Oscars: “Soy Story 3” and “The Kids Are All Rice” (Soy-Marinated and -Crusted Tofu Fries with Whole Grain Rice Salad)

Getting two nominees out in one post, here.

I was inspired by panko-crusted tofu to do a kind of “soy cubed” take on Toy Story 3. I found an excellent recipe from The Village Cook for panko tofu triangles and monkeyed around with it a little, using crushed soy chips instead of panko and making “tofu fries” to be a little playful and reflect the fact that this was a kids’ movie. If there’s any way to get kids excited about tofu, I figure it’s to make it as much like chicken nuggets as possible…

Speaking of kids, I got a little exhausted in the punning department and wound up doing rice for “The Kids Are All Right.” It actually worked out well, because one of my party guests is vegan and this’ll ensure she doesn’t starve all evening. Plus, whole grain rice salad (I used Lundberg Jubilee) seems nice and Californian to me, so that fits well with the film’s atmosphere. The recipe is my own, but is very loosely inspired by a “California Rice Salad” from The Silver Palate’s New Basics Cookbook.

Soy-Marinated and -Crusted Tofu “Fries” (Serves 4)
1 block extra-firm tofu
1 bag Soy Crisps, crushed to breadcrumb texture (or panko crumbs)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Put a weighted plate on top of the tofu to press and drain it for 15 minutes. Wrap in foil and freeze for 2 hours, then defrost for several hours.
2. Cut the tofu into 1/2″ by 1/2″ by 4″ fries and let it marinate for about half an hour in the soy sauce, sriracha, and garlic, turning frequently to ensure the fries absorb flavor evenly.
3. Dip in the crushed crisps and fry in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.

Whole Grain Rice Salad (Serves 4-6 as a side)
3 c. cooked wild or whole grain rice
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped

For the dressing (loosely based on this one from Eating Well):
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp. orange juice
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1. Rub a cut piece of garlic on the inner surface of a small metal bowl and whisk the dressing ingredients together inside.
2. Wait until the rice cools to room temperature, then toss it all together. Serve at room temperature.