Easy Cooking Techniques Every 20-Something Should Know

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When it comes to cooking protein, we admit we can get a little intimidated. There are so many different culinary terms, hot grills, open flames, and marinades galore. Does it really have to be that hard? You know what? It really doesn't! Here we present Foodiversity: Protein 101 to help demystify cooking the perfect protein. Want to get comfortable fixing up foolproof salmon, steak, chicken, shrimp, and tofu? We got you covered. Also, never feel stumped by fancy-sounding cooking terms again. Just be sure to throw them around when you're whipping up the perfect protein for your friends.

How To Bake Tofu

Photographed by Eric Helgas, Styled by Ali Nardi.
Making tofu at home can often end in a mushy, unappetizing mess. But, we've got the perfect fix: Instead of the difficult frying method that your favorite takeout restaurants employ, try this crispy, baked version. You'll still end up with crunchy cubes of tofu, and the recipe is way easier (and healthier) than frying. Serve these crispy bites in a veggie stir-fry over rice, or on a salad. You can reheat the refrigerated leftovers again the oven, and they'll return to crunchy goodness in no time!

Crispy Tofu
Serves 2-3

Ingredients
1 package firm or extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Cut the block of tofu horizontally into three even slices.

3. Lay some paper towels on top of a rimmed baking sheet or large plate. Place a slice of tofu out in a single layer on the plate. Put more paper towels on top and layer on the next slice of tofu. Add the last slice and more paper towels. Top the stack with a plate or baking pan to press it. Let rest at least 15 minutes.

4. Pat the tofu dry with fresh paper towels and cut each slice into three long strips. Cut each strip into 1/2-inch cubes. (They will shrink in the oven.)

5. Gently toss the tofu cubes with the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl to coat. When coated, place them on the baking sheet; no two cubes should be touching. Coat the cubes lightly with cooking spray.

6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or until as crisp as you like.