Tag Archives: Tofu and the like

Sweet deceit

Aren’t these cute?

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I call this creation “Chocolate-Almond Tartlets with a raspberry drizzle”. They have a graham cracker crust, a creamy, dreamy filling, and, oh yeah, they’re CHOCK-A-BLOCK FULL OF TOFU.

Occasionally, I will eat something that contains tofu at a family dinner extravaganza. When this happens, certain family members have a tendency to look at me like I’m asking them to move to my nature commune, take macrame classes, and join my Peter, Paul, and Mary cover band. In an effort to improve tofu’s reputation around here, I made these charming little desserts for our most recent dinner together, and made some intentional misrepresentations about the main ingredient. (Actually, there were no affirmative misrepresentations. More like omissions.) Everybody ate their serving with a smile (except Baby Neph, who chose to just smear some on his face), and nobody suspected I was poisoning them with “health food”. SO THERE. Tofu and I demand more respect from here on out.

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The crust is easy as can be–just put your graham crackers into a Ziploc bag and smash ’em with a rolling pin. (Alternatively, use a food processor. More efficient, but not as much fun.) Then mix with the other ingredients until the crumbs are all moistened, press into the tartlet pans, and send them on a short visit to the oven.

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The filling comes together in a snap as well, with just a few ingredients and a little help from a food processor. The raspberry drizzle was an afterthought, but I would highly recommend it. The tartness of the berries tastes great with the sweet filling, and (more importantly, in my opinion) it looks gorgeous.

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Note: I have six tartlet pans, so that’s how many I made. Unless you fill the shells to overflowing, you will have a little bit of leftover chocolate filling. I trust that you will find something to do with it–you’re all smart people. Have a faaaaaaantastic week!

Chocolate-Almond Tartlets (makes 6 4-inch tartlets)

Graham cracker crust:

  • 1.75 c. graham cracker crumbs (I got this much from 11 crushed graham crackers)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp melted margarine or butter

Filling:

  • 1 12-oz package of firm silken tofu, drained of any excess water in the package
  • 1 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2/3 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional raspberry drizzle:

  • 1/2 c. raspberries, pureed and strained to remove the seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted margarine or butter until the crumbs are all moistened. Press the mixture into 6 tartlet pans. (I find it helpful to use the bottom of a small juice glass or measuring cup to make neat edges.) Bake the crusts at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool, and then carefully remove from the pans. For the filling, melt the chocolate chips and almond butter, either in the microwave or over a double-boiler. (I prefer the double boiler because I have ruined chocolate in the microwave before, and ruining chocolate is always a devastating experience for me.) Combine the melted chocolate and almond butter with the silken tofu and the vanilla extract in a food processor until completely pureed and uniform in color.

Chill the filling for at least 2 hours, and assemble the tartlets just before serving. Fill each graham cracker crust, and, if you like, garnish with a drizzle of pureed raspberries, whole raspberries, chocolate chips, or sliced almonds.

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Taco Rap!

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ve probably seen some pictures of my baby nephew. You may have heard that his oldest sibling, my fabulous niece, designs my headers and solves my technological dilemmas. But today, we’re here to talk about my other nephew (the middle child), and the results of some dinner inspiration I received from one of his Play-Doh art projects.

This is my nephew, Will. He is a champion big brother, an aspiring alto-saxophonist, and a smart cookie.

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He is also, apparently, a sculptor and/or aspiring restauranteur. I found this plate of Play-Doh goodies in our pantry the other day, complete with price tags.

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I’m not sure how long it has been there, but I hope these hot deals are still available.

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I think the “Brat Semi” is like a bratwurst, but just half of it. For the calorie-conscious. I do not eat wursts of any sort, but you gotta admit that’s a nice price.

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The peas are a little more expensive, but they are world famous, and probably organic, too.

Here’s the one that really intrigued me:

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Doesn’t a taco rap sound good?? I thought about writing a rap about tacos and performing it via video post, but ultimately decided against that (because I know my own limits). Instead, I made a slightly healthier version of the taco salad my mom always used to make, and then I put it in a tortilla. This is not an exact recipe–it’s more like a series of suggestions–but here’s the gist of what went into this delicious creation.

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First, I made some dressing. The taco salad of my youth had a dressing made of equal parts mayonnaise and Western dressing, with a liberal sprinkling of chili powder. I swapped out the mayo for some blended raw cashews (sooooo creamy and delish), and added a little lime juice for pizzazz. The measurements:

  • 1/2 c. raw cashews (I think they’re easier to blend if you soak them in water for a few hours first and drain before using, but it’s not a necessity)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c. Western dressing
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Put all of the above in a blender and let it run until completely smooth. (This may take awhile because of the cashews, and you will need to stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the blender.) Add a bit more water if you want to thin it out.

I also made taco-seasoned tempeh, to replace the ground beef in my mom’s old recipe. I don’t eat a lot of tempeh, but occasionally I use it in things that would typically have some sort of ground meat in them. The texture is similar. I crumbled an 8 oz. package of tempeh, and browned it in a skillet with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, adding the following seasonings as it cooked:

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • about 1/8 tsp salt
  • a few dashes of cayenne pepper

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I spread a healthy dollop of the dressing on a tortilla, sprinkled on some of the tempeh, and topped it off with lettuce, bell pepper, tomato, and chopped scallions. Oh, and Doritos. Do NOT forget the Doritos–they are the key to success.

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That’s it for today, comrades. If you want to write a rap about tacos and leave it in the comments, that would be super cool. Bye for now!

(P.S. I’m really very sorry if you happened to get multiple notifications about this post via your email subscription–my blogging software is all screwed up. And my niece had to go and start 8th grade, so I have nobody competent here to assist me.)

McTofu

I know Lent is supposed to make me think about discipline and sacrifice and being a better person….and it does…..but it also makes me think about Egg McMuffins.

When I was in high school, my family used to go to Colorado every Easter.  We’d leave on Thursday, stay somewhere in Nebraska that night, and cruise the rest of the way into CO on Good Friday.  The general practice was to drive through McDonald’s that morning, get Egg McMuffins, and, because of the no-meat-on-Friday-during-Lent thing, throw the slice of mystery meat (ham?  Canadian bacon?) out the car window once we reached full speed on I-80.  Nebraska, if you’re listening, I’m sorry about the litter.

So anyway, although I don’t generally get Mickey D’s cravings, I do have a soft spot for their breakfast menu.  I associate the greasy, salty McMuffin with spring, open roads, and adventure.  In that spirit, I recently took a block of tofu out of my fridge and made an easy McMuffin knock-off that tastes much better to me than anything that ever came out of the drive-thru window in Ogallala.

For the baked tofu, I used this recipe from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point.  While you’re getting the marinade ready, you can press the tofu to get some of the moisture out.

I firmly believe it tastes better if you press it with your prettiest plates. Then, dice the tofu into small pieces and marinate as directed in the recipe linked above.  I wanted a round slice of tofu to mimic the perfectly round egg in the McMuffin, but I don’t have any round cookie cutters.  (What’s with that, seriously?  Who AM I?)  So, I used a heart instead.  Nothing wrong with having more heart-shaped foods in your life.

While it’s baking, you can ready your tofu accoutrements.  I like the Food For Life sprouted English muffins in the freezer section of the grocery store—definitely an upgrade from the standard fast food English muffin.  Other than that, you just need some cheese, and veggies of your choice.  I went with spinach and scallion.

I’m not on a roadtrip, sadly, but this sort of made me feel like I was.

Plus, now I have tasty baked tofu for quick stir-fries, salads, etc. all week long.  You should definitely check out Caitlin’s recipe—it’s a tiny bit sweet and a little spicy from the chili powder.  I used agave nectar instead of the honey, because that’s what I usually have on hand, and it worked fine.

I hope you all have a stellar Monday—see you next time!