Hey guys! Yep! We are back with a recipe! And we are super happy about it. To be honest, we weren't even planning on sharing a recipe tonight, but just as we began cooking we realized that it had been way too long since we last blogged one of our dinners. You know that we love cooking good stuff, and we do so almost every single evening, but as I had mentioned at the beginning of this season...during the winter it just gets dark way too early in the day, and it's impossible for us to get good step by step photos of the cooking process. We only like natural light...we're not fans of using flash at all. We like being thorough, showing detailed photos of the step by step meal preparation, and we like providing you guys with beautiful pics of the food on the plate. But me and Aaron had a conversation recently about how lame it would be for us to not share any recipes all winter long just because of poor lighting.
So we had to figure out a compromise. On Instagram I often post a single pic of what we ate for dinner, and sometimes I'll share those pics on Facebook. And then I always get a bunch of messages asking for the recipe. So I figured that during these darker months we could still blog some recipes...we'll just share one pic of the meal and we'll have to do without the step by step pics for now...no big deal.
Seriously, cooking is such a big part of who me and Aaron are. Every single day we are side by side in the kitchen preparing awesome meals. We don't have any rules...no dietary restrictions...we don't have a name for the way we eat...we just love delicious food that we feel good about eating. I guess this would translate to what you would call clean eating. We use great ingredients...we love cutting up fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit...we love purely good proteins like quinoa...we love nuts...we go organic whenever we can...and we stay away from fatty stuff...we don't buy butter or heavy cream, because there are perfectly delish alternatives you can use in any recipe that calls for those. Anyway...we like food that is good for us...we love great bright flavors...and we like feeling great and bright after we've ingested a meal. Following those guidelines will never do you any harm. :)
Ok, so lately we have been eating lots of tofu. The tofu kick actually started as more of a challenge than anything else. We wanted to challenge the idea that some people have about tofu being a boring, tasteless block of mush. We've got our tried and true style of cooking and we knew that if we applied those skills to tofu, in it's many shapes and forms, that we'd get dazzling results. And jeez, wow...tofu really is a great ingredient if it's done right. If you've got your flavors, spices, and everything else down pat, then your tofu will be delicious to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Tonight's meal is case in point.
Before we get into the proper recipe, lets talk about preparing tofu.
Tofu comes in a block packed in water, and you must drain it and "press" it. It's a simple thing to do, but it just got a whole lot simpler for us. Today was the first time we got to use our brand new Tofu Press! We found it on ebay and we love it! Before getting this wonderful tool we did what most tofu eaters do...we layered a cookie sheet with paper towels, placed the tofu upon the paper towels, laid more paper towels on top of the tofu, placed another cookie sheet on top, and then placed our super heavy cast iron skillet on top of that. Then let that sit for about 30 minutes or so. Anyway, the tofu press does the same thing but without the cookie sheets and the heavy skillet. You just periodically tighten the nuts to squeeze out more water, laying it on it's side and soaking up the water with some paper towels.
After that, your tofu is ready to go. Being that it's naturally sponge-like, this would be the perfect time to marinate it...you won't believe how well it takes on flavor.
So...after a shopping trip and coming home with a bunch of tofu we happened to come across this recipe and we just had to try it. We adapted it to suit our style, but we really didn't change much. We love this combination of flavors and have been craving something like this. Also, if you're into pairing perfect textures in your meal...this is THE recipe for that. When couscous is perfectly prepared it's this wonderful soft treat for the mouth...and in contrast to your firm triangles of tofu it works so well...and then you get the semi crisp bite of the partially grilled/partially steamed broccoli. Ok, all of that would be enough...but now add some cashews that are a tad bit caramelized from roasting in the pan with the maple syrup...let's just say it's awesome! Here is what you will need:
1 12 oz pkg firm tofu (pressed and cut into 4 triangles)
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (or whatever oil you'd like)
1 tablespoon tamari (you could also use soy sauce)
2 tablespoon maple syrup (1 for marinade and 1 for the pan)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
dash or two of pepper
2 cups broccoli florets
2 teaspoons coconut oil (or whatever oil you'd like)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cups couscous (prepared as directed on package using vegetable broth in place of water)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or whatever oil you'd like)
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1/3 cup golden raisins (to mix in before serving)
1 cup unsalted cashews
orange slices for garnish
First, prepare your tofu. You really want to have your tofu pressed...get as much water out of it as possible. It should take about 25-30 mins. So try to do that ahead of time. Or you can get it in your press, or between two cookie sheets with paper towels, and while it's pressing you can mix up your marinade.
In a dish big enough to hold all your tofu in one single layer, combine your tamari, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, liquid smoke, chopped garlic, and pepper. (Do not add your oil here...we will be using that in our skillet) Whisk it together. Now if your tofu is ready, cut in half...by "in half" we mean that you will be slicing it into two thinner layers instead of one thick block. Then cut your thinner layers into 4 triangles, place them in the dish of marinade and spoon the liquid over, flip to make sure the tofu is coated everywhere. Put this to the side while you prepare your couscous.
Prepare your couscous as directed on the package, but in place of water we are using vegetable broth for a bit more flavor. So, when preparing add your vegetable broth, the coconut oil, the salt and pepper. As you'll see on your package, you'll bring the liquid to a boil, then add your couscous, and then just follow the timing instructions on your package. Do not add your raisins now...We toss them with the couscous just before serving.
While your couscous is simmering, if your tofu is still marinating, take this time to flip it over so that it's flavored all the way through.
Now, over medium high heat get your large skillet hot. Once it's hot add your oil. When the oil is hot add your tofu triangles. They should really sizzle in the hot pan. Now add the remaining liquid that they were soaking in. Let them cook about 2 mins on each side. You want them to get nice and golden and dark on the edges.
Just as your tofu seems to be done on both sides add your cashews and your remaining tablespoon of maple syrup. Stir them around, coating them in the pan liquid. They should start getting coated and sticky...takes about 1-2 minutes. Remove the tofu and cashews from the skillet to a plate. Cover with a pot lid or tin foil to keep warm. Keep your pan on medium heat.
Now in the same pan, add your oil, let it warm and then add your broccoli. Stir around, coating the florets in any bits left in the pan. Let the florets get a bit dark on the edges. Now stir in your vegetable broth and orange juice. Cover and let steam about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Now fluff your couscous with a fork and stir in the golden raisins.
Now it's time to assemble your bowls. Layer the couscous first, then broccoli, then top with a tofu triangle and cashews, and finish with an orange slice.
I'm telling you...you will flip for this! As me and Aaron ate our bowls we just kept raving to each other about how good it is. We loved the textures, the balance of flavors. This one is totally a winner! We'll be making it again!
We hope you give it a try...and if you do, be sure to let us know all about it!
Happy cooking, happy eating!
xo, Jenny & Aaron