08.04.11_Sesame Noodles with Tofu

Confession: I learned almost everything I know about cooking from the Food Network. I had it on basically 24/7 in college unless I was in class or watching another one of my shows that I regularly watch. Rachael Ray specifically taught me a lot of great tips and easy techniques that I use all the time. Sadly the days of Ray Ray teaching me new things seems to be over, as I am now more than fully aware that nutmeg is that little something in the background that makes you go "Hmmm what is that?" and that a Stoup is thinner than a stew but thicker than a soup. Get it? Stoup? That being said, since I have been having to look up actual recipes this month I thought Rachael Ray would be a good person to look to for fast and easy meals since that is what she is known for after all.

 After searing for "vegetarian" on foodnetwork.com and narrowing my search results down to show only Rachael Ray recipes I found her recipe for Sesame Noodles. As the recipe shows, they were extremely straight forward and super simple. The recipe was actually meant to be for a side dish so I just tripled the recipe so I could use a whole box of pasta and to make enough for an entree.

To add some protein into the mix we decided to try and cook tofu, something I had never cooked with before. Deciding on which tofu to buy was quite the scene. Phillip and I went to Whole Foods and were not at all prepared for the plethora of options that were presented to us. We ended up buying extra firm tofu based on my rationale that "if I'm going to be sauteing this, I want it to be firm so that it doesn't fall apart." Extra firm also had the fewest number of boxes left on the shelf so we figured if everyone else was buying it, we should too.

After watching a video online no how to prepare tofu, I was ready to go. It was easy enough, same as cooking chicken or any other protein. I added the sauteed tofu in with the sesame noodles and served the with a side of steamed edamame.

A few things I would do different next time:
1) The noodles themselves did not come out as flavorful as I had hoped. I found this to be odd especially after comparing the colors of my sesame noodles to the picture on Food Network's website. My noodles came out a much darker brown so I assumed I had more sauce and therefore more flavor. When we heated up the leftovers I added some more soy sauce and a little more sesame oil and found them to be more enjoyable.

2) I would put the tofu directly into the sauce before mixing the sauce into the noodles. Since tofu is like a sponge it absorbs any flavors that you put it with. Because I had dressed the noddles with the sauce prior to adding the tofu, there was not much left for the tofu to absorb. By putting the tofu into the sauce first, it would have much more flavor and taste less like plan sauteed tofu.

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