Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tofu? Yes Please!

The mention of tofu makes lots of people shudder and groan. Yet when you question further, you often realize they've never even tried it. What has given tofu such a bad name?

Let's get the basics first. Tofu is made from soybeans. It's made in a process that is similar to how cheese is made....but it's a veggie! It is loaded with calcium and protein (it has all 8 amino acids!). It's nutritional value is spectacular, but I won't bog you down with those details. :)

I've heard everything from tofu has a horrible taste to "how can you like it? It doesn't have a taste!" The truth is the latter. Tofu really doesn't have much taste to it, it soaks up the taste from the spices or marinades that you use with it. So if you think it tastes nasty, then blame the spices not the poor tofu! And it's very versatile. You name it, you can do it to tofu!

On top of this, it's cheap! And who doesn't like cheap? You can usually pick it up for a few dollars a package! Where in the store do you find it? Most groceries stock it in the produce section if they don't have a specified vegetarian area. Look around the shelves that have juices or packages of herbs. Can't find it? Ask!!

What do you need to know to buy tofu? Not much. If you go to a basic grocery, you'll generally see tubs of tofu in soft, firm, and extra firm texture. Which one do you need? It depends on the recipe. If you want to make cubes (such as with stir fry) chose extra firm. Slicing it for things such as bbq or baking, regular firm should work. Soup time? Or maybe a wonderful dip? Go with the soft. You can also find silken tofu, which is fabulous for making protein packed smoothies!

Don't be scared of tofu! It is a wonderful, wonderful ingredient to add to your recipes. Or buy some and try my favorite tofu recipe in the world, barbecue tofu! Don't worry, it's made in the oven so you don't even have to fight the heat to light the grill.

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