Trust me, I've heard it all before.
You don't like tofu.
And I understand, really I do.
You don't like tofu in the way that I don't like beets. You can't explain why (I can explain why. And yes, it's all because of my mother). Or how. But it elicits some kind of visceral response in you (your gag reflex, for example) such that even the mere mention of the word has you running for cover.
Or running after the person making the tofu with a cross in an attempt to exorcise them.
Not that that has happened to me.
And I'll be honest with you. I used to feel the same way about tofu.
Until I had it deep fried. General Tso's style. Turned me into an instant believer.
(This is why I stay away from deep fried Twinkies. One bite and the next thing you know I'll be investing in a deep fryer and trying to get on the shareholders board of the Hostess corporation. Trust me, this is one of those situations in which ignorance really is bliss.)
The moral of the story being that it's all in the preparation. I guarantee there is at least one recipe out there that will turn you into a tofu lover. (Or at least make you realize that it is not the devil incarnate. One of his henchmen, maybe, but the Big Man himself? Doubtful.) And this tofu, tempeh, and butternut squash peanut mole`, which is absolutely packed with flavor? Might just be it.
So give it a try.
And in the meantime if you happen to come across a recipe for beets that you think will not induce me to shudder uncontrollably in disgust. Feel free to let me know.
NOTE - I know I'm not going to be able to convert everyone, so for those of you who really hate tofu or, like some people out there, don't believe it exists (yes, parents, that would be you), you can use chicken in this dish. And I'm pretty sure it will still be absolutely delicious.
Tofu, Tempeh, and Butternut Squash Peanut Mole`
Serves 4, adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
1 dried chili pepper
1 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 slice whole wheat bread, torn into strips
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1 block extra firm tofu, frozen in its package and then defrosted in the fridge
8 oz tempeh, cut into strips
1 lb butternut squash, diced
1 tsp sugar
1. Deseed and destem the dried pepper. Chop it into small pieces and put them in a bowl. Soak in 1/2 cup hot veggie broth for half an hour.
2. In a small skillet, saute the onion until it begins to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute.
3. Transfer the onion-garlic mixture, spices, chili pepper and its broth, tomatoes, and the remaining broth to a blender. Add the salt, ancho chili powder, peanut butter, bread, and chipotle pepper. Blend until smooth.
4. Cut the tofu into slices about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Squeeze each slice between the palms of your hands until all the water is removed. Cut into cubes.
5. Spray the bottom of the crockpot with nonstick spray. Spread the tofu, tempeh and squash over the bottom. Pour the sauce over them. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for about 4-5 hours until the sauce is thick and the squash is tender. Stir in the sugar. Serve over rice or in tortillas.
This is the 11th recipe in my 12 weeks of winter squash! Only one more to go!