garbanzopalooza

A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life

Date Night

With a monsoon blowing outside here in Wakefield, with a hectic week behind us and another crazy week on the horizon, Meg and I decided to stay in today for a date night.  It is a chance for us to spend time with each other and spend time in the kitchen cooking up some creative new meals.

I have said it before, and I am sure if you are a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian convert, you understand, not eating meat or chicken or pork can be tough.  I watch a lot of Food Network shows, and I will say that there are almost no shows that focus on vegetarian meals, and I will say that most shows rely on steak or chicken dishes.  But where there this can cause frustration in finding new recipes it can also breed creativity, and that was the case tonight.

Meghan and I are both big Giada De Laurentiis fans, and today, Giada made a steakhouse meal (not exactly up our alley).  Meghan had the great idea to utilize the sauce Giada created for the steak on tofu as an appetizer.  And then Giada made a cocktail, which of course needed no changes, except for the fact that we had to use a lighter beer.

Tomato and Poblano Chili Sauce with Tofu: Ingredients

  • 4 1″ slices of firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 3 small poblano peppers
  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro, chopped to top dish

Grill the poblano peppers until well charred (we have a gas stove, so we grilled on the burners on medium heat).  Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 15 minutes.  Scrape off the pepper skin.  Dice the peppers.

In a molcajete (the lava rock mortar that is used frequently in Mexican cooking), combine the oregano, fennel and red pepper flakes.  Crush the spices together.

In a pan, heat the olive oil over low heat and add the spices.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the garlic, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the broth and poblano peppers, bring to a low simmer.  Reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

Poblano tomato sauce

Coat the tofu with the corn starch and salt and pepper.  Heat some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a pan.  Add the tofu, and cook on both sides until slightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Prepping the tofu

Serve the tofu topped with the sauce and fresh cilantro as an appetizer.  And why not wash it down with a sweet cocktail?

Going, Going, Gone

Bourbon and Beer Martini: Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace bourbon)
  • 1/4 cup of beer (we used Harpoon Summer)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • nutmeg, to sprinkle on the top of the cocktail

With ice in your cocktail shaker, add the bourbon, beer and maple syrup.  Shake.

Pour into a martini glass and tops with some nutmeg.

Bourbon beer and maple martini

The sweetness of the cocktail is a nice balance to the heat of the sauce on the tofu.  The sauce, while great on steak, worked really well with the tofu.  It would also be great on any protein, including shrimp, chicken and even……..fried mozzarella!  I have to admit, after Meg prepared these plates, I was nervous that my dinner might hold up (we will have to see how I did, stay tuned).

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .
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