When I got married and moved to Little Rock, I had only been a vegan for a few years. And those were poor-in-college years. I survived on cold cereal, spaghetti with jar sauce, and Subway Sandwiches. I barely knew what tofu was, and I had to use that soymilk powder mixed with water in a mason jar for my mini-fridge.
That's me, my junior year of college...notice how it looks like Brad is looking at me?
Did anyone else feel like they fell in love with him while watching Legends of the Fall?
The year that I ate in the cafeteria, my favorite night was taco night. I got taco shells filled with lettuce and tomato (maybe I added olives from the salad bar). But they wouldn't let us have more than 2 or 3 at a time. I'd ask, "Can I please have a few more? I'm a vegetarian, and this is all I can eat." No,they made me wait in line again for a few more, which I had to do so that I wouldn't starve from only eating 2 taco shells filled with lettuce and tomato.
Wow, now that I'm thinking about it, I barely recognize this person I'm talking about. When Ryan and I were engaged, we thought we were really BIG TIME when we discovered we could microwave a bag of frozen vegetables and put them on a tortilla with salsa. THAT was a great meal to us.
It was those experiences that probably contributed to my Blackened Tofu obsession. It was so fun to be married/out on our own , and while we didn't have a lot of money (My paycheck was around $400 every two weeks as a private school teacher.), it still felt like a lot to us. And it was OUR money. We didn't have to ask our parents for money anymore.
Most Saturday mornings, we drove over to Whole Foods (It was Wild Oats then.) and stocked up. We went overboard choosing things from the deli and bakery (and lots of other stuff to cook throughout the week). Then we would rent a few movies (We didn't watch a lot of movies in college; we had a lot of catching up to do!), lie in bed all day, and eat out of our plastic deli containers. Awww...the life of newlyweds. We look back on this time with the utmost longing...usually when our kids are all fighting and interrupting us and jumping on the couch.
This was on our honeymoon at Tupelo, Mississippi...birthplace to Elvis.
romaine with caesar dressing from Post Punk Kitchen
Anyway, I always went straight to the deli to get a container full of Blackened Tofu. I've never been the biggest fan of spicy food...but I couldn't get enough of this. I continued getting this for several years...until...they STOPPED making it. (For the record, our Whole Foods could be A LOT more vegan-friendly than they are.) I actually worked at this Whole Foods for about 6 months, and I tried to pull up my vague memory in order to replicate the recipe. I have made this once before, I think, but the other day, I decided to get serious about it.
Blackened Tofu, eaten on my Food for Life gluten free tortilla with greens, sprouts, avocado, and tomatoes
I squeezed the water out of 3 tubs of tofu, then froze it.
After it thawed, I cut it into strips.
I carefully rolled the tofu in enough olive oil to help the spices stick...and then rolled it in the spices. Then I baked it. Maybe 25 minutes at 350? (That part is a little fuzzy; I'll go back and do it again, then edit this.)
I used this seasoning (which is what the used in the deli):
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning Blends
(Salt, Herbs and Spices, Dehydrated Garlic, Paprika and Dehydrated Onion)
Let's talk about how spicy the Blackened Tofu is...it hurts, it's so spicy. Like you have to drink something after you take a bite. Like hurts so good spicy. Again, I'm not a fan of jalapenos - and barely even onions, but I just love these for some reason. Ryan does, too.
It was a bit of a game with the kids - take a bite, yell, "Aaa! It's spicy!" and take a drink. And repeat.
Cornmeal dusted tofu: 10 thumbs up
Blackened tofu: 4 adult thumbs up