Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tofu for the Terrified

For some reason, nothing strikes fear in a meat-eater more than knowing that something was made with tofu. They can be enjoying whatever vegan dish you prepared & raving about it, but as soon as you tell them they are eating tofu, they freak out. They think it looks weird, feels weird, but it’s only white & has no smell whatsoever. It’s really just lack of information when you think about it. It’s kind of funny to me that people don’t seem to fear handling raw meat, with watery blood dripping from it, its cold clammy texture, & its definite odor. Pair that with thinking about what you are holding in your hand and that strikes fear in me. In fact, it was the whole “ick factor” of meat-handling over time that persuaded me to stop eating it (that and my husband’s very scary food poisoning episode). It literally began to make me feel queasy each time I handled it. I worried that I was contaminating my cutting boards & counters (and then not cleaning them enough) & it also just made me sad. So I find it ironic that people are afraid of tofu.

A lot of people have never eaten it nor prepared it or, if they have prepared it (or had it prepared for them), it wasn’t a good experience. It’s all about knowledge, preparation, proper storage, & of course, flavorful cooking.

Tofu is soybeans cooked, mashed, & coagulated into blocks. It is sold in plastic 1 lb. packages & comes in different textures like extra firm, firm, medium, & soft or silken. I use the first two a lot in stir-fries, salads, & baked dishes & the soft in making desserts, or salad dressings. J. also uses the soft when he makes ice cream (in place of eggs). I’ve never seen the medium texture in the stores I shop at. It comes packed in water. When I prepare it, I drain the water, rinse it, press it dry in a dish cloth, then cut it into slices, cubes, or strips depending on my recipe.

If you’re not using the whole block, you have to store the rest of it properly. You just put it in a container, fill it with fresh water until the tofu is covered, cover it & put it in the fridge. Change the water daily & use it within 3 days. That’s all there is to it. This link has some great information for the tofu-terrified: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Tofu-Tips/Detail.aspx

Tofu is a great source of protein, calcium, iron & omega 3 fatty acids & has no cholesterol. When prepared properly, it takes on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. I love it.

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