Thursday, October 14, 2010

Battle Tofu

If you are going to learn to love a new food, it is best to turn to an expert. I needed to introduce tofu into my repertoire of foods and there is no better person for the job than a vegetarian! We not-so-creatively dubbed our dinner: Battle Tofu. Tofu was our secret ingredient and we gave ourselves the luxury of a week to plan and shop before creating a leisurely three-course meal that was dairy, tree nut, gluten and meat product free.

When cooking tofu, it seems like “let marinate for x hours” is standard. And with only one kitchen and (more importantly) one food processor between four chefs, we became creative in our prepping order and cooking method – including grilling, baking, frying, and chilling! Grilling in a city apartment is surprisingly easy thanks to my George Foreman grill! This is the easiest way to get grilled foods indoors. We had our spicy grilled kabobs as one of our appetizers. The tofu was sandwiched among red onions, Japanese eggplant, and mushrooms.

The second appetizer was fried firm tofu with sesame seeds with two different dipping sauces. We decided that the sauces together (one was peanut based and the other was made with plums) on the tofu was extremely reminiscent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a hot summer day. Tofu as bread? Who knew?

For the main course, we had oven baked tofu that was marinated with a peanut butter sauce. This was really good and the tofu was especially tender.
The first round of desert was served in old fashioned ice cream glasses – a food processor creation with silken tofu, mangos, fresh ginger, and egg whites. The recipe I followed called for crushed nuts on top, but this was a tree-nut-free day and I needed something with a crunch so I found an even more delicious alternative: crushed (gluten-free) ginger snaps!

One of the best parts was the final round of dessert: fudge. Vegan fudge. I had given up on fudge since I never thought I would be able to find it dairy-free since condensed milk is a pesky ingredient to substitute. But I should have known better: vegans would be the ones to creatively make fudge that can rival any traditionally made fudge. And it contains tofu! To all the vegans out there who create such delicious recipes: thank you!

This was an amazing meal with friends and I had a fantastic time creating and tasting tofu dishes. I did not even miss meat!

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