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Tofu or Not Tofu: That is the Question

April 23, 2020

It was in the paper this morning. The headline read, “Meat Plants are Closing; Beef Shortfalls May Follow.” Oh No! I know your next horrified thought was the same as mine: What if tofu shortfalls are next? Think about it.

Actually. I’m kind of a latecomer to tofu. There’s something about it that is so—well nothing instantly comes to mind. Maybe that’s it. It’s so non-descript.

For a long time I had only one recipe I followed for tofu:

1. Buy it because I read it was supposed to be a healthy substitute for meat.

2. Bring it home floating in its little container of—what? Amniotic fluid?

3. Put it in the fridge.

4. After a month or two, check it. If there’s a layer of fur around it or if parts of it are green or brown and it smells bad, it’s ready.

5. Throw it out.

I always felt guilty about that. It’s really wasteful and not at all how we beat Hitler. I wondered if there were creative things one could do with tofu. Maybe painting little designs on it with Easter egg dye—and then what? Bake it and give it for Christmas presents? Okay, bad idea.

Then I thought it could be the medium for a riotous food fight. It’s soft and would do less damage than, say a hurled potato or peas through a pea shooter. Possibly do this in the bathroom for easier clean up. Another really bad idea, as I’d be the one who had to clean it up.

Then a novel thought occurred. What if I actually cook with it? 500 million Chinese and Japanese can’t be wrong. They eat it all the time and look how good they look. Here’s the way I cook tofu now.

No Food Fight Stir Fry

1 package hermetically sealed, marinated teriyaki tofu cubed

1 package frozen stir fry veggies

¾ cup Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki

1 Tbs cornstarch dissolved in about ¼ cup water

½ cup almonds, peanuts or pistachios (shelled please)

Cooked rice or quinoa or some grain

Spray a skillet and dump the veggies in. You can use a bit of water if it seems too dry. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, mooshing it around with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch water into the soyaki. Add tofu to veggies, pour the soyaki mix over it and heat through. Serve over rice or grains and sprinkle each dish with nuts.

If you have leftovers you can use them the next day in a “spaghetti omelet” which is what I call anything I make into an omelet with leftovers, including spaghetti. Just put the leftovers into a sprayed skillet and begin to heat it over medium heat. Meantime beat 3 or 4 eggs and pour over the stir-fry. Let the eggs set a bit while you turn the oven to 350. Then shove in the skillet and let it cook for about 15 or 20 minutes—checking it. If you have leftovers from the leftovers, let your conscience be your guide. Just don’t use it for a food fight.

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