Pressing Tofu

Hello, my tofu-loving veg-heads!

First off, I bet none of you reading loves tofu as much as my 18 month old daughter. She seriously goes crazy for it!! …right out of the package! …and this is how I used to go crazy for it too, until I started pressing it!

Truth be told, I got my tofu press (pictured above) as a gift an embarrassingly long time ago, and it had been living in my cupboard until recently. I feel silly that a devoted vegan such as myself has just gotten on the Tofu Express, lol! Get it? 😉

So, why should you press tofu? Well, tofu is packed with water, and then it’s packed in water. So much water will naturally dilute any flavor, and this, my friends, guaranteed, is why many people say they “hate” tofu, or that the flavor is bland or boring. When you press the water out, you allow much more room for FLAVOR!! Many tofu recipes you will find instruct you to drain the tofu, cut it into cubes or slices and then cook it, and they are missing the one crucial step of SEASONING it! You don’t find recipes for beef or chicken without some seasoning instructions, so you have to show the same kind of love to tofu!!

You can marinade it the same way you would anything else, with your favorite herbs, spices and liquid seasonings such as tamari, teriyaki, or your fave veggie broth.

You can press your tofu by using a tofu press (like the one you see pictured) or you can use the “book & plate” method. Take a plate and line it with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place the tofu block on the paper towels and put another layer on top of the tofu. Put another plate or a cutting board on top of the paper towels and then weigh it down with heavy books or anything else heavy that would do. You’d want to press it for at least 30 minutes, if not overnight.

If you do cook with tofu regularly though, it may be worth it to invest in the tofu press. 😉

How many of you already press your tofu? What’s your favorite way to cook it? Share below, if you feel inclined! Definitely share some yummy recipes, if you have them!

Happy pressing!

 

 

 

Delicious Vegan Cheeses (alternatives to Daiya)

So, you may have recently read that Daiya cheese was acquired for a LOT of money ($352.5 million CD or $406 million US) by Otsuka; a pharmaceutical company. You can read more about the acquisition here.

Many vegans (myself included) are outraged, shocked and disappointed, as not only does it kinda suck to support BIG PHARMA, but Otsuka also tests on animals. So. Not. Cool. You can read more about the reasons a petition was created to oppose the acquisition due to Otsuka’s animal testing here.

Personally, I am so bummed, as Daiya was a staple in our household. I want to be supportive of their decision, but if they knowingly SOLD OUT to a company that causes harm to animals, sadly, I don’t think I will ethically be able to support them anymore. I get that there is another viewpoint; that the bigger the company, the farther they can take the product, and the more mainstream it can be. Daiya seemed (to me) to be doing pretty okay on its own! I’ve seen it in pretty much every conventional market (but then again, I’m in hippy-dippy southern California). I have seen it in other places as well, but I get it; it could go even farther–but the animal testing thing just makes me cringe and breaks my heart!

Well, thankfully, if you agree that animal testing is not okay, and want to support more ethical companies, here are a few alternatives you can try! Just want to note that I’m focusing on the ones that offer shredded cheese options. There are more companies that make beautiful, plant-based cheeses, I wanted to present some alternatives to shredded Daiya cheese here.

Follow Your Heart

 

Talk about an ethical company! I love Follow Your Heart so much!! First off, they started in Canoga Park, CA, which is my home town! Second, they’ve been in business for 45 years!!! Their philosophy is that “all people deserve access to healthy food, that we should have compassion for all living things, and that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.” Not only do they make shreds, but they make block cheeses, too! They have many soy-free options now (they didn’t always), that include mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack and gouda! Yum!

So Delicious  

Now, I haven’t tried the shredded cheese by So Delicious, but IMO, everything they touch turns to gold. I have never been disappointed by any of their products. If you have tried it (or any of the products I’m mentioning, please let us know what you think!!)

Parmela Creamery 

Parmela Creamery  has an entire line of shredded, hard cheeses, meltable and nacho cheeses. They are artisanal and believe in the traditional ways of cheesemaking. They also believe in sustainability. Again, I don’t have much experience with this product. I have only tried their cheeses once or twice, but I plan on incorporating them more, as I’ve seen them appearing on more grocery shelves.

Trader Joe’s 

Ah yes, let’s not forget about our beloved Trader Joe’s vegan mozz! I don’t know why they don’t carry more vegan varieties. In all honesty, this cheese is good, but A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. It’s very “melty”, and you truly only need a little sprinkle for it to give you what you’re after. Also, I wish canola oil was not the second ingredient, but meh, use it sparingly. Here are the list of ingredients:

Water, Canola Oil, Cornstarch, Vegetable Glycerin, Arrowroot Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pea Protein, Salt, Natural Vegan Flavors, Rie Maltodextrin, Latic Acid (Non-Dairy), Sumflower Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Annatto (color), Powdered Cellulose (To Prevent Caking).

What can I say. I love Trader’s and the fact that they’ve been adding more and more vegan staples to their shelves recently! Nutritional yeast, kombucha, cacao nibs?!?! You da bomb TJ’s!!

So, there ya have it! Some ethical alternatives to Daiya, and dairy cheese, in general. …and hey, look, I am not about bad mouthing, or putting negative energy out there, and I do hope for the best for Daiya and what they hope to accomplish with Otsuka, but I do believe in putting your money where you mouth is. If you have strong ethical values, like a lot of vegan animal lovers I know, it’s important to believe that your choices matter, and that you truly do vote with your dollar.

Have you tasted any of these? What are your favorites? Do you have any to add to this list?

Are you looking to make the switch to a dairy free (aka cheese free) lifestyle? I’m here to support you! I know cheese is hard to think about giving up, but once you weigh all the positive health benefits, it’s hard to argue why you need to eat it. While we are on the subject, check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book on the subject, The Cheese Trap! It’s an interesting read!! Also, you can always contact me to speak more about weeding cheese out of your life for good!

Much love, cheeseheads! xo Dori