Tag Archives: Tofu

Summer Cooking

It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season. Sure it can be oppressively hot, but the days are long, the sun is shining more often than not, and I can get away with boycotting pants much more easily than during the winter months. It also means that I don’t turn on my oven much… which is something I think I get from my mother. We didn’t have central air conditioning in my house growing up until I was in high school, so the mere thought of turning on the oven to make the house hotter during the summer was unbearable. Just writing about it brings back memories of sitting in front of the giant oscillating fan propped in the kitchen, skin hot and sticky, while in my summer uniform – a bathing suit.

So now that I’m in charge of making my own meals, when it comes to summer cooking you can usually find me throwing something on the grill, occasionally turning on my oven’s burners (but never the oven itself), or making things that do not require any cooking at all. Aside from the heat-in-the-house factor, who wants to be inside slaving over an oven when it’s gorgeous outside, anyway? I could take the “easy” route and just eat the same thing every night, but that’s boring. Enter my most recent creation – vegan curry tofu salad! Yes, it has “salad” in the title, but it’s not the leafy greens type of salad… though you could put it on top of one if you wanted.

The idea to make a vegan curry tofu salad stemmed from my love of sandwiches. As a vegetarian, I often feel like my sandwich options are limited since they so often revolve around meat… which isn’t necessarily the case. There are plenty of ways to enjoy sandwiches as a vegetarian, you just have to get creative! I had been thinking about tuna and chicken salad, and how not only are they quick and easy, but you can really make them as simple or dressed up as you’d like (add some apples, celery, spices… it can get crazy!). Since I don’t eat chicken or tuna, and am not a huge egg salad fan, I immediately thought of tofu as a substitute and tried to figure out how I could make it more than just a mushed tofu sandwich (gross). Throw in some curry powder for flavor, some (vegan) yogurt and mayo for creaminess, and something for crunch, and you have yourself a quick, easy, oven-free salad that you can use as a sandwich, a dip, or a salad topper. I’m pretty proud of myself for this one – I had it for dinner on Tuesday, followed by breakfast and lunch on Wednesday. I guess you could say I liked it!

Even though the recipe is vegan, you can definitely use regular yogurt and mayo for a vegetarian version. Or, you can completely ignore the meat-free part and add in shredded chicken! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Tofu Curry Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

Vegan Curry Tofu Salad
– makes enough for 4 salad sandwiches –

Ingredients:
1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt
1/4 cup vegan mayo (i.e. Nasoya or Veganaise)
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes*
1 cup red onion*
1 cup diced green apple or celery*

Directions:
1. Drain the tofu for 10-20 minutes (I do this by placing it in-between two plates with a heavy book or weight on top, with a paper towel on each side to help absorb the liquid).
2. Once the tofu is drained, add it to a large bowl and mash it with a fork – you want the consistency to look like scrambled eggs. Chunks are good!
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, and curry powder.
4. Add the curry/yogurt/mayo mixture to the tofu along with your red onion, green apple, and/or celery. Stir to make sure the tofu is evenly coated.
5. Enjoy on bread, a top a salad, or as a dip!

*Notes: The ingredients with an asterisk are optional. You can use more or less red pepper flake for a little kick. The onion, celery, and/or apple give some crunch and flavor, but you can choose which you do or do not want to include.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite no-cook (or minimal cooking required) recipes for summer?

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Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Perfect Tofu

Of course on the same day I blogged about not having any good recipe ideas, I came up with what I’d like to think is a pretty decent tofu marinade. I know a lot of people aren’t tofu fans, but as a vegetarian, the big ‘ole block of soy is a really versatile way for me to get some extra protein. As long as you have a good marinade and cook it properly, I think it can be really delicious. Up until this point, my favorite was this Spicy Peanut Baked Tofu, which is easy, but not extremely versatile. I’ve never really used tofu outside of stir-fry styled dishes or egg replacements, but I’ve seen plenty of seasoned and marinated tofu “steaks” in stores, so I figured I would try my own.

One thing I’ve noticed in most vegetarian recipes that attempt to be meat replacements, is the use of soy sauce. So, I went to my pantry, grabbed a whole bunch of spices that I thought would go well together and soy sauce, and got mixing. This can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, and the beauty of a marinade is that the longer it sits, the better it winds up tasting. I served these tofu “steaks” with some brown rice, black beans, and salsa. I think it would probably be equally as delicious on a baguette with sautéed onions and peppers… I’ll definitely be trying that next!

TofuSteak2

Baked Tofu Steaks
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Press the excess water out of the tofu (for at least 10 minutes). If you don’t have a tofu press, a big cookbook with the tofu between two plates will work – just make sure you have a towel under it! 
3. In a bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, liquid smoke, and spices) and pour into a shallow baking dish or tupperware container.
4. Slice the tofu in half long-ways, and then in half again so you have 4 rectangular pieces.
5. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish with the marinade, and let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes flip to the other side, and allow it to sit for an additional 15 minutes.
6. Place the tofu on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
7. Serve with rice and beans for a Southwestern flare, enjoy on a baguette, or by itself!

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Another Week

It’s been a week since superstorm Sandy touched down in the greater tri-state area and wreaked havoc. A week of working from home, running as much as possible, and trying to keep up with the news while simultaneously trying to keep my tears at bay. It’s hard to believe that places I grew up and know so well have been forever changed; and more importantly than that, the friends and family that have had their lives changed as well. As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to retain power through the storm and not to suffer any damages myself. My office, as well as my parents, however, haven’t had power since late Sunday, with reports of it not coming back until the end of this week. While it’s easy to get angry at a lack of heat and power, in the grand scheme of things, it could be much worse.

That being said, even though our oven isn’t working, I’ve been cooking up a storm. My most recent creation was vegan buffalo lasagna. All my GI woes have gotten a little better, and while going gluten-free didn’t seem to make a difference, my doctor has suggested I lay low on dairy. I’m still eating dairy, just a lot less. At my last appointment when trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting much better, I just so happened to mention that I loved cheese, and I watched my doctor immediately scribble that information on his legal pad, with exclamation points to follow the statement. Things have been going better, but I’ve also upped my medicine, so we’ll see what happens when I start to dial the medicine back. So, to cater to my new reduced dairy diet and vegetarianism, this particular recipe is dairy and meat free! You can use regular cheese and dressing (and of course add in chicken), but you should give this version a try!

Vegan Buffalo Lasagna
– Serves 4 –  

Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup Frank’s red hot
1 cup vegan Ranch dressing (i.e. Follow Your Heart)
8 oz. vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (i.e. Daiya)
9 “no boil” lasagna noodles

Directions:
1. Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible.
2. Meanwhile, combine the Frank’s and ranch dressing together in a bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, break up the tofu using a fork until it resembles ricotta cheese.
4. Add in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of the dressing mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Take 4-6 tbsp of the dressing mixture to generously coat the bottom of your slow cooker.
6. Layer 3 no boil noodles, followed by 1/3 cup of the tofu mixture, and a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
7. After adding the last 3 noodles, pour the remainder of the dressing mixture, being sure to coat everything. Top with the remaining cheese.
8. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 2 hours.

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Sweet Tofu and Giveaway Winner!

Some days don’t go according to plan. It would be a lie for me to say that when the students talk over me, ignore my directions, are just plain rude, or don’t participate at all, I don’t take it personally. For as strong as I pretend to be, things grate on my nerves, and sometimes by the time that bell rings at 2:40p, I can’t wait to run home. Of course, even with these little hiccups I’m so incredibly happy with my decision to pursue teaching as my career.

I mention the above because Tuesday was one of those days. But more importantly, it inspired me to make something on the sweeter side for dinner. Conveniently, I had all those delicious sauces from House of Tsang just hanging out in my pantry, and decided to put some to use. Tuesday night’s dinner was a play on hot & sour chicken/beef/pork, but with tofu! Because the sauce is pre-made, this can be made in a matter of minutes. The only thing you need to prepare for is pressing the tofu, which takes at least 15 minutes. I threw it with some veggies and noodles – yum. You can find the quick and easy recipe below!

I’m sure you are all chomping at the bit to find out the winner of the House of Tsang prize pack! Well, thanks to Random.org, being first gets rewarded today!


The goodies go to Krissy, who mentioned one of my stir-fry favorites – water chestnuts!

Krissy, send me your address and I’ll be sure to get the package out to you ASAP!

Sweetly Sour Tofu

Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu, pressed
1/2 cup House of Tsang sweet & sour sauce (or your favorite brand)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees
2. Press tofu for 15-20 minutes between two plates with a something heavy (I used a cookbook) on top, then cut into even cubes
4. Place tofu into a medium sized bowl and cover the tofu with the sauce, using a a spoon to make sure the tofu is evenly coated
5. Once tofu is coated, place it on a greased baking sheet (I like to put foil down and spray that)
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until browned on both sides with a little crisp

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

This Week in Yum

This past week was all about meatless meals and sweet treats!

With a craving for something with tangy buffalo sauce, I thought I’d give buffalo tempeh eggrolls a shot. It was super easy, and really delicious. All you need to do is steam a package of tempeh for about 5 minutes, toss it in your favorite buffalo sauce (4 Tbsp), combine it with some slaw mix, and roll them up in wonton wrappers. They only need to bake for about 12 minutes at 425, and you’ve got yourself dinner! Or a really good party snack. Of course, you need some extra buffalo sauce for dipping on the side, and maybe some blue cheese.

Staying with the meatless kick, I made tofu balls as substitutes for meatballs to have with pasta. It sounds weird, and the flavors are definitely interesting, but they are really good. I could even see having these with some type of stir-fry, since there’s peanut butter and soy sauce mixed in. I found the recipe over at the always delicious Post-Punk Kitchen.

Earlier in the week I decided to check out Gilt Taste, which is a dangerously delicious counter-part to Gilt Groupe, which has amazing sample sales. As you can guess, Gilt Taste is basically a foodie’s sample sale heaven. You name it, they have it, and it all looks absolutely amazing. There were a few things I decided to order as Christmas gifts, and figured a treat for myself (and my husband) would be appropriate as well. If you’ve never had popcorn mixed in with candy and chocolate, you are seriously missing out. I’ve had a few different variations, and when I saw The Hampton Popcorn Company’s peanut butter cup popcorn, I just had to have it. I don’t know how long this tin is going to last…

I spent Saturday with my parents, and took a trip to Trader Joe’s, since they have one in their town. In addition to picking up some things for my Foodie Pen Pal, I stumbled upon Cookie Butter, and had to grab a jar. Oh. My. Goodness. There really aren’t even words to describe how delicious it is. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s really good. Christmas in your mouth good. I really hope it isn’t a short-lived thing, because I need to go back and stock up. It’s already been eaten by the spoonful, and mixed in oatmeal. I have grand plans for this little jar.

I’ve also managed to stick to December’s goal of running at least 4 times a week. This past week I ran 5 times! Granted two of those runs were only 2 milers, but it isn’t about the distance – it’s about being out there. I ended the week at 25 miles, which isn’t quite as much as I was hoping for, but still not bad. I need to get in a super long run (15-20 miles) this weekend in order to feel remotely prepared for Goofy.

The week ahead is looking busy, albeit yummy. I have some promising dinners planned, miles to run, and Holiday parties to attend. Who doesn’t love the Holiday season?

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Buffalo Tofu Tacos and a Bake-off

I really enjoy tofu. I know that many people are turned off by its texture and lack of flavor, but those are two qualities I appreciate. I’m not one of those people that is easily persuaded by texture, as I know a lot of people are (though I do have my limits with super-slimy). And as for flavor, that’s easily fixable – tofu is so incredibly versatile and it’s like a sponge; almost any flavor can seep into its pores.

That being said, when I had a craving for buffalo chicken, I figured I would give buffalo tofu a shot. I didn’t want to simply marinate some tofu in Frank’s Red Hot and call it a day – it needed some frying action first. That reminds me of the other reason I like tofu – it’s so easy to prepare. All you need is a deep skillet with canola oil, slices of extra firm tofu that’s been pressed to get rid of excess water, and buffalo sauce. Heat the oil, add the tofu (try not to touch it except to flip) and cook it on either side about 2-3 minutes. It’s that easy! I served my tacos with red onion, shredded lettuce, avocado, diced tomatoes, and some shredded cheese. YUM.

On Tuesday  night my kitchen was put to the test. Aside from making the above dinner, I also had to prepare my entry for our company bake-off. I decided to make How Sweet Eat’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles, and RecipeGirl’s Oreo Cheesecake Bars. I didn’t have time to snap a picture of the truffles, but look at these Oreo bars. I knew I had a pretty good chance at placing.

After all was said and done, I wound up taking first AND second place! I scored a gift card and a dessert cookbook – two things I can’t wait to put to good use.

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Filed under Baking, Vegetarian/Vegan, Wedding

Quick Curry

Both my fiancé and I really enjoy Thai food, and as you know, like our food spicy. So, when I saw a recipe for Green Curry on YumSugar, I made sure to bookmark it. However, I really used the recipe more as a suggestion, since I don’t have green curry (but I do have red), and didn’t feel like buying any. So, by choosing to go with red curry instead of green, I think it altered the recipe a lot. I still used the coconut milk, though, even though with most red curries I’ve had, there really isn’t a coconut flavor. So I guess you could say it isn’t really a traditional red curry. That’s okay, though, because it’s quick, and yummy!

Quick Curry
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup canola oil
2-3 cups frozen veggies
1 8oz. package of extra firm tofu, cut into squares
2 Tbsp red curry
2 Tbsp Sambal Olek
1 clove of garlic, pressed/chopped
A pinch of Chinese Five Spice (literally just a pinch!)
1 cup brown rice

Directions:
1. Prepare brown rice according to package. You should probably start this first, because rice takes some time, and the rest of this recipe doesn’t.
2. Heat skillet with canola oil. When beginning to bubble, gently place the tofu into the oil. Cook on first side for 4 minutes, then turn, and cook on other side for additional 2 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel.
3. In a wok, heat coconut milk and vegetable broth, whisking in the curry and Sambal Olek.
4. Once combined, add veggies. Lightly boil ingredients together for about 5 minutes.
5. Serve over cooked rice

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Spicy Peanut Baked Tofu

Tofu is a rather new concept to me, only incorporating it into dishes a handful of times. Since my fiancé isn’t wild about it, I usually keep it out of the mix. However, after receiving a ton (ok, not a ton, more like seven) cookbooks for Christmas, and a lot of them being vegetarian themed, I wanted to throw some tofu into the mix. I’ve also seen baked or broiled tofu featured on a lot of my favorite blogs, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I remember the first time I bought tofu, I knew nothing about it – silk, firm, extra firm – what does it all mean?! I wound up buying silken tofu the first time, and it was pretty much useless for what I wanted to do with it. I eventually wised up, and pretty much only purchase extra firm, which is perfect for baking, broiling, or frying.

When I was at the store on Saturday, I found a very interesting peanut butter flavor – Peanut Butter & Co’s “The Heat is On.” Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like, the label boasts “peanut butter blended with fiery spices.” While I didn’t purchase it, it was definitely the inspiration for the spicy peanut baked tofu. It’s really easy, and paired with some stir-fry veggies, and maybe over rice or noodles, it’s the perfect weeknight dish. I had mine over noodles with veggies and the left over sauce to make it a full meal.

Spicy Peanut Baked Tofu

Ingredients:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
2 Tbsp (more or less, depending on desired spice level) Sriracha
8 oz. extra-firm tofu

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees
2. Press tofu for 15-20 minutes between two plates with a something heavy (I used a cookbook) on top, then cut into even cubes
3. While tofu is being pressed, mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined
4. Place tofu, a few cubes at a time, into the bowl of sauce, using a a spoon to make sure the tofu is evenly coated
5. Once tofu is coated, place it on a greased baking sheet (I like to put foil down and spray that)
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until browned on both sides with a little crisp

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Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos

I’m a frozen foods junkie. Typically, I stick to them for breakfast and/or lunch, but not dinner, since the little meals are rarely satisfying.

After spending weeks eating instant oatmeal every day for breakfast in an effort to save money and calories, it was time for something new. I did a week of frozen bagels, and a few weeks of different waffle variations. This week, however, I decided to switch it up with Barbara’s Bakery Puffins. Not just any Puffins – the peanut butter kind. They’re so delicious, that I’m almost through my box and it’s only Wednesday.

So, last night I had to stop quickly at Stop & Shop to grab some extra chicken stock for the Southwest Chicken Soup. Remembering that this particular location is Kosher and has A LOT of veggie options, I ran over to the frozen section in hopes of finding Amy’s breakfast burritos. I typically do my weekly shopping at ShopRite, and for whatever reason, they carry every variation of Amy’s burritos EXCEPT the breakfast one! Once I spotted them, I excitedly grabbed two (because I’m always thinking about my fiance), and headed home.

My co-worker that’s vegetarian often has these burritos, and groaned when I excitedly told her I had one for breakfast. That’s how good these things are! They’re completely organic and vegan, but you’d never notice. There’s yummy cheese, tofu, beans, onions, potatoes and tomatoes all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. And at only taking 3 minutes in the microwave, what more could you ask for?!

While the picture I took with my iPhone doesn’t paint it in the best light, it really is delicoius! So next time you’re looking for a quick and easy breakfast option you can bring with you to the office, head over to the frozen section and grab yourself some Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos. Maybe grab a box of Puffins too, because they’re equally delicious!

Head over to Amy’s website to see all of the delicious vegeterian and vegan frozen options available!

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