As I’ve stated before, I am no cook, but I have new reasons for at least trying to learn. When I was in hospital back in December, I emerged an anemic and, despite trying the least objectionable of the iron supplements, I am still anemic. How was I to increase my intake of dietary iron?
Well, first my step-mother Annette told me about a film, “Forks Over Knives,” which I watched with great interest. I even watched the follow-up, “The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue.” Maybe, I thought, I would enjoy (and actually be able to “cook”) a plant-based whole-food meals, since my greatest failing is the inability to cook flesh without burning or drying it into unpalatable leather.
Here is my first attempt to make an entre with tofu:
I found the recipe for this Baked BBQ Tofu in “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero; looks yummy, huh?
Well, this is not how it’s supposed to look, at all. First, I had no idea there were two different kinds of tofu, with different levels of firmness within those two. Regular tofu is more dense and only comes in refrigerated cartons (we won’t bother with dried tofu), where Silken tofu is more creamy with less body and comes in shelf-stable cartons. Not knowing when (and if) I would get the nerve up to cook a tofu meal, I opted for the shelf-stable Silken tofu. Wrong!
This recipe calls for regular very firm tofu that you must “press” to make dry (and increase its absorption of whatever flavors you use). Guess what happens when you “press” silken very firm tofu? A crushed mess of what looks like runny egg whites, not a nice, dry block of tofu. I was supposed to slice the pressed regular tofu into eight strips, and then bake them. I had what looked like what you might get if you let a 2-year-old serve up the turkey on Thanksgiving!
However, I wasn’t about to toss the mess and try to find a different recipe. I soldiered on and sort of followed the cooking instructions; I didn’t have peanut oil so I substituted toasted sesame oil. I had made a batch of BBQ sauce that morning (just try to find a good tasting BBQ sauce whose first ingredient isn’t sugar or filled with corn syrup!) and gamely “drenched” my baked tofu pieces. The book says this is good to serve with rice or potatoes, but I’d endured as much cooking experience as I could take by that point. I had leftover black beans and lots of romaine, and since I’d used both of these ingredients the day before with BBQ sauce, I made a bed of lettuce and beans on which to heap my catastrophe.
Guess what? It tasted GREAT! It was like eating moist, tender spareribs (without the ribs). The edges of the tofu were crispy and the sauce was delicious.
Score one more success in my goal of becoming a vegetarian!