I have been experimenting lately with tofu in my cooking and I am surprising myself with how much I actually enjoy it.  My first meal was a stir-fry, and I marinated the tofu overnight in a ginger-soy-garlic sauce that mixed beautifully with the vegetables.  My second attempt was "chicken" nuggets, and I went way overboard and made about 50 of them, but they turned out great and we ate them all (over a few days).  It cost about $6 to make the 50 nuggets from scratch; compare that to the pre-packaged ones that cost $5 for only 20 pieces. They were deal-icious!

My latest venture in tofu cookery is Sloppy Joes.  I borrowed the Giant Book of Tofu Cooking from the library and this recipe looked easy and tasty.  I don't remember ever really making Sloppy Joes before, so this was new for me on all fronts. I tried to make the recipe even easier by picking up a Club House packet of Sloppy Joe seasoning mix.

First I pressed the tofu. Not all recipes require this, but as it is often packed in water, it is important to try and drain as much of the water from the tofu as possible, so that the flavours and spices you add are more easily absorbed. I pressed the tofu on paper towels lined between two plates, and I put my teapot on the top plate to add pressure to help press the water out.  I changed the paper towels every half hour or so for about two hours.

Next, this recipe called for crumbling the tofu which gave it a ground meat like texture.  At this point I realized I was making home made Veggie Ground Round!  That stuff can cost upwards of $4 per pound, so this is another deal-icious use of tofu, as a pound brick of it is only $0.97. Awesome.

Mmmmm.... ground beef texture

Next I sauteed the tofu with garlic, onion, and 1 tbs of olive oil until everything was browned.  I had to fry it on a high heat (about 8) to get the Tofu browned enough and ready for seasoning.  I added the seasoning mix, a can of tomato paste, and 1.5 cups of water, as per package directions.  I quickly learned that tomato paste is a really overpowering taste and had to get John to help me season it back to spicy.  Next time I think I would use 1/4 can of tomato paste only.  With John's new spice mix and some more water added, I let the mixture simmer to the desired Sloppy Joe consistency (about 20 minutes).

We served the Sloppy Joe mix over crusty rolls with some shredded cheese and lettuce.

I am on the fence about Sloppy Joes.  They tasted great but were really messy.  While eating my sandwich I sort of wished it was a taco instead of a bun.  I am definitely going to use the leftovers for some kick ass nachos!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 No comments


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