Tag Archives: tofu

Tofu Parmesan (or, “No, Really. Tofu Parmesan.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/3 package Nasoya® firm tofu
  • 3-4  c cooked spaghetti
  • 1 24 oz jar Prego® (roasted garlic and herb)
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 c tofu marinade*
  • 1.25 c breading*
  • 1/4 c safflower oil
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

First thing’s first: prepare your tofu properly for cooking for the first damn time, Katherine. Stop thinking that it will magically find deliciousness through little preparatory effort. Drain your cube o’fu and gently squeeze a clean towel or paper towels around it for a little casual pre-press. Then wrap it in [clean towel/paper towels] and set a light-medium weight pot or pan on top and walk away for 30m or so. When you return, slice into 1/2″ thick steaks and place into sweet overnight dreams of flavor…

*tofu marinade:

  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix everything together and lay steaks flat (I used a rectangular tupperware dealie). Let sit in the fridge overnight, flipping once halfway through said marination.

And okay, pretend it’s now dinner time the following afternoon. Boil spaghetti until at your preferred consistency then season your Prego® with 1 tsp hot red chili powder and call that part of the meal a day. Get back to your tofu, and mix the following for its breading:

  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c ground golden flax
  • 1/2 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

While your oil is warming, remove tofu steaks gingerly and let sit on paper towels. Pat them on the back and let them know you appreciate their patience, then roll them in the breading and let them fry. Once one side turns golden, flip and continue cooking until the desired color. Mine came out a little browner than I’d have ideally liked, but they were still really, really tasty. When I was little, my dad used to make little bread crumb fritters when he’d fry something and there were breadcrumb left over… they were delicious, but even I knew they were bad for me. In the 80s. This, though? Well, nothing fried is really healthy — let me say that to the universe so it knows that this time I am not taunting it — but at least… well, nothing fried is really healthy. And nothing fried then covered with cheese could certainly count… but damn but it weren’t tasty.

Once fried, let the tofu sit on paper towels until crispy and dry of their shame. I layered in a bowl: spaghetti, sauce, tofu then cheeses and put each stainless steel bowl under the broiler for 5m to get the melty goodness going. 4 spoons!

Not Yo Mama’s Ramen [5 Spoons!]

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package extra firm, pre-cubed tofu
  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 package Hakubaku ramen
  • 1/4 c dumpling sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 c water
  • 1 cube vegetable boullion
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp asafoetida

(blurred only by the steam of deliciousness)

This meal requires a full day and night of preparation, so plan accordingly and make sure your Big Girl Britches are on. The early afternoon before, drain your tofu and instead place it to soak in your own marinade overnight. Put your dumpling sauce, vinegar, garlic paste and 1 tbsp of soy sauce together and pour over the tofu and let set in an airtight container until the morrow. Take special care to occasionally rotate the container at intervals to fully soak each cube.

The next day, you can go ahead and slice your cabbage while the mustard seeds warm in ghee on M. Add cabbage when the mustard seeds begin to pop and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir fry the cabbage for about two minutes, adding 2 tsp – 1 tbsp of soy sauce, turmeric and asafoetida. Add .5 c  water, cover and turn the burner to L. Cabbage should be wilted and tender, not sloppy country-kitchen style. Unless you’d really like that or have no teeth.

Start safflower oil out on M, then turn to MH. When hot, add your drained tofu cubes and begin frying with impunity. This took longer to do than I thought it might, so when they’re beginning to show signs of crispy edges, do this:

Mix vegetable boullion and remainder of the tofu marinade with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Put in ramen.

Move back to your tofu pan and keep the spatula twirling. Squirt in about 2 tsp of soy sauce and stir vigorously to coat. When they begin to share the same medium shade of brown, remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels while you prepare the bowls. Put some ramen and a little broth in the bottom of your bowl. Top with cabbage, then top the cabbage with tofu.

I have never fried tofu — in fact, this is only my second time cooking with tofu at all. I certainly did not quite expect its ensuing deliciousness! This got to be one of those rare dinners where I enjoyed everything on my plate instead of acting my own critic. Plus I was rather proud of myself for ensuring the tofu did not become part of an incongruous meal where animal products were also involved. To be fair to the ‘fu ‘n all. I am very obviously not a vegetarian simply an admirer of its health benefits — as someone who just months ago was nearly bed-bound I absolutely cannot refute the differences it makes to eliminate a lot of those quintessentially American food choices.

Of course, a 5 spoon meal is reason to dancey-dance all its own.


toFurst Time, Be Gentle

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package/block of extra firm tofu
  • 2/3 package whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 half-jars of spaghetti sauce from the fridge
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c Parmasean cheese
  • 1/2 c mixed shredded cheese
  • 1 tsp jar pesto mix
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

First, pray. You have never before cooked with tofu and things might get crazy.

Carefully extract your block o’fu and place between two clean/paper towels for squeezing out the extra water. My plan going into this whole shebang was to simply make fried tofu. That is what the internet primarily suggests for extra firm. Maybe this block didn’t read its own label. This alleged “Extra Firm” crumbled into little bits and I was so not in the mood to make a simple scramble. This was my first time and I wanted it to be special.

And what’s more special than an Italian girl making lasagna, too, for the first time? Yes, I am ashamed to admit that. It’s very “40 Year Old Virgin” of me to have never, not once in my life made lasagna. That’s bad and I should feel bad.

So crumble that tofu with a fork and reserve a cup (for recipe below) before seasoning. Take your two ass-jars of sauce from the fridge and combine them, adding cayenne and black pepper. Then go to town on your tofu: add in the rest of your seasonings and feta/Prmasean. Fork it all, gently, to hell. Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a 6×6″ pan. Put in a layer of uncooked noodles and top it with a hearty portion of your tofu mixture. Do another sauce/tofu/noodles series and top with more sauce, a few extra crumbles of tofu and some shredded cheese. Cover and put in a 375° oven for an hour. Let it sit for a few minutes upon taking it out, then take that first bite and have a moment to remember that will stay with you the rest of your life. Go ahead, you deserve it. In fact, if you could shake your own hand while still holding that fork, you would.

Also in my pantry:

  • 1 c crumbled extra firm tofu
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 squares Ghirardelli 100% cacao baking chocolate
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Put the tofu and sweetened condensed milk together in the food processor and allow them to make sweet, smooth love until silky. Pour into small pot, add broken chocolate pieces and stir over MH. When all is brown, pour into greased 1″ glass pan, sprinkle chips and press into the stuff then let set in fridge for a few hours. Then regret not putting it either into a pie shell or little serving cups as you take an otherwise-delightful spoon. This ended up tasting like dark-chocolate brownie batter and should have gotten put out to set in a proper pasture.

Ultimately, that lasagna was good enough to make it not goddamn matter about this dessert attempt anyway.