The number one reason to by cookbooks by Kim O’Donnel: you will actually cook from them! Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? But, I have to tell you, as someone who receives hundreds of cookbooks a year, there are very few that I actually cook from on a regular basis. With most books, I will cook a recipe or two and they will be forgotten. Kim’s books actually live in my kitchen. So, I was thrilled when I received a review copy of her newest book: The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations. (You know I have to really love it since it has no meat and I love to eat meat!)

The book is welcome treat specially during the holiday season as it is filled with recipes that will add flair to your holiday table: roasted red onions with pumpkin rosemary stuffing, pumpkin pudding with molasses cookies etc. I love the simple strawberry and pepita salad with lime zest. The book is very practically divided into the seasons and then holidays within the seasons.

Here is one that my family loves – I made it with Indian cheese (paneer) —

Cajun Blackened Tofu

From the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations by Kim O’Donnel.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2012.

Photo credit is Clare Barboza.

2 (14-ounce) packages fresh

extra-firm tofu, preferably organic

3?4 teaspoon cayenne

3?4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

21?2 teaspoons salt

Neutral oil, for brushing

Tools: 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet

or smooth-surfaced griddle

Here’s What You Do:

Drain the tofu: Remove from the packages and place each rectangular block on a separate plate. Place a second plate on top and weigh the

tofu down with something heavy, such as a can of tomatoes. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Drain off the water.

Meanwhile, place the spices and salt in a small bowl and thoroughly mix. Spread the spice blend evenly in the center of a dinner plate.

Working with one tofu block at a time, lay flat on a cutting surface. Cut the tofu block in half on the diagonal so you have two large triangles.

Lay each triangle half on its longest side, and from the top short edge, cut into four triangles, 1?4 to 1?2 inch thick.

Brush the tofu with the oil on both sides, then dredge in the spice rub until well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Heat a 10-to 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a griddle pan on the flat side until nearly smoking hot. Turn on your kitchen vent.

Cook the tofu in small batches, careful not to crowd the pan, for 3 to 5 minutes per side. The tofu will darken in color and maybe even look

slightly blackened; this is a good thing. You’ll probably switch back and forth between medium and medium-high heat throughout the cooking.

Wipe the skillet with a dry towel of any lingering burnt bits.

Transfer the tofu to a baking sheet and keep in the oven until you’re ready to serve, along with the red beans and brown rice.

Makes 8 servings. You may halve the amounts for a smaller party.

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  1. Monica,
    I’m not sure what you meant in this sentence, “Here is one that my family loves – I am it with Indian cheese (paneer).” Are you saying that you make this dish with paneer instead of tofu?

  2. It was a typo. I fixed it. Thanks.

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