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Hacks Packaged Food

The Secret Behind Making Tofu Tasty Every Time You Cook It

Photo: So Delicious

It’s a great vegetarian or vegan ingredient, but sometimes it’s hard to make hard tofu taste good. So what is the secret to cooking tofu? We are sure you can learn and make it delicious!

Tofu is one of the oldest and most delicious foods in the world. It has been consumed in China for over 2000 years and it’s been quite popular in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. It’s also known as bean curd and it’s made by coagulating soy milk into solid white blocks. The blocks vary in softness and texture.

So what about cooking tofu? How do you do it? Or how do Asian cultures cook tofu so that it doesn’t turn out a bland, soggy mess? The secret lies in the stir-fry. It can get you to golden silky tofu that tastes like heaven and is worth a spot in your meal rotation.

Cooking tofu: first, remove moisture

The thing is that tofu, by itself, doesn’t really taste like anything. But it can be a gorgeous, textured blank canvas for you to build flavor profiles around. And there are so many ways you can do that.

The first thing you have to do it press the firm or extra-firm tofu for half an hour to eliminate the water in it. First, remove it from the packaging and thoroughly drain it. Then cut it into cubes and set them on paper towels on a flat surface. Cover them with more paper towels and then put something heavy on top, like a cookbook, if you have an extra heavy one. Let the tofu press for at least 20 minutes. Check on the towels and if they’re soaked in liquid, replace them.

Then stir-fry the tofu in a bit of oil, but don’t forget to add it to the pan in a single layer so that it all browns perfectly.

Add flavors!

You can add so many different flavors to the tofu and for start, you can try some Asian-inspired flavors. Go for coconut milk and curry. You can marinade it before stir-frying and imbue it with all of the delicious flavors you want. Also try ginger, garlic, honey, even turmeric. The inviting flavor of tofu pairs well with most anything, so it’s up to you to experiment and figure out what you really like.

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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FOODBEAST

This Tofu Wine Actually Makes For Healthy Alcohol And Makes Good Use of Food Waste

Those who may have avoided alcoholic beverages for health reasons may now be lured back to the dark side with a healthy tofu wine.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore were successful in creating an alcoholic beverage out of tofu whey, according to CNET.

The new drink was appropriately named Sachi, which means “blossoming wisdom” in Japanese, and is meant to compliment the beverage’s sweet, fruity, and floral taste. Sachi’s alcohol content is also pretty mild, clocking in at about seven to eight percent ABV, making it a delicate choice of beverage.

According to the same article, Sachi’s creators say that the wine offers numerous health benefits such as high levels of calcium, probiotics, and even antioxidants called isoflavones that have shown to improve bone health, heart health, and prevent cancer.

One of Sachi’s greatest contributions, however, is probably the fact that it helps eliminate waste. Sachi is made of leftover liquid tofu whey, which is created while making beancurd, and is often just thrown away. However, when this leftover liquid waste is used for alcohol, it generates economic revenue for these businesses.

I’m pretty convinced that health benefits and environmental consciousness is definitely enough reasons to drink. Cheers!

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Features

10 Things To Grill This Summer That Aren’t Meat

Summer is creeping up on us faster than a cell phone salesman at the mall kiosk and we’re going to have to figure out what to cook once we fire up those grills.

While burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and chicken are always a safe bet, sometimes guests will want something a little more than just meat.

We dug around and found 10 different things you can throw on the grill that doesn’t require any meat. Happy grilling, everyone!


Veggies

Photo: Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp

Yeah, you could steam your veggies and they’ll probably be slightly healthier for you. OR you could throw them on a white-hot grill and get a satisfying char to them as smoke and fire come together to create one hell of a vegetable dish.

A little lemon juice and salt also goes a long way here, BTW.

Corn

Grilled corn is a pretty big staple when it comes to barbecue. The ears cook until about half of the kernels are browned and blackened. Then you just allow a pat of butter to melt directly onto the surface.

Growing up in a Vietnamese household, we were also partial to this green onion oil that we would just slather onto grilled corn. It was divine.

Pizza

If you’re a fan of wood-fired pizza, you can actually create a makeshift wood-fire oven with your grill. If you’re worried about your pizza dough melting through the grate, however, YouTuber DaveHax came up with a solution to keep this from happening.

Simply take a cupcake tin and let your pizza sit on top of it as you grill. The dough should hold steady and the prevent any spillage. The result: a nice and smokey pizza deserving of your tastebuds.

Mushrooms

A post shared by Laouida Pratt (@weezygy) on

Even though a thick mushroom cap can’t compare to a juicy cut of steak, it’s still a pretty decent alternative to meat. You can grill up a bunch of small white button mushrooms or a few slices of portobello at once.

Once they’re browned, drizzle a little olive oil on top with a tiny pinch of salt and you’re ready to cut into these aromatic fungi.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

They don’t call it grilled cheese for nothing. While the majority of the world makes their grilled cheese straight up on the stove top, culinary guru Alton Brown actually grills his grilled cheese.

While a tedious process for such a simple dish, Brown claims this will drastically improve your cheese sandwich. Check out the video above to see a step-by-step rundown.

Tofu

Need a meatless substitute to get your protein fix? Slice up some tofu bricks and light them up. Just make sure to properly grease your grate, or your tofu will end up a sticky mess. Keep it cooking until it’s nicely charred and brown. The crispy exterior will add a nice texture that complements the soft interior of the tofu.

Avocados

Avocados are one of the most addicting fruits around. We can throw them on pretty much anything and it’ll taste better. Recently, we had the pleasure of tasting oakwood-smoked avocados and it was one of the best variations of the fruit we’ve had the pleasure of putting into our mouths. If you don’t have the equipment and patience to smoke an avocado, however, grilling it may be the next best thing.

Chile Relleno

Photo: Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp

A different take on the classic chile relleno: simply mix together some corn, beans, peppers, and cilantro inside a hollowed out chile. Before adding the stuffing, char your pepper a bit to give it some flavor. Now you can fill it with your medley of ingredients and some cheese on top.

Toss it on the grill just long enough for your cheese to melt, encompassing your beans and peppers. It tastes pretty damn good.

Watermelon Slices

As a quick and easy palette cleaners in between all the heavy BBQ items this summer, you can toss a few slices of watermelon directly onto the grill. You’ll only want them on long enough to get a nice sear and a smokey flavor. Sprinkle a little sea salt on your melon and enjoy a refreshing bite.

Dessert

Looking for something a little sweet to close out your backyard BBQ? A while back, Foodbeast came up with three different desserts that could be made directly on any grill. We’ve got banana boat s’mores, chocolate churro quesadillas, and strawberry shortcake kebabs.

Check out the video to see how we whipped up these desserts.

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Deals

Flame Broiler Wants To Give You A FREE Bowl Of Tofu

Flame-Broiler-Tofu-Bowl

In their first change in 21 years, the Flame Broiler chain has added organic, charbroiled tofu to its menu. To draw a little hype the first 100 customers to show up at any participating Flame Broiler location will get a free mini tofu bowl to grub on.

The bowl giveaway will take place on Thursday, April 28.

If you’ve got your heart set on getting that free tofu bowl, make sure you’re at least in the parking lot by the time they open. Possibly earlier. Not sure, really. The demand for free tofu eludes us.

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Celebrity Grub

Hollywood Badass Danny Trejo’s New LA Joint Serves Vegan Tacos

Trejos-Tacos-Cover

Danny Trejo just stepped into the taco business and we couldn’t be happier. The star of such films as Machete, Machete Kills and Spy Kids has now become a part owner of a Los Angeles-based taquieria called Trejo’s Tacos.

The three partners of the establishment are Trejo, film producer Ash Shah and  Jeff Gorgino.

Trejo’s Tacos will serve 10 different kinds of tacos, the Los Angeles Times reports. Designed by former Cook’s County chef Daniel Mattern, the mysterious menu features a couple of vegan tacos as well. This includes a tofu taco and a fried avocado taco.

You can find the restaurant on 1048 S. La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles. The official soft opening of Trejo’s Tacos will be next week and an official opening the week after.

So stoked to try this.

Photos: Trejo’s Tacos Facebook

Categories
Features

This Master Knows His Way Around Tofu

Tofumaster-Profile

The tofu master looks upon his final products. || Photos: Peter Pham

Seuk Ho Hong is a tofu master.

You may not give those pieces of soybean a second thought outside ordering them at your local Asian or vegan restaurant, but much care and dedication are devoted to creating a single block. That is what’s required of a master.

Sure it’s not one of the flashier food professions like a teppanyaki chef or a flavor guru, but the life of a humble tofu master is definitely one that keeps you busy. At least, that’s what Mr. Hong’s translator tells me.

Though we’re still not quite sure what the point is of a flavor guru when it comes to tofu.

The job of a tofu master is to ensure that tofu is up to the highest quality. Mr. Hong oversees all manufacturing processes and adjusts controls to maintain optimal manufacturing conditions.

tofumaster-cuts

A completed batch of tofu.

As with most factories, the goal is zero customer complaints, and zero injuries and accidents, in the plant. The tofu master is largely responsible for keeping things this way.

To become a tofu master, one must apprentice for a minimum of five years. Experience in several areas of production is required. A major chunk of your life must be dedicated to the plant-based protein. There’s no such thing as a part-time tofu master, after all.

Mr. Hong began his career in maintenance back in Korea and eventually moved to tofu manufacturing. The tofu master studied at the Pulmuone tofu plant in Korea before arriving at the one in Fullerton, CA.

Today he has more than 20 years of experience in tofu. This includes five years working with the protein in Korea and another 15 since moving to the United States.

Every afternoon Mr. Hong arrives at the plant to take over from the day shift tofu master. The two masters discuss the tofu conditions during the shift. This includes any noteworthy events, processes and any important changes to the product.

Mr. Hong works from 3pm through midnight. He checks on the soybean conditions, a highly important part of the job, up to six times during his shift. The soaking time depends on the quality of the soybean.

Tofumaster-soybeans

Soybeans ready to go through the grinder. 

It’s sort of an art form if you think about it, finding the balance between temperature and hours in water. The soybeans could soak an hour on one day and up to 16 hours on another. It depends on the weather and temperature conditions, which vary day by day. Because the final quality of the tofu is essential, these conditions are strictly monitored by the tofu master.

After soaking, the soybeans are put through a grinder and mixed with water. The ground soy mixture is then heated. Similar to the cheese-making process, the soy milk is separated and solidified with a natural coagulant.

Mr. Hong works with an apprentice (one with years of experience in tofu), as well as a novice (one with little experience).

We wonder what makes one decide to take an apprenticeship in tofu? Does one choose such a life, or are they simply born into it?

The Pulmuone plant, under the Wildwood brand, is one of the largest tofu manufacturers in the world. The plant produces many different types of tofu and tofu products, all of which are overseen by Mr. Hong and the other tofu masters.

A perfect piece of tofu is based on three requirements: appearance, texture and flavor.

The tofu must have a clean surface, with a smooth look to it. The texture must be even. Though it’s made from soybeans, a prime piece of tofu should have as little bean flavor as possible. At least that’s what’s preferred in the US.

Tofu also comes in a variety of densities. The three most commonly sold are firm, soft and silken. Each is used for different dishes, depending on what is called for.

Tofumaster-check-2

Uncut batch of tofu measured for overall consistency. 

Because his job is so demanding, the tofu master does not have much time for leisure. His life is dedicated to his family and job.

Though we hear he occasionally enjoys golf.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Products

5 Basic Bitch Foods Turned Artisanal

In what are presumably auditions for “Pimp My Lunch,” hipster entrepreneurs across the country have been taking beloved food staples and tricking them out. Grab a Mason jar and make sure you abbreviate company in your official name:

Empire Mayonnaise Co. (Brooklyn, NY)

Courtesy of Robyn Lee/Serious Eats

Empire Mayonnaise Co. opened to the public three years ago touting small-batch mayonnaise and is somehow still open. Chef Sam Mason and designer Elizabeth Valleau run the small storefront in Prospect Heights, but also create batches for their webstore and several vendors, including select Whole Foods. You’re probably laughing while buying their baconnaise.

Jacobsen Salt Co. (Portland, OR)

Courtesy of Cargo Collective

Ben Jacobsen has been reimagining the most basic bitch in everyone’s diet: salt. His storefront, newly nestled in Portland’s Artisan Corner, looks a bit like a skit out of Portlandia.

Mustard and Co. (Seattle, WA)

Courtesy of Many Kitchens

When Justin Hoffman met Bryan Mitchiner, his DIY mustard transformed from a hobby into a business. Though the company’s barely been open a year, a laundry list of Washington vendors carry their product.

Little Freshie (Kansas City, MO)

Courtesy of Fillamental

Proof that Kansas City is getting hipper by the second, Little Freshie has been making specialty snow cones for more than two years. Their store has expanded into an espresso bar/cafe, but the focus remains on the snow cones.

Meiji Tofu (Gardena, CA)

Courtesy of LA Weekly

Family-run Meiji Tofu mostly supplies tofu to local markets, but keeps short hours throughout the week. Their menu is pretty small, but they rotate specials regularly.

Honorable Mention: Daneson (Ontario, Canada)

Courtesy of Catherine Renee Dimalla/Piquant Blog

This small Canadian company has taken to infusing birch toothpicks with everything from lemon to single malt scotch. You know, in case you want to treat yourself to some artis-oral hygiene.

Categories
Fast Food

McDonald’s Japan Busts Out Tofu Nuggets Following Expired Meat Scandal

mcdonalds-tofu-nuggets

McDonald’s Corp. found itself in quite a bind after an investigation revealed that chicken nugget supplier OSI Group LLC. had been mixing expired meat with newer supplies. As a result of the scandal, McDonald’s pulled all chicken and other items from menus at several locations throughout China and Japan.

But now it would seem Japan’s highest grossing restaurant chain wants to make up for taking away people’s poultry, by offering them tofu nuggets instead.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new Tofu Shinjo Nuggets will be made from ingredients that include “onions, soybeans, carrots, and minced fish.” It will also be lower in calories than the chicken nuggets and served with a ginger dipping sauce. A McDonald’s spokesperson said the tofu nuggets had been in development prior to the expired meat scandal. The timing of their release, it’s assumed, was pure “luck.”

Although, considering all the chemical gunk they pour into this stuff anyway, I can’t say vegetarian chemical gunk sounds all much more appetizing anyway.

PicThx McDonald’s