I’ve been spending an unusual amount of time playing with the indispensible CalorieKing.com and my Sauter kitchen scale lately. Everyone in my household is within the normal range for their BMI, so I think I’m mostly fascinated with learning about the remarkable nutritional differences between foods, and perhaps I miss teaching math and something about calculating calories per gram makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside—and much less crazy than baking vegan walnut chocolate chip mathematical constants:
In any case, I’m also feeling remarkably lazy these days, which is great for culinary creativity. Most recently, I made ricotta-stuffed pasta shells without any pasta or ricotta, saving me a trip to the grocery store.
The resulting dish wasn’t nearly the outrageous, raw food wizardry of Juliano, but I was pretty proud when my wife mistook the tofu for real ricotta—and the whole ensemble, including the homemade marinara, was a fraction of the calories.
For “pasta shells” (read: ricotta reservoirs) I lopped the tops off a few small sweet peppers, stuffed them with the tofu ricotta, and baked them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, then flipped them and baked for another 20 minutes.
My next How to Ignore a Recipe victim comes from Isa Moskowitz, the creator and co-host of Post Punk Kitchen, the fabulous but “currently on hiatus” public access vegan cooking show which proclaims belief only in “punk rock and tofu,” despite strong contradiction with their meat-loving Portugese punk counterparts who believe that vegetarians are Nazis and bananas are planning their bloody revenge.
Tireless hands, a blender, a rubber spatula, a bowl
1/2 pound firm tofu, pressed
2 tsp Some lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (ten leaves or so)
dash fresh black pepper
In a large bowl blender, mush the tofu up with your hands, till it’s crumbly.
Add the tofu, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and basil. Mush with hands again, this time you want it to get very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush Blend until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. May take 2-5 minutes some fancy work with the spatula.
Add olive oil, stir with fork. Add nutritional yeast and combine all ingredients well. Use a fork now, because the oil will make it sticky. Cover and refigerate until ready to use. Immediately stuff into “shells” and bake as instructed above. Serve with spinach and marinara.
FINAL RESULTS: This recipe was super simple and no one missed the olive oil much—since I didn’t press the tofu it was plenty soft—though I’d probably add it next time for flavor’s sake. I’ll also likely use my hands, as the original recipe recommended, because it sounds like squishy fun.
The Recipe: A
My Changes: A-