better about being busy June 16, 2013

sweet & spicy marinated tofu skewers

A couple months ago, someone dropped me a line through the contact form on my blog – I love it when folks do that (I really do!). It was short and semi-sweet. In it, they asked me why I brag about being busy. Reading it, I was flummoxed, honestly. Does the mere notion of not having time these days to tend to this blog come across as showboating? I had no concept of it. It took me aback and, frankly, it’s kept me further away from this place. I sit down often to write and then, well, I get busy (said in a whisper)…and then I’m afraid to talk about it. A vicious cycle has started and I’m doing my best to break it and come back here and chat.

Some unexpected travel popped up last week and we made the voyage to Louisiana for Mike’s grandfather’s funeral. Paw Paw was 93 – he was a wonderful man with such a spunky way of talking and telling stories…that was all tempered with a gentleness that a lot of men don’t have. I feel very lucky to have been able to meet him and be a part of his family. On the way back, we detoured through New Orleans and spent the evening with friends – a delicious dinner and a respite from the hours upon hours of driving we’d done that weekend. We cruised along the backroads on our way home, getting off the highway and seeing some Southern countryside. We stopped in Mobile and had some really delicious crab soup – I’m going to try to replicate it for y’all when I have time.

Some good, some sad – all busy.

Before we left, I had hoped to post this tofu recipe. I’m a fan of tofu when it’s an ingredient in something but not necessarily as the star of the show – even in salt & pepper tofu, it’s all about the other goodies in the dish. So, for me, these skewers are a departure. It’s all about the marinade, really – a spicy and slightly sweet mixture with a little heat. A little char on them from the grill and the crunch of the cucumbers adds the texture that I miss with tofu. They’d be great for all the upcoming summer events – cookouts, parties, etc – and they’re vegan.

Asian Tofu Skewers – makes 14 to 16 skewers

These skewers are the first of many recipes I’ll be working on over the summer for Tabasco as part of their Tastemakers program – how can a girl who is marrying a guy from Louisiana turn down THAT gig? These skewers are a great vegetarian/vegan dish for warm weather entertaining. If you don’t have a grill or grill pan, you can absolutely just pan-sear this tofu – just get some nice browning on the sides to help add a bit of texture. You can also substitute snow pea pods, carrot strips or snap peas in place of the cucumber if you prefer.

  • 1 16-ounce package of extra firm tofu
  • 5 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman as it’s assured to be vegetarian/vegan)
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 5 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Sweet & Spicy Tabasco sauce
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 2-3 tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds and/or black sesame seeds

– Remove tofu from the package and drain. Lay the tofu on a few layer of paper towel on top of a plate and top with a few more pieces of paper towel. Put something light on top to gently press the remaining liquid out of the tofu – a small can, a side dish, etc – while in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and put in a shallow pie dish or baking dish and allow to air dry while you whip together the marinade.

– In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and Tabasco sauce. Pour over the tofu and cover with plastic wrap or foil and allow to marinate for at least an hour – flipping the tofu at least once. Remove from the marinade, pat dry a little bit and cut into 1″ cubes.

– Preheat your grill pan (or you can do this on an outdoor grill) and spray with a bit of cooking spray or brush with oil – you’re just putting on enough to keep the cubes from sticking. When the pan is hot, place the cubes in the pan and grill for a minute or two on each side. Remove from the heat and repeat until they’re all done.

To assemble: Thread one of the grilled tofu pieces onto the skewer. Using a vegetable peeler, cut a piece of cucumber lengthwise down the cucumber (you’ll have to cut off the initial piece of skin first) and fold onto the skewer, repeat with another piece of tofu. Arrange the skewers on a serving platter or wood cutting board. Since the marinade only touched the tofu, you can drizzle a bit of the marinade over the skewers if you want extra flavor of it. Sprinkle them all with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Jun 16, 2013 06:06 pm

This looks sooo good! Love this idea!!

Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Jun 16, 2013 07:06 pm

As someone who is (sssh!) busier than I want to be most of the time, I so relate to your busy-ness (but not your reader’s question!). I see you coming back to your blog to chat, to reconnect, with us and with yourself in a way and you know what? It’s ok to chat about being busy. We’re interested in hearing about your life and that’s why we read. Also, I am not even a fan of tofu but this recipe looks incredible. Wow.

Beth B Jun 17, 2013 05:06 am

I’m busy, and I’m even retired! Why would it bother someone for you to say so? I guess there are always critics out there. I enjoy your blog and your recipes.

thelittleloaf Jun 17, 2013 07:06 am

What a bizarre comment! People are so busy nowadays I don’t quite see why this reader would take such umbrage with it…

Anyhow, these skewers look lovely. I’m trying to get my boyfriend more into tofu and this kind of recipe is exactly the thing I need!

Amanda Jun 17, 2013 08:06 am

This looks delicious & so pretty. Everyone is “busy”. Either with work or life or home or just making weird comments on blogs >.< Please keep posting. We want to know about your busy. And reading about other people's busy is a break from mine.

Melissa | Dash of East Jun 17, 2013 08:06 am

I love your tofu recipes! And this one looks so good, esp with that marinade and the sesame seeds.

I agree with Mardi, I love hearing about your life & work and that’s why we keep coming back to read. Here’s to being busy! Good and bad :)

Meghan Jun 17, 2013 09:06 am

Being busy is just as much a blessing and a curse as not being busy is, especially as a free-lancer! Sorry that some folks just can’t relate.

The combination of soy, sesame, and rice wine vinegar is one of my favorites. In fact we smoked a few chickens that had been marinaded in it yesterday. I’ve never considered soaking tofu or cucumbers in it – looking forward to trying both out.

Paula - bell'alimento Jun 17, 2013 10:06 am

This might even get me to eat tofu! Loverly girl, loverly!

mimi Jun 17, 2013 11:06 am

I hate it when people get to you. Strangely enough, only men, four of them, have upset me with their comments. And then I think I’ll quit blogging, because really, blogging doesn’t quite mesh with a private personality. But then, I realize that these people have problems, and they’re probably just assholes who jump at the chance to tell you that your opinion is wrong, or to defend a food. All stupid things, really. And by the way, I’m busier than you. Kiddding. I’m retired. no complaints. it’s not a competition.

petal and plume Jun 17, 2013 12:06 pm

thanks for sharing with us!
ps. recipe looks perfect

Lynn Jun 17, 2013 02:06 pm

I’m sorry that person made you feel like not posting. Just post when you can – I can understand the “too busy” part.

I may just try this tofu recipe. :) Hope all is well.

glenise Jun 17, 2013 04:06 pm

Hi. Just wanted to say this recipe sounds amazing & presented beautifully on the photo. I don’t understand why people complain about someone being busy. In this world of never-ending technology, not to mention jobs inside/outside the home, families, errands, etc., most of us should be busy! I know I am! Forget those naysayers, they are busy complaining about others. Thankyou for you blog. And sorry to hear of your recent loss in the family.

kelsey Jun 17, 2013 08:06 pm

totes not showboating, my friend. you’re living your life – a full, sometimes busy, life. people can be so weird.

Winnie Jun 18, 2013 09:06 pm

Super gorgeous photo, and the tofu looks so, so good. You don’t have to apologize for anything, Tami.

mirja Jul 1, 2013 06:07 pm

Ignore stupid comments. Your blog and especially you recipes are ecxellent. I have dozens of cook books and mags but your posts make me look at the recipe more closely every time! Thank you.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Jul 2, 2013 07:07 am

I love the look of this! So simple and perfect for summer!

Angie | Big Bear's Wife Jul 16, 2013 10:07 am

I hope that anyone that doesn’t want to read about someone being busy never stumbles onto my site because I’m pretty sure that I’ve ranted and blabbed about being busy…. a lot. But it’s how we roll around here, we’re always, always busy! Ps. the tofu looks wonderful. Love the photo and recipes as always! :)

Krissy Pidd Jul 26, 2013 09:07 am

I love recipes that accentuate tofu, this looks so delicious!
Your food photography is absolutely stunning :)

Thursday Thoughts - Jelly Toast Aug 1, 2013 01:08 am

[…] Let me say I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do with it, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be the answer to my tofu […]

Sarah Aug 27, 2013 02:08 pm

Allison you could try using the same base for different meals.. like tofu cmasrble over hashbrowns or make burritos with it and top them with avocado. I like to re-purpose my meals. So I will use a thick chili in collard wraps or ontop of cornbread or even as a sloppy joe. I also use frozen fruits and veggies they are flash frozen so sometimes it’s even fresher than non frozen. This helps a lot and if you are near a Whole Foods they now have frozen kale, collards and turnip greens. I make a lot of grains and beans ahead of time but usually don’t make a dish with them, they are just in the fridge ready to become part of something tasty later

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Chloe @TheLittleCanopy Oct 4, 2013 12:10 pm

This looks delicious!! Definitely going to try this.

[…] Asian Tofu Skewers […]

Alison May 19, 2014 08:05 am

Mmmmmm – my kid loves tofu, and I think she would adore this recipe!

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[…] has had a food blog, Running with Tweezers and lives the good life with her Louisiana born and bred husband, Mike. I met Tami many years ago, […]