Spicy Barbecue Tofu

Tofu tends to get a bad rap. If it's not prepared properly it can feel like eating an old sponge and taste of absolutely nothing. On the other hand, when treated well, tofu can be a scrumptious treat for the senses as well as powerful nourishment for the body.

I first fell in love with tofu through my local Chinese takeout. They have deep fried tofu with sauteed vegetables. Deep fried tofu has the perfect chewy exterior and pillowy soft center. It tastes of all the vegetables, oil and soy sauce from the wok.

I've experimented with cooking tofu at home. I don't really deep fry. But there are other great ways to prepare tofu as a main protein. I like to broil it. I use a classic meat eaters method to give it flavor. I brush it with a glaze before and mid cooking. It works brilliantly both in terms of flavor and texture.

It's totally vegan.

Ingredients
1 package extra firm tofu
4 tbls olive oil
2 tbls hot sauce
2 tbls sriracha
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp…

Holiday Biscuits - Plant-Based

I came up with the idea for these plant based biscuits to avoid using vegetable shortening to make classic cutter biscuits. Vegetable shortening is an easy plant based sub for butter, but it's not very good for you.

I thought about using commercial plant butter, but  I'm not really thrilled with the ingredients in that. I don't care for the fact that they have palm oil as one of the main ingredients.

So I figured some tofu and olive oil might make an appropriate substitute for butter. Butter is simply fat suspended in water with a little protein thrown in the mix. Tofu is basically a protein and water suspension and oil is fat.

The math worked in theory. I wasn't sure if it would work in practice. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot.

The first batch turned out really good. Nice texture. Nice richness. Tender, moist and flavorful. They came out  better than I had hoped. But there was room for improvement.

I made my second batch for Christmas and adjusted my ratios a little bit for texture and flavor. The second batch came out pretty much perfect. Really, really airy, tender and rich with flavor. A biscuit to rival any dairy based version.

Biscuit Ingredients
2 cups ap flour
1 tbl baking powder
2 tsps salt
3 tbls olive oil, plus some for brushing the biscuit tops
1/2 block (4 ounces) silken firm tofu, straight from the fridge cold
1/3 cup straight from the fridge, cold seltzer
2 tsps garlic powder
2 tsps oregano

I used seltzer to give the biscuits an extra lift in addition to the baking powder. It helped to make them lighter and fluffy, like classic biscuits.

Add flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and oregano to medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Break tofu into small chunks and add to flour mixture. Just like cutting butter into traditional biscuits, use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the tofu into the flour mix. Stir in olive oil and cut again to combine.

Drizzle in the seltzer. Don't add it all at once. Add just enough to form a very soft, but shape-able dough. The ideal biscuit dough is very soft, easy to mold, but not at all sticky. Keep in mind, the less you work the dough, the more tender your biscuits will be.

Understanding when your dough is right will come with practice. But look for a very soft, just barely holds together as a dough consistency. Try to work it as little as possible to get the seltzer and flour incorporated into each other. Broad, slow folds. Use your hand. No forks or spoons.

Shape into a loose rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F

Remove dough from fridge. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Gently pat the dough out into a 1 inch thick rectangle. Use a ring cutter to cut circles from the dough. Place them on an ungreased non-stick cookie sheet. Nestle the biscuits so they just touch each other. This helps them rise. Gently work excess dough back into a rectangle and continue cutting circles until you've used up all your dough.

Brush the biscuits with some oil. Just a light coating.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes or until just set and golden on top. When they are done they will give a little if lightly pressed. Keep in mind that this is not a traditional dough. Over baking will turn them chewy. Better to take them out if set, but not golden on top. But the oil should help them color as they bake.

Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet and enjoying.