Posts Tagged ‘tofu’

You Don’t Win Friends With Salad

Peppers And Salad And Bread, Oh My!

We’ve recently entered my favourite segment of summer; abundance.

You can’t swing a cat at the farmer’s markets around town without hitting a veritable cornucopia of jewel-toned fruits and veggies just ripe for the eating.  The dazzling arrays of produce are mildly hypnotic, and I often end up purchasing more than I would normally eat just because it looks so yummy.  Of course, there’s really no downside to increasing your fruit and veggie ingestion, just let your senses guide you toward the items you find pleasing to the palate.

To that end, I’ve been running a bit of an experiment in our household this week, using the Everyman and I as guinea pigs.  Not only has our f&v consumption increased due to seasonal factors and availability, but I’ve also been decreasing our meat intake and replacing it with vegetarian protein sources for lunch, therefore only consuming modest amounts of meat for dinner.  In a roundabout way it’s sort of an offshoot of Mark Bittman’s VB6 (vegan before 6) concept, except that I am not ruling out the occasional bit of milk, cream or cheese.  Otherwise it’s somewhat more challenging to provide ample protein to the Everyman who is allergic to nuts, averse to eggs and until recently, detested tofu.

As I mentioned earlier this week I finally mastered a decent tofu dish, and our lunch Tuesday was broiled tempeh in a cherry jalapeno barbecue sauce.  Yesterday’s midday meal was a textured vegetable protein (soy flake), bulgur and ricotta stuffed pepper, and of the three, only one was a dud (the tempeh).  I’ve been supplementing these meatless meals with all of the bounty my local markets have to offer, including gorgeous yellow watermelon wedges, handfuls of plump multicoloured heirloom cherry tomatoes, the second coming of strawberries, wild blueberries, grilled corn, beets, nutty sunflower sprouts and freshly shelled peas.  We certainly haven’t been starved for options in the Foodie and the Everyman kitchen this week.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I could give up meat forever (far from it), but the exercise has allowed me to get more comfortable with omnivorousness and the flexitarian mentality.  I can cook well, but there is a marked difference between making a veggie side dish tasty and making a vegetarian meal satisfying enough that you don’t miss the meat.  Except for the tempeh fiasco, the Everyman’s not complaining either, so I must be doing something right.  The main upside for me is that this more plant-centric diet has left me feeling lighter, less sluggish and bloated during the blistering heat and humidity wave we’ve been enduring.


Adventures In Tofu

A Complete, Meatless Meal

You know, tofu’s gotten a pretty bad rap over the years.

I’ve tried awfully hard to like it, if for no other reason than that it’s a cheap, healthy source of protein, but other than the tofu I had at Little Tibet recently and my favourite non-fish sushi item (inarizushi) I’ve never really managed to get on board.  Though I’ve certainly tried…

When I lived on my own there were numerous occasions where I tried to prepare something resembling tasty tofu, but no matter how flavourful the dish’s components, the tofu still came across as being spongy, bland and flat.  I gave up hope altogether until I tried that tse-tofu, which left me emboldened, vowing that I would find a tofu dish to call my own.  A few weeks ago I thought the aleppo marinade would be the key, but it didn’t manage to penetrate the rough, crumbly exterior, either.  I’d all but thrown in the towel again, except I’d bought several blocks of tofu in anticipation of my success, so I knew I had to attempt at least one more dish.  It took me a while to formulate another plan; I’m infinitely less picky when it comes to vegetarian meals than the Everyman is, so I knew that whatever I made needed to be bold.

After searching for ideas on Epicurious, I came across a recipe that I thought would make a good jumping off point.  I wasn’t keen on the idea of what was essentially boiled tofu, but I did agree with one of the reviewer’s comments about sautéing the tofu to crisp it up.  The recipe also provided a helpful suggestion for removing excess water from the tofu; just wrap it in paper towel and zap it on high a few times and you’ve got yourself a firmer, denser block of sustenance.  Beyond those few tips though, there really aren’t many similarities with that dish and what I ended up with.