1 (14- to 16-ounce) package extra-firm or firm tofu, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if large, kept whole if small
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for finishing
½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Arrange tofu slices on a clean kitchen towel or on paper towels. Cover with another kitchen towel (or paper towels) and place a flat cutting board or baking pan on top. If your cutting board or pan is lightweight, stack a few cans or a skillet on top to weigh it down. Let tofu drain for at least 15 minutes, and up to 45 minutes.
Transfer tofu to a cutting board and cut slabs into 1-inch cubes. Pat them dry with paper towels and season both sides of the tofu with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil, cornstarch, garlic powder (if using) and 1/2 teaspoon of the oregano. Add tofu to cornstarch mixture and gently toss until tofu is evenly coated. Dump tofu onto one side of the prepared sheet pan.
In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, onion, garlic, balsamic vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil, tossing to combine.
Arrange vegetables on other side of the prepared sheet pan. Bake until tofu is crisp and golden brown, and tomatoes are condensed, 25 to 35 minutes. Halfway through baking, flip tofu and toss vegetables while keeping the tofu and veggies separate.
To serve, sprinkle cilantro on top and drizzle with balsamic and oil, if you’d like.
In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon fine-grain salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper*, optional
Hot milk or water to serve
Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch and cayenne in a large airtight container. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine, and remember to shake prior to every extraction.
To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug and add about 2 fluid ounces hot water or milk. Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.
* The Aztecs always added chiles to their chocolate. Even a pinch ups the flavor ante quite a bit, and as called for here certainly won’t be sensed as “heat.”
No matter — this is fast, easy and will keep for a year if kept in an airtight container in a cool place.
2 teaspoons sesame oil
6 scallions, white part finely sliced, green part chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
5 small dried chiles (optional)
¼ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
In a medium pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the finely-chopped white scallions, garlic, ginger and chiles, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch to combine. Pour about ¼ cup of the hot sauce over the mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the large pieces of green scallion.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and has good flavor, 7 to 9 minutes more.