Thursday, October 16, 2008
VeganMoFo: Tofu, the greatest sponge of all.
The Angst! VeganMoFo, and what to post today. What to post! No exciting culinary adventures of late. Just lots of work. And pony riding (hurrah). And also the super awesome announcement that the Supernatural boys will be gracing our shores next year, which... giddy! But not something to blog for VeganMoFo (although.... no, I shan't). So I had a poke around my photo stash and stumbled across today's topic. Tofu!
One of the most common things people say to me is 'how can you eat tofu, it is so gross'. It seems tofu is not beloved by a large section of society. And I know, I used to be one of them! Oh yes, gentle reader, there was once a time (even when I was a vegetarian) that I looked down my nose at that tasteless white blob of ooky. Yick!
Of course, the problem lies not with tofu itself. Tofu is a gift from the powers that be. The problem lies with how it is prepared. One dinner I went to involved steamed tofu and vegetables. It was like eating a soggy sponge! Another common problem people mention is using the wrong type of tofu - trying to stir fry with silken tofu will never be happy. With a little bit of love and care and not much effort at all, tofu can be one of the tastiest things we have in our arsenal. I am sure I am preaching to the choir here, but in case a tofu noob stumbles across this - all is not lost.
I love tofu is so many ways, but one of my favourites would have to be the marinated slices of tofu that are baked or grilled until you have dark, chewy slices or awesome. They are great to round out a meal, slice and add to a salad or pop into your sandwich! So I thought I'd dedicate tonight's vegan food porn to this sort of tofu. I hope you enjoy!
Tangering Baked Tofu with Quinoa Salad With Black Beans. This tasty little get up is from Veganomicon. The tangering marinade for the tofu is sensational, and the texture was really great too. Isa mentions this a few times as a potential compliment to dishes in the book. Here I served it with the quinoa salad... which hello yummers! I don't really like coriander, so I subbed mint into the salad. And it was fan-frakking-tastic. So very moreish!
This here is Asian Marinated Tofu (from Vcon/VWAV) served with Baby Bok Choy And Crispy Shallots, and a side of wasabi mashed potatoes to make a change from rice. I really like the asian marinade for this tofu. I've used it quite a bit. The Bok Choy dish was from Vcon, and was quite nice, though I accidentally let the bok choy get a bit soggy. Damn it!
A Veganomicon Indian feast! The tofu here is Curried Tofu, which was really nummy. Also left overs are great in a sandwich with some curry soy mayo (just blend in a little curry powder to your mayo) and spinach leaves. It is served with Tamarind Lentils, which is quite nice. I love the sour flavour of tamarind! Except if you are a bit distracted like I was and accidentally threw in some tamarind pulp instead of paste. The seedy bits were still in there and every now and then I would chomp on one and hurt my tooth! So silly of me. You can get non tooth breaking tamarind paste in the asian section of the supermarket - Jeeny's is the brand. And the final thing on the plate was Cornmeal Marsala Brussel Sprouts. I was not such a fan of these. I may have done something wrong, but the cornmeal marsala was quite soggy, even when roasted.
Mango Ginger Tofu! Equals all sorts of awesome. From the trusty VWAV. This is great. So sweet and good for summer. Plus the baked mango slices add extra mango goodness to the finished product. I served this with sauteed broccolini and jasmine rice, which are not pictured here.
The tofu in this picture is from Vegan Vittles, and is marinade number 3. It involves tomato paste and maple syrup and is really quite nice. I think they have 5 marinates in total, which can be used for tofu, tempeh or seitan. I served it here with a couple of VWAV sides - Ginger Roasted Vegetables (yummy, but quite sweet) and Orange Glazed Beets (awesome - and this was my first time ever with fresh beetroot!). It was a tasty dinner, but I need to move away from it now because the lack of green on the plate is freaking me out.
My final offering here is once again the Asian Marinated Tofu. This time served with Vcon's Quinoa Pineapple Cashew Stir-fry. The stir-fry is fabulous, though a bit sweet all on its own. But it was balanced out with the salty sauteed broccolini. Incidentally, left of Asian Marinated Tofy is kick butt with wasabi mayo (again, wasabi powder mixed into your may), baby spinach leaves and a Toffuti cheese slice on your sandwich. And if you still have some left over, slice it up and throw it in a salad! I also enjoyed this tofu sliced up and added to the Corn And Edamame Sesame Salad from Vcon, with some baby spinach leaves and avocado.
Of course there are so many other ways to love and enjoy tofu. And I do love and ejoy them all. I can't believe that I spent so many years shunning this most wonderful of foods. I think the moral of this story can be applied on a wider scale. So if there's a food you think you don't like but haven't had much to do with, why not have another crack? You might be surprised. Except for capsicum. Because that is just gross. ;)