March 22, 2009

Baked Tofu

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I’ve always been a little set off by tofu. The texture isn’t quite right and the flavor is almost nonexistent. Until now, I’ve been dead set against the mushy mass of protein and would never so much as give it a passing glance. Over spring break, I was determined to find a way to make this ugly food a little more edible in my eyes. While listening to an episode of Martha Stewart Radio (Don’t judge me! They have great recipes!), I heard of a technique for preparing tofu that sounded promising. They stated that the key to making tofu correctly is to really dry it out, marinate it in potent flavors, and bake it until its crispy. So I placed the tofu in a glass dish, wrapped it in a clean towel, and put a fairly heavy bowl on top. After a couple hours of drying, I sliced the tofu extra thin and cubed it. I then slathered it in soy sauce, black sesame seeds, and sesame oil and let it marinate for about and hour. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and baked it on a cookie sheet until golden brown and crispy, approximately 30-45 minutes.

But why all of the effort to like this food? Soy products have recently become a hot topic in the nutrition world. Although much controversy has come with the talk, my research into the mysterious product has found that it is a promising addition to a daily diet. To delve a little deeper into the inner-workings of the plant, the chemical structure resembles that of estrogen, the primary hormone found in women. This being said, soy products work as a binding molecule to estrogen and estradiol. Essentially, soy can create a balance in estrogen levels and eases many symptoms associated with instability of the hormone. Also, soy products have shown promising results in research that suggests that it may be a preventative measure against breast cancer. In addition, soy has shown potential to ease menopause symptoms, fight cancerous cells, decrease the chances for cardiovascular diseases, and much more.

After a long bake in the oven, I picked up the suspicious little cube of tofu and contemplated the food. If this recipe for tofu sucked, I was giving up forever. I reluctantly bit into the bit-sized snack and breathed a sigh of relief: It was actually good! After mowing down the entire batch, I am officially making the statement that tofu doesn’t completely suck.