Box of Oxo kitchen tools
I’ve been a big fan of Oxo‘s kitchen tools, which make my life much easier in the kitchen. I’ve raved about their cherry pitter, which was put to great use this past summer in making several batches of my Tart Cherries in Brandy and Spiced Syrup. Their vegetable peeler was my constant companion during culinary school, and comes with me to every catering gig as part of my standard toolkit (where it is borrowed on a regular basis). When I received an email asking for recipe suggestions for using a selection of their utensils as part of a contest sponsored by Oxo and Plated, a meal delivery service, I knew that I wanted to take part in it, squeezing it into my busy working chef schedule.
For a while, I’ve been tossing this recipe around in my mind, thinking that it would be a great thing to tackle. There is, however, the issue of prep time. Slicing piles of vegetables takes time, which, as I run between jobs, isn’t always possible. On the nights where I’m not working or attending a networking event or culinary activity, collapsing on the couch and putting my my aching feet takes first priority. Several of the tools in the box that Oxo mailed to me to use for this contest minimize prep time and make this recipe very doable for a weeknight dinner. I also chose to make this recipe vegan and gluten-free, as I try to build up more of a repertoire of those dishes for potential clients.
For this recipe, I picked out the tongs, the small whisk, the slicer, and the salad dressing shaker. Each of these utensils are very handy to have in the kitchen for all sorts of jobs. The salad dressing shaker was my marinade mixer, with the handy cup measurements on the side helping me to figure out the right proportion of oil to vinegar. I combined everything with the whisk and then closed the top to help me pour the marinade, minimizing spills and splatters, much like using a squeeze bottle (on which we rely heavily in professional kitchens and in catering). The slicer created beautiful, thin strips of vegetables, making them easy to cook. The three different sizes of thickness as well as the fact that you can lock down the blade when you are done, makes this a resourceful tool for slicing. Tongs, I can’t really say enough about tongs, as I use them quite a bit in my cooking. I have another pair of Oxo ones that are workhorses in my kitchen. This extra pair might go into my knife kit, but I’m hesitant, as I can see someone falling in love with them and them “disappearing” at some point.
I wanted this dish to have an Asian feel to it. It’s sort of Thai-ish with cilantro and lime and sesame oil. The cooking time (including prep) is supposed to be under 30 minutes for these dishes, according to our instructions. We were also limited to using 12 ingredients, which I maxed out on completely. The vegetables retain some of their nice crunch with the noodles and tofu giving the dish a hearty, substantial feel and additional texture. I’m definitely going to enjoy eating the leftovers.
Tofu Noodle Stir-Fry
Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
Serving Size: 2 adult portions
2 oz. Thai-style Rice Noodles (about 1-inch diameter bunch)
1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 wedge Lime Juice plus more for garnish
1/4 c. Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1/3 c. Canola Oil, plus 1/4 teaspoon for stir-frying
6 oz. Extra-firm Tofu
1 medium Carrot
1 medium Red Pepper
6 large Brussels Sprouts
Cook noodles as you would pasta, by putting a pan of water on the stove to boil. Toss in the noodles and let them cook until tender. Drain and set aside, tossing the hot noodles with two teaspoons of the marinade.
Make the marinade for the tofu and sauce for the noodles by pouring the garlic powder, ground ginger, lime juice, and rice wine vinegar into the salad dressing shaker. Using the whisk to stir continuously, add the sesame oil and the canola oil to the mixture. Place the top on the salad dressing shaker. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place in bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of the marinade over the tofu and let it sit while preparing the vegetables.
Using the slicer on width setting #1, cut the carrot. For the red pepper and brussels sprouts, use width setting #2 to slice. Everything will come out more or less the same width, which will allow them all to cook quickly and evenly in the pan. I used the blade guard for the sprouts, but cut the carrot and peppers down to about 1-inch left in size on the slicer and finished with a knife, as the blade guard didn’t work as effectively with those vegetables.
Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet (do not use a non-stick pan) until it starts to show ripples in the oil (before it starts to smoke). With the tongs, remove the tofu with the marinade and place it in the hot oil. Let it cook for about 1 minute, moving it around with the tongs to heat evenly. Add the sliced vegetables and cook for 1 minute more. Then, add the noodles and warm everything through to heat it up. Pour over a couple of tablespoons of the marinade and toss it all together.
Place the noodles, vegetables, and tofu on two plates. Chop the cilantro and sprinkle it on each of the plates. Garnish each plate with a lime wedge, if desired. Serve immediately.