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Monday, December 22, 2008

Making your own Tofu-rkey from scratch.....

Yesterday, I made the famous tofurkey, following the directions from the about.com site (see sidebar link). I was very excited and anticipated an excellent result that was going to be much better than the commercial brands I had purchased in the past (those famous oblong, smooth, taupe soccer balls with the sage stuffing).

All went well initially; I pureed the five blocks of tofu in batches and lined my colander with cheesecloth. The puree went into the lined colander and I placed a plate on top, to weight it all down and left it in the garage (my outdoor refrigerator) for the night. At some point, around 3 A.M., a questioning thought popped into my head. Surely Gretchen on the video had said to add the fresh herbs, bouillon and poultry seasoning to the pureed tofu and then drain overnight. My pureed tofu was sans herbs and seasoning, however, I wasn't about to get up out of bed to go down to the kitchen and start chopping herbs at three or four A.M.

But first thing Sunday morning, I re-read the instructions and sure enough, I had missed that step. The tofu blob had by now successfully shed a fair amount of liquid, but was still workable. Quickly I pulled together the herbs and seasoning and folded it into the tofu, re-wrapped and weighted it again for an additional few hours.

Later in the day, I decided to make up some stuffing using bread cubes and an assortment of other stuff that I thought would make for a tasty bread stuffing (pine nuts, cranberries, celery, mushrooms, more fresh herbs, margarine and broth). I brought my tofu back into the kitchen and scooped out a hollow to hold the stuffing. There was enough stuffing not only to fill the tofu football but also to make another loaf pan. Once the stuffing was in place, I covered it back up with the excavated tofu, then gently but purposefully turned the product onto a greased cookie sheet.

It looked like a big 'baked Alaska' (remember those things?) but not quite as appetizing. The marinade consisted of red wine, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs. I spooned on some marinade, then placed the tofu into a 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours (drizzling marinade on every 15 minutes or so).

Rather quickly the tofu mound opened up with large crevices, and I began to think that something may be amiss. (I was reminded of a science project my sister Lynn had done way back in elementary school - she had made a working volcano complete with eruption....seems to me one of our cats had peed in it...but I digress.) Crevices or not, I kept to the routine, spooning the marinade over the surface and into the cracks every fifteen minutes, until the hour and a half was up. Out of the oven came a mass that now had a crusty brown surface, with large gaping gashes revealing the mushy insides and the pale creamy beige tofu. MMMMM....appetizing!

I announced to one and all that I thought the tofurkey was a complete and utter failure; my husband suggested I throw it out. This was not particularly inspiring, but he later said he was just agreeing with me and trying to be helpful.

We did start picking it apart and it wasn't all that bad taste wise, but it certainly did not look too pretty. I am now wondering if my stuffing wasn't a little too moist and maybe I should have used some commercial stove top stuffing.

Will I try this again? Oh probably (I can see my husband rolling his eyes when he reads this entry)....I usually give things a few tries before completely giving up!!

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4 comments:

Shirley said...

I've been thinking of trying to make a tofurkey but I haven't got around to it yet. I've never tasted a store-bought one as they don't have them here so I have no idea what it should taste like.

Compassionate Consumption said...

Hi Shirley,
If you do purchase the Tofurkey, follow the instructions to the detail! I've made a couple now with varying degrees of success. The stuffing is delicious!
If you make one from scratch, let me know how your's turns out. As mentioned in my entry, I would change the stuffing and probably the marinade (eliminating the red wine mostly and substituting something like Bragg's). Good luck and Merry Christmas!
Michele

kaiori said...

Hi Michele!

I happened to stumble upon your website today while looking for egg substitutes and I must say, I'm sure glad I did!

I've been vegetarian for 4 years but I'm just learning to cook now and your site will be invaluable!

Thanks for being here and I look forward to reading more.

kaiori

Compassionate Consumption said...

Good morning and a Happy New Year to you Kaiori! I am happy you found the site helpful.
BTW, you wouldn't happen to be a Japanese Bobtail Cat would you? No offense intended .... It is just that my meditation teacher has a Japanese Bobtail Cat who also happens to be named Kaiori. (I am a little surprised that she can type, let alone send an email! However she is a very special cat.)
Kind regards,
Michele