How was your weekend, readers? Did you have a nice Holiday? We had a lovely series of events here. Saturday, Mike and I celebrated two years of happiness. We celebrated with ice cream! Then Sunday came and it was Easter! We celebrated with candy! Unfortunately, Easter candy is my favorite genre of candy (and understandably so!) and ice cream is my favorite dessert so I may have…overindulged…a little bit…I never want to look at candy again. Candy, you and I (and my tummy) are enemies! Boo candy!
(I was just kidding baby, I still love you, don’t be like that.)
Anyway, I’m not in the mood AT ALL for sweets, so today, and likely for the week, my blog leans towards savory. Today, I’m going to talk about one of the cheapest dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or–dare I say it–dessert) options available–tofu. Oh my LORD you guys HATE that stuff, don’t you? I mean, I hear about it all the time. The second you tell someone you’re a vegetarian you get a “Oh wow, I’d totally do that but I HATE tofu!”
Some of you may have noticed the lack of tofu recipes on my blog. A few of you have even asked why there are no tofu recipes when I feature weird things like tempeh. Truth be told, we just don’t eat a whole lot of it in our house. It’s not because it’s expensive (four to five servings is only $2 at most stores), nor is it that I don’t like the taste. The reason we never have it is because it expires, and if I don’t know for CERTAIN that I’m not going to eat something THIS WEEK then I just tend to forget it’s around.
Tofu is so versatile, cheap, and yummy though (when cooked properly) that I’m beginning to rethink my soy policy. I’m beginning to think I could actively plan a tofu meal a week. Maybe I’ll even share a few with you?
So, here are some facts about tofu.
1. There are different types: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. Silken works really well blended into smoothies, soups, desserts, dips, and sauces. Soft tofu makes the tastiest and easiest tofu scramble in the universe. Firm and extra firm are often what you run into at a Chinese restaurant and want homestyle bean curd (drooooooool). Typically, if you want to stir fry or bake it and serve it with dinner, you’ll be using firm or extra firm. Both are tasty.
2. Firm and extra firm tofu usually have to be pressed. Why? Because they’re packed in water and in order for your tofu to absorb the flavor of whatever sauce or marinade you’re using, you’re going to want to press it to get the water out first. Some people have a fancy device called a “tofu press.” Me? I go old school. Really, really, really old school.
Take a plate, throw your tofu on it, throw another plate on top and find the biggest, heaviest, most pretentious book in your house (we used to use the complete Chronicles of Narnia) to put on top. You can let it sit anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour, but I always prefer to go the hour route to get every last bit of juice gone. Then I drain it off and marinade it.
3. You should probably marinade it. You don’t have to, but it will taste a lot like a sponge if you don’t. I’m not kidding. It will be GROSS. (You could also bread, batter, or deep fry it, but those aren’t really the most healthful options.) So, chop up your pressed tofu to it’s desired size, and throw one of these marinades over it and let it soak in.
Barbeque Sauce (not kidding. It’s amazing)
Taco Sauce (I’m serious!)
Teriyaki Sauce (no brainer!)
Let those marinades soak into your tofu for AT LEAST an hour, or overnight for best results.
4. Bake it! I love baking my tofu. I hardly ever fry it if I can help it, baking it is so easy and healthy. Just pop those little cutlets (or dice, or blobs, or whatever) on a lightly greased baking sheet (they WILL stick) at 350 for about 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Tada! You have baked tofu. Yum, yum, yum.
5. Rice Schmice. You don’t need rice for tofu. You could just as easily…
…eat it in a taco.
…have it as a sandwich.
…eat it with some pita.
…gnaw on it by itself for a snack.
…throw it in a wrap.
…or have it over noodles.
Tofu should NOT be relegated to stir fry!
Seriously, fifty cents a person feeds at least four people a serving of protein and nutrients, as well as whatever fortifications are added, and it is as easy as pressing, picking a marinade, and baking. Give it a try! It’s really not nearly as icky as you think and it keeps great (after you cook it).
Have a good week guys. Expect yummy recipes, soon!