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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘tofu’

Just Five: Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Friday, February 3rd, 2017



The few people I talked to about this recipe visibly recoiled. I get it: Tofu is not the most thrilling ingredient, especially when it comes to dessert. I was in this camp. Heck, I sewed and carried the flag for this camp. My favorite tofu preparation is when it’s taken a nice long oil bath and is covered in a delicious sauce. So I was surprised when I tasted this decadent, thick and creamy dessert. Silken tofu’s texture is a lot like custard: quite different from the firm and extra firm tofu I cook with.

High quality chocolate is key (remember, tofu is not known for its overwhelming flavor). Look for Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger or Valrhona, and do not overcook it. I added cinnamon for my fifth ingredient, but a little almond or orange extract would also be nice, or a touch of cayenne pepper along with the cinnamon could make this a great version of Mexican chocolate pot de creme.


Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Inspired by a recipe from Mark Bittman
6 to 8 servings

¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup water
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. high quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 lb. silken tofu
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

• In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, water and salt to a boil over high heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, microwave another 30 seconds, stir again until melted.
• Combine the brown sugar syrup, melted chocolate, tofu, vanilla and cinnamon into a blender and mix on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides as needed, until completely smooth. Pour the pudding into 6 to 8 ramekins and chill 15 to 30 minutes until set. Serve.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

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Meatless Monday: Tofu Tacos

Monday, September 12th, 2016



Don’t wait for Taco Tuesday. Spice up Tofu Tacos with Spanish paprika, chipotle and cumin and saute with crunchy pumpkin seeds. Bring the best picks of the farmers market together in a pico de gallo with ripe tomatoes, colorful bell peppers and crisp onions, then blend cilantro, lime juice and more pumpkin seeds for a refreshing salsa verde. Pile it all atop grilled tortillas and start the week right. Click here for the recipe.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Vegan Egg Salad

Monday, July 13th, 2015



In case anyone forgot, Mother Nature decided to remind us how summer really feels in St. Louis. It’s too hot to boil water, so we’re making a fast, easy Vegan Egg Salad for dinner instead. Press a block of extra-firm tofu between two heavy plates for 30 minutes, then crumble it in a bowl and toss with diced white onion and vegan mayonnaise. Add kick with Dijon mustard, curry powder, kala namak, cumin, pepper and chopped chives. Sandwich between two pieces of toast for a refreshing egg-free picnic classic – no stovetop required. Get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Sesame Sauce

Monday, May 4th, 2015



Banish winter’s heavy noodle soups and turn instead to a refreshing, flavorful noodle salad. Pressed tofu is tossed with udon noodles, bright carrot rings and crunchy romaine lettuce. Douse the mixture liberally with a spicy dressing made of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha and minced garlic. Refrigerate to let the flavors marry and chill, then slurp on the patio with a glass of white wine. Get the recipe here.


-photo by Beth Styles 

Meatless Monday: Tofu al Pastor

Monday, September 23rd, 2013



Traditional al pastor bathes pork in a marinade with dried chiles and pineapple, then grills it on a vertical spit. Don’t worry – we won’t be putting tofu on a vertical grill. I decided to use the al pastor marinade with some cubed tofu and rice.

Tofu al Pastor
6 Servings

8 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cayenne
2½ tsp. Kosher salt, divided
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks
1 lb. firm tofu, cubed
1 onion, julienned
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups cooked rice
1 head romaine, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 2 limes, divided
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced, for garnish
Warm corn tortillas
Hot sauce (optional)

• In a large bowl, cover the dried chiles with 2 quarts of boiling water and let them sit 30 minutes to rehydrate.
• Remove the chiles from the water and place them in a food processor, along with the garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt. Pulse to combine.
• Add the vegetable stock and the juice from the can of pineapple to the food processor and puree until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
• Place the tofu in the marinade and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
• Place a wok over high heat. Once it is smoking, add the canola oil and the onion and saute a couple minutes, until the onion is translucent.
• Add the cooked rice and stir. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from the marinade and add it to the wok. Add the pineapple chunks and cooks until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add half the lime juice and stir. Remove the wok from the heat.
• In a separate bowl, toss the romaine and cilantro with the olive oil and remaining lime juice. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
• Place some tofu and salad on a warm tortilla. Garnish with the sliced tomato and your favorite hot sauce, if desired.



Meatless Monday: Maque Choux with Corn-Miso Soup

Monday, July 29th, 2013



With all the delicious tomatoes and corn available now, we wanted a twist on the traditional southern dish, maque choux, so we deconstructed it to use it with a corn-miso soup that is always delicious this time of year. We decided to pickle the tomatoes to lend a little more acidity to the dish, and extras are pretty awesome to have around to add to salads or a martini. Using smoked paprika on the tofu mimics the andouille that accompanies traditional maque choux. This recipe may seem a little daunting, but it can be done in about 35 to 40 minutes. You just need be organized.

Maque Choux with Corn-Miso Soup
4 servings

1 lb. extra-firm tofu (such as local tofu maker, Mofu, available at Local Harvest and Maude’s Market)
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. white pepper
5 ears of corn
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. shiro miso (white miso)
1 lb. okra
Pickled Tomatoes (recipe follows)
1 sprig thyme, for garnish

ŸŸ• Cut the Mofu into ½-inch slices and set on a rack to dry. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sesame oil, smoked paprika, soy sauce, cornstarch and white pepper until smooth. Coat the Mofu with the mixture and refrigerate.
• Slice the kernels off the ears of corn and set aside. Place the cobs in a saucepot and add enough water to cover. Simmer over high heat about 15 minutes to make a corn stock. Meanwhile, prepare the grill.
• In a saucepan, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute, until fragrant. Add corn kernels and about 2 teaspoons of salt and stir.
• Add 2 cups of the stock to the sauteed corn and continue cooking about 12 minutes, until the corn is soft.
• Puree the corn mixture in a food processor or blender and pass through a fine mesh strainer. Add the shiro miso to the strained puree and stir to combine. Set aside.
• In a bowl, coat the okra with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Grill the okra over the hot grill, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Add the marinated Mofu and grill 3 minutes per side.
• To serve, put a large spoonful of the corn puree on a plate and top with the grilled okra. Place 1 or 2 slices of Mofu next to the puree and garnish with pickled tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves.

Pickled Tomatoes
Makes 1 pint

In a pot, combine 1 cup of water, 2/3 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and put in the refrigerator to cool. Pierce ½ pound of cherry or grape tomatoes with a knife and place them in a clean, pint-sized mason jar. Cover with the cooled pickling liquid, add the lid and refrigerate until ready to use. The tomatoes will keep for several weeks.



Just Five: Fried Tofu with Dipping Sauce

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

My 15-year-old recently announced that she’s become a vegetarian. This isn’t the most uncommon thing for a teenager to do and is far less upsetting than multiple piercings or tattoos, but, nevertheless, this does mean I have to tweak my day-to-day cooking. Back in college, when I was a vegetarian, I mostly subsisted on boxes of macaroni and cheese along with the occasional falafel wrap and salad. I tried eating tofu frequently but never really loved it, except when it was fried. Fried anything is good! A friend told me that the secret to great fried tofu was to drain out as much moisture as humanly possible, and then dredge it in cornstarch, which gives the tofu a nice crispiness.

Making an Asian-style sauce with only three ingredients is no small feat. I knew hoisin and peanut butter would make for a good base. I then tried adding fish sauce, teriyaki, soy sauce and, finally, seasoned rice vinegar. The first three just added saltiness that the sauce didn’t need, but the vinegar added just enough of a sweet and acidic note to give the sauce more depth. If I had more ingredients to play with, I would have added chopped cilantro and Sriracha, but my daughter happily ate it as it was.

Fried Tofu with Dipping Sauce

1 block extra-firm tofu
Oil (vegetable, peanut or canola)
1 cup cornstarch
¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar

• Drain the tofu on paper towels for 30 minutes, changing the towels regularly to make the tofu as dry as possible. Cut the tofu in half and then into ½-inch slices.
• Fill a large skillet with a ½-inch layer of oil.
• Cook the oil over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering.
• Working in batches, dredge each piece of tofu in the cornstarch, shaking off excess. Carefully place pieces in the skillet. After about 2 minutes, turn each piece over and fry for 1 to 2 more minutes. Each should be lightly browned. Remove to a paper towel-covered plate.
• Mix hoisin sauce, peanut butter and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Serve alongside the tofu.

Meatless Monday: Mai Lee making summer a little hotter

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

It doesn’t matter if I can see my breath or if I have beads of sweat rolling down my face; I always crave a big bowl of soup. I know, a gazpacho or cucumber soup are more practical for those scorching summer temperatures, but when I’m dining at Mai Lee, I’m ordering the Bun Dau Hu Rau Cai (aka No. 16 on the Vietnamese eatery’s expansive menu). No heat advisory is going to stop me from slurping this steamy soup of heavenly status.

Luscious broth simmers in a bowl filled with slivery strands of vermicelli noodles, silky tofu and a treasure trove of all those veggies, still crisp to the bite. Sugary snap peas, verdant broccoli, steamed mushrooms, piquant scallions, sprouts, bright baby corn, crunchy carrots and tangy cilantro fill the bowl with a beautiful color spectrum that screams summer. The rich, flavorful broth pairs perfectly with so many of Mai Lee’s endless meatless options and always hits the spot. I like to think of it as chicken soup for the vegetarian soul.

OK, so maybe a bowl of soup after a 95-degree day makes summer feel that much hotter and cooler temps seem that much further away, but that’s fine by me. I’ll have my soup – and eat it, too.


Meatless Monday: Dining meatless on South Grand

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Living right near South Grand Boulevard, I’m spoiled silly by a plethora of vegetarian options. Having so much good food within biking distance makes Meatless Mondays a breeze. Choosing which door to walk through, however, is no easy task. Thankfully, there’s Pho Grand, a Vietnamese eatery beloved by city and county folk alike that makes it easy for us herbivores by dedicating a section of its menu to veg-friendly fare. (Bonus: It doesn’t take Mondays off, as so many South Grand hotspots do.)

When I’m dining Vietnamese, I love a big heaping bowl of bun – a classic noodle dish of sliver vermicelli noodles topped with salty, crushed peanuts and bright cilantro, as well as the accompaniments and sauce of your choosing. At Pho Grand, this traditional Vietnamese dish is at its best in the Bun Dau Hu Chien (No. 23.13 on the restaurant’s expansive menu). Vermicelli noodles are piled high in a monstrous bowl and splashed with a thin sweet-and-sour sauce. The spectrum of colors atop the noodles entices: golden tofu whose crisp exterior yields to creaminess inside, crunchy cucumbers and carrots, fragrant cilantro, and rich peanuts. Add a few dashes of any of the three sauces on the table – ranging from sweet to chug-a-glass-of-water hot – to thicken up the mild sauce. Then give everything a big stir and enjoy the refreshing variety of hearty vegetables and sweet and sour spice

I’m fortunate everyday for all the wonderful cuisine I’m surrounded by as I bike through the melting pot of South Grand. Some day, I’ll make my way down the street and try all the fabulous restaurants (Stay tuned for when I try Meskerem Ethiopian in a few weeks.). But today, there’s simply nothing better than a slight chill in the air, a cold beer nearby and a big bowl of Bun Dao Ho Chien.

Meatless Mondays: Vegetarian tacos

Monday, February 13th, 2012

So it’s been a few weeks now; chances are, if you’re reading this, we’ve at least got you considering moving toward our Meatless Monday ways. But there may be a few obstacles in your way: Short on time, aiming to stay on budget and (most important) unsure how well an all-vegetarian menu will go over in your household? I’ve been there. While some think of vegetarianism as a limited diet, I see only healthy, creative, vegetable-loving possibilities. Another misperception: You don’t have to skip your favorite dishes or food genres. You can make virtually anything you love to eat vegetarian – lowering your caloric intake and packing in more protein while you’re at it.

Since most are big fans of Mexican and can’t get enough of those meat-and veggie-filled tortilla creations, vegetarian tacos are an easy way muster up some Meatless Monday regulars. You can fry up tofu in minutes, building beans for texture and seasoning with your choice of spices. Roll the filling up into a soft flour tortilla or place it in a hard taco shell with some shredded cheese and your favorite veggies and you have a quick, delicious dinner that’s pretty good for you (and easy enough to hire the kids for meal prep). Whip these up on a Monday and, before you know it, the whole family will be asking for them come the weekend. See how we did that?

Vegetarian Tacos
Makes 10 tacos

2 Tbsp. neutral-flavored oil
1 lb. soy ground meat substitute or tofu, crumbled
1 12-oz. can refried beans (if using tofu)
1 onion, finely chopped
6 tsp.chili powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
4 ½ tsp. cumin
5 tsp. paprika
2 ½ tsp. garlic powder
3 tsp. onion powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato, diced
½ cup green onions, finely chopped
10 soft flour tortillas or hard taco shells 

• Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the tofu or soy substitute (and the refried beans if using tofu). Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
• Add the onion and all of the spices. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
• Remove from heat and transfer the filling to soft or hard tortillas.
• Top with the shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes and green onions. Serve immediately.

Note: Leftover tofu will refrigerate for up to 3 days.



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