Are You a Tempeh or Tofu Virgin?
As many of you already may know, I host a weekly chat at Culinate, and once a month the focus is on meatless cooking, eating and shopping. In last week’s chat, I asked if anyone cooks with tofu and/or tempeh and if not, who’s afraid to tip toe in that direction.
For the uninitiated or for those who need a refresher, both tempeh and tofu are both made from soybeans. To make tempeh, whole soybeans are cultured with a mold (think cheese making) which binds the beans into a solid “cake.” The resulting texture: toothy and chewy, can be cut with knife and fork. The flavor: Mushroom-y. Tofu is soy milk that has been coagulated into curds. The resulting texture: Out of the package, squishy and soft like scrambled eggs or soft cheese. When drained, marinated and cooked, tofu “dries” and hardens, developing a crust that mimics fish or chicken.
The response was interesting, altho perhaps not surprising: By and large, the meat-eating folk are interested and curious for both health & environmental reasons, but downright flummoxed by how to cook either or both, and as a result, avoid it at all costs.
It got me thinking about my own adjustment to and adoption of T&T, which was slow, rocky and uncommitted, until I got a handle on how to turn tempeh and tofu into savory morsels. It took many years of kitchen failures until I understood just how versatile and delicious T&T can be.
To that end, I’ve cooked up The Tempeh & Tofu Challenge, a week-long experiment in this space, where home cooks embark on their maiden T&T kitchen voyages. Readers are invited to sign up for the “T&T Honor Roll,” and from that list, I’ll select five reader-bloggers to share their ups/downs & first-hand reports on their “first time.”
In addition, T&T veteran experts will be on hand, dishing up kitchen wisdom all week long. You’ll learn from the likes of vegan cookbook authors Bryant Terry (Vegan Soul Kitchen), Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Veganomicon) and Fran Costigan (More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts). You’ll get inspired by Miami Herald and Huffington Post veg columnist Ellen Kanner and NoCal cooking teacher Jill Nussinow (aka The Veggie Queen). And you’ll get tricks of the trade from vegetarian cookbook trailblazers Mollie Katzen (Moosewood Cookbook and most recently, “Get Cooking”) and Crescent Dragonwagon (The Passionate Vegetarian).
If ever there was an opportunity to get schooled in T&T, the week of April 5 is it!
Send me an e-mail to sign up for the T&T Honor Roll; in the body of your note, please include your name, city, state (or country, if outside the US). If you’d like to be considered as a reader-blogger, include a few lines about what you’d like to learn from the T&T Challenge. The Honor Roll will be updated daily until Friday, April 2.