in the last few minutes and stir to avoid scorching. I cannot even tell you how many times I've scorched rice. Like really badly. Keep an eye on it.
- Dry-fry that tofu in a skillet (see step 2 in this post). Once much of the liquid has been pressed out, set aside the tofu on a plate.
- Using that same skillet, cook the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for about ten minutes. Add in the green pepper with salt and pepper. Cook for another 7-8 minutes until the pepper is softened. Next, add in the cooked tofu along with the BBQ sauce. Reduce heat to low, stir and simmer for about five minutes so the flavors can absorb.
- Serve tofu and veggies over rice. Yields about four servings.
The beauty in this recipe is that ingredients in the BBQ sauce were local, the whey was from local milk and the pepper & onion were from our CSA. Not too bad for a dish that, at first glance, may not seem completely seasonal. This tofu bowl makes for a great lunch too because I have no problem eating the leftovers up cold. If you wanted to kick up the tofu, you could dredge it according to these directions from my sesame tofu recipe. It takes an extra step, but the result is a crispy, crunchy tofu that tastes like it's been decadently deep-fried, but isn't actually all that bad for you.
Update: This recipe was a winner in the 2011 Homegrown.org Cook-Off!