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Not so meaty after all

It is funny when I look back at my blog to see that the majority of my recipes include some kind of meat or dairy.  Because in reality, I do not eat a large amount of either of these foods.  You might be surprised to know that I spent a total of 2 years being a vegetarian, and one of those years as a vegan!  Even the cooking school I attended was vegan based.

With the the lent season upon us, many “carnivores” that I know have decided to give up meat for lent, and are concerned that they are not getting enough protein.  So I figured that this was a great opportunity to discuss soy products!

Unfortunately for myself, my body does not handle soy products very well.  This being the main reason why I have not talked about them before.  However, they are a great source of vegetarian protein!  So lets take it one step at a time, and for this post, we will just focus on tofu.

Some tofu basics:

-Buy organic:  Most tofu I see being sold is organic, and if it is not, there isn’t a huge difference in price.  Why should you choose organic?  Otherwise, you are most likely consuming soybeans that have be genetically modified. yuck.

-Options:  The packaging may describe the tofu as being silkened, soft, firm, or extra firm.  It may even be already flavored or seasoned.  You can buy it is the refrigerated section, or find it it’s dried out form on the grocery shelf.  Depending on your recipe, make sure you choose the right one!

-Storing:  When you buy tofu in the refrigerated section, you will find it in a plastic container packed in water.  If you do not use all of the tofu and want to store it, place it in a reusable container filled with fresh water.  You can keep the extra tofu in your refrigerator for up to one week, just make sure you change the water everyday.

Tofu uses:

As I mentioned before, tofu comes in all different textures.

Firm or extra firm tofu is great to marinate and then fry, grill, or bake! Because tofu is so porous, it easily soaks up any flavor.  I have eaten barbecue tofu, buffalo tofu, and general tso’s tofu.  It seems to me that if you can make it with chicken, you can make it with tofu.  You can keep it simple by cutting it into cubes and throwing it into a tasty stir fry! Or for something different, layer it into a sandwich.  Like I said, tofu can also be purchased already marinated and seasoned.  This is a tasty and easy option, however, if you are cautious about your sodium intake, I suggested that you read the nutrition label.  I have also had/prepared firm or extra firm tofu as a ricotta “cheese” substitute (great in pasta dishes), as well as used it to create a tasty egg-less quiche!

Tofu is not only for main meals, it can also be made into an amazing protein filled dessert! The one dish that I reallyyyy miss eating is tofu puddings and custards.  Because tofu is so rich and thick, it tastes amazing blended with chocolate.  In fact, I met one of K’s co-workers in the super market who was concerned that her son was not getting enough protein during Lent.  Since she didn’t think that he would eat tofu for dinner, I suggested that she made it into a dessert!  Another good dessert to try with tofu?  Dairy free cheese cake.  Don’t be scared, I promise you good results.

Some recipes you will find (especially dessert recipes) may call for silkened tofu. I believe that the best use for silkened tofu is smoothies.  By adding silkened tofu, you get a thicker smoothie with a more natural source of protein (verses a protein powder).

So now that you know soooo much about tofu, where are the recipes?  Unfortunately my sensitivity to soy prevents me from experimenting and posting my lastest tofu creations =[  But fear not!  There are some fabulous recipes floating around out there.  My suggestion is to ‘google’ tofu pudding recipe, or tofu quiche recipe.  And when you are out there searching, try a to find a site similar to http://www.vegweb.com.  Here, you can read comments on what worked, and what did not work for other adventurous tofu lovers!

Since I am not able to participate in the one, leave some comments featuring links to you favorite recipes, so that we can pass them on.  Best of luck!

 

Stay Natural ♥ C

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