Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegan Month Part 2: Tofu Mania

Like many people, I've never been a huge fan of tofu. It looks funny, it smells funny and it drips water. Totally weird. Recently, however, I have been introduced to several recipes that include tofu and they've been amazing. I never believed my vegetarian and vegan friends that said tofu takes on the flavors around it until I started experimenting with different recipes and the truth is that it can taste like just about anything if you make it right.

So what's local about tofu itself? Not much unless you're really lucky to have a local tofu maker nearby. The way I make tofu local is by using it as a protein surrounded by local produce and products. Below are my three current favorite recipes that use lots of local alternatives even though the tofu comes from the grocery store. Thus, the recipes are not 100% local but they are almost entirely vegan.

Tofu Quiche (V)
You may see "quiche" and wonder what is vegan about this recipe. The answer is that if you make your own pie crust out of non-animal-based shortening, you don't need any animal protein in this recipe. I used broccoli from the Lomax Incubator Farm, olive oil from Ohh-lio Express, onions and garlic from Houston Farms, and Lusty Monk Mustard from Simply Local.

1 9 inch pie crust
1 lb local veggies of your choice (I suggest broccoli or greens), chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb tofu (small curd, extra firm)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard
About 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following according to taste: salt, ground nutmeg, ground red pepper, black pepper, dried parsley
  1. Cook veggies till tender but not overcooked
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and saute onion and garlic
  3. Add veggies and heat through
  4. In a blender or food processor, combine tofu, soy milk, mustard and spices until smooth
  5. Combine blender mixture with veggie mixture in large bowl then pour into pie crust
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until quiche is set and crust is light brown
Tofu Masala (V)
This is another super easy one. I used an onion and carrots from the Lomax Farm, olive oil from Ohh-lio Express, ginger and rice from Simply Local, and tomatoes from Houston Farms.

1 lb tofu, pressed and drained (I do this by putting the block of tofu in a strainer and putting a heavy bowl on top of it for 10-15 minutes) then cut to 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
A healthy handful of peas
1-2 cup cooked rice or couscous
  1. Toss tofu with cornstarch gently
  2. Heat oil and saute tofu on both sides until golden brown
  3. Remove and drain tofu and set aside
  4. Saute onions and carrots about 5 minutes then add ginger and cook another 3 minutes
  5. Add garam masala, tomatoes, then peas, water, tofu and simmer low for 15 minutes
  6. Serve over rice or couscous

Tofu Stir Fry (V)
And finally, here's the simplest recipe there is for a vegan tofu meal. The zucchini and squash I got from Houston Farms, olive oil from Ohh-lio Express, and the rice from Simply Local.

1 lb tofu, cut into 1 inch strips
1-2 zucchini or squash
1-2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a large wok on medium-high heat, add oil and zucchini and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add tofu and turn over gently. Douse in soy sauce
  3. Allow to cook until zucchini are to desired tenderness
  4. Serve over rice

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