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Tofu Talk

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:48pm
I am back from my blog hiatus...did you miss me?

Sometimes I think I am always the very last person on earth to get around to trying different food products. Oh, wait. That’s not quite true. The very last person would be Mr. Jelly Belly. Especially when it comes to something like tofu. If he was stranded on a deserted island, hadn’t eaten a bite for weeks and some friendly natives brought him tofu, he would turn up his nose and politely decline. I think he would rather eat bugs.

It’s not that I have anything against meat alternatives, it’s just that tofu has never been something that sounded appealing or particularly tasty. When I think of tofu, the only thing that comes to mind is that Thanksgiving episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when Marie made a tofu turkey. Seriously? Gross. And I find that kind of funny because I’m the type of person who rarely met a food she didn’t like. Still, tofu and sushi (raw fish? ewww) are the top two foods it seems everyone else eats but I have never tried.

But last week Carla over at Uno Acres (who, by the way, should get some kind of award for being the most organized person EVER ) posted a recipe that used tofu to stretch out your peanut butter and save some calories. Because I often do the same thing, using fat-free cream cheese with peanut butter (which I can’t do any more because of that pesky dairy thing), I thought I might give it a try. Someday. When I worked up some nerve.

Then I bought this frozen Teriyaki Rice and Vegetable Bowl, made by Amy’s Kitchen, and it featured tofu as one of the main ingredients.



I inspected it closely and then I ate it. And guess what? It wasn’t horrible. Of course, someone else prepared it. And that can make a pretty big difference.

Since I know absolutely nothing about tofu, I looked it up and found this gag-inspiring information – which I am happy I did not read prior to finding the stuff in my rice bowl:

Known as soybean curd, tofu is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. It is a neutral-flavored product that easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients with which it is cooked. Tofu is rich in high-quality protein and B-vitamins and is low in sodium.

Coagulation. Yummy. So far, it’s not sounding all that appetizing. Plus, I think they really need to come up with some better names for this stuff. “Tofutti” is kind of a cute name; soybean curd, not so much.

There are two types of tofu – silken (or soft) and firm (or regular). They both look like this:



Is it just me, or does tofu bear a strong resemblance to this wonder product:

There’s a reason tofu is so popular with vegetarians. Ten grams of protein per half-cup serving. (Hey! It occurs to me that is the EXACT SAME protein content as my Bear Naked granola. Which was 5 grams for ¼ cup. Interesting. ) Tofu is also high in calcium and has only 94 calories per serving.

So, all of the above whining aside, I am finding myself getting really curious about tofu. I want to make tofu-containing recipes. I want to make Mr. Jelly Belly roll his eyes when he sees what I am doing. I want him to imply my food choices are disgusting. I want to eat my tofu with gusto right in front of his red-meat-loving-face. Can you make sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free desserts with tofu? I’ll bet you can!

But since a girl can’t live on dessert alone (try as she might), and assuming I can even figure out where they hide the darn tofu in the grocery store, I am going to give this Breakfast Burrito recipe a try. It actually sounds good. And I’ll bet it won’t kill me. And since I know you are dying for new tofu recipes, here it is:

Vegan Breakfast Burrito

3-4 flour tortillas
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large tomato, diced
1/8 tsp turmeric
dash Tabasco sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
non-dairy vegan sour cream (optional)
grated vegan cheese (optional)

Warm flour tortillas over stove or in microwave until heated and soft.

In a large skillet or frying pan, sautee the garlic and onion in vegetable oil for a minute or two, then add tofu, mushrooms and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently for 4-6 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.

Remove from heat. Mix in turmeric and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place a couple spoonfuls of the tofu and vegetable mixture in each flour tortilla. Top with vegan sour cream and vegan cheese if desired, then wrap and serve hot.
_____

P.S. I have absolutely no idea what turmeric is. And the name alone kind of scares me.
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