Friday, December 7, 2007


Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a soft, cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Traditionally, the curdling agent used to make tofu is nigari, a compound found in natural ocean water, or calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. Curds also can be produced by acidic foods like lemon juice or vinegar. The curds then are generally pressed into a solid block. Tofu is an excellent source of cholesterol-free protein, B-vitamins, and iron, is low in sodium, and is full of phytoestrogens, which may protect against some cancers and heart disease, bring relief from some of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, and protect against osteoporosis. Depending on the coagulant, tofu may be high in calcium and magnesium.

Tofu comes in several consistencies: soft, regular, firm, extra-firm. It is often sold in a small cardboard box found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store or in the Asian ingredients aisle. In all of my grocery stores, we have sections specifically for refrigerated soy products (such as tofurkey and "chik n nuggets"), and that's where tofu is located. The most common package sizes are 10.5oz, 12oz, and 14oz. If purchased already cold (the only way I've bought it), refrigerate until ready to use; otherwise, store in a cool, dark place. If you use only part of a package of tofu, store the rest in the refrigerator, covered with water, for 1 week.

Tofu can be used in smoothies, to add protein and to thicken them. The best tofu to use for smoothies is soft silken tofu, which is slightly more creamy than soft tofu.

Tamale Pie

  • 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 3/4 C stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 2 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2/3 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sliced ripe olives

1. In a small skillet, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
2. Place one tortilla in a 3-cup round baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with half of the meat mixture and cheese; repeat layers. Sprinkle with olives. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: this was not exciting. It was fine, but neither of us was wild about it. Needs more chili powder maybe. I used extra onions because he was in the mood for more of them.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Curried Tofu Salad Sandwiches

  • half package (10.5oz) firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp sweet honey mustard
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • dash turmeric
  • whole wheat pita breads
  • spinach leaves
  • 1 small tomato, sliced

1. Drain tofu if necessary; press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place tofu in medium bowl; break up slightly with fork. Add celery and onions; mix well.
2. In medium bowl, combine yogurt, relish, mustard, curry powder and turmeric; blend well. Stir carefully into tofu mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.
3. Fill pita breads with spinach leaves, tomato slices, and tofu mixture.

Robyn's notes: This was quite easy and I was pleasantly surprised at how much he liked it, as this was his first foray into tofu. I had it in the fridge for a couple hours and it got a little watery and turned very yellow, but neither of those things were a problem.

Ingredient Info: Turmeric is used in some recipes as a substitute for expensive saffron. It is commonly used in curries and to provide colour (bright yellow). The turmeric plant, by the way, is thought to have many medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine.