Tag Archives: tofu

Fakin’ Bacon

I’ve had enough hearing about bacon. I mean real, ‘pig bacon.’ I know that it’s salty, crispy, fatty, and satisfying. But – it’s still pig bacon, and I’m having none of that. So – into the kitchen I sauntered, with a recipe for TOFU bacon that will hopefully make me feel all smug when my carnivore buddies start exulting their bacon experiences.

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Compile:
Extra firm tofu (this Trader Joe’s is low-moisture and absolutely perfect)
Vegan Worcestershire or soy sauce
Maple syrup
Smoky paprika
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Liquid Smoke if you please, but I didn’t have any on hand

With a steady hand, slice your tofu thin. I mean, really thin. As thin as you can without crumbling it. These will eventually be your bacon slices.

Mix the marinade ingredients very well and pour into a shallow pan, such as a 9×13″ baking dish. Then place your really super thin slices of tofu in the marinade and make sure they get covered on both sides. Allow to marinate for a few hours in the fridge.

Heat a baking tray at 350, spray the tray with a little olive oil, and place  your slices on. Bake  until the tofu is firm (keep an eye on it to prevent burning), about 25 minutes. Voila, bacon without the oink! (You do want the bacon to be a little stiff, not soggy, when you take it out – this is why extra firm tofu is essential.)

Would be perfect on sourdough with a schmear of Vegenaise, a juicy heirloom tomato, and some baby butter lettuce. Heaven!

 

 

 

Tempting tofu

Hey! It’s summer. Officially. I just moved house to a new locale, and the backyard is equipped with a nifty (and huge) gas grill.

Score.

Plus, there is an Asian supermarket just a few blocks away.

Super score!
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Tofu is plentiful and inexpensive there. Yay! I grilled some tofu slabs on the aforementioned grill this weekend, and voila: crispy on the outside, pliable inside, and with that BBQ taste everyone knows and loves. Oh, and look: grill marks! just like meat!

Here, the leftovers are pulling duty with rice river noodles, scallions (grown by moi, thanks very much), hot chili oil and a splash of sesame oil. Simple. Heavenly.

It’s going to be a good summer.

The prodigal vegan has returned – with a new friend!

Hi all! I made a new friend recently in one of my condo clients. Not only is she close to my age, loves thrift shopping, photography, and believes in the three Rs  (Reduce, reuse, recycle) – like me – she is vegan!

E lives in the building I manage. Having just moved from Atlanta with three little (vegan) daughters in tow, she works from home and in between phone calls, whips up tasty raw vegan treats. She’s only housesitting for the summer for her dad, but E brought all her vegan cookbooks, juicer and even her dehydrator down to Florida! Talk about a woman on a mission!

And my new BFF has invited me up to her place for two yummy raw lunches so far. What a treat! And now we’re emailing each other photos of our food. (Dorks, haha!)

Here is E’s raw tofu scramble: tofu, turmeric, red
onions, tomatoes, parsley (newly dehydrated), roasted buckwheat, olive oil, nama shoyu, sea salt and pepper.

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It’s so nice having a new buddy like E!

Something’s fishy

…or is it? One of the last things I gave up before going vegetarian was seafood. Ever since I was a kid, seafood was always preferable to me over beef, chicken,or pork. Really, there was no kind of seafood I didn’t really like – I even dabbled a few times in raw oysters! But now, I think, eww.

Yet it isn’t really me ‘missing’ seafood so much that prompted me to bread tofu in seafood breading. After a quick (nostalgic?) perusal in  the ‘breadings section’ of the supermarket recently, I pondered the possibility of dredging tofu and frying it up as if it were fish. photo(2)Couldn’t be half bad, could it?

Lo, the experiment turned out okay. I drained firm tofu and pressed it to get most of the moisture out. Then I prepared a plate for the seafood breading. Now, here is where some vegan recipes say to add powdered kelp or kombu to the mix to give it that fishy taste, but I skipped that step. It wasn’t so much the fishy flavor I needed as much as the illusion that I was consuming seafood.

I wanted a fish stick effect – so I sliced the firm tofu into ‘fingers’ (as they call ’em in the UK). Rolled and rolled them in the coating, then pan-fried them in vegetable oil. After draining them on a paper towel, but while still hot, I dipped the fingers in both ketchup and malt vinegar (but not at the same time!). And you know what? It was pretty good. Not so much like fried seafood that you would be fooled, but decent enough to give hardcore tofu haters a run for their money.

Would I make it again? Yes, and I think next time I’ll try a breading with Old Bay Seasoning in it just to give it a little oomph.

Appealing to my senses

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I love tofu. No, really, I do love it. It’s not as if, as a vegetarian, I am obligated to like it. I know a few vegetarians who positively dislike tofu – its texture, taste (or lack of it, in most cases), and general association with bland hippie fare. Yes, I know how maligned tofu has been through the decades, but I keep telling folks if they just had it prepared properly, flavorfully, they might learn to enjoy it (or at least tolerate it).

Sweet, spicy, salty, garlicky...perfect.


Here’s a dish I discovered that appeals to my appreciation of tofu as well as my favorite cuisine: Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce. I came across the recipe in, of all places, Gourmet magazine’s Web site, while looking for Korean vegetarian food. (We have no Korean restaurants in my town; so one must make do on their own.)
It elevates that scary cube of tofu from ghostly white tasteless hunk to a savory, satisfying, super-easy dish. The “spicy garlic sauce” really is none other than a very basic Asian blend of sweet, spicy, salty, garlicky goodness that personally sings to my heart. It’s lip-smackingly delicious, and tofu never has dressed up so simply, so good.

I prepared this dish with brown rice. The rice soaks up the leftover sauce, and the whole affair ends up satisfyingly healthful. (You can use low-sodium soy sauce here if the salt content makes you nervous. I used my favorite Vietnamese full-on soy sauce, but that’s me.) I snipped green onions from my garden, and doubled the garlic. The sauce would go great on soba or somen noodles, too. Make up a small batch to keep on hand, because if you are an ‘Asian craver’ like me, you’ll be thinking about this at 2 in the morning (dip spring rolls in it, too!).

Scramble on

Oh tofu scramble, how I love thee.
I had my first tofu scramble from the health food store last year. I was just a wee bit skeptical, but was also trying to find the path to healthful eating, so…I’d already given in to the tofu love, but had never had it…scrambled before. It was flavorful, filling, interesting. And simple. I thought, I can make this at home! And so my girlcrush on homemade tofu scramble has continued into the new decade.
The beauty of it is, there is no one recipe that is correct. You can pretty much improvise. My basic recipe is more like a Denver Omelet – I like throwing in mushrooms, bell peppers, onion. Sometimes I’ll get silly and throw in baby spinach or mung bean sprouts or cilantro, but it’s conducive to whatever you have on hand. Always sprinkle in turmeric (which is GREAT for your health) to give it that “eggy” color (and it’s so pretty!). Other ingredients are garlic, nutritional yeast, and I like to add mustard seeds for a little crunch.
Here I have it served with pita bread which I’ve brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven with rosemary and sea salt. So, tuck in and scramble on, my friends.

Tuesday night dinner

Whole wheat penne with a sun-dried tomato and garlic “cream” sauce on a bed of fresh baby spinach.

If you’d like the recipe, please comment!