Tofu Flavored with Juicy Peaches
A potluck blog can certainly use delicious food...
Herein is a recipe I developed while trying to make myself eat tofu. As many already know, tofu is one of those foods that is good for the body but boring for the tastebuds. The good factor includes tofu's high protein, low saturated fat and cholesterol values. The bad factors consist of its bland flavor and mushy texture.
Finding ways to accelerate the idea of eating tofu can occur by preparing the bean curd in ways that appeal to the eyes as well as to the teeth and tongue. For some, like myself, tofu is best when you can sink your teeth into it without it mushing around in your mouth. After all, no matter how good tofu is for the body, its benefits will go by the way side for those who cannot bring themselves to eat it. Thus, in addition to making tofu taste good, changing its firmness level can make it more appealing to finicky eaters.
One thing about tofu is that it comes packaged in a variety of ways as well as in different consistencies - soft, medium, and firm. Purchasing tofu that comes in blocks surrounded by water and contained in small plastic squares seems to be the popular choice for most consumers. Tofu packaged in this manner is stored in the refrigerated section of the market; often alongside freshly contained produce.
For those who have never purchased tofu before, know that despite its popularity, there is a conundrum to buying tofu packaged in water. As I discovered the first time I purchased a package that read "firm" on the label, the firmness level did not turn out to be what I had expected. At the time, I knew little about tofu. One thing I did recall, however, was eating tofu in soup such as miso soup. Although I consumed the miso soup, I did not really care for the soft texture of the tofu. Thus, while at the store, I figured that by purchasing the package that said firm on the label, I wouldn't need to worry about the tofu being super soft. As it turned out, labeling the tofu as firm, in my opinion, was more than a tad misleading. Despite the package labeled firm, the tofu was soft...
Basically what happened was while in the grocery store, I came across the tofu in the refrigerated produce section and grabbed a package that read firm on the label. Once at home, I became disappointed when opening the package to discover that firm tofu is not exactly what I thought it would be. I had expected that since the label red firm the product inside would not be mushy. Although it did not appear mushy upon eyesight inspection, as soon as I tried to lift the tofu from the package, my fingers sunk into the block. Petrified, I chose to dump the pad onto a plate. Then I sunk a knife into the block to slice it. The blade slid through as if I were cutting gelled cranberry sauce. Then I thought, 'How am I supposed to cook this?'
Therefore... as a lesson to the newbies... tofu is not really firm when you buy it packed in water. A better description may be to describe it as coming in varying degrees of soft. It does not take much to make it mushy...
Use the water in the tofu to aid flavor absorption.
Tofu packaged in water is extremely wet when you remove it. It's not like taking a pickle from a jar. The pickle is truly firm and requires tough action to get through its skin. In order to truly make tofu firm, you must cook it and cause its moisture to evaporate. This is why some recipes suggest placing tofu on paper towels before adding it to dishes. Not keen on towel drying this highly absorbent ingredient, I decided to cook the water out instead. While ridding the water using the cooking method, two important things occur. (1) The tofu becomes firm as it releases the water via evaporation. (2) At the same time, the water is used as an aid that unites seasonings added to the recipe as the tofu cooks.
The peach flavored tofu recipe herein demonstrates this technique. It consists of slicing and cooking the tofu block until it becomes firm. As the tofu cooks, it absorbs the flavors of herbs and spices included in the recipe that make the otherwise boring block more pleasing to awaiting pallets.
1 Package Firm Tofu
1 Teaspoon Butter/Margarine
1/8 Teaspoon Table Salt
1/8 Teaspoon (Lawry's) Seasoned Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Parsley (Dried or Fresh)
1 Dash of Rosemary
1 Can Unsweetened/Lightly Sweetened Peaches
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Large skillet - preferably stick proof wok type
|Tofu slices after second flipping...|
Heat butter/margarine in skillet until bubbles appear. Medium heat should suffice.
Place tofu slices in skillet and sprinkle with salt, seasoned salt, pepper, rosemary, parsley, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Cover on medium heat and let the ingredients work in to a gentle boil.
Turn tofu slices over being careful not to break them apart. Cook for another five minutes or so until the pieces are firm on the bottom and then flip each piece back to their original positions. Remember not to break the slices.
Add can of peaches along with the peach juice in random areas atop and alongside the tofu slices. Cover and continue cooking for another five minutes.
At this point, the dish should be ready. Keep it warm by simmering it until ready to serve. Check every few minutes or so to make certain enough liquid remains to prevent ingredients from sticking to the pan.
Serve over white or brown rice. Also goes well with pasta.
Complement with fresh asparagus, long green beans, or fresh broccoli florets.
- Lay the tofu on a flat surface such as a cooking board to slice it.
- When flipping the tofu the second time the appearance should be golden brown. The parsley and other seasonings should make the tofu look more appetizing than the plain pieces initially placed into the skillet.
- Be careful to gently lift the tofu to keep it from falling apart and do not stir the ingredients.
- For bite size pieces, cut tofu [after it has cooked] into smaller chunks prior to adding peaches. It is easier to cook the tofu to this recipe's consistency while the slices are bigger because it is easier to flip over fewer large pieces than a slew of smaller chunks. Meanwhile, for smaller peach bits, cut to desired size prior to adding to pan.
I came up with this recipe one day after realizing the package of tofu in the refrigerator should be cooked soon. Not keen on the process of rinsing unused portions of tofu and giving fresh water everyday as if the foodstuff were a vase of flowers, I wanted to go ahead and cook the entire block at one time and to have the rest for leftovers if the dish was not fully consumed during a single meal. I found this process relieved the pressure of remembering to rinse the unused portion everyday and provided a fast and tasty leftover dish when the belly called for a quick bite to eat.
Side Note: I just recently began experimenting with tofu. Before my first purchase, I looked around for recipes but did not find any that sounded like dishes that would appeal to my tastebuds. As a result, I started making up my own dishes. Another of my favorites, is a dish I created with egg, pineapple, and tofu. I will post that recipe as soon as I get some pictures so be sure to click back to see it!