Vampire Protection

I’ve been casting about for another recipe to post, and eventually I’ll come up with something, but meanwhile here is something that is more instructions than actual recipe. We just call it “Spinach-Garlic Tofu” (though it could equally well be “Garlic Spinach Tofu”), and it started as an attempt to replicate a dish my husband used to enjoy at a Chinese restaurant where he often ate when he was working in Mobile. Never having experienced the entrée myself, I have no idea whether this even comes close, but it’s a staple in our house, anyway. Here’s what we’ve evolved.

The dish has primarily just the three ingredients implied in the name:

Spinach: You can go to the trouble of using fresh spinach if you’re really ambitious, but I usually settle for a one-pound bag of frozen chopped spinach.

Garlic: One entire bulb, peeled and minced. Lately I’ve started using a mini food processor to mince it—it’s a lot faster, and there’s not much waste.

Tofu: One package, 12 to 16 ounces, diced into ⅜″–½″ cubes. I get whatever Walmart has on the day I’m shopping (Mori-Nu, Nasoya, Azumaya), usually Firm or Extra Firm; I think this is what I got last time.

In a 12″ skillet if you have one (I have only 10″, so I use a large stock pot), heat two tablespoons of oil (I use olive). You may want to add a large quantity of salt, though it won’t do any good. No matter how much salt you add while cooking this, it will need more when you eat it.

Sauté the garlic and tofu briefly, then add the spinach. If you are using frozen, you may want to thaw it first, but it’s actually easier to get all of it out of the package if it’s still frozen, and it thaws quickly in cooking. If you’re using fresh spinach, you will also need additional time to cook it down.

Cover and simmer “awhile”; serve over cooked rice. I generally start heating the water for the rice about the same time I start heating the oil, which means that the rice is ready in 20 minutes or so, at which point the spinach concoction should be ready to serve as well.

This makes four hearty servings, so I make four servings of rice as well. A couple of days later, when we have the leftovers, it will be even better because the flavors have had more time to mingle, and preparing it just requires putting the rice in a bowl, covering it with the spinach mixture, and microwaving (covered) for a couple of minutes (the photo above was taken of the second outing).

Needless to say, this is very garlicky. You will not need to worry about vampires, but you may find that friends who have not shared your meal will also give you a wide berth!

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