Friday, September 30, 2005

imbb #19: i can't believe i ate vegan: chocolate ice cream with coconut whipped cream

here is number two in my imbb#19 entries, vegan chocolate ice cream. if you have any room left after eating your seitan shawarma, please further indulge in blasting away the "vegan food sucks" mythology. the myth that vegans eat nothing but light tan colored food circa 1974. heavy breads. seeds. twigs.

i remember when rice dream came out. i was sooo excited (even though i had no vegan pretensions at that time). and then i was sooo disappointed. that weirdly sweetish flavor and gross, grainy, icy texture. not one spoonful of "vegan" ice cream (hah! i would not be fooled again) went down my gullet for several years after that until i timidly ventured out to maggie mudd here in san francisco and tried one of their incredible coconut based ice creams. man, was that good. so bad. so good. so terribly good. nothing snow-cone-ish about that creamy bad boy wrapped in a (vegan!) waffle cone. if you live in sf, you gotta taste one of their coconut-based scoops.

so i got the itch. the "why can't all vegan ice creams be good - what's wrong with those retards - i could do it better myself" itch. one of those itches that end in humility, defeat and disaster. and then i went out and bought the cuisinart ice cream maker. this little machine has been cranking them out now for about a week, and i have had no luck in discovering the recipe to this creamy, delicious, dairy free scoop. instead i've been producing stuff that would be suitable for skiing. and then i found this guy, this vegan chocolate ice cream recipe off of the postpunk kitchen. however the original is straight from bryanna clark grogan's awesome italian vegan cookbook nonna's italian kitchen. and it is good. it is creamy. it could have been a tad more chocolate-y for me. maybe a littly nutty. perhaps a little cookie. but it was good. creamy. rich. bad. very, very bad. in the best possible way.

the only thing to note about this ice cream is that it may not go beyond a soft-serve stage in your electric ice cream maker. it will need an overnight stay in the freezer to get really hard. it softens quite a bit faster than the commercial stuff once out of the freezer.

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
Mixture #1:
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Optional: 1 1/2 Tbsp. amaretto, Frangelico, Kahlua, or other coffee, chocolate or nut liqueur

Mixture #2:
1 c. water
3/4 c. soymilk, almond milk or rice milk
1/2 c. raw cashew pieces
1/2 c. unbleached sugar or Grade A maple syrup
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. tapioca starch or instant tapioca pulverized into a powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 oz. dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips

blend mixture #1 in a blender or food processor until it is very smooth and frothy. it is easier if you first blend the cashews with a smaller amount of the water, adding the rest of the mixture once there is no more graininess. pour into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, and stir over medium-high heat until thickened. this mixture should thicken into a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and add in the chocolate chips, whisking until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. Let cool to room temperature. in the meantime, pour mixture #2 in the blender and process until frothy. add the cooled chocolate mixture and process until everything is combined. Pour into your automatic ice cream maker until it reaches a soft serve consistency. pour into a plastic container and freeze several hours or overnight before serving. Makes 1 quart Per 1/2 cup serving: 253 calories; 3g protein; 9g fat; 40g carbohydrate

coconut whipped cream topping
not really a recipe as i'm still experiementing with this one. basically chill a can of coconut cream overnight. place in a cold metal bowl and whip until light and fluffy. add powdered sugar and vanilla extract to taste. you can make your own vegan powdered sugar by grinding up regular (vegan) sugar in your blender or coffee grinder until light and powdery, adding a bit of cornstarch to keep it seperated. although pretty light and fluffy it wasn't quite perfect, so in the future i might try adding a bit of oil or a stabilizer to the mix. if you can't find cream of coconut (can be found in some stores that carry southeast asian groceries), then chill regular full fat coconut milk in the fridge, scooping out the congealed cream from the top. save the rest of the liquid for other uses.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

imbb #19: i can't believe i ate vegan: seitan shawarma

this posting is in honor of imbb#19 "i can't believe i ate vegan". actually i can believe i ate vegan, being as that is what i eat most of the time. that is when i'm not sneaking slices of pizza or surreptitiously digging my spoon into some poor friend's rapidly diminishing carton of ice cream after a few too many glasses of wine. red wine. always red wine.

i love the idea of this imbb since people seem to have this image of vegans as being pale, anemic, birkenstock shod, armpit hair sporting, mustachiod (only the women), militant, self-righetous, upton sinclair wielding nutcases dancing to their own inner grateful dead soundtrack. or weird purity complex types, but those cases usually go right over the edge and go straight to the raw side. but hey, food is food and can be good, mediocre, bad, even projectile vomit inducing. vegan as well as the other kind. and even though i'm a weak-willed, good-intentioned, non-freaky (really!) mostly vegan i like food. i like food that tastes good. i like food that doesn't have a face and a mother somewhere in meat aisle at safeway. i prefer food that doesn't involve states of perpetual lactation (ouch!) with a trip to same aforementioned safeway aisle once they are are a bit long in the tooth and dried in the teat. being no spring chicken myself i have great sympathy for this inevitable entropy. so sad on so many different levels. especially since i know that things with faces taste good. very good. and who doesn't really, subconsciously, want to return to dairy teat? particulary when it is extruding chocolate ice cream?

and so, back to the subject of this posting, i bring you seitan shawarma...basically a middle eastern burrito. more in the mood for burger and fries? click here.

this shawarma is packed full of good stuff. hot chili sauce, thin slices of marinated seitan, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions and a healthy, oozing dose of a garlicky tahini sauce, wrapped tightly in lavash bread and grilled until crisp and toasty. you can substitute pita bread if you prefer but i think the crispy lavash really makes this dish special. or if seitan isn't your thing, feel free to stick felafel balls in there instead. heck, i'll bet it would probably be good with grilled marinated strips of bessie's left hindquarter, if one were so inclined. but whatever else you do, don't omit the red chili sauce or skimp on the tahini dressing.

you can make your own seitan easily and cheaply if you have a bread machine and a slow cooker, or you can use storebought. tahini and lavash bread can be bought in most stores that stock middle eastern foods. for the red chili paste i use the ubiquitous sriracha, found in friendly chain grocery stores everywhere.

the fixins' from left: tahini-garlic sauce, chili paste, chopped salad, pickled red onions

just look at how juicy and succulent!

seitan shawarma
1 lb. sliced seitan
lavash bread (or pita bread)
tomato, chopped
cucumber, peeled and diced
sliced onions, raw or pickled
parsley, minced
hot sauce, sriracha or any red chili paste

seitan marinade
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch each/ cardamon and allspice
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

tahini sauce
1 clove garlic
lemon juice
salt to taste

1. prepare seitan marinade ingredients. thinly slice seitan and marinade for about an hour.
2. chop cucumbers and tomatoes, mince parsley and toss together. set aside.
3. place all ingredients for tahini sauce in a food processor or blender. the ratio of water to tahini should be about 1 to 1. blend all ingredients until smooth, adding lemon juice and salt to taste. if the sauce does not pour freely add more water. it should be quite runny.
4. lightly oil a hot non stick frying pan and add seitan. allow to brown slightly. remove from heat.
5. cut lavash into thirds (one third for each shawarma). in a hot skillet slightly warm one slab of lavash for just a few seconds to soften it up.
6. to assemble. lay lavash on a flat surface and layer ingredients like you would for a burrito. depending on the width of your bread it may help to center the filling 1/3 of the way from one edge. spread a thin layer of hot sauce, then layer seitan, tomato and cucumber mix, onion and drizzle tahini sauce. roll up like a burrito (don't forget to tuck one end in so the contents don't fall out when you pick it up!) and place in a hot skillet seam side down for a minute or so, rolling it around until all sides are lightly browned. this helps the seam hold together and lends a delicious crunch to your bread.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

luv' parade

on a completely non-food related note, this was a pretty big weekend here in san francisco. not only did the fog burn away in what appears to be the very late commencement of our indian summer, but we had a bit of german nudie techno luvin street dancing festivities, otherwise known as the love parade, camped out around our stately civic buildings. Plus, we had its antithesis, the folsom street fair in the south of market nether region.

having seen the ultimate spectacle at a folsom street fair a few years back i haven't returned. i mean - don't read this next paragraph if you're squeamish - but once you've seen a half naked leather daddy with a tin bucket tied to his nuts and another guy ferrying over little bottles of evian (!) into aforementioned precariously suspended bucket until all those heavy little bottles mounded up in a terrifyingly low swaying pile, well, once you've seen that you've seen all you should. it was the ultimate folsom street moment for me and right then and there i knew there was no returning. all else would pale in comparison, and anything that wouldn't i want no part of.

dad, is that you?!!

so this year i took in the love parade. i was skeptical since this event was started by the germans and, in its native land, includes a lot of techno music and nudity. german nudity. well, let's just say i was a little afraid. okay, i was very afraid. i had flashbacks of a mid nineties trip to greece and the dozens of eurotrash littered discos belching out bad dance music and overly tanned girls sporting cornrolls and glittery make up a la christina aguilera.

but i was pleasantly surprised. despite being huge both physically and in numbers, and with the usual roving gangs of testosteron-driven walnut creek/sacramento mullet sporting dudes giving each other the high five for no apparent reason, it was a peaceful, well organized, well executed event. it was luvin. it had a good vibe. there was music. there was dancin'. there was also hard liquor for sale for just a few bucks more than the pathetically tiny dixie cups of beers they also had. oh yeah, and did i mention that there was a ton of food stalls. and here is the really impressive part: sufficient porta potties. unbelievable.

stationed around the little square of greenery in the center of the civic center buildings (you know, where the homeless usually camp out) were a freakin' lot of floats and buses and vans with soundsystems blasting out music. i think they were called "pavillions". there was straight up euro disco techno house curry mix music with the requisite terrible sound system; there was a group of breakdancers busting their gravity and ligament defying moves; there were a bunch of set ups with some more standard dance-ish music (standard in a good way, not the j-lo way); and there was my favorite little music spot hosted by the spundae people who were playing by far and way the most interesting music. i guess it's called drum and bass, and there was this red-haired guy that looked just like the littlest partridge making up vocals. a friend later informed me that this type of music was not considered jungle because of these vocals. can anyone explain the difference between jungle, drum and bass, electronica, techno, industrial techno, house, deep house, tofu house chop suey mix...

for those of you at work and wanting to waste a little more time in between sessions of tetris and solitaire, you can take this quiz to find out "what kind of techno are you".

the attendees were surprisingly diverse: the usual assortment of freaks, shy retiring office workers out in their finest s&m gear, normal couples, freaky couples, some families with baby strollers, even a few walker clutching old blue-hairs. and the best part: only two full on nudies who looked like they'd accidentally wandered over from the vollyball nets at the far end of baker beach. was that a beach ball they were clutching?

a motley cru of frustrated office workers...can you spot your secretary here?

and since this is a food blog, let me just say that the food stand selection was excellent. i was moving toward the pupusa stand when i caught the sight below. need i say i immediately lost my appetite, left the event and headed straight home for a wax job?

Monday, September 26, 2005

healthy vegan junk food: homemade veggie burgers and oven baked fries

yes that flat white disc is a rainbo white hamburger bun picked up from the corner liquor store...

sometimes you just want a burger and fries, even though you know it's bad for you and even though we all saw or read fast food nation and suspect that bits of manuel's arm may be in mixed in with the ground beef, and even though you may be a vegetarian. if you are one of us birkenstock-wearing, patchouli-scented, cornroll-sporting, caftan sewing, stevie-nicks worshipping, arm-pit hair sportin' animal lovers, there may be times that you just don't want a damn boca burger or a greasy crumbly veggie patty or a pile of mashed beans hiding in a bun. or perhaps you're too broke to buy the aforementioned premade. so for all you who are watching your wallet or your cholesterol or your mad cow spongiform intake, here is a good homemade veggie burger. they are firm enough, once cooled, to grill and eat without falling apart and have a pleasantly cohesive and slightly toothsome texture due to the use of vital wheat gluten, the stuff that seitan is made from. praise seitan.

the following recipe is basically a blueprint. if you like a smoky flavor, add some liquid smoke or chipotle; if you prefer a chicken-ish flavored patty, substitute chicken flavored broth for the cooking liquid and add poultry seasonings to the mix. they are pretty versatile. you can even form them into little balls and make fake meatballs out of them. or perhaps form into a star shape to top your christmas tree with. the possibilities are endless. many thanks to bryanna clark grogan, that amazing vegan chef who so generously shares her recipes with us. the recipe looks complicated but it isn't really. don't be afraid. and don't forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for the crispy oven fries secret.

veggie burgers
dry mix:
2/3 c. pure gluten powder
1/3 c. soy or chickpea flour
4 T. oatmeal
1 tsp. dry marjoram
1 tsp. onion powder

wet mix
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. ketchup
1 T. sesame seed oil (optional)
plus enough cold water mixed with the above to make 7/8 c.
1/2 c. textured soy protein granules (tvp) soaked in 1/3 c. boiling water or broth

cooking broth
1 c. hot water
3 T. soy sauce
1/2 T. sesame seed oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed

preheat the oven to 325 degrees. mix the dry ingredients and set aside. combine the wet mix, adding in the reconstituted tvp. in a large bowl combine the wet and dry mixes and blend well. be sure to wait until the reconstituted tvp is completely cooled, otherwise the wheat gluten flour may form strings and become clumpy. form into 4 or 6 hamburger shaped patties and in a lightly oiled 9X13 baking dish. pour cooking broth over the patties and cover with aluminum foil. bake for 15 minutes. carefully flip the patties over and continue baking for another fifteen to twenty minutes. remove from heat. they will firm up once they cool. once cool you can fry, grill or freeze them for later use.

and what is a burger without fries? especially when it's not even really a burger. less than nothing i say! my fries are crispy, golden brown, less bad for you but every bit as delicious as those other deep fried lard ass bad boys. the secret is to parboil them taters before putting them in the oven, cooking at a very high heat, not crowding the pan and using enough olive oil to encourage browning. easy, you'll see.

oven fries
carefully scrub but do not peel 2 russet potatoes. cut in half lengthwise then cut each half into 6 to 8 wedges of equal size. bring a pot of salted water to a simmer and carefully cook the potato wedges until just soft but not mushy. you want them to maintain their shape. pour enough olive oil in a roasting pan to generously coat the bottom and place in a hot oven (475+) until hot. if your oven doesn't get quite hot enough, raise the rack to the higest level. toss parboiled potato wedges in a bit of olive oil and place, flat side down, in the hot roasting pan. cook for 15-20 minutes, turn over and cook for another 10 minutes until golden and crispy on both sides. sprinkle with salt and serve.

Monday, September 19, 2005

black bean tamale torte with red chile sauce and tofu-cilantro cream, aka, tamale pie

tamale pie. never had it as a kid. the closest i came were those canned tamales, van de kamp brand maybe, over which my brother and i fought tooth and nail for. yes, the "meat" smelled just like the canned food we gave our giant, one-eyed dog, yes the texture was pretty soft and weird, and even to my childish unsophisticated nose, it didn't smell good. what can i say? i liked canned goods. maybe it was some metal deficency or something.

now that i'm a karma-fearing vegetarian the world of canned tamales is forever barred to me. not that i ever had them as an adult, but it's nice to think you could have one if you wanted to. not, of course, that i'd want to... so anyway, in searching for some childhood memories comfort food that my adult brain will allow me to eat, i came across this recipe for black bean and something or other yadda yadda yadda fancy pants torte from the millenium cookbook. sounds like tamale pie to me.

first off, let me warn you that this makes an ungodly amount of torte, pie, whatever you want to call it. i cut the recipe in half and put it in a smaller baking dish and it was still more than enough. secondly, as you can see from the picture, it is ugly. really ugly. third, it is too much work. i want my trailer-inspired food to be easy and fast and uncomplicated. having put all the negative out there, it does taste pretty good. the tofu cilantro cream is nice and makes a good dip. the red chile sauce is tasty too, and probably would go well with enchiladas, over huevos rancheros, over a pile of beans, maybe even drenching a baked potato. my pie turned out a little dry. perhaps i used too large a pan. now i'm in the mood and the market for a good easy healthy tamale pie recipe. anyone have one?

tamale torte with black bean chile and red chile sauce

black bean chili
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups cooked black beans
1 cup tomato puree or tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock, or liquid from cooking beans
1 teaspoon sea salt

in a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onions and garlic in the stock over medium-high heat until the liquid evaporates. add the cumin, chile powder, oregano, and bay leaves. stir well to toast the spices before adding the beans, tomato puree, and stock or bean liquid. cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the cover and simmer for 5 minutes. add salt and remove bay leaves.

4 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups soy milk
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

in a large bowl, combine the masa, baking powder, and salt. gradually stir in the soy milk. fold in the corn kernels.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lightly oil an 11 x 9 inch baking dish. spread half the masa batter on the bottom. cover with the black bean mixture, then top with the remaining masa batter. cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes. let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. to serve, pour approximately 1/2 cup red chile sauce on a plate and top with a 3-inch square of the torte. add a dollop of cilantro-tofu cream.

red chile sauce:
2 ancho chiles
2 guajillo or ancho chiles
8 cloves garlic
24 ounces crushed tomatoes, canned
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin powder
2 teaspoons fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt

in a dry medium saucepan, toast the chiles over high heat, turning them, until they darken, about 3 to 5 minutes. you can also do this over a gas flame or just skip the step altogether. if you burn the peppers your dish will have an unsalvagable bitter taste to it. once peppers are cool, remove stems, seeds and veins. you may also toast the garlic until slightly blackened. combine the chiles, garlic, pureed tomatoes, water, sugar, cumin, oregano, and salt. bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent scorching. remove from the heat and let cool. blend the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth.

cilantro-tofu cream:
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed
12.3 ounces low-fat silken tofu
1/3 cups fresh lime juice
1/2 cup water

in a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until completely smooth. set aside.

Friday, September 09, 2005

matcha tokoroten

my mom has been watching a lot of those japanese health programs lately and, in the endless quest to lose weight (all ten extra pounds of it, if that), has latched onto the latest trend in japan - tokoroten. previous faddish and short-lived drastic dietary regimes have included: drinking huge glasses of ground up carrots before every meal (she hates carrots, can you imagine?!!), eating nothing but thick, pulpy fruit puree for two weeks, rubbing this spot on her stomach exactly ten times a day in order to "clean" the blood, and the list goes on. and on. and on. so this tokorten fad did not alarm me at all. in fact, i was quite happy since i like the stuff myself.

for the un-initiated, tokoroten is a noodle made from seaweed derived gelatin, called kanten. i use powdered agar agar, which may or may not be exactly the same thing. it tastes the same, which is to say that it has absolutely no flavor whatsoever. this is a good thing, as martha stewart might say. it is the ultimate blank canvas. you can make sweet jello-like desserts if you add sugar, fruit or fruit juice, or you can go the sour way and make noodles doused in a soy-vinegar dressing.

i don't follow any particular recipe for either making tokoroten or the deserts, but the general rule i follow is 2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon of agar agar powder to 2 cups of water (or fruit juice). for a firmer jelly (or if you are using acidic fruits), use the larger amount of powder. bring the water to a boil, whisk in the agar agar and boil for a minute or two. pour the liquid out into a mold. for noodles, a long narrow flat bottomed plastic container is what i use. for desserts you can use the same mold if you're going to cut the jelly into squares, or for more fun you can use those rubber ice cube trays that come in different shapes. the liquid does not have to be refrigerated in order to set and should be ready in as little as a half an hour. loosen the jelly from the container edges and invert. it should just drop right out. now you'll need the tool. if you don't have the tool, you can lay the jelly out on a cutting board and slice into thin noodle shapes. this is what i do since there is only one tool between me and my moms, and she's not letting it leave her house. then you prepare the sauce. i just use rice wine vinegar and soy sauce (sometimes a little lemon too) mixed together to taste. it should be like a vinegar-y dressing. pour over the noodles and slurp up. if you let it sit in the dressing the flavorless noodles will absorb some of the sauce and be tastier. i like to serve these with a battery of condiments: karashi, green onions, and grated ginger, a few drops of sesame seed oil.

the noodles pictured above were made in the classic way, but as i brought the water to a boil i added some matcha powder. then the agar agar. then i strained out the matcha (you could use regular green tea leaves) as i poured the liquid into the mold. the noodles came out with a beautiful speckled light green color and a delicate tea flavor, which was lost once i drenched them in the soy-vinegar sauce. i'll have to work on an alternate sauce to go with the tea flavored noodles.

so jump on the crazy japanese health program bandwagon and eat a bowl before every meal!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

mitsuwa grocery store, san jose

should you find yourself in the south bay foraging for san jose tofu and want to do a little japanese grocery shopping, i recommend skipping the little store in san jose's japantown and trekking over to the other side of the city (about 10 minutes away by car) for a trip to mitsuwa (formerly yaohan). mitsuwa is much larger, a bit cheaper, and with a really good pottery section where you can get some excellent deals when they have a sale (which usually happens between late october and mid november). in the store there is a little food court where you can buy bento boxes to go or order fresh made items for eating in, plus there is a kinokuniya bookstore next door. did i mention that they sell the much fabled japanese toilet ?

as usual, there are some products and product packaging that only the japanese could invent. during my last trip down those sparkling clean aisles i surreptitiously wielded my oh-so-sly gigantic camera, snapping photos of the multitude of products i am too afraid to purchase. store detective closely in tow.

"DW stands for DIET WEIDER. DIET WEIDER COLLAGEN IN is a LOW CALORIE jelly drink that enables you to fill up anytime you want, without worrying about calories. it also supplies you with 3000 mg. of COLLAGEN".

collagen in a bag with a handy spigot, anyone? and if you're not in the market for collagen, then perhaps some bagged, liquid protein or fiber might interest you...

and i always wondered where bread came from. apparently it comes from the white farm.

hmm, i do wonder what that white substance he seems to putting up to his nose could be? is it legal to purchase at a grocery store?

and what about these oh-so-tasty looking little brown dog turd shaped nuggets? aptly named puke-a sticks.

and speaking of dog turds, apparently snoopy's are good enough to spread on white farm bread and eat as a sandwich!

finally, what could go better with a little couque d'ASSES than some cigarette tongue? sounds like a very bad evening with some filthy skater picked up at your corner dive bar. after last call.

mitsuwa marketplace
675 saratoga avenue
san jose, ca
408 255 6699

Friday, September 02, 2005

san jose tofu

i've been going to san jose tofu for as long as i can remember, which despite years on drug abuse, i mean experimentation, i mean i never inhaled, reaches pretty far back - a least an hour or two. i was raised in the general vicinity (before there was even an apple ipod), and since moving away to other countries and other counties, i've spent hours journeying back either physically or mentally to this little mecca for chunks of my creamy, curdy, melt in you mouth soybean heaven. you haven't had tofu till you've tried this stuff.

this is a little family run operation located in san jose's rinky-dink japantown. just a little store front with a tiny counter separating the steaming sinks and vats of incubating tofu gnomes from the "dry" section that houses a couple of refrigerators, some veggies and packaged goods. it's a bit of a throwback to be able to watch the tofu guy wading around in his rubbers amidst the wetlands of tofu creation. and when you buy the stuff, the lady just scoops it out of the sink - kinda like waching your lobster get plucked from the tank.

the process of tofu making involves first soaking the soybeans, followed by boiling and straining to remove the pulp from the juice. essentially the same process as making soymilk. this pulp, which is called okara and can be used for other dishes, is then removed. at san jose tofu they put the okara into a plastic garbage can and you can get yourself a bag or two of the stuff to take home. the many uses for okara are pretty surprising: you can use it for breads, veggie burgers, okara "chicken" nuggets, or more traditionally simmered with dashi, veggies and seasonings. if you're interested in the pan-asian history of okara, there's a pretty interesting article here. being a fan of recycling, i get pretty excited about using this tofu by-product.

the soymilk is then slowly mixed with either nigari (natural magnesium chloride) or calcium sulfate until soft curds form. the curds are then poured into a tofu pressing box and pressed until firm. once the desired firmness has been reached, the blocks are then submerged into cold water where they await their lobster-like fate.

prices are 1.70 per block with a slight discount for larger quantities.

this tofu is not like anything you can buy from the grocery store. it is neither silken nor firm but rather light and curd-y. more like a soft pressed fresh cottage cheese. the flavor is clean and light. it is best served cold and with grated ginger, green onion and soy sauce. "please don't put teriyaki sauce on me" mr. tofu says.

if you're in the area, or are just another tofu freak like myself, you need to check this place out. general tip: to keep your tofu fresh (either san jose tofu or your general grocery store garden variety), change its water every day. be a shame to go all the way to san jose for a stinky rotten white log. here is a sfgate article on san jose's japantown with a mention of sj tofu.

san jose tofu
175 jackson street
san jose, ca
408 292 7026
mon - fri 9-6, sat 9-5
Site Meter

«#Veggie Blogs?»