Monday, March 24, 2014
Seasoned Tofu Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Sleep is a most unreliable, fickle companion. Bestowing her presence, when and only when she decides.
Some days, she leaves you much too early, on a most unfortunate, most inconvenient of days. Like, for instance, the night the clocks move ahead one hour for daylight savings time, exacerbating the sleep loss tremendously. Luckily, or unluckily, in this case, she left Seth and me both, giving the two of us opportunity to commiserate together in our sleepless despair, cursing the world in which we live, one that is supremely unfair in that a 3 am craving for a decent bowl of ramen is left unfulfilled until the following day. This sleep deprivation also results in nonsensical, yet mystifyingly stimulating, conversations about which planet we would vote out of the solar system (answer - MERCURY, naturally).
Or else sleep never even arrives as scheduled. Leaving you alone, stranded really, with your thoughts. Which during the daylight hours is quite a lovely experience, but at night, at night it is terrible. Night thoughts may start out innocently enough, but they quickly become fears and worries that multiply and compound until they themselves form a companion of their own for you, leaving no room in the bed for sleep.
And on the other hand, sleep will show up without so much as a phone call, the equivalent of just dropping by. This of course happens on those days when there seems to be an impossibly long, ever growing list of tasks to complete. One sits down for just a second to gather one's thoughts or else to read the child to sleep, and that is when sleep will make her appearance, cradling you into her arms and you are unable to resist the softness, throwing the whole to-do list in disarray. Or else sleep decides to come when you are on a rare night out on the town with the spouse and decide to see a movie at the ungodly hour of 9 pm and find that your eyes are feeling heavy, and while you actually, truly are enjoying the movie, your eyes will absolutely not stay open. Despite a concerted effort at willing your eye muscles to keep them open and ingesting caffeine in the form of a giant mocha drink. An apparently impotent drink. And you find sleep right there in the seat with you.
Sleep, when irregular, when unreliable, leaves detritus in her wake. Whether in the form of tired bodies or in the form of to-do lists not completed. Regardless, the world continues to turn and meals still need to be cooked. But those meals need not be complicated, as complicated endeavors are a precarious undertaking when pressed for time or sleep. These tofu nuggets, all coated in a seasoned cornmeal mixture and served with honey mustard dipping sauce, can be put together rather easily. The cornmeal might not be for everybody - it isn't exactly crispy, more like a pleasantly chewy, slightly crunchy texture that is fun to bite down on. But Max and I enjoy it. And seasoned with some smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander to give the taste buds something to seek out, something earthy, something smoky, something peppery. A no frills honey mustard sauce makes a nice accompaniment for the the nuggets. Sleep may be an unreliable companion, but these nuggets are not.
For the nuggets:
1 cup medium grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
generous pinch kosher salt
12 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, sliced into about 21 squares
For the dip:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I prefer using Maille brand)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
To make the nuggets: Heat oven to 375. Mix cornmeal with the seasonings in a shallow bowl. Coat the tofu squares in the cornmeal mixture. The seasoned cornmeal should adhere to the tofu. Place coated squares on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
To make the dip: Mix all the ingredients together. Serve with the nuggets.
NOTE: We did not receive financial compensation for this post. We received the Maille mustard for review purposes. The opinions are completely our own. The mustard is absolutely wonderful.