Tofu in BBQ sauce for hot, muggy days

One of the greatest delights of this blogging malarkey has been meeting (albeit virtually) many wonderful and interesting bloggers along the way. One of those peeps is foodisthebestshitever aka Graeme, aka Grazza, aka Mr Red Bearded Carnie Man. This witty blogger shares his fresh, vibrant recipes using his own unique turn of phrase and the odd spot of colourful language. (In others words, severe language warning to all of you who may be offended.) He resides in northern NSW with his missus Jen, who also knows her way around a kitchen and their two gorgeous lads. They opened their restaurant The Stockpot Kitchen in the Bangalow Bowling Club, about a year or so ago. I look forward to the the day that we find ourselves in the verdant NSW hinterland and we are able to chow down on some of the delicious sounding US-Southern style grub. Grazza lives and breathes food and surely could be named the Carnie King of Fiery Outdoor Cooking and Artisanal Condiments.

Around the end of November last year, Grazza sent me a muchly appreciated gift of four precious bottles of liquid gold. You see, he makes his own Big Red Brand condiments that they sell from the restaurant. The sauces are not just a sucker punch but have a subtlety in their blending and a deft balance of sweetness, tanginess and heat. Sadly, they are not yet for sale in these here parts but who knows what the future will bring?

Lately, the weather in Sydney has been very, very hot and extremely muggy. The humidity is a killer. The easiest meal I could think of for my annoying coeliac vegetarian beautiful husband was marinated tofu to accompany leftovers of potato salad and Lebanese green beans .

This is not really a recipe. Simply chop up a block of firm tofu (in this case 350g), throw it in a bowl and dollop a generous few slugs of Big Red Brand Smoky BBQ sauce over the tofu, stirring to coat it. (Of course, most of you will not have a bottle of this on hand so you can either make yourself a batch of one of Grazza’s barbecue sauce recipes which is surely the next best thing or purchase a top quality sauce from a deli or food purveyor.) Let the tofu marinate in the fridge for a few hours, overnight would be even better. Heat up a frypan, splash in a few glugs of olive oil and pan-fry the tofu on every side until a deep golden brown. This can also be grilled on a BBQ of course. Once the tofu is cooked, heat up the reserved marinade and dribble it over the top. Smoky, spicily sweet with a vinegar sharpness. This is the good stuff. (Annoyingly, I now have to hide this good stuff from Kid 1 who has discovered a penchant for quality sauces. Bugger.)

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The danger of eating chimichurri

The modern woman faces many challenges and hidden dangers. Point in case, a friend recently rushed home from work to get ready for a girls night out. She had 15 minutes to do so. Hair, done. Makeup applied, she was ready for the final touches of a finishing translucent powder to her face. As us ladies know, there is nothing worse than a shiny fizzog (face.)

She took her makeup brush, hurriedly swiped it across the product and diligently applied it vigorously to her forehead, chin, nose and cheeks. She put down her brush. Time to go, she thought and did a final check in the mirror. Staring back at her, other than the usual visage of loveliness, she now resembled a two year old who had gotten into her mothers makeup. Her entire face glowed like a red emergency beacon bobbing up and down in the ocean. It appears she had mistakenly applied her blush/rouge instead of the powder. Must wash face and start again, she sighed.

We were at a girly dinner the evening our friend recounted this story to us. That same night, another friend turned to me and said ‘you have something stuck between your teeth.’ Ahh, yes, I was encountering yet another hidden danger. The old ‘herb wedged in the dentures drama.’ Nothing quite completes a well put together look like a huge chunk of parsley stuck between your choppers. It says ‘class’. It says ‘look at me’. It says ‘you know I got it going on ‘. At this point, we rely on family, friends and sometimes embarrassingly, the kindness of strangers to point out our herbivorous shortcomings.

If you are willing to accept all the adventure and danger that freshly chopped herbs can bring you, I can’t think of a more exciting way to spark up grilled vegetables, meats, haloumi or eggs than chimichurri. I am currently addicted to this zingy, herbaceous South American condiment. Used as a sauce or a marinade, there are many variances between recipes. Some contain oregano, some use no vinegar. The beauty is that you can tinker around until you discover how you like it best.

But I beg you. Please let me know if there is something lodged between my pearly whites.

Chimichurri
This makes a large squodge of sauce and keeps well for 3 days in a well sealed container in the fridge. I found this on a website (see link below) and have made it over and over again.

YOU NEED
1/2 small red onion
3 cloves of garlic (if you like it really garlicky, add an extra clove or 2)
2 cups of well packed parsley and coriander. (I use a half/half mix. If you hate coriander, use parsely and a bit of fresh oregano.)
1/2 cup extra Virgin olive oil
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl lime juice
Sea salt and pepper

HOW YOU DO IT
In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic together until finely chopped.
Add the herbs and pulse briefly until finely chopped.
Put the herb and onion mixture into another bowl and stir in the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
It can also be used as a marinade.

Go here for the original recipe:
http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/saladssidedishes/r/chimichurri.htm