Tag Archives: vegetarianism

Salute to tofu

Tofu is delicious.  As a vegetarian who likes good food and cooking, tofu is an essential building block.  I want to talk about making fried tofu and tofu scramble.

Fried tofu should start with pressing out the extra water from the soy cake.  Buy firm or regular tofu, anything but soft tofu (which is great for smoothies and certain recipes where structural integrity isn’t the thing).  Open up the package and rinse your tofu.  Slice it into slabs and then lay it onto a clean towel and gently press the water out of the tofu.

Cut tofu into chunks and then add to hot frying pan with a little oil.  You’ll be getting the pan pretty hot, so I recommend a seasoned cast iron pan and an oil with a high smoke point like peanut or canola.  But anything will do, if you happen to be cooking with olive oil then just turn down the temperature a little.

One CRUCIAL tip is to leave the tofu alone for a minute or two.  Most of us want to stir and shake all the time.  But the first minute of cooking is when the tofu develops it’s developing delicious crispy skin.  If you move it before that happens you’ll tear up the tofu because it is still sticking to the pan.  Let the tofu sit until it gently moves in the pan with a little shake of the handle.

Flip the tofu chunks with tongs or by shaking the pan.  But remember to leave the pan alone after moving your tofu to let that tasty skin develop.

Tofu scramble is really a matter of taste.  There are a couple of health food store semi-corporate seasoning packets that you can buy to get inspired.  If you investigate this way, just note the seasonings on the back and you can usually remake the recipe with your own changes.

When I ate scrambled eggs I preferred them to be a medium for cheese and vegetables.  So my tofu scramble comes out the same way — more heavily seasoned and with a lot of vegetables mixed in.

Step one: sauté a few veggies — whatever you want to eat for breakfast.  Here is some cabbage and zucchini.

Step two: add tofu.  Once you get the veggies a little soft crumble the tofu on top and then stir it all together.

Step three: seasoning.

The most important addition in tofu scramble is nutritional yeast.  I’ll add it into the scramble at various points. It adds salt, fermentation flavor, sweet, color and it dries up the tofu bits making more browned (maillard reaction) flavor.   Start with a tablespoon and add more to your taste.

Turmeric doesn’t add much flavor but it gives a great color and smell.

Hot peppers, chili flakes, hot sauce, any kind of heat.

Soy sauce.  I’ll just splash in soy sauce and mix it around.

Italian seasonings usually go just fine — oregano, marjoram and thyme.

Cook and taste, adjusting seasoning along the way.  If you like runny eggs, then just leave a little of the moisture from the tofu and veggies going.  If you want a more crumbly dry scramble, then cook a little while longer and add a little more nutritional yeast.  Enjoy!

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Filed under do-it-yourself, food, vegetarian

Consciousness and eating animals

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost twenty years.  For me it is easy, fun and a delicious.  I no longer see vegetarianism as a sacrifice in any way.  Eating is celebration and to eat vegetables is delightful.

Mark Bittmann, the New York Times food critic seems to be building a path to live with joyous cruelty-free food:

Many vegan dishes, however, are already beloved: we eat fruit salad, peanut butter and jelly, beans and rice, eggplant in garlic sauce. The problem faced by many of us — brought up as we were with plates whose center was filled with a piece of an animal — is in imagining less-traditional vegan dishes that are creative, filling, interesting and not especially challenging to either put together or enjoy.

My point here is to make semi-veganism work for you. Once a week, let bean burgers stand in for hamburgers, leave the meat out of your pasta sauce, make a risotto the likes of which you’ve probably never had — and you may just find yourself eating “better.”

These recipes serve about four, and in all, the addition of salt and pepper is taken for granted. This is not a gimmick or even a diet. It’s a path, and the smart resolution might be to get on it.

via No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem – NYTimes.com.

Kudos to Bittmann for the column, approach, and recipes.  To have veganism be the suggestion for New Years resolutions is wonderful.  The New York Times, one of the most venerable newspapers in North America offers a marker of the persuasiveness of vegan choice in the current public dialogue.

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Filed under Animals, communication, food, health, representation

The conscience of meat eaters: suicide food

I have taught the ideas of Carol Adams connecting feminism to vegetarianism for the last fifteen years.  I believe Carol Adams and other ethical vegetarian thinkers provide important insight into the most persuasive articulation of compassion and for animal rights.  These thinkers provide help exploring the questions  associated with ethics, violence and killing.

One key insight I’ve drawn from Carol Adams is to scrutinize the language of representation.    How living animals are re-articulated to become advertisements for their own obliteration.  Unpacking the driving justification for violence itself involves interrogating the artifacts that sooth the conscience of human animals.

Suicide food is a humorous attempt to pinpoint images which represent animals as happily giving their lives for human consumption.   Here is the commentary on the angelic pig advertisement above:

If we could hear the thoughts of this pig, this newly minted angel, he might say, “At last! I am delivered at last from the stinking life into which I was born, and which was bequeathed to me as a necessary precondition for my ascendance into blissful eternity!” (Getting killed and grilled really brings out the poetry in a pig.) “Ill will? I bear the humans—my betters from their soles to their souls—no malice, for they have engineered my deliverance! And the only cost was a brief—so, so very brief—lifetime of worthlessness!”

Which is why the haloed food wears a beatific smile. Through his suffering and utter abnegation, he is clarified into his essence. And now, on ornamental wings, he soars to his last and best destination, and the life beyond life that his death and consumption made possible.

via Suicide Food.

I like the concept of suicide food — the term itself.  It provides a moment of critique to those who eat meat without reflection.  It also mockingly brings forward the image of the tools (confined animals, slaughterhouses, butchers) used to actually produce meat.

Smart and useful.  Thanks to Lisa Wade at Sociological Images for the connect.

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Filed under feminism, food