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Coach Insignia: Detroit Restuarant Week

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Pineapple Glazed Tofu
Chef Colin Moreau, Coach Insignia

THE TOFU

One of the most educating and changeling aspects of being a chef is learning cuisines or diets you are not accustomed to. A fruit salad at a neighborhood BBQ was the closest thing I had ever some to easting something vegan or vegetarian. A few years ago I was challenged to write a 6 course, vegetarian Chefs Tasting menu at another Epicurean Restaurant named Gastronomy. 2 other Chefs and I collaborated on Pine apple glazed tofu dish. We wanted to bring texture, flavors, and something out of the ordinary to the dish.

Now tofu is tofu, there really is no other way around it. It's bland, boring and can be a big turn off if seen on a menu. But simply altering the complexity of its texture and paired with the right competent you can have something unique and captivating.

Dredging the tofu in rice flour and either pan fry or deep fry giving the tofu a crispy exterior texture or a shell if you will around it. You will want to deep/pan fry to a nice golden brown to ensure the crispiness and texture you are trying to achieve. The rice flour can be seasoned to fit any cuisine in theory.

Southwest flavors
- Chili Powder
- Cumin
- Coriander
- Paprika

Cajun flavors
- Dried Oregano
- Cayenne
- Black pepper
- Old Bay ( if you feel like cutting some corners)

Italian Flavors
- Dried Basil
- Garlic Powder ( A Must)
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Parsley

1. To pan fry add 3 TBSP of canola / vegetable oil to a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. 
2. Add the dredged (in rice flour) tofu to the pan, flipping once one side has become golden bown. 
3. Sear the other side in similar fassion, remove from pan and place on a pan towel to absorb any excess grease. Season with salt if desired. 
4. To deep fry set your home deep fryer to 325-350 degrees. 
5. Fry until golden brown, remove from fryer and place no paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

THE PINEAPPLE

With the flavor profiling now is hand we can look at the other elements of this dish. The pineapple is an underrated fruit in my book. I however love using it. Especially when it comes to, once again, alteration of the product. Grilling or charring a pineapple is in essence caramelizing the sugars in the fruit which bring out so much more of the fruits flavor potential. You will see a charred pineapple typically in Hawaiian cuisines, or on pizza with ham (slight sarcasm).

After the pine apple has been pealed I prefer docking the two sides and cutting myself 2 - rectangles, dimensions being 3 inches x 4 inches x

¾ inch, a slight to modest sprinkling of sugar (white or brown) will help with the caramelization we are trying to achiever. Below is the process and procedure to caramelizing your pineapple

1. Add 2 TBSP canola / vegetable oil to a nonstick pan. 
2. Bring to a medium heat. 
3. Using a pair of tongs add the pineapple to the pan, being cautious of any oil splash back. 
a. Pineapple carries an extreme amount of moisture, moisture and oil don't' mix at high temperatures. So exercise caution, use an over glove if necessary. 
4. After a few minute lift the corner of the pineapple up to see if your "golden brown color" has been achieved. If not let it go another few minutes. If so go ahead and flip it over and let sit for another 3 minutes. 
5. Once desired caramelization had been reached it is common to deglaze the pan with a wine or liquor. This should be done by an experienced Chef, because Alcohol +Heat=Fire. It's hard to find a common wine, red or white that would produce a flame in a common house hold gas range stove, however a liquor like vodka or gin will ignite almost instantly. Below are step to deglazing the pineapple in the pan


a. Never pour alcohol straight from a bottle into a pan over open heat. 
b. Have a lid ready to help control a large flame.
c. Portion an ounce to
½ an ounce in a shot glass or similar vessel. 
d. Once you are ready to deglaze, turn off the heat/fire to the pan completely. 
e. Stand back, add liquor and return to flame/heat. 
f. Immediately the gases released from the liquor will ignite and the "flamb
é" process has begun. Flavors from the liquor you have chosen are in parting into the pineapple. It should also be noted that during this process the alcohol is being cooked off.

THE SAUCE

The sauce for this dish is a tending type of dish component called a gastrique. Simply put a gastrique is caramelized sugar deglazed with vinegar and or additional acid liquid. The finished product holding a consistency of a syrup at room temp. For example this dishes gastrique is an orange gastrique. Below is the Process and procedure

- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
-
½ cup Tarragon vinegar
½ cup Orange Juice

Combine all elements into a small sauce pot over a medium heat, stirring constantly for the 1st few minutes to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a low heat/low simmer. You must always keep an eye on make reductions or gastriques in this case. Reduce your sauce too far and you risk burning ruining your product. A good way to gauge if your gastrique is close to being done is to look for small to medium size bubbles beginning to form on the surface. Also note the starting level of your liquid in the pan and note how far it has reduced. Take a small amount in a spoon and allow it to cool for a few minutes in the refrigerator. Then taste test. Drizzle some on a plate to see the consistency you have achieved. If too loose reduce longer. If too tart add some more sugar, so on and so forth. Once you have reached the desired consistency and flavor you can reserve in a pourer at room temp.

INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT LIST

- Orange Juice
½ cup
- Tarragon vinegar (other white vinegars will suffice) ½ cup
- Sugar 1 cup
- Water 1 cup
- Gin / Vodka (OPTIONAL) 1 ounce
- Pineapple 1 each
- Tofu EXTRA FIRM 1 Brick
- Rice Flour 1 Bag
- Olive Oil
 - Medium Size Bowl
- 1 small sauce pot
- 2 saut
é pans
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