Sometimes a quick stir-fry is incredibly satisfying, but sometimes it is incredibly boring. I think the secret might be in the sauce. If a trip to the Saturday morning farmers market has left me famished--and if I am not in the mood for eggs and potatoes--my go-to meal is a vegetable stir-fry. In the summer it might consist of zucchini, onions, mushrooms and a little diakon radish with teriyaki sauce, but this weekend I picked up a hunk of some kind of deep orange winter squash and a big bunch of celery. Oh, and I completely forgot to get onions; that is going to bother me all week!
I don't usually eat a lot of winter squash, but every fall I like to buy an assortment of squash and set them out as decorations. Invariably, at some point I try to cook them and eat them. Invariably, my husband complains that he hates squash, and, most often, I kind of agree. But I still get sucked in. And this week, one of the vendors I visit every week had these beautiful pumpkin-like squash pre-cut in approximately 1-pound hunks, so I decided to buy some to roast and cube to give to the baby. But then, dinnertime rolled around and I didn't have anything specific planned. And the squash was in the oven. And my husband wasn't home to be bothered by my tofu habit, so I decided to make stir-fry. Teriyaki didn't seem like the right accompaniment to squash, but miso goes well with pumpkin.
I am so tempted to say that if you don't like squash, this might not be the recipe for you, but you know, you might be surprised. Ironically, my 14-month-old, who I had purchased the squash for in the first place, didn't seem to like it. She's been a bit averse to new vegetables lately. Luckily, I did enjoy the squash--it's vibrant flavor pairs well with the salty-sweet glaze--so I won't mind eating the leftovers that I had planned for her.
Miso-Glazed Winter Squash with Tofu
Makes 3-4 servings.
Miso is a salty, soy-based paste available in Oriental food stores and Natural Food stores. Kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered, it will last for at least a year.
To press tofu, lay cubes on double layer of a kitchen towel. Fold towel over on tofu and press gently to absorb water. This step helps tofu absorb seasoning and reduces splattering when frying.
To roast squash, cut in half, scoop out seeds. Cut into large chunks, coat with a little oil and roast somewhere between 350º and 400º for 30 minutes to an hour, until somewhat tender. It will finish cooking in the stir-fry. I give a range in temperatures, because this is the kind of thing that can be done with something else. So if you have something already in the oven, roast the squash at that temperature as long as it is in the range. Of course, the squash will cook faster at a higher temperature and smaller chunks will cook faster than larger ones.
1/2 pound firm tofu, cubed and pressed
2 tablespoons frying oil, such as canola or peanut
2 or 3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 pound deep-orange fleshed winter squash, roasted and cubed
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas or pre-cooked edamame
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
Hot cooked rice for serving
Toasted sesame seeds to garnish, if desired
1. Lay tofu in single layer on a plate and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Let sit a few minutes to absorb seasoning.
2. Heat oil over medium -high heat in large skillet or wok. When oil is hot, add celery. Stir-fry 2 minutes to soften celery. Add squash and fry approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't stir too much, or you will break up the cubes. Let one side brown before turning carefully. Move squash to the side of the pan, swirl so that oil coats the empty side of the pan. Add more oil if necessary. Add tofu. Again, allow tofu to brown on one side before turning carefully. Cook tofu about 5 minutes total.
3. Meanwhile mix remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce with miso paste, lemon juice, maple syrup and water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. When tofu has browned to your liking, carefully stir in peas or edamame. Cook 30 seconds, then add soy-miso sauce. Let sauce bubble 30 seconds, then spoon stir-fried vegetables and sauce over rice.