I've heard a lot of differing opinions in the debate about soy. Some say soy is great for you because it's low in calories and fat, but high in protein. Some also say that soy reduces heart disease. However, others say that soy causes hormonal imbalances since it mimics estrogen. There are also many questions about genetically-modified soy. I'm sure my fellow grad student, Erin (M.), is far more knowledgeable about these areas than I am. ;)
What I do know about soy is that there are a lot of people who have soy allergies or can be sensitive to it. I consider myself to be part of this second category, so I try to limit my use of soy in my cooking. However, I do love a good batch of marinated tofu.
The fun thing about tofu is that it has no real flavor of it's own - it's a blank canvas for marinades and sauces and can be used in many different dishes. Tofu is made from soybean curd that has been pressed into blocks. There are different varieties of tofu - silken, soft, firm, extra-firm - which relate to the moisture content. For most of my cooking, I prefer the extra-firm variety because it holds together the best.
This recipe is a just a basic batch of marinated tofu that has been baked. It can then be used in wraps, salads, sandwiches, or with rice or quinoa. It's also a great snack.
Here's how I made mine:
1 package extra-firm tofu
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp spicy mustard
Remove the tofu from the package and drain the liquid. Place the block of tofu on a plate and place a second place on top of it. This will help draw out the excess moisture. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
While the tofu sits, mix the soy sauce, olive oil, basil, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a medium-sized bowl. After 10 minutes, slice the tofu in strips about 1/2 inch thick. Marinate the strips in the mixture for about 30-60 minutes.
While the tofu is marinating, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. After it is done marinating, place the tofu strips on a baking pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it's easy to make and can be modified in different ways. You can also experiment with different spices in your marinade. To mix it up, try using parsley, cilantro, garlic, ginger, or onion powder. You can also use sesame oil or lemon juice instead of soy sauce.