I just realized that my blog is four years (minus three days) old, which means that Cookie must be about six years old. Six years! She’s still a puppy at heart. We’re heading home to celebrate my baby brother’s twenty-first birthday this weekend. Everybody’s all grown up.
So I’ve been blogging here for about four years. A lot has changed since my first post, but 343 posts later, Cookie is still snuggled up next to me on the couch as I type. Have I ever told you all that Cookie knows eight different tricks? This dog even dances for kale.
Cookie also loves Brussels sprouts, but probably not as much as I do. I’ve been utterly obsessed with these glazed sprouts since I tried Taylor’s version a few weeks ago. (Side note: I got to meet Taylor on King Arthur’s Bake for Good Tour and she’s awesome.)
I added toasted sesame oil to Taylor’s sweet-and-spicy glaze and let the glaze boil down until it gets slightly syrupy. Then it really seeps down into the layers of caramelized cabbage. I also added crispy baked tofu (you gotta try it!) and rice to turn these brussels sprouts into a full meal. Each of the components requires some effort, but none is overly complicated. You can break it down to be a glazed sesame Brussels sprouts side dish if you’d like. Broccoli would make a great substitute for the sprouts if you want to change it up. The crispy baked tofu is my favorite tofu cooking method yet. The trick is to toss the tofu in a tiny bit of oil and a little bit of arrowroot starch or cornstarch.
This dish reminds me of one of the Annie’s frozen meals that I used to take into my office job when I was starting this blog, the broccoli teriyaki one. Maybe you know it. This is its homemade counterpart, which would coincidentally pack great for an office lunch. And while this would make for a totally unorthodox Easter lunch, it might be just right for dinner.
- 1 1/4 cup brown rice, preferably short grain
- 1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fine grain sea salt
- 1 (15 ounce) block of organic extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari* or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey (maple syrup also works)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Big handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Prep work: Position your oven racks in the lower third and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the rice. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh colander under running water and set aside.
- Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu in half lengthwise so you have two one-inch thick slabs. Transfer the tofu to a plate lined with a lint-free tea towel or paper towels. Fold the towel over one tofu slab, then place the other slab on top (see photo). Top with more towel and place something heavy on top to help the tofu drain.
- Trim the nubby ends and any discolored leaves off the Brussels sprouts, then cut the sprouts in halves lengthwise. Toss the sprouts with a light, even layer of olive oil. On a large baking sheet, arrange the sprouts in an even layer, flat sides down, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Transfer the drained tofu to a cutting board. Slice three long columns and five rows on each slab. Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil and tamari, then drizzle it over the tofu and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch over the tofu, and toss the tofu until the starch is evenly incorporated (no powdery spots remaining). Arrange the tofu in an even layer on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper for easier cleanup).
- To cook the rice: Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Let the rice boil for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and drain the rice. Transfer the drained rice back to the cooking pot and cover for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add a dash of sea salt and use a fork to fluff the rice. Set aside until you're ready to serve.
- To bake the sprouts and tofu: Transfer the pan of Brussels sprouts to the lower oven rack, and the pan of tofu to the top rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the contents of each pan halfway through cooking, until the sprouts and tofu are deeply golden on the edges.
- To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk together the glaze ingredients (start with 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or sriracha and add more to taste). Bring the glaze to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often and reducing heat as necessary, until the glaze is reduced by about half (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.
- To toast the sesame seeds: Pour the sesame seeds into a small pan. Toast for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, until the seeds are turning golden and starting to make popping noises.
- To assemble: Divide rice onto four plates. Top each plate with sprouts and tofu and drizzle with glaze. Finish each plate with a very generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and a small handful of chopped cilantro.
Definitely use reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce, otherwise this dish will taste too salty.
Make it gluten free: This dish is gluten free as long as you use gluten-free tamari, which is a variety of soy sauce that is usually (but not always, check the label) gluten free. I always use tamari instead of soy sauce because I prefer the flavor of it! Look for tamari next to the soy sauce in the Asian aisle of the grocery store.