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Sometimes the sensibilities of a cookbook author are just so sophisticated and mature that it makes me green with envy. Elizabeth Andoh is such an author. Whenever I go back to her books for inspiration, I come across another recipe that's so clever yet simple. Take, for instance, her suggestion to cover tofu in a miso marinade to turn it into "tofu cheese," a block of tofu that develops a pungent flavor and softness like cheese as it marinates.

Another simple tofu preparation she writes about is Creamy Tofu Dressing.

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The directions are simple: boil a piece of tofu, drain it, and puree it in the blender with Saikkyo miso (a particularly sweet and winey variety) with a bit of mirin (sweet sake) and salt to taste. Three ingredients in all, and she even specifies in the recipe that you can use either firm or soft tofu.

The flavor is subtle but the dab of miso is crucial; without the miso paste, the taste is too much like raw soy. The miso paste mellows out that harshness and adds a critical yet unassuming level of saltiness.

I tried the recipe with both firm and soft tofu and loved both. If you use firmer tofu, you'll get a puree with a hummus-like texture and thickness, which makes it an excellent dipping sauce. In another batch, I added Korean chili paste to give the paste more of a kick.

For a silkier result, closer to the consistency of whipped yogurt or light mayonnaise, try making it with soft tofu. It can be spread on slices of fruit and eaten as dessert, or spoon it straight out of the jar and eat it like yogurt.

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