Posts Tagged ‘tofu’
The Ultimate Tofu Scramble

I know, I know, it’s lame that my triumphant return to blogging is sans photo, but I just perfected my new tofu scramble recipe, and it was so good that I forgot to take a picture.

This recipe is my attempt to recreate a tofu scramble that we were served at The Gentle Gourmet, a vegan B&B in Paris. We visited about a month ago, and I finally think that I have out amazing host’s recipe down.The real trick is that it’s more of a hash than a regular tofu scramble. I use firm tofu that isn’t packed in water (you can get it blocks at either Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s). I’ve figured out that this is the way to go as far as tofu is concerned, because you just have to give it a quick squeeze to release any excess moisture, instead of having to press out the liquid for 15 minutes.

Le Scamble de Tofu

1 c. potatoes, diced

4 oz. of tofu cut into 1/4″ cubes and coated in cornstarch

1/4 bell pepper, cut into slivers

4 medium-sized mushrooms, sliced

1/2 c. frozen spinach (that’s 1/2 c. while it’s still frozen).

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. dried minced garlic

1/2 tsp.  sea salt

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1. Dice potatoes, cut peppers, and slice mushrooms. Then, take the frozen spinach and defrost under warm running water.

2. Add  2 tsp. oil and garlic to a skillet, heat over high heat, tilting the pan to coat. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the thyme and black pepper.

3. Coat the tofu in cornstarch and add to the pan, along with the mushrooms. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to sweat and the tofu starts to brown.

4. Add the peppers and cook an additional 2 minutes, then add the spinach and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 3 minutes).

5. Season with sea salt to taste and serve.

Getting Saucy

I have a very interesting, unique personality. Sometimes, I’m in a great mood and nice to everyone around me. I can light up the world with my smile, and I really am a nice girl. Sometimes, I’m down right sardonic. The point here is that sometimes I’m a little sweet and sometimes I’m a little sour. It makes sense that one of my favorite dishes before “the change” was sweet and sour shrimp. There’s this great Chinese food restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd called Jin Jiang. It looks like something straight out of Temple of Doom. At least I think it was Temple of Doom that started out in some 80′s-tastic chinese night club. Am I right here?
Oh yea, so this is a food blog. Point is, sweet and sour sauce is easily made vegan. However, you need to decide what to pour it over. I’ve been meaning to try it with vegetables, but I really love it over tofu. I’ve been eating a bit of tofu lately (and balancing it out by using rice-milk instead of soy). This dish is best served over steamed rice with a side of lightly steamed vegetables. I like to go with snap peas, mushrooms, and broccoli, but really you should do what you feel.

Sweet and Sour Tofu
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. agave
1 tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 4 tsp. water
1/2 package tofu
2 tbsp. cornstarch by itself

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, ketchup, agave, and soy sauce to a boil.
Add cornstarch and stir until thickened.
While the sweet and sour is thickening, rinse and pat dry about half a package of tofu. Cut it into some artful pieces. I’ve seen triangles, but I usually go for the more classic cube. You could use star-shaped cookie cutters if you need to get magical.
Coat a pan with nonstick spray and dredge the tofu through the cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until golden brown, flip and repeat.
Serve by plating your tofu and drizzling the sweet and sour over it.

Florentine Tofu Scramble

This past weekend, I made a spinach and basil pasta salad for a veggie hikers potluck. It was a pretty good pasta salad, although nowhere near as delicious as some of the other food that people brought. It left me with a good deal of leftover basil. One day I’m going to get myself a window box and plant some herbs in it, so that I can avoid the mess of having to buy such a huge package of basil. I’ve literally used basil every day this week: pesto pasta salad on Sunday, pesto sauce on my pizza on Monday, basil on top of my stir fry on Tuesday, and today I used it in my tofu scramble. 
Catherine de Medici is credited with introducing the term “florentine” into french cooking. In 1550, she declared that anything with spinach would be refered to as florentine. Unfortunately, it has come to traditionally refer to a dish with spinach AND a creamy sauce. My tofu scramble has no such creamy sauce, but I’m going to stick with Catherine on this one and call it Tofu Florentine. The important thing is that it is absolutely delicious. I’ve tried making tofu scramble before and was not 100% impressed with the flavor profile that I put together. This scramble, however, is exactly what one would expect. It’s made light by the spinach and grape tomatoes, but is still delicious and filling. I served it on top of an english muffin, and it is probably the best breakfast I’ve had so far this week.

Tofu Florentine

  • 3.5 oz. firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • yellow curry powder
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic
  • 2 grape tomatoes
  • handful of frozen spinach
  • 2 basil leaves

In a nonstick pan, combine frozen spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, stirring frequently. While the spinach is defrosting, mince the garlic and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Roll up the basil leaves and slice lengthwise to create slivers.
Remove the spinach from the pan when it is fully defrosted and warm. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and add the garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is browned. While the garlic is cooking, crumble the tofu into a bowl with your hands and mix with the nutritional yeast and a pinch of yellow curry powder. Add salt and pepper to your liking. You may wait until the end to add the salt and pepper, especially if this is your first time with the dish. It allows you to adjust the flavors to your liking.
When the garlic is brown, add the tomatoes, spinach, and tofu. Reduce heat and cook over medium until the texture resembles, well, scrambled eggs. Add the basil and give it a final stir before serving over toast or alongside hashbrowns.
Serves: 1 at 100 calories

Tofu Taco Tuesday

This post goes out to Carolyn, Carolyn Dempsey, who has been holding very successful taco nights in her Brooklyn apartment. She was telling me how much fun it was, and I got pretty jealous. However, I decided to use my jealousy as a motivator (which I read about doing in a Cosmo article) and make my own tacos. Beans were obviously an option, but I feel like that one has been played out. I’ve had tofu burritos before and always thought that they were delicous, so I decided to give tofu tacos a spin.
A note on tortillas: This is a situation where you need to check your labeling. The tortillas that I buy from Trader Joes have 2 ingredients corn flour, water, and lime. These are good tortillas. Some tortillas are made with lard. Lard comes from baby animals. Eating baby animals = not vegan. Also, who really wants to be eating lard anyway?
Which brings me to my semi-sequitor of the day. Did you know that Guiness beer is not vegan? It’s finished with something called isinglass, which is a nice way of saying that they add fish scales to the beer during post-processing as a clarifying agent. I’ve had a lot of fun over the past couple of days pointing this out to people and watching them make faces. Now, I’m not usually one of “those” vegans who tells you about how bad your food is, but this one really grossed me out. Also, I love random trivia and anything involving beer clarification gets filed under random trivia.

Any-day Tofu Tacos

  • 1.5 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch plus extra for coating
  • taco shells
  • 1 oz. cheddar daiya cheese
  • your choice of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, or vegan sour cream.

  1. Rinse and pat dry your tofu and cut into 1/4″ cubes. Place these in a Tupperware container and add about 1.5 tablespoons of corn starch. Put the lid on the Tupperware and shake to coat.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine the spices and add to your tofu. Close again and shake to coat. 
  3. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and bring it to medium-high heat. Add the tofu and water and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it’s firm.
  4. Serve in a taco shell or two with cheddar daiya and your choice of accouterments.
Hey Garfield, it’s Lasagna!

Who didn’t love the comic strip and television cartoon about that fat orange cat who seemingly lived for the sole purpose of shipping dogs off to Abu-Dabi? More importantly, who doesn’t love a good lasagna?
I used to take great pride in finding the perfect ratio of mozzarella to ricotta to tomato sauce to pasta. Then, I realized that putting 4 tablespoons of spinach into a 12-serving tray did not a healthy dinner make. Lasagna is comfort food, and with my discovery of vegan ricotta cheese, seemed like a good idea to me. This recipe has two components, first is a tofu-ricotta made with a food processor. This ricotta would be suitable for a baked ziti, or even on top of a vegan pizza with lots of garlic.

Vegan Ricotta Cheese
I looked at a few recipes online, but they all seemed to use A LOT of olive oil, which kind of defeats the purpose of using tofu as a low-fat alternative to the ricotta. So, I reduced the olive oil and then when I was having trouble getting the mixture to blend, added a few tablespoons of unsweetened soy milk. Your goal is to get something with a thick but spreadable consistency.
5 oz. of firm tofu, drained and cubed
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. pine nuts
salt and fresh ground black pepper
soy milk to blend

1. drain and cube tofu, chop garlic cloves into quarters
2. combine tofu, olive oil, nutritional yeast, oregano, and pine nuts and blend by pulsing on and off for a few seconds at a time
3. add a few tablespoons of soy milk until you achieve a creamy consistency
4. stir in salt and pepper by hand (just a dash of both)

Vegetable Lasagna
The addition of spinach and mushrooms not only packs in extra servings of vegetables, but the mushrooms give the whole dish a meaty texture.
5 lasagna noodles
1.5 c. tomato sauce (I will post my recipe later)
2/3rds of the ricotta mixture above
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tomato

1. in a large pot, bring water to a boil and drop lasagna noodles in one at a time. Cook until tender, drain, and let cool. Cut the lasagna noodles in half (I used my handy kitchen scissors)
2. mix thawed frozen spinach into the tofu ricotta
3. coat the bottom of a pie plate with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce to prevent sticking. Lay 3 of your half-sized noodles on top of it
4. spoon out 1/3rd of the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta, and cover with a layer of sliced mushrooms
5. cover the mushrooms with a half cup of tomato sauce
6. repeat a layer of pasta, ricotta, mushrooms, and sauce. Your final layer will just be 3 noodles and then half a cup of tomato sauce.
7. arrange tomato slices on top and sprinkle with dried basil (or fresh if you have it on hand)
8. bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and enjoy

Servings: 4 servings at 322 calories each

The verdict: I was not impressed with my tofu ricotta when it was raw. Even with the garlic and nutritional yeast, it tasted a little bland, but that is a natural trade-off when you reduce the oil in a recipe. However, once everything was cooked together with the mushrooms and spinach, it tasted  exactly like the real thing. Real ricotta looses some of its flavor when you put it in a dish, but the secret must be that tofu ricotta actually gets better.