Saturday, June 27, 2009

To Tofu or Not To Tofu...

Since becoming a vegetarian nearly a year ago, I’ve tried – and forced upon my unsuspecting hubby and kids – a variety of vegetarian fare. Most of which was a resounding success. I’ve found that just about anything made by Morningstar Farms is fantastic. They make a fake “chicken” nugget and corn “dogs” that taste exactly like the real thing. Last night I made a homemade pizza using meatless pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, feta and Parmesan cheeses, garlic, and sauce. It was delicious! Even our meat-eating friends came back for seconds. Most of the time my creations are fabulous. My coworkers had no idea during our last chili cook-off that what they were eating was not hamburger in my submission but rather meatless soy crumbles. I took second place to someone who cheated and used an Emeril recipe!

Then there’s the tofu. Prior to becoming a vegetarian, the only thing I’d ever used tofu for was to add protein to smoothies. FYI silken tofu blended into a smoothie is wonderful. Then I decided to try cooking with it. My first attempt was an abject failure. Tofu must be fully drained prior to cooking otherwise what you wind up with is a mushy mess. One would think that draining tofu would be as simple as opening the package and putting the tofu into a colander and letting it drain. Not so much. It has to be pressed to get as much of the liquid out of it as possible. So I dutifully placed the block of tofu between several paper towels and pressed it with my hand. Then watched as the tofu shot across the kitchen, having exploded on my counter top. About half of the block survived this first round of draining, so I wrapped it in several more paper towels and pressed it a little more lightly this time, and drained what I could. After adding the sauce, seasoning, a multitude of veggies, and cooking it until it seemed done, I sat down to sample my handiwork. Then I promptly dumped the entire pan down the disposal. IT WAS DISGUSTING. It was as unpalatable as I would imagine a fermented pile of worms would be. I gagged. I sputtered. I was traumatized! Then I checked the expiration date on the tofu package and discovered the problem. Tofu has a shelf life. Who knew?

Although my next attempt or two came out far better, which may have had something to do with the Tofu not being rotten, my kids won’t eat it and soy makes my husband sick. So why, you ask, did I continue to try? Probably because I don’t give up easily and cooking is one thing I do exceptionally well. I wasn’t going to allow a measly block of tofu to screw up my nearly flawless record of culinary delights. Yesterday’s lunch however, has cured me of this obsession. Pre-seasoned and sauced tofu is no better than plain. I prepared it properly, I added additional sauce, and then served it over salad greens with oriental dressing. There is no disguising that spongy almost tasteless quality. I gave it the old college try, but I’m done now. Tofu has, in my book, been relegated back to smoothies and smoothies alone.

Witty quip of the day: “Hey Mikey! He likes it!” From the old Life cereal commercials, remember? Although in this case it would have likely been; “Hey Mikey! Why are you gagging and turning green?”

1 comment:

Mom said...

At least you gave it a try. I only tried it once and I gagged, so therefore, it has never shown itself again in my house.
There is something about it that is nasty to begin with!!
Too funny, honey!!