1011 Braise and Broil

Tonight’s dinner was all improv, all the time.  I bought an ambercup squash at the market the other weekend with the intention of Trying a New Vegetable – and then it sat neglected on the windowsill until tonight, when I needed something to go with the tofu that I’d also bought the other weekend with the intention of Trying Something New with Tofu.  Are you sensing a theme here?

Using a modification of my previous recipe, I marinated a block of extra-firm tofu, then peeled and cubed the squash, which went into the new enameled pot on the stove along with an onion, butter, and apple cider. I had in mind cubes of soft sweetened squash, but ended up with a bright orange mash – which was just fine. The tofu took about 20 minutes under the broiler in the toaster oven, and then we had an excellent dinner full of fall colors.

For the tofu:
16 oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/8 cup tamari + more to taste
1/8 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/16 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together liquids and taste – it should be salty and sweet, with a bit of funk from the fish sauce. I bet the marinade would be killer with a bit of grated ginger and garlic, but I had neither handy. Adjust to taste – these are rough measures. Slice the tofu into triangles and place in a large flat container, then top with the liquid. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the broiler and spread the marinated tofu on a broiler safe pan in a single layer. Broil about 10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

For the squash:
a knob of butter
1 medium yellow onion
1 small winter squash (butternut or ambercup are beautiful, others would likely work as well), cut into cubes
1 cup apple cider
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot or saucepan with a tightly-fitting lid. Sweat the onion in the butter for a bit, then add the cubes of squash and toss around to coat. Add the cider, cover, and simmer until the squash is soft. At this point you could puree it, add stock, and make a simple soup – or just mash it up with a heavy spoon for a sweet and textured side dish.

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