Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RECIPE: Tofu Recipes

Tofu is something I don't eat much. If I eat too much of it, I not only get really sick of it, but I start to get bloated and gross. So tofu is a sometimes food for me.

However, when the June/July issue of Body + Soul magazine featured a "What to Do With Tofu" article that contained a recipe that called for frying tofu in panko, and recipes using silken tofu to make creamy desserts, I was intrigued. These are ways I haven't had tofu and all three of those particular recipes sounded delicious. And right now, in the heat of summer, I just never feel like preparing meat, so this seemed like a good way to get a little protein to substitute.

AVOCADO-MINT SALAD with STIR-FRIED TOFU



INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (14 oz.) regular tofu, firm or extra firm, drained
  • 1/2 cup spicy Asian chili sauce, plus 1/2 tsp. for dressing
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup panko
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 heads butterhead lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup fresh whole mint leaves
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced lengthwise.

PROCESS:

1. Cut tofu in half horizontally (parallel to work surface). Keeping tofu stacked, cut in half crosswise to make four rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to make two triangles. Press tofu.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 tsp. chili sauce, orange zest, orange juice and olive oil. Add salt to taste and set aside. This is the salad dressing.

3. Pour remaining chili sauce into a shallow dish, and put panko in a separate shallow dish. Coat the tofu in the chili sauce and then the panko.

4. Heat half of the canola oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Place as many pieces of the tofu in the skillet as will fit and pan fry, turning once, until crisp and brown on the outside (about 3 min. per side). Remove from heat and repeat , adding oil as needed, until the tofu has all been done.

5. Add lettuce and mint to a bowl with the dressing and toss. Plate the salad and top with avocado slices, and then plate the tofu and serve immediately.

I had no Asian chili sauce, so I used a Louisiana hot sauce instead, and it came out great. Crunchy with a little bit of fire.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. It's extremely simple and I was able to very easily recreate it the next day without referring to the recipe. The crunch of the panko plus the heat of the hot sauce combined with the lightness of tofu gave me the satisfaction of eating fried food, but slightly healthier.

LEMON CREAM WITH BLACKBERRIES

INGREDIENTS (4 servings):

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 package (12 oz.) silken tofu, firm or extra firm, drained
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries



PROCESS:

All you have to do to make this is puree 2 1/2 tsp. of the lemon zest with the lemon juice, honey, and tofu in a blender. Then pour into your serving dish of choice, and garnish with blackberries and the leftover lemon zest. I added a pinch of nutmeg as well for a little added flavor and to make it look prettier.

You can also cover and keep the cream in the fridge for up to 3 days.

This was a delicious dessert. It was crazy light and fluffy, with just enough tang. Once again, perfect for summer. I put in the freezer to chill for a minute after it was done and it was nice and cool, but better for you than ice cream.

STRAWBERRY-BANANA TOFU SHAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen, unsweetened strawberries, thawed.
  • 1 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 small ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 package (12 oz.) silken tofu, soft, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt

PROCESS:

1. Puree the berries in a blender until smooth.

2. Clean out the blender and blend the rest of the ingredients in the blender until smooth and thoroughly mixed.

3. Pour the mixture into glasses, add the strawberry puree and mix.

I used firm silken tofu instead of soft, because I still had half a package left over from the cream. If you do this, add an extra 1/4 cup soy milk to achieve the right consistency. I served this over ice for a refreshing cold smoothie-like drink.

You can store this beverage in the fridge for up to three days. Just whisk to recombine before serving.

What can I say? It tasted like a strawberry-banana smoothie. What I like about this, is that the silken tofu gives it the smoothness of a shake made with ice cream so that it seems a little more like a treat than a straight fruit smoothie, but is healthier than a shake or smoothie made with ice cream or ice milk.

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