Thursday, October 29, 2015

Making Tofu Tastier

Many people have a preset notion of tofu. It's tasteless and slimy for starters and its' look is not that appealing. However , with the right recipes, tofu can be- dare it be said, delicious .

Melissa Clark is behind this movement, I suspect, and is trying to get New Yorkers and foodies to go meatless (and this could not happen at a better time when any slice of steak or bacon is vilified). What did she do to make this soy product seductive? She shredded it. The idea came from the cookbook "Near And Far: Recipes Inspired By Home And Travel" by Heidi Swanson. She sautes the shredded tofu in olive oil. For added crunch  she adds pumpkin seeds. A scant dash of buttermilk is also tossed into the mix as are pea greens. Since we're almost in mid autumn , Ms Clark gives it a fallish flavor with earthy shiitake mushrooms. These impart a lovely caramelized brown color that spreads over to the tofu.  There is color in minced red pepper and edamame.You can even add pork for more flavor as she does, but the flavors are perfectly intense, so it's kind of gilding the lily.

The only possible stumbling block is getting an actual brick of tofu. Ms. Clark uses it in her New York Times video. Whole Foods sell it, as do some regular grocery stores such as Stop & Shop. However it can be too soft, with the consistency of a set pudding. If worse comes to worse , turn to Morningstar Farms which has beef style crumbles. These can easily be subbed in. If you do come across a brick of firm tofu, it's then  easy to turn it into shreds. Just take your average cheese grater and rub the tofu against the larger holed side. The goal is a soft fluffy mound , akin to scrambled eggs or spaetzle even.This creates a nice light  textured medium that's easy to work with. You can also use this method to make vegan scrambled eggs too. Again, acquiring a firm brick of it can be somewhat of a quest, so be prepared to get alternatives.

Tofu is not always an easy sell. This one featuring it in shredded form is the perfect dish for soy lovers and those in need of converting. It creates a crunchy, flavorful dish that's good for you and good tasting.

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