Way back when my mom-in-law introduced me to making our first incarnation of easy to make faux bacon, she taught me the way to press the water out of the tofu was to wrap the block in a paper towel and balance a cast iron skillet on it. Pretty K.I.S.S. right? Except the skillet has problems balancing for a extended period of time and the paper would get soaked to the point that it would disintegrate, coating the tofu with bits of yummy recycled wood product.
It’s been awhile now, but I recall looking at tofu presses at the local co-op and being less than impressed with the prices. At 40-60 bucks a pop they were right there with the $60 counter top compost bins on the over priced shelf (to the left of the boutique designer soft drinks section & loan dept).
Across the country in Atlanta there was a guy named Ben who was encountering the same problems. Fortunately for us, he was a little more motivated to do something about the issue than yours truly. Instead of popping the latest incarnation of Call of Halo (Halo of Duty?) in the XStation, Ben got to work designing, manufacturing & marketing an easy to use and relatively inexpensive tofu press.
Apathy aside I’d never lost my curiosity about them. It goes without saying we’ve made do in our tofu press free kitchen despite the fact the fa’con isn’t as crispy as desirable. So I was delighted when Ben offered us the opportunity to try the EZ Tofu Press, if for no other reason it was a chance to sate my curiosity about tofu presses on somebody else’s dime.
The first thing you’ll notice about the EZ Tofu Press is that it is pretty simple looking, Two boards, a couple of nuts & …. ah screw it, a picture is worth a 1,000 words so here ya’ go.
Notice the EZ Press has none of the springs, clasps & containment units of the other presses, conforming with DFV’s K.I.S.S. policy.
As the designated DFV gadget & tech guy, I looked at the beautiful design simplicity of the EZ Press and just charged in without taking a second to look at the directions, resulting in one thoroughly crushed brick of tofu. What were supposed to be TLT sandwiches turned into a TLT salad. We here at the DFV test kitchen eat our fails, literally. They can’t all be gems.
So I took :30 seconds out of my hectic schedule to read the directions and guess what? They’re K.I.S.S. too! The trick is taking your time. Armed with the pad to keep myself amused with rounds of Fairway Solitaire Golf during the 3 to 4 minute resting periods between tightening the press, I took another run at not smashing a brick of tofu. This time it worked beautifully. It’s amazing what can happen when you follow the instructions.
When properly squeezed, the brick of tofu compressed down to about 2/3 of it’s original thickness yet maintained it’s firmness and ability to be sliced. It was interesting to actually see the strips enlarge from re-hydrating the marinade while frying instead of shrinking as the water is boiled out. The final product was pretty damn tasty pieces of fa’con that looked good and were sourdough ready. By this point I was hungry and didn’t get pics, sorry.
The verdict: I love the EZ Tofu Press and I’m not giving back. The EZ Tofu Press is available from Amazon for the low low price of $26.99. If you are tired of balancing heavy objects on your tofu, but don’t want to spend an arm & leg (which wouldn’t be very vegan would it?) get yourself an EZ Tofu Press.
DFV Quick Fa’con
1 brick of firm Tofu, pressed and sliced into strips
1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast
5 tbs of Tamari
1 tbs each of:
Maple Syrup or Bee-less honey
I’ll also add a tablespoon of BBQ Sauce and Annie’s Vegan Worcester Sauce when I have them around
Mix all the marinade stuff together.
Fry tofu strips in a little bit of oil over low to medium heat, when tofu begins to brown, cover with nutritional yeast, THEN add marinade and raise the heat to medium/medium-high. Cook until desired texture & temperature.
* Its just been brought to my attention that Braggs & Tamari are generally interchangeable and that I am being redundant here. There is a reason this is Steffi’s page and not mine…..
UPDATE: We just got word that Ben will giveaway a EZ Tofu Press to one lucky DFV reader. Please leave a comment below by Sunday night and we’ll draw a winner Monday morning. Limited to residents of U.S.A., sorry international readers.