Monday, October 5, 2009

Here Moosey Moosey!

I have a love affair with shelf-stable, ready when I want it, tofu. Truly. Stay with me, you might find yourself in my camp. Really - that chocolate pie at the very end is quick to make, and will make a convert of you.

That's right. 12.3 oz. of silken goodness, just waiting for me to add it's protein richness to something we eat. This little box costs about $1.50, give or take, and can also be bought in 24 pack cases, which is how I usually purchase it. Ideally I mix 12 of the the extra firm and 12 of the silken in the case pack, if the store manager is in the mood to be helpful. The two varieties are used quite differently at my house, so the firmness matters.

How convenient that they color code the boxes so I can send a 7 year old into the pantry with instructions to bring me a blue tofu box, or a pink tofu box.

Chocolate mousse makes a nice dessert on a Sunday afternoon after a big dinner, or a fluffy surprise for after school snackers at my house. It's kind of diet friendly, if you're counting carbohydrates or are diabetic. I also keep on hand a box of Whipped topping mix that I make with icy goat's milk, or a container of frozen Cool Whip in the freezer. This recipe calls for real whipping cream, so use that if you prefer.

Let's make something with the silken soft tofu first. How about a chocolate mousse that's sugar free and yummy? These are ingredients that sit on my pantry shelf just waiting for the mood to strike. And I heart it, because it has a good supply of protein, along with chocolatey goodness. Think about your favorite flavor of pudding and you might find a variation that flips your lid. My personal favorite is chocolate mint.

Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse
1 4 oz package Chocolate Sugar-Free Instant Jello Pudding
1 10 oz to 12.3 oz. package soft tofu (refrigerated tofu is sold in 10 oz. pkgs, and shelf stable in 12.3 oz. pkgs.)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to vanilla pudding or 1 tsp. peppermint extract to chocolate pudding or 1/2 tsp. butter pecan flavoring to butterscotch pudding
1 pint real whipping cream – whipped and divided

In a large mixing bowl, add the pudding mix, tofu, cocoa powder and optional extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high until very smooth. Or mix with a hand held blender until ultra-smooth. If you wish to make vanilla or butterscotch, omit the cocoa powder.

In separate bowl, mix the whipping cream until soft peaks form. If you are dairy intolerant - this is a good place to use a whipped nondairy topping. Just gently fold 2 cups of nondairy whip into your mousse, until barely combined. Then skip ahead to serving in the parfait dishes.

Gently fold 2 cups of whipped cream into the mousse mixture using a rubber spatula, just until it's softly combined. You don't want to deflate the cream.

Serve in parfait dishes and garnish with some of the remaining whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a sprig of mint. Fluffy, sweet, and oh so nice.

But let's be real. Nothing beats a deep, dark, chocolate pie. Not even mousse.

Try this one with the extra firm or firm tofu. You'll need a blender or food processor for this recipe.

Can't Believe It's Tofu Chocolate Pie
1 pkg. 120z. pkg. or so of (2 cups) semi sweet or special dark chocolate chips (these are non-dairy)
1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine
1 pkg. (12.3 oz. ) extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

Crumble or break up tofu into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. While it blends, melt butter and semisweet chips together in a microwave safe bowl, one minute on high power. Stir until smooth, heating an additional 10 seconds at a time if necessary. Pour the liquid melted chocolate mixture into the blender container of smooth silky tofu. Add vanilla extract and blend until completely and evenly mixed.

Immediately pour into dessert dishes, or a graham cracker or pre-baked pastry crust. Chill until firm. This cuts like a cheesecake without the lactose issues that affect my children. It's amazing and once it's cooled you'll not taste any tofu taste at all. Try it. If you use soybean margarine, this is an appropriately vegan recipe. My dad, the tofu hater, loves this pie and can't believe it's tofu.

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