You probably think I’ve lost my mind, right? Tofu and beet juice? Who’s idea of a party is that?? I promise I’m not going all health-foody on you. I just happened to have a half block of tofu in the fridge the same week Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer was promoting beet and purple carrot juice. So I thought, what the heck? I did fry the tofu and that vitamin-filled beet juice has plenty of booze swishing around in it. So this insta-party is really all about how to make health food unhealthy (and delicious).
My friend Megan ordered crispy tofu one day at lunch years ago. I was fascinated that bland, squishy tofu magically transformed into a lovely brown crunchy bite when fried. I’ve been hooked on it ever since. The great thing about tofu is it’s blank-slate quality. It has such a neutral flavor you can use almost any kind of seasoning or sauce with it. I stuck with some traditional Asian flavorings this time, but it’s also yummy with a dusting of sesame seeds and a lemon sauce.
Crispy Fried Tofu, serves 2
1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained
garlic salt to taste
ground red pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce, for dipping
green onion, for garnish
Place tofu block on a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towel. Place some more folded paper towels over the top of the tofu. Place another plate on top and weight with a soup can. Let drain about 5 minutes. This will squeeze some of the liquid from the tofu and cut down on the splatters when frying.
Cut tofu into 4 even squares. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Dust tofu squares with garlic salt and ground red pepper and place in hot pan. Fry until golden brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes, then flip and fry the other side until it’s golden brown and crunchy. Garnish with fine strips green onion and dip in soy sauce. Eat while still hot.
Until last weekend, I was a beet juice virgin. But it sounded interesting in the flyer and once I saw it in real life, I had to try it. I’m pretty sure this must be the stuff they drink out of those True Blood bottles in Bon Temps. It actually tastes pretty good, earthy but sweet, and strangely like tomato juice (but my tastebuds could have been biased from the color). Amped up with some soy sauce and vodka, I could *almost* be convinced to do one of those juice fasts. Also, the husband gets credit for this cocktail’s name. Somehow ‘beet juice cocktail’ just wasn’t doing it for me.
Beet-nik Cocktail, serves 1
2 ounces Trader Joe’s Beet and Purple Carrot Juice
2 ounces vodka
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Combine all ingredients, stirring thoroughly to combine. Pour into an ice filled rocks glass and enjoy!