Cooking with Foxfur: Kitsune Tofu Salad


This one is for Serenity, a fellow WordPress blogger, and my friend Jenny who saw the photo I put up on Facebook (I like to tease my friends with foodporn).

I had a tofu salad at a very nice Japanese restaurant 15 years ago. I was looking at what I had left for food stocks the other day and decided I’d try to recreate it. Not only did I come close, I surpassed the original.

Kitsune Tofu Salad

1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (sweetened rice wine)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, sliced paper thin
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sesame seeds

Free the tofu from its plastic prison and slap it on a plate. Place another plate on top of Mr. Tofu and put a few cans on top to press it down a bit. It Mr. T starts to crumble, I pity you, fool. The idea here is to press lots of water out of the tofu so it will be able to soak up the yummy dressing it will eventually be bathed in. The ‘fu will need to be squeezed for up to an hour. Pour off the expelled ‘fu juices every 15 minutes or so. After draining, cut it up into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes.

Mix the soy, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a cup. I added a teaspoon of sugar the second time I made it. It was pretty good but I think I like it better without. If you have kids, they may be more likely to eat it. The second time I made it I also sauteed the garlic and ginger to see what it was like with them a bit crispity. Yum! It’s not necessary but kinda fancy…

Combine the ‘fu, tomatoes, and cilantro in a serving bowl. I like to get in there with my fingers to mess it up real good. Follow your heart here. Don’t worry it the ‘fu crumbles a bit. You’re never gonna get it Cooks Illustrated perfect. I sure don’t. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix it around a bit more. It’s just great right after you finish it and possibly a bit better after an hour or so in the fridge.Shake some sesame seeds on top of each serving before eating.

If you don’t have mirin, either don’t worry about it, or, go out and get some. I use it in everything from marinades to stir fry sauces.

Red onions give the dish a nice look. I ended up using Walla Walla sweet onions and it blew my mind.

By the way, kitsune is fox in japanese.

Enjoy

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Forest Grove Sushi, Who Knew?


Forest Grove Sushi

Sometimes I refer to Forest Grove, Oregon as a little shit-kicker town. For the most part it’s a sleepy town of about five thousand folks. It does, however, have a well-groomed downtown area centered around Pacific University, the Forest Grove library, and the city offices. It’s come along quite nicely in the 20 years in which I’ve been visiting.
For a couple of years I’ve been meaning to stop in and sample the cuisine at Forest Grove Sushi. Having done so tonight, my only regret is not having done so when I first thought of it. The design is half and half traditional and modern but with a true countertop glass sushi cooler. The sushi chef does the hand clap, always a good sign in my world. They offer a menu typical of many smaller japanese restaurants here in the states.
I ordered a Oregon roll; crab, avocado, cream cheese, cucumber, and topped with generous salmon and avocado slices that touch the plate on both sides of the roll. Absolutely delicious. The salmon was perfect. ~$8 / 8pcs.
I ordered red snapper nigiri at the same time and was surprised at the thickness of the pieces delivered. The size was impressive as well covering an area twice as large as the nigiri rice it is laid upon. ~$3.50 / 2pcs.
After demolishing the above I decided I needed to gather more intel. Next target: The FG roll. Tuna, salmon, crab, avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber in a roll with the nori on the outside. Again, highly delicious. ~$5 / 6pcs. All of the above were arranged artfully on traditional japanese plates and presented gracefully. The service was prompt and courteous and earned the server a handsome tip.
I ordered some rolls to take home to Sweetpea. An 8 piece California roll, $3.50, and an 8 piece inari roll, ~$3. The inari roll has strips of inari (fried sweet bean curd) with crab, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in nori with the rice on the outside. Sweetpea eagerly approved and promptly destroyed both.
If you’re on your way to Tillamook on Hwy 6, hop off at Banks and head south into Forest Grove to getcha some Forest Grove Sushi. After your meal you can either order some mochi right there or head out the back way from town, Hwy 8, and stop by Scotty’s for a soft-serve creamy cone or other frozen Americano fat bomb.
Damn. I could just kick myself for not having tried their sushi sooner.
Now I know.

www.facebook.com/FGSushi