Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 192- Pasta and... Tofu?

Yesterday I finished the pasta. I had already used up all the red sauce, though, so I needed to do something else with it. I still had 2 whole onions and a whole head of garlic, but I wanted to make them last. I also had about 1/4C of blanched, slivered almonds (that *were* going to be used over gnocchi), a chunk of tofu, and half a can (give or take) or tomato paste.

So I decided to make a kinda white sauce. Now, no where in that list is "milk." I know that. This is where my super sneaky j. skillz come in.

So Tofu-

Tofu starts it's life as soybeans. Usually dry, they're added to a whole bunch of water, ground up, cooked, and strained. The solid bits are called okara, and are used for... pretty much anything. The wet stuff is soy milk.

Much like dairy cheese making, a coagulant is added to the soy milk to make "curds", and the milk is (usually) cooked some more. That pulls the solids out of the water and makes the good-sized bottle of soy milk into a small pile of super soft pre-tofu stuff. The "curds" are put in a press (a cheesecloth lined box) and squished until enough water comes out for it to (mostly) hold it's shape. firm and extra firm are pressed longer, the silken stuff, I suspect, is treated differently somewhere along the line.

But basically, tofu is partially dehydrated soy milk (plus whatever was used to make it curddle- mine used calcium sulfate (gypsum)).

Back to food-

So I started the pasta cooking, got some onions and garlic caramelizing, and got to work on a "sauce."

I used:
  • 14oz water
  • 1/4C blanched slivered almonds (optional)
  • 6oz block soft tofu
  • T cooked onions/ garlic
  • T flour
  • spices
  • extra salt
Almonds and about 4oz of water got blended together first, if I do this again I'd either use less water to blend the almonds, or leave them out entirely. Then I added the rest of the water, the tofu, and the caramelly onions, and blended them until it was nice and smooth. The sauce went in the wok with the rest of the onions and garlic. I added the flour slowly to thicken my sauce, added spices and seasonings to taste, and simmered until the sauce thickened a bit and heated through.

Tossed with pasta, and nommed.

Using tofu instead of soy milk saved me some money- I'd normally used close to a quart of milk for a sauce like this. The more concentrated tofu, though, worked just as well. I'm not sure how a firm or extra firm tofu would work out, but the soft stuff was great. And instead of using $1.25 worth of soy milk, I used about 40 cents worth of tofu. WIN!

Anyway, Pasta week was good, I will miss it. Now I have to actually really cook. pleh.


  1. Thanks for the information about tofu. I was wondering what the heck it was!

  2. About a month ago I bought a gadget at Goodwill that is supposed to make soymilk.

    When would I ever find such a thing again, so I bought it, even though right now I don't drink a lot of soymilk.

    I haven't tried it yet. Maybe it doesn't work or there is some other reason that it was left at the Goodwill.

    Anyway, thought about you when I bought it. You can get these machines at the Asian Markets, but they cost like 90 dollars. I got this one for six dollars. So unless you find another one at a Goodwill, I'm guessing that you won't get one for a while.

    Now I just need to see if it works, and see if the ice cream thing works, and then there will be "ice cream" for my friends who can't have milk.

  3. Wow, laughing, that's a sweet deal! Even if the soy milk thing doesn't work out (I suspect a lot of people decide buying is just easier), you can make "ice cream" from coconut milk. Not sure how, or what the ingredients are, but I figure if you can buy it you can make it, right?

    Jenna- I think there's probably a bunch of veggie stuff that most people are like "WTF is that?", so I might as well explain, right? I mean, I think it's pretty cool that you can turn what is (seriously, pretty much) soy-cheese back into "milk," but if you don't know that's what it is, you might not even try, right?