Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My 3 Favorite Tofu Recipes

Tofu Tip: If you can find Wildwood's vacuum-packed tofu, you won't need to press it first! Their site says it's available at Whole Foods, Willy Street Co-op East, and Hy-Vee. I saw it at Willy West today too.

Basic Broiled Tofu (adapted from Veganomicon)
Use in pasta dishes, sandwiches, burritos... pretty much goes with anything

1 pound extra-firm tofu
A spray bottle of olive oil / PAM or 1 scant teaspoon olive oil

Braising sauce:
1/4 c water
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 T soy sauce

Preheat the oven to broil. Cover a baking dish with foil for easy clean-up, and spray with Pam.

Cut the tofu into strips. Do 10 strips if you’re going to fit them into an 8”x8” baking dish.

Mix all of the ingredients for the braising sauce together in a liquid measuring cup or something you can pour from easily.

Place the tofu in the pan and pour ½ the braising sauce over the tofu. Put the pan in the broiler and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the tofu is lightly browned. Remove the pan, flip the tofu, and pour the rest of the braising liquid over the tofu. Put back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until tofu is desired firmness. At this point the tofu should be golden brown.

Lynn’s Tofu
Really yummy with rice & vegetables

1 lb. firm tofu
3 T. canola oil
1 T. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger

Cut tofu into small squares. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add tofu and cook until nicely browned, flipping each piece once to get the other side. Mix nutritional yeast, soy sauce, ginger, and a little water if needed, together in a bowl, then add to the tofu and stir until well coated.

Nigari Tofu (from Lisa)
I don't normally mix this with anything because it's so flavorful on its own. Have some veggies & quinoa or a baked potato or something on the side.
I never have all the right ingredients for this, but it's pretty good with my substitutions, too.

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. Chinese sesame oil (or sub other oil)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. mirin (or sub sweet wine)
1-2 tsp. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
1 pound tofu, pressed for 1/2 hour or longer

Combine all ingredients except tofu in a shallow baking dish. Whisk until well combined.

Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch pieces (doesn't say what thickness, maybe 1/4 inch?). Lay them out in the marinade in such a way as to allow maximum contact with the sauce. Marinade at room temperature for several hours. Turn them and move them around (or just tilt the dish so the sauce goes over them) every 30 minutes.

Pan fry or broil to desired firmness. (If broiling, I would leave them in that same pan, and check after 10 minutes, flip, do another 10 minutes or so.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rich and Creamy without the Cows

One of my favorite meals before I went vegan was fettuccine alfredo with broccoli (and sometimes chicken). I remember liking Applebee's version of it especially.

Today I made used The Chicago Diner's recipe for alfredo sauce. They suggested serving the pasta with spinach, but I did it with broccoli and Beyond Meat chicken: pretty. Definitely just as filling and creamy. It does have a different taste that (what I remember of) dairy-based alfredo sauce, but it's still a good sauce.

Fettuccine with Cashew Alfredo sauce recipe from The New Chicago Diner Cookbook
(I'm just showing the sauce recipe here. The cookbook also includes steps on cooking the pasta & spinach.)

1 c. raw cashews
1 c. almond milk, divided
1/4 c. + 1 T. nutritional yeast
2 T. lemon juice
6 whole cloves garlic
1 T. dried onion
2 tsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt or more, to taste
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
dash dry ground mustard (finely ground)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. In a small mixing bowl, cover the cashews with water and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade or a blender, combine the cashews and their soaking water, 1/4 c. of the almond milk, and the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, dried onion, canola oil, salt, dried parsley, mustard, and black pepper. Process until the cashews form a smooth, creamy liquid, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl at least twice.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the remaining almond milk and cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat. Add more salt if needed.
  4. Once the sauce has reached the consistency of a rich gravy, pour it over the pasta.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Elimination Diet - Day 103

It's been 10 days since I stopped eating gluten, yeast, and corn (again), and so far it doesn't seem like it's getting any better. I had 2 good days, but then felt bad again. So I don't know what to think. A friend shared some info about non-dairy milks (and other products) containing carrageenan, and while I didn't think the research seemed very conclusive, I don't have any better hunches. And my stomach often feels a bit strange right after eating cereal & almond milk, so maybe it's that?

I'm also leaving for Ecuador in a couple days, and I'm sure I won't be able to find almond milk very many places there. Soymilk's probably more prevalent, but I've already discovered that soymilk definitely upsets my stomach. Also, while traveling, it will probably be harder to avoid gluten and corn. So for these reasons, I'm going to try no almond milk for a while. And I may end up adding gluten and corn back in, but I'll try not to for a while yet, just in case those really do have an affect this long after stopping.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Elimination Diet - Day 99

Good news: I had a green smoothie today with my NEW VITAMIX!!! So excited to use that more often. It's really fun to kick it up into high gear and watch it pulverize the kale, and also fun to think about how healthy it's making me.

Bad news: I still don't feel well even though I stopped eating gluten, corn, and yeast. I didn't completely stop eating yeast right away. Hopefully soon I'll feel better - or at least before our 4-week trip to Ecuador (= more interesting blog posts coming soon!)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elimination Diet - Day 94

I got through gluten, yeast, and corn, and then went back to try sesame seeds and lemon juice. Both were still problems. After I got rid of the lemon juice again though, I still felt bad for several days. I thought maybe it was because of my period (sorry if TMI), but it seems to have lasted longer than that.

So today I'm going back to before gluten, yeast, and corn. The diet suggested trying each for 3-14 days, and I had only done 3 before adding in the next thing, so maybe these things take a while to have an affect.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Elimination Diet - Day 82

I made it to the last item! Corn! I had cocoa puffs this morning, and vegan mac n cheese with a side of corn (just frozen / microwaved kernels) for lunch. I'll have some more corn with a tofu sandwich for dinner.

I was so excited that I made it to the last item, that I must have been thinking I can just eat whatever I want now. I grabbed some Wayfare cheddar spread at the store, which I wanted to try because it had been recommended to me, but then on the way home I thought, "I wonder what's in this." Darn: oats and sesame seed oil. Those were two of the things that caused issues, which I haven't re-tested yet, so I guess that will stay unopened for a while. Ugh!

So the next step after corn will be to add in things that didn't work so well before. I'll probably start with sesame seeds and hope for the best this time because I really like hummus (tahini = ground sesame seeds).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elimination Diet - Day 78

It's strange how much I've liked yeast these past few days; well, the foods it that contain yeast that I can now eat. I had Glass Nickel Pizza with daiya cheese, fresh sour dough bread from Clasen's, and earlier a grilled cheese (again with daiya).

Yeast / vinegar / bread has been going pretty well, so tomorrow I'll add in oats.