Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Scrambled Tofu with Mushrooms

Today was warm for January--50 degrees!--and sunny, breezy, blue-sky-y. The perfect day for an outing.

Tofu is for humans. Blech.

Only problem is the mud, which sticks to human boots and doggie paws with equal insistence.

After hiking today, Willa's paws looked like they'd been thoroughly dipped in dark chocolate. I made her stand still while I wiped them clean with a warm washcloth.

Incidentally, that's also how I clean the dirt off of mushrooms. Like the ones in this recipe!

The key ingredients.

If you've never worked with tofu, this is the perfect beginner recipe: easy and flavorful. It takes 25 minutes, tops. Most tofu recipes require a lot of work with the tofu first: pressing, freezing, thawing, marinading.

But this one? All you need is a block of tofu, some aromatics and spices, and some gluten-free soy sauce. You can try it with spinach or bell peppers or summer squash, instead of mushrooms. You can make it plain, without veggies. (Sure you can!) It's very adaptable and forgiving, like Willa.

The key here is a big, nonstick skillet and high enough heat. You want the tofu to brown, and this requires a large surface area and a higher heat setting than you might expect. The tofu will splatter a bit in the pan, so be careful!

No mud here!

Scrambled Tofu with Mushrooms

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
8 oz button or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp gluten-free tamari
1 block extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained and patted dry (make sure it's plain, not flavored, and gluten-free)
dash of cayenne, hot sauce, or crushed red pepper (optional)

Preheat your largest nonstick skillet over medium heat. After a minute or so, add the oil, and let the oil heat for another minute. Add the diced onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the mushrooms, stir well, and saute for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms darken and begin to release their deliciousy juices. Add the garlic, and stir for 30 seconds to one minute. Turn the heat all the way up to high. Add the turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper, and tamari (this should sizzle).

Take the block of tofu in your two clean hands--trust me on this--and crumble it right into the pan. Don't be afraid to squish it really good between your fingers; this will give the scramble the perfect chunky consistency. Take a wooden spoon or spatula and break up any large chunks left in the pan. Mix everything together well. The turmeric, combined with the tamari, will turn the scramble a lovely dark golden color, resembling scrambled eggs (hence the name of the recipe). After everything is combined, leave the scramble alone, over high heat, for several minutes.

Next, take your wooden spatula or spoon and stir from the bottom. Hopefully the tofu is browning; if not, let it cook a bit longer before stirring. Adjust the heat if you need to, but don't turn it down too low! Cook the scramble for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the tofu is browned on all sides. Everything should smell amazing. Add the hot sauce or cayenne. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more tamari, pepper, or hot sauce/pepper.

Serve with gluten-free toast for a breakfasty meal, or with a big salad for lunch or dinner. Or just eat it right out of the pan with a fork. Who is going to stop you? Not me.

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