Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tofu as a Meat Substitute

Since starting the Engine 2 Diet, one of the things I have had to cope with is the loss of meat. It has been a very well anticipated event in our house when I grill up some rib eyes or bake some salmon. So, in trying to keep with the spirit of the diet, I've had to start trying the substitutes.

The Engine 2 Diet book recommends Tofu, but there isn't very much information on it. My first attempt at making Tofu steaks ended in total disaster, of this gross, gooey cheese like consistency, and a poor mixture to try to compensate for the taste with over spices. Not very good, and it left me and my wife trying to convince ourselves that "it wasn't bad".

We were lacking two vital pieces of information. First, if you drain the tofu (which is stored in water), freeze it, then thaw it, the texture completely changes to something more tolerable. It becomes more like meat and less like flan.

The second piece of information, tofu is just like a bland sponge. It will absorb ALL of the flavor you throw at it, unlike real meat. So the same ratios of flavoring and spices you would add to a steak will overwhelm you with tofu. Tofu will absorb the flavor of foods around it extremely well, so go sparingly on the soy sauce, Worcester sauce, and spices (or in our case, Engine 2 friendly substitutes). My later adventures have proven much more successful. Plus, any left overs can be broken up into crumbles and mixed in with black beans, brown rice, and veggies to make an excellent meal the next night for wraps or burritos.

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