The T-word...it can be intimidating! Health nuts, fans of food from around the world, vegetarians, vegans, and adventurous eaters eventually stumble onto a need or desire to try tofu! Take it from a pro at failed attempts, a little information and instruction on tofu can go a long way!!!
First, let's address that whole "tofu takes on the flavor of anything it is cooked with" thing. True...sort of! As an eager new vegetarian, I went willy-nilly into the grocery store, bought the first tofu I saw, chopped the jiggly block up, and threw it in a recipe. Imagine my horror when all that came out of the oven was a hot version of that bland jiggly block I had started with!!
I mostly cook with two kinds of tofu in varying levels of firmness. Freezing, baking, frying, marinating, blending, sauteing, and so on produce a wild variety of textures and tastes.
*Silken tofu: resembles white jello, is shiny, wiggly, and perfect for smoothies, cream sauces, baking, and such
*Tofu (not silken): comes in soft, firm, extra firm, etc etc etc. It has more of a matte-surface, spongy texture. Regular tofu can be fried, baked, sauteed, scrambled, and all manner of things. Regular tofu is a substance that experienced cooks can prepare to imitate meat products in crazy ways, but also is a great food item of its own value. Tofu is healthy! It is low in all that bad stuff, and high in good stuff! Check out this link for more scientific info that I am not qualified to ramble about!
Other neat facts about tofu:
*Many markets, rather than selling pre-packaged tofu, sell fresh tofu in water. You can reach right in an pick your piece!
*Pre-prepared tofu is sold in varying flavors and such. One of my favorites is Soyboy smoked tofu.
*Tofu is a very sneaky and easy way to cut a ton of fat and calories out of recipes and still achieve rich, creamy sauces and fluffy baked good.