I got a lot of reactions when I posted the quip above a couple weeks ago as part of a "semi-wordless Wednesday" post and I think I might have been slightly misleading. I don't really think tofu tastes like wallpaper paste, although it is a pretty unappealing substance when left to its own devices.
In an attempt to convert all you tofu-naysayers into tofu enthusiasts, I'm embarking on a multi-week Tofu Tuesday Tutorial. In this four week series, we'll cover how to convert that suspicious white blob of soy into something truly (cross my heart!) delicious.
Ready for today's tutorial? Here we go . . .
Tofu Tuesday Tutorial 1: It's Actually Pretty Good When It's Pretending to Be Something Else . . . aka Sloppy Toes.
The post below was originally posted at The Happy Home.
I grew up in a vegetarian household and ate probably far more than my fair share of tofu dogs as a child. My parents were Diet for A Small Planet generation vegetarians, where it was still believed that vegetable protein was slightly inferior to meat protein and vegetarian cooking was treated as some sort of complex geometry proof. As we grew, my brother and I tasted many recipe hits and misses (barbequed tofu was not a hit) as vegetarian cooking evolved. The joyful result of all those culinary experiments was some adventurous taste buds and the knowledge that food could be just about anything you wanted it to be.
Now that I’m on my own, I’ve incorporated meat into my diet, but we still prepare a large number of meatless meals at the cabin. When we do eat meat, I prefer to purchase organic, free-range chicken and we avoid beef and pork.
Despite the fact that we rarely (if ever) have ground beef in the house, we eat Sloppy Joes on a regular basis. The secret is a childhood recipe which uses tofu in lieu of ground beef. Years ago, my father dubbed the recipe “Sloppy Toes” and the off-putting nickname stuck.
One bite of this yummy sandwich filling will thwart that inevitable question asked of all vegetarians: “Where’s the beef?” I’ve used the recipe to help tofu-phobic roommates overcome their resistance to soy protein. It’s a great kid-friendly, weekday meal that uses everyday ingredients and happens to be vegan too. The only thing you need to remember is to pull the tofu out of the freezer night before.
Over the years, I've tried to initiate others into the world of Sloppy Toes, with mixed results. Here's my tofu-phobic college roommate Sarah testing it out. (Please note, I was unsuccessful in this Joes to Toes conversion attempt.)
|Look at that unbridled enthusiasm!|
|"Do I really have to eat this?"|
Try taking the Joes to Toes challenge yourself!
1 lb. extra firm tofu, frozen and defrosted*
2 tablespoons tamari (or other soy sauce)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Squirt of hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
Squeeze excess moisture from tofu. (I usually place the cake of tofu between two plates in the kitchen sink and place a heavy object – like a bag of sugar – on top of the top plate to press some of the moisture out. Then I use my hands to get the remaining moisture out.) Tear tofu into small crumbles. Place in a bowl and mix with tamari. Set aside.
Saute onion, celery, and green pepper in oil. After about five minutes, or when onions are soft, add tofu and brown lightly for a minute or two. Meanwhile mix up a sauce of the remaining ingredients. Add sauce to tofu and heat gently for a half hour. Serve on sandwich buns.
*We’ve always used frozen, then defrosted tofu because it seems to have a crumblier texture closer to that of ground beef that tofu used fresh out of package.