Cookbooks that advertise easy weeknight meals are a dime a dozen, but can disappoint with bland and unimaginative preparations.

“Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” stands above the rest.

The book, from Christopher Kimball’s media company, offers scores of inventive, delicious and swift recipes ideal for any night of the week.

I’m a Milk Street fan, and “Tuesday Nights” doesn’t disappoint. On almost every page is a dish I’m dying to try.

Milk Street recasts American home cooking with global influences and “Tuesday Nights” is heavy with flavors from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Coming in at a little more than 400 pages with gorgeous full-color photographs for each entry, the book has enough to keep an enterprising cook busy for weeks.

The book is divided into main courses by the time it takes from start to the table – fast (under 45 minutes), faster (30-35 minutes) and fastest (under 30 minutes). Short sections for pizzas and sandwiches, salads, sides, one-pot meals, roasting and simmering and desserts round out the volume.

Most preparations sound too extravagant to ready in under an hour, but time and again Milk Street proves its concept. Being able to plate an imaginative, sophisticated meal without taking hours in the kitchen on a busy weekday night is a gratifying experience I’ve been able to replicate time and again with the recipes in “Tuesday Nights.”

Lemongrass-Coconut Tofu is a prime example. A lengthy ingredient list belies a straightforward preparation. Cubed firm tofu is dusted with turmeric, salt and pepper and browned in a pan, then complemented with a pleasantly, slightly sour sauce from coconut milk, tomato, cilantro, lemongrass, shallot and fish sauce.

Paired with steamed rice and topped with spicy chili paste or Sriracha hot sauce, it is a perfect weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers. In short order, this has become my go-to meal for whenever I have tofu in the fridge.

The only ding I can give to “Tuesday Nights” is its reliance on meat. Recipes are red meat and poultry-forward and even vegetable-heavy meals have a meat element. For many, this is probably a selling point for the book, but if you’re trying to limit meat in your diet, your options are limited.

Peter McGuire can be reached at 791-6325 or at:

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Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

Lemongrass-Coconut Tofu

Serves 4

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Kosher salt and ground pepper

Two 14-ounce containers extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry

4 medium plum tomatoes (2 quartered, 2 diced)

1 medium shallot, cut into eighths

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems thinly sliced and reserved separately from leaves

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce

3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed to the lower 6 inches, dry outer layers discarded, thinly sliced

1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

14-ounce can coconut milk, well stirred

1 tablespoon lime juice

In a medium bowl, stir together the turmeric, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a blender, combine the quartered tomatoes, shallot, cilantro stems, fish sauce and chili-garlic sauce. Blend until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon grass and blend, scraping the blender frequently, until a smooth, think paste forms, about 90 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the tofu in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottoms and the pieces release easily from the pan, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the pieces and cook until browned on all sides, another 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate.

Return skillet to medium high. Add the tomato-lemongrass paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then cover, reduce to low and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tofu and stir to coat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tofu has absorbed some of the sauce, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.


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