Thursday, December 3, 2009

Make Tofu Scramble, Not War

Even in an otherwise exemplary movement such as veganism, rifts and schisms are bound to occur, and few topics provoke a more passionate response than The Great Tofu Scramble Controversy. This ideological battle - between the proponents of cubed tofu and those who swear that mashed is the only way to go - has been raging for so long, only the sort of pundits interviewed on The History Channel claim to know when it began, and even they are divided. Some believe the argument originated in 1517, when Martin Luther nailed a list of no fewer than 95 recipes for cubed scramble to a church door in Wittenberg, thereby angering Pope Leo X, a famous lover of mashed tofu. Others swear the issue dates all the way back to antiquity, when Julius Caesar (cubed) took offense at Caius Cassius' popularization of the mashed variety, which great Caesar insisted resulted in lean, hungry (and therefore dangerous) men. While we may never know the truth of the matter, the fact remains that the subject continues to raise tempers, voices, and hackles in a way few others issues can match.

So, what's an herbivorous pacifist to do, faced with the painful spectacle of her brothers and sisters rending one another's flesh and tearing each other to pieces (which is so not vegan)? In my desperation, it occurred to me that compromise might be a good place to begin; recalling a recipe for a baked tofu breakfast burrito, I thought that by combining seasoned, baked cubes (remain calm, please!) with the sauteed vegetables of an ordinary tofu scramble and then mashing them to a point where they were no longer geometric, yet not wholly lacking in structural integrity, a happy and delicious middle ground might be reached. And so it proved! After just one serving, the scales fell from my eyes and I saw the fundamental mistake of taking either extreme, divisive position: the simple truth is that tofu scramble is best when it is both cubed and mashed. You heard it here first, folks - let the healing begin!

Peace for Our Time Tofu Scramble
The Tofu
~ 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
~ 1/4 cup chickpea flour
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, chili powder, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder
~ 1/4-1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (or cayenne), more to taste
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 1 lb. extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes (about 1/2")

~ Preheat the oven too 400º fahrenheit.
~ Combine the nutritional yeast, chickpea flour and spices in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
~ Add the cubed tofu, put the lid on and shake well to coat completely (it's like Shake 'n' Bake, for tofu!).
~ Arrange the coated tofu cubes in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400º for 30 minutes.
~ While it's baking, prepare...

The Veggies
~ 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large onion, chopped
~ 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1 large rib celery, diced
~ 2 carrots, diced
~ 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
~ Salt and pepper to taste
~ Shot of hot sauce (optional)

~ In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil and saute the onion over medium heat about 3 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and continue cooking another few minutes until softened.
~ Add the bell pepper and seasonings, then continue cooking - stirring frequently to prevent sticking - for about 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are getting ever so slightly charred.

And now...
~ Remove the baked tofu from the oven and add to the vegetables.
~ With a potato masher or large fork, partially break up the tofu - remember, you do not want a totally mashed, soft texture, this is more a sort of half and half proposition.
~ Mix it all together, adjust the seasonings, and serve. (We had ours with pita crisps for one of those random weekday brunches, but roasted potatoes, baked beans, or even plain old toast would also be lovely - just make sure to eat it while sitting around a campfire, singing "We Shall Overcome!")

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the comparison to Marin Luther!! And the food, of course.