Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't be a Jerk, Tofu.

When Peef's brother and his family moved to Antigua, we didn't really think it would give us any particular culinary advantages. In fact, we were more worried about things like "When will we see you again?" and "What's the weather like?" and "When can we visit?" than "What sorts of foodstuffs will you bring back for us when you come home on furlough?"

Silly, silly Peef and Lo.

This past July, John and Alex came home. And they brought us a scad of fantastic local delicacies. Antiguan rum, guava jelly, johnny cake mix, Caribbean hot sauce, mango-pineapple wine, tamarind wine ... and a jar of jerk sauce.

Now, we love a good jerk. And we have (what we consider) a pretty durned good recipe for it. So, we were eager to see how the jarred sauce measured up.

But, that doesn't mean that we broke into our stash immediately. In fact, when it comes to new and exciting things I'm a bit of a hoarder. I was the kid who rationed her new school clothes so that they lasted AT LEAST until the middle of November. And I'm still the gal who loves to stash exciting new chocolate bars into the cupboard to eat... on that special occasion.

So, we didn't get around to trying out the jerk until... just a couple of weeks ago.
I decided we'd go for a nice healthy meal -- a bit of jerked tofu with some roasted cauliflower and onions -- for starters.

Upon opening the jark of jerk, Peef took a whiff. "Wha-hoo!" he snorted, as his eyes began to water "I think it's gonna be hot."

Of course, that warning only served as an invitation for me to force my whole nose down into the container to get a nice sniff. I got a little on the tip of my nose, which I promptly wiped off. But, the burn... oh, the burn. This was going to be some good stuff.

We mixed together that excrutiating sauce with a bit of olive oil...
...and slathered the 12 ounces of cubed tofu. We left no cube un-jerked. In fact, the screams (and slew of profanities) emanating from the processed soy product were almost intolerable. It actually made us feel badly for a moment or two. But, ultimately, we smiled sadistically and threw the tofu (not violently, of course) into the fridge for a nice 24 hour marinade.
The next day, the tortured tofu, which was now feeling slightly suicidal, eagerly submitted to the firey depths of our roasty oven (425ยบ convection roast) for about 25 minutes or so, alongside the (infinitely LESS eager) cauliflower and onions. And the crispified delights that greeted our eyes were absolutely stunning.
... and friggin' hot to boot.
We took our first bites. Yes, indeed. This jerk was the real thing. A bit saltier than our recipe... and quite a bit hotter. We bathed our mouths in a swig of nice cold beer... and then went in for second bites. And thirds.

Oh, yeah.

We have about a quarter cup of the sauce left to try on another 12 ounces of unsuspecting tofu. And after that, it's back to the test kitchen with our personal recipe. I'm thinking we'll up the scotch bonnets from 2 peppers to 3, for starters. Cuz mo' hotter is mo' better as far as we're concerned.

Burp! Jerk

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  1. I can't even imagine eating anything that was so hot it would make your eyes water!! MOre hot pepper power to you two!!!

  2. I'm sweating over here reading this! I'd be afraid if I were your tofu.

  3. I've never tried baking tofu. Am going to try this next time, jerk or no jerk. :)

  4. No cube should ever be un-jerked. Nice gift from the fam. Sure it wasn't a practical joke? :D

  5. I love jerk too, and I never really HAD it, you know until we went to Jamaica and then I saw how deceived I had been in the past when I THOUGHT I was eating jerk! I am a hoarder too! You just reminded me of a chocolate bar that I have stashed away....

  6. I hoard my specialty food too. I'm trying to make 7 quarts of ice cream last from December to April (when my favorite place reopens).

    You're so lucky to get all of that great food. That jerk sauce sounds to die for (literally and figuratively it would seem).

    Hope you enjoy your next round of tortured tofue!

  7. Mmm, I think I would like this. I'm a fan of spicy foods AND tofu.

  8. I think I would kill for some guava jelly but your Jerk Tofu looks amazing too. :)

  9. I knew I was going to love this post as soon as I read .."we love a good jerk". I busted out laughing there, and chuckled all the way through the tofu's misery. I would love this. Love, love, love it. I'm not sure I could handle the heat index, but I'd be willing to give it a try ... I love tofu that much. YUM, YUM, YUM!

  10. I could hear the screams of that tofu too :) I bet you were glad of that cold beer!

  11. It is amazing how spicy something can be. I personally can't eat spicy foods, but my wife loves them. She is also a huge fan of tofu so this would be a good idea to throw at her. Don't want to make her cry, but the spicy part of it I know she'll love.

    Bill M.


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