Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pumpkin Seed Tofu, Apricot and Pine Nut Mole, Hominy Soup

Dinner 11/03

Pumpkin Seed Tofu
(recipe below)

Apricot and Pine Nut Mole
(adapted from Rick Bayless)

Hominy Soup

Can you tell we've been DVR-ing Season Five of "Mexico: One Plate At A Time"? ;)

The mole was so good.

Thankfully we only made a half-batch, which normally would have made something like six cups of mole. Although I suppose we could have frozen the rest for later...

I couldn't find a copy of the recipe online Jamie found it -- it's a smooth, balanced sauce of ancho chiles, tomatillo, apricot, pine nuts, garlic, bread, cinnamon, sesame seeds, mexican chocolate, veg stock -- sweet/heat/salt with a little umami thrown in.

It'll take a good 1 1/2 hours from mise en place to completion, but if you've got the time and the ingredients, it's worth your time and effort

Pumpkin Seed Tofu
(makes 8 pieces)

1 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into 8 rectangular cutlets
1 tbs. tamari
black pepper

1/2 cup flour
1 tbs. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. salt

1 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbs. cumin seeds

1 tbs. canola oil

The pumpkin-seed tofu uses your standard three station method -- tamari/pepper marinated tofu cutlets rolled in ancho chile seasoned flour, dipped in a cornstarch slurry and finally pressed firmly into the crushed pumpkin and cumin seeds -- use a mortar and pestle to control the size better.

The cutlets were pan-fried over medium heat in canola oil in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown and then placed on a sheet pan and put into a 350F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into long triangles.

update: Brian asks, "Can you clarify why you bake the tofu after it is fried?"

The tofu isn't finished cooking internally just by pan-frying -- when the outside is golden brown and perfectly cooked, the inside is not yet finished -- if you cooked the tofu to the point where the inside was perfect, the crust would be black ;)

The baking takes care of the inside, as well as firming up the overall crust, without hurting it...

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