Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Tofu or not Tofu that is the question

Tofu is a highly concentrated form of protein that resembles whose form is similar to cheese. Its origins are disputed as to whether the Mongol’s or Chinese discovered the tofu making process but it is believed that this food staple entered the culinary world somewhere between the 2nd to 10th centuries. It was originally known in Chinese as dou-fu or tou-fu but today we refer to it by its Japanese name tofu or simply bean curd.

The process of making tofu is quite similar to making cheese as it is made from the pressed curds of coagulated soy milk. The coagulation of soy milk proteins happens with the adding of salt, acids and / or enzymes, just like cheese.

From these curds we see four basic categories of tofu. Soft or silken tofu has a high moisture content which makes it ideal to be used in smoothies and sauces as its texture is similar to pudding or custard.

Firm tofu crumbles nicely like feta cheese and works well in casseroles and pasta dishes. Extra firm tofu quite dry and holds its shape well and can be barbequed or pan fried. Dried tofu is also available and needs to be rehydrated for consumption and is often added to soups.

Regardless of what texture of tofu you use its flavour or should I say lack of flavour for the most part is always the same; none existent.  This lack of flavour is what makes tofu such an incredibly versatile ingredient to work with as it readily absorbs whatever flavours you add to it.

Once you have chosen what texture of tofu you want to useit should be stored in the refrigerator with respect to its expiration date. One you open your tofu you will need to drain the water that it is packaged in and change it daily to preserve freshness. Unopened packages of tofu can be stored in the freezer.

Ontario produces about 3 million tonnes of soybeans annually on over 2 million acres of farm land. Most of these protein packed legumes are destined for livestock feed with a small portion of this annual harvest destined for human consumption. Sol Cuisine is an Ontario vegetarian based food producer, who has been using organic, GMO free Ontario grown soybeans since its inception in 1997, to produce its line of soy based products. Sol Cuisine tofu is available at Joanne’s Place in Peterborough.

Regular readers of this column know my appreciation of all animal based sources of protein with a fondness for butter, bacon and all forms of beef. What you may not be aware of is that I have in past lives been vegetarian, owned vegetarian restaurants and to this day offer an extensive list of vegetarian courses and meals for my clients. As such I have learned that introducing tofu into anyone’s menu or diet can be a challenge for a number of reasons. This week’s recipe is one that I have used for over 20 years to assist people in trying tofu for the first time, or for those wishing to have some fun with tofu. I like to call this recipe KFT or Kentucky Fried Tofu as its flavour is reminiscent to the Colonel’s secret recipe. It can be served with hominy grits, corn on the cob, okra and some slaw just to give it a down home kind of feeling.

Be sure to pick up the nutritional yeast needed for this recipe while at Joanne’s too.

 

Kentucky Fried Tofu

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. extra firm tofu

2tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbsp. de-bittered nutritional yeast

1/8 tsp. ground sage

1 tsp. thyme leaves, dried

1 tsp. oregano leaves, dried

1 tsp. marjoram leaves, dried

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Oil for frying

 

Method:

Drain all of the water from the tofu and slice the block into four equal sized rectangles. Squeeze the rectangles between your palms to remove any water absorbed within it. Slice the tofu rectangles corner to corner to make triangles. Place the tofu triangles on a plate and drizzle them with the soy sauce and set aside.

Combine all of the remaining dry ingredients in a food processor and grind them together using the pulse setting until you have evenly incorporated them into what resembles a flour like mixture. Transfer this dry mixture into a mixing bowl.

Preheat a frying pan over medium heat with just enough oil to cover its bottom. Dredge the tofu triangles in the almond flour mixture, making sure that the tofu is fully coated on all sides and gently place them in the fry pan. Turn the pieces frequently while frying them until they reach a nice golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

 

 

 

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