Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Orange baked tofu parcels

Before getting to today's recipe, I would like to share four things with you.

1. I am a firm believer in trying to adjust my body clock to my new (arrival) time zone as soon as I get on a plane. It doesn't normally work, but I try.

2. After we got home to Australia last Friday night, I went to  bed at 9pm and got up at 6am. On Saturday night, I went to bed at 11pm and got up at 8am. For reference, I usually go to bed at 9.30/10pm on weeknights and 10.30/11pm on weekends.

I proudly proclaimed to my mother that I was doing very well indeed with jet lag, or lack thereof.

3. On Sunday night, I went to bed at 9.30pm. And then I forgot how to sleep. I was still awake at 10.30pm. And 11.30pm. And 12.30am. And 1.30am. And 2.15am. Then I stopped looking anywhere near the clock. I suspect I fell asleep about 2.30am. My alarm went off at 5.30am.

4. On Monday, at work, feeling over-hyped by caffeine and first-day-back jitters, I dropped my Very Necessary and Crucial workplace swipe access card into the toilet.

Yes.

Now I have that behind me, we can proceed to food.



These tofu parcels are a dish that can be prepared in advance, cooked in very little time, and made to look fancy with very little effort at all. They can also be adapted to whatever flavourings and seasonings you desire. You may notice that all of my posts this week fall into the 'quick' category. I am aiming to build up to more adventurous recipes over the month, but right now, in the midst of work catch up and varied sleep, quick is an important feature!


I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the orange tones of this dish. I don't usually buy oranges, and as a result I don't usually cook with them, but these parcels were so enjoyable that I might change that from now on. I also loved the texture of the baked tofu. It was tender without being too soft, and evenly cooked all the way through. Although I have come to accept it, I don't really like the crispy 'skin' that forms on tofu when it is fried and so this cooking method was well suited to me.

I think these would pair nicely with steamed vegetables and rice, but when we had them I wanted baked potato and salad and so I went that route instead. The tofu did go well with those too, with the orange flavouring the salad in a pleasing way and the whole dish being suited to spring.


Orange baked tofu parcels
Makes 2 tofu parcels
Vegan


Ingredients
200 - 250g firm tofu (about two-thirds of a 350g pack)
1 medium orange
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 shallot, finely sliced
~2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely sliced
Pepper, to season


Method
At least four hours before you plan to cook the parcels, cut two tofu steaks of 100 - 150g each. If you are working off a 350g packet of tofu, each piece would be about one-third of the tofu block. (You can of course make bigger tofu pieces if desired, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.) Drain and lightly press the tofu; these don't require extensive pressing.

Place the tofu steaks in a large dish and cover with the juice of half the orange, the soy sauce, the sliced shallot and the chopped ginger. Add on the sliced carrot and leave to marinate in the fridge for four hours or overnight (I did this a full 24 hours ahead of time). Reserve the other half of the orange.

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 200'C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut two thin slices of orange from your remaining orange half.

Place the tofu steaks in the centre of pieces of aluminium foil, large enough to create parcels around the tofu. Drizzle the orange marinade over each steak and add an orange slice and a few cracks of black pepper. Fold the aluminium foil in at the ends and then join over the top, to create loosely packed parcels.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and sufficiently hot. Eat the remaining orange whilst waiting.


The lovely thing is, you could take this recipe and tweak the ingredients to end up with honey soy, chilli lime, creamy mushroom, or tomato flavourings for the parcels (amongst other options). The variations are near endless.

What is your favourite tofu cooking method, or is that too hard a question? Stir frying has to win out as what I do most often, but I do like this approach too.


This post is part of my Vegan Month of Food contributions for October 2012. 

24 comments:

  1. Argh! Jetlag is the worst! I thought I was over it then I jammed my scarf in the printer earlier this year. It was exactly like a scene from a cartoon.
    Keep up the routine and try to get in the sun in the middle of the day without sunglasses. Sunlight on the retina is apparently key.

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    1. Oh, your poor scarf! And that is interesting about sunlight on the retina - I had heard lots about sun, but not about the eye per se.

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  2. ah - the dreaded time zone adjustment! :( never easy!

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    1. It definitely takes on a life of its own!

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  3. eww the toilet thing. The dog put his ball in the toilet this morning, thankfully post-flush but still.

    I thought it was sunlight on the backs of your legs that adjusted the clock.

    Love the parcels!

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    1. Eww indeed to the toilet thing!

      I'm getting some good sunlight tips here - thanks!

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  4. Hope you are getting over the jetlag now! I've never been on a long haul flight so I really don't know how it feels.

    I love baked tofu so much more than the fried tofu that I used to make. I don't wrap it up in foil like you have done but it sounds a good idea, especially if you are adding ingredients to it that would otherwise burn.

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    1. I have never used foil before either...but then my previous baked tofu dishes were larger and included lots of other vegetables and the like. I guess I like tofu most ways really :)

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  5. I've never baked tofu in foil but I do love marinated and baked tofu. Though preparing dinner 24hours ahead is great clear thinking in the middle of jetlag - I tend to get home and wonder what to do when i should be eating dinner. My mum had a theory that jetlag hits you a couple of days after getting back - you think for the first day or two you have it under control and then a few days later your body can't keep it up and it really hits you!

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    1. Well, I didn't do much preparation 24 hours ahead! Your mum's theory seems to be holding up well with me, and I have certainly learnt a lesson about being over-confident in days one and two...

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  6. Aww recovering after any trip is never easy! I would totally drop my pass in a toilet, sounds very me.

    At least you have delicious food during this difficult time ;)

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    1. That is very true - delicious food always helps :)

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  7. I love how our bodies adjust to different time zones! It's really crazy! I can remember coming home from an overseas trip. The first night wasn't that bad, but the following day I went shopping with my mother and about 2:00 p.m. I told my mother that I was going to have to set down because I could feel my body starting to shut down!! We went home and I crashed until late that night. For about a week I also kept waking up at 2:30 a.m. Not sure why though! Lord it was about 2 months before I got on a normal sleep schedule! Great recipe!

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    1. 2 months! Oh no! I really hope it doesn't take me that long :P

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  8. I always try to put myself on the new time zone time also...and then the jet lag only seems to hit a few days in, when you least expect it. Sigh. I'm sure you'll be back to normal soon!

    I love that you cooked this in a parcel! I thought parchment cooking was only reserved for chicken and fish but I'm so happy to know it works with tofu as well!

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    1. I was too! It was my experiences with cooking fish this way that inspired the tofu. It's such an easy cooking method :)

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  9. ugh, jet lag can really be difficult to deal with and get back on schedule!

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    1. It is looking that way this week!

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  10. I have two constant silly fears in my life: dropping things in the toilet, and falling down stairs and breaking my neck. I imagine these things happening all the time.

    Thank god it was the former for you.

    Also, I would be able to swallow orange this way. Just so's you know.

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    1. All of a sudden, the pass in the toilet thing doesn't look quite so bad. It goes to show, perspective is everything.

      I was a bit worried about you when I posted this orange recipe, so soon after the orange chocolate. I'm relieved :)

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  11. I have a great anti jet lag routine as well but every now and again it just floors you I find! These look great I often cook fish in this way so it makes sense that it would work with tofu as well.

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    1. Thanks Cara :) It was familiar to me from fish too - I was glad it generalised!

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  12. I think orange and soy go very well together - lovely flavour combination, Kari. Oh dear, that sleep situation doesn't sound good. I hate lying in bed being unable to sleep and getting stressed that it's only this many more hours before having to be up. And then you have to drag yourself around for an entire day not coping and that's when things end up in the toilet. I hope your sleeping has returned to normal xx

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    1. Your comment made me chuckle Charlie - thanks so much. You are exactly right that lack of sleep is a key contributor to days going down the toilet! Thankfully sleep has improved over the week and no more things have gone down the drain :D

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