Recipe for Flavor

In the spice drawer:

whole allspice
whole fennel seed
whole coriander seed
ground cinnamon
bay leaf
mild curry
whole clove
ground ginger
whole nutmeg
red pepper flakes
cardomom pods

In the fridge:

chile garlic paste
unsalted butter
sesame oil

In the freezer:

chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
coconut milk (in an ice cube tray)
homemade chicken stock

In the cupboard:

really good balsamic
really good red wine vinegar
” sherry vinegar
excellent olive oil
pure maple syrup
fresh shallots
fresh garlic
kosher salt
black pepper corns

Last night I went out on a wobbly limb, driven by a box of tofu about to expire. I fired the oven up to 450 degrees, set it to broil, and moved a rack to the top slot. I gave a spill of grapeseed oil to a sheet pan and then squared off the tofu into 1/2 inch bits. I sliced a few shallots, and halved 3 cloves of garlic. I tossed every thing with a good spoon full of mild curry powder and everything that I smashed in my mortar and pestle: a petal of allspice, a few cardomom pods, about a teaspoon of coriander seed, the same of fennel, a dash of cinnamon, ginger and salt. One more toss so that the tofu was coated evenly with the oil and then under the broiler until starting to crisp. I soaked rice noodles in hot water to soften. In a saute pan: 3 cloves of sliced garlic, 12 leaves of fresh basil, 1 sprig of parsley until just going golden. Then a good spill of chicken (or vegetable) stock, reduce a bit, a swirl of butter and a good solid squeeze of fresh lime juice. Gave it a pinch of the chile/garlic sauce. Tossed with the (drained) noodles, the tofu, and lightly dressed and salted brand new watercress leaves.
Who knew tofu could be so good?

Leave a Reply