Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Do you tofu?

How do you feel about tofu?  I used to think.........hmmm.....no, actually, I never used to the think about tofu.  Ever.  Not ever.  Because you see, in my mind, tofu was this health food non-sense fluff food that belonged with hippies and weirdo health junkies.

Well, I am not HAPPY to say, I have joined those ranks.  :)

I have learned to love tofu and will happily be grouped in with hippies and weirdo health junkies!

And I'm quite proud to be able to say that, in fact.

But how in the world do you prepare tofu?  Does it scare you to think about trying to incorporate it into your families weekly diet?  How do you flavor it?  Will your kids actually eat it?  And how in the world can you prevent it from being so dang mushy?!

These are all the questions I used to ask myself.  I was afraid of it.  I knew that there was a whole bunch of things that you could make with tofu and that you could put tofu in, but seriously?  How do you do it?!

Today I am going to share with you a sure-fire way to get a great batch of tofu to pop in your mouth and actually ENJOY!  Believe me this has come about by a whole-lotta trial and error.  I have made some real doozies, you can ask my husband, he is kind of my guinea pig.  He really does NOT like tofu.  He can't stand the idea of it.  So I know that if I make a tofu dish that he will actually eat, I've been successful.  And this tutorial I'm about to share with you is a sure fire win every single time.  He has actually even complimented me on it before too.  HUGE WIN!!

Because here's the thing about tofu, it's basically a blank canvas.  And I think it's largely misunderstood among the food groups.  You can take it and keep it as it is, but that's like eating meat without first marinading or seasoning it (*GASP* What?  She's talking about eating meat on a vegan blog?!?!).  And how many of you have actually done that...willingly?  Tofu can be so awesome!  You just have to know how to prepare it properly. 

And here is another huge bonus before we get to our tutorial, it's super cheap!!  You can get a block (that is always more then enough to feed my family of 4) for less then $2!  I personally think that is very awesome.

Alright, so let's get on with this already.  Here is how you make delicious, non-mushy, tofu your whole family will enjoy.

First you want to buy a package of tofu at the store.  I should look something like this:

Next, when you get home, drain it and take it out of the packaging and place it on your cutting board.

Then you want to cut it into 1/4" slices.  About like this:
 The thinner the slices are the less of a chance you will have of it being mushy.  I have found 1/4" slices to be about perfect.

Then take each slice and cut it into two squares and then four triangles, like this:
 Granted, it doesn't have to be triangles, you can do whatever shape you prefer, this just looks nice.

 Then you want to place them all on your griddle or frying pan.  You can do use a light spray so they don't stick to the pan or you can leave that step out.  It's up to you.  I've done it both ways and there isn't a huge difference.  Just make sure they aren't touching.  Leave some space between them.  And you want to "fry" them on the lowest temperature your griddle/frying pan can do.  Mine pre-heats to 200 degrees so I just use that.  And then you just leave them for a while probably about 5-7 minutes on each side.  While they are cooking gently take your spatula and press down on them squeezing out even more water.  

The reason why you do it on the lowest temperature for so long is to get all that moisture out.  You run into trouble when you don't get it all out.  That's when it gets mushy and soggy or just falls apart.  They should end up looking like this when you flip them over:

Once that is done you can flavor and marinade anyway you'd like.  I have used store bought, bottled marinades, homemade marinades, and all kinds of seasonings.  I do like to use a nice wet, juicy marinade because you did just squeeze all the moisture out of your tofu so adding some back in with your flavor is not a bad idea.  Last night we paired ours with quinoa and broccoli and it was a hit!  Enjoy!
I'll be sharing some more great tofu recipes, recipes to actually give kick in the pants flavor to your new discovery in tofu, in the coming days ahead.  Stay tuned!