Made with organic soybeans, fresh and local Ingredients

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eating Organically When Money Is Tight

sampling good food in the sunshine
With the economy the way it is and so many of us living on a budget that is tighter than it once was, many people say they can't eat organically because it's too expensive. Think again. Even places like Whole Foods, cynically nicknamed  "Whole Paycheck" by some, have incredible weekly specials. And if you compare to other markets item by item, you may be pleasantly surprised. You just need to pay attention to what is in season, what's on sale, etc. and eat accordingly. Same thing is true of other markets, btw--Trader Joe's, for example--lots of great organic produce and packaged items at prices that match or beat non-organic options. And of course Farmers Markets are known for their good prices and often the last hour of the market is the best time to buy--when the growers would rather sell their produce at reduced rates than have to load it all back on their trucks.

And there are other things you can do. Pay more attention to meal planning. Be aware of how much meat or fish or tofu, for example,  you actually need to get your nutritional requirement for the day. Americans have a tendency to eat more than necessary (read "too much"). Not only is this fattening, but costly as well. Choose wisely when you plan your menu. Do you really need to buy a package of pre-cut vegetables, for instance? Can't you take the few extra moments and cut them yourself?

Growing your own isn't a bad idea either. It's fun watching things grow. Not to mention, you know exactly what went into the growing. And there's a unique satisfaction in being able to open the door to your yard, balcony, or patio and pick that tomato or zucchini right off the vine, take it inside and create something with it.

Here is more on the subject from care2.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Black Sesame Otsu

photo from
(Ed. note: Yesterday, our illustrious office manager, who cooks, sews, knits, and puruses a lively assortment of other interesting and creative endeavors, pointed me to a fabulous recipe on one of her favorite blogs. We chose to include this recipe on the Tofu Yu blog, not because it is made with tofu (which it isn't), but because it goes so well with tofu. The  recipe comes to us from  Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, as posted on her blog, 101 Cookbooks, a delightful collection of delicious and wholesome recipes that Heidi began compiling in 2003. Some come from her numerous cookbooks, others are from friends, or created by herself.)

1 teaspoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g black sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
Scant 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine-grain sea salt
12 ounces / 340 g soba noodles
12 ounces / 340 g extra-firm tofu
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It's hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you'll start smelling burned sesame - not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, shoyu, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba, and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold running water.

While the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut into matchstick shapes. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing every couple minutes, until the pieces are browned on all sides.

Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the hot noodle water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.

Serves 4.
(Ed. note: This would be delicious served beside or beneath some simple sauteed tofu--be it Tofu Yu garlic/pepper, one of our smoked varieties, or the plain firm. Whatever you choose, you've just made yourself a healthy, tasty, and delicious meal.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gluten-Free. Who, Me?

"Gluten-free" seems to be the new fix-it for everything from tummy aches to weight loss. Amazing how quickly and easily many people will get on a bandwagon, believing the latest cure-all. Even if they don't have the ailment something is supposed to cure!! The reality is that although there are more diagnosed cases of celiac disease than ever before, that doesn't mean someone who doesn't suffer from the disease is going to somehow enhance their life by going gluten-free. In fact, it can be quite the contrary.

One of the problems is that food made without gluten needs to compensate for the lack of it. Often that means added sugar and fat--to do something gluten does so well, which is to bind food together and make it more palatable. And there is the nutritive value of grains that is sacrificed, including wheat, barley, and rye. Protein being only one of the benefits of eating whole grains.

photo from care2
According to an article posted by Rodale in, an Archives of Internal Medicine study conducted in 2003 suggests that celiac disease affects one in 133 Americans. For comparison sake, consider that one in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. (And btw--how many of those people lower their salt intake, practice stress-reducing exercises, exercise, etc.?)

If you do suffer from celiac disease, this is serious business and you should indeed adopt a gluten-free diet, but this is not a diagnosis you can or should try to determine on your own. You need a physician to make the call.

Remember, the motto should be 'consumer beware'--NOT 'consumer believe'. You could be doing yourself more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing. . .

Read more in this interesting article By Karen Ansel, R.D., Women’s Health on care2

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creamed Spinach (Tofu-style)

photo by Rachel S,
This great recipe comes to us from It's creamy, delicious, and if you're serving it to anyone who is a bit skeptical about tofu, try telling them after they eat it not before. ;-)


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup milk or soy milk
  • 1 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook until soft and translucent, but not brown. Add spinach; cook, stirring frequently, until wilted.
  2. Place tofu, milk, cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a blender, and puree until smooth.
  3. Stir pureed tofu into spinach. Cook until warmed through. Adjust seasonings, if desired, and serve.   
Recipe Submitted By: Libby
via allrecipes

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love After Valentine's Day

photo from
It's the day after Valentine's Day, which may seem a day late to bring up the subject of love. Far from it. Love is not a one-day thing. Not to mention in less than a year, it will be Valentine's Day again. ;-)

Love is felt in different ways. Sometimes it grows gradually, almost imperceptibly. Sometimes it seems to appear suddenly, like the first hint of green emerging from a garden we planted in the Spring.  We love our parents, our friends, our animal companions, a place, a town, a memory. Romantic love is in a category by itself, but it encompasses elements of all these other loves. But romantic love has qualities all its own.

According to Deepak Chopra, romantic love has four phases: attraction, infatuation, courtship, and intimacy. They don't necessarily manifest themselves the same way for everyone. But Chopra tells us that when love has gone beyond friendship and towards passionate attachment, these elements come into play, in that order, and more important--all love is based on a search for the spirit.

read more at care2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


*CONTEST!*  for SF Bay Area Tofu Yu tofu-lovers! 


Send us your favorite recipe using any of our tofu products. 


The WINNER receives
10 Tofu Yu packaged items (of your choice), which will be waiting for you at our facility in Berkeley. 


AND--your tofu recipe will be featured on our blog. 


Deadline for submissions is 2/28/11

**Send your recipes to:

Baked Tofu

photo from Food Buzz
(adapted from Healthy Tipping Point)

This is an easy recipe that is quite adaptable to your own favorite flavors--more chili powder for instance? Maybe some cayenne for extra spice? Although the recipe suggests spraying the cookie sheet, you can also put a bit of oil on it instead (olive). Wonderful served with asparagus, broccoli, or an assortment of your favorite vegetables. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (the hot version is awfully good. . . )
    1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Press excess liquid from tofu. Wrap several paper towels around tofu, and place tofu in between two plates.  Let stand for 15 minutes. (Ed. note: This is a step that you can omit if you're using Tofu Yu tofu!)
    3. Cut tofu in 1 inch by 1 inch pieces.
    4. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, mix EVOO, honey, chili powder, paprika and black pepper.
    5. Microwave marinade for 35 seconds and stir thoroughly.
    6. Spray cooking sheet.
    7. Coat each piece of tofu in marinade and place on cooking sheet.
    8. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes, turning once.
    via Food Buzz

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Tofu Nut Balls

    photo from
    (recipe below taken from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, a book of vegetarian recipes by Mollie Katzen)

    Almonds help raise the good cholesterol (HDLs) and lower the bad (LDLs). They are a good source of fiber, vitamin E (an antioxidant which helps keep your skin, heart and circulation, nerves, muscles and red blood cells healthy), as well as many of the important B vitamins, so important to cell metabolism. So if that doesn't give you enough reasons to eat them, try this: Almonds are also gluten-free, full of protein, and taste wonderful. 

    This is a recipe the kids will love making and eating! So roll up your shirt sleeves, round up the crew, and get ready to have some fun.
    1. 1/2 cup brown rice – uncooked
    2. 1 cup water
    3. dash of soy sauce (you can leave this out).
    4. 1/2 pound firm organic tofu – mashed up
    5. 1/2 cup ground almonds
    6. 1/2 cup fine whole wheat bread crumbs
    To make:
    1. Mix rice and water in saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, cook until mushy. (Mushier than rice should usually be.)
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Put soy sauce, 3/4 of the cooked rice, and 1/2 of the tofu in a blender and blend into a thick paste.
    4. Mix the paste in a large bowl with every single ingredient you have left.
    5. Form little balls with your hands (about 36) and bake for 30 minutes.
    You can eat them plain, with ketchup, on top of veggies. . .You name it! But we want to know! Email  us at and tell us how you ate them!

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Preventing Colon Cancer

    photo from
    Apparently, colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and this has largely to do with diet. By avoiding certain foods and making sure you have plenty of others, you're treating your body with the respect it deserves. One of the big no-nos is nitrates--found in processed luncheon meats, bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausage. And of course the saturated fats.

    Another 'ounce of prevention' is eating more vegetables. Some studies show that heavying up on vegetables can cut your risk of getting colon cancer by one half. Put THAT thought into your vegetable soup when you create your next homemade veggie soup. With all the winter veggies available, you can make a fantastic combo that you can keep adding to for variation--all week long! BTW-by adding beans, you're adding protein and essential B vitamins and iron. Not to mention, they are ridiculously low in fat. Which is exactly what you want!

    Here's another colon cancer risk slasher: magnesium. According to a study cited in Care2, researchers have found that by adding magnesium to your diet, you cut the risk by 41%. And you don't need to go running to the supplement section of your favorite health food store. Just pick up some raw almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, figs, alfalfa sprouts, and dark leafy greens (think collard greens, kale, chard. . . you get the idea).

    And there's a magical spice that is popular in curry dishes that turns things yellow. Have you guessed what it is? Turmeric, of course. It contains a compound called curcumin, which scientists at the University of Chicago found destroys H. pylori, a harmful bacteria that is linked to ulcers and colon cancer.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Tofu Parmigiani

    (recipe thanks to Jill B. Mittelstadt, published on

    Ed. Note: This tasty alternative to the eggplant version is easy to make and a wonderful main or side dish to grace your table on a cold winter's night. . .  That's not to say the eggplant version isn't as good btw. This is just an alternative. You might even consider using part tofu and part eggplant. Why not? Half the fun of making food is dreaming it up and experimenting. The other half is EATING it!


    • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
    • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
    • salt to taste
    • ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


    1. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon oregano, salt, and black pepper.
    2. Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, and place in bowl of cold water. One at a time, press tofu slices into crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides.
    3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook tofu slices until crisp on one side. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, turn, and brown on the other side.
    4. Combine tomato sauce, basil, garlic, and remaining oregano. Place a thin layer of sauce in an 8 inch square baking pan. Arrange tofu slices in the pan. Spoon remaining sauce over tofu. Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
    5. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

    Amount Per Serving  Calories: 357 | Total Fat: 21.5g | Cholesterol: 24mg