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National Soy Foods Month!

We would like to celebrate National Soy Food Month by educating our community a bit more about the many uses of the soybean product from cultivation to harvest and how this high protein plant can be included into a diverse range of food products.


History: With the introduction of Soy Milk to the United States in the 1980’s, American food manufacturers started to develop soy food products that appealed to the unique tastes of the heartland. Throughout the 1990’s there were several advances in processing which has allowed for foods to be made from components of soybeans such as soy protein concentrates and isolates. The soybean has found its way into more products than we can start to list! Soymilk remains the most frequently consumed soyfood, followed by edamame and veggie burgers. Tofu sits in fourth place.


Production: The USDA report is now estimating total soybean production in 2013 at 3.15 billion bushels. The average U.S. soybean yield for 2013 is now estimated at 41.2 bushels per acre, which down from the August USDA estimate of 42.6 bushels per acre. From 1996 to 2011 soy food products have grown from $1 billion to $5.2 billion in annual sales. The farming methods for soybeans have evolved into new practices in sustainable farming techniques. Soy farmers are now taking a responsible stance on protecting the environment and producing a healthy food source.


Health: There are many healthy benefits associated with soy food products. One of the most popular is the correlation between soy consumption and lowering the risks of heart disease. Soy also helps positively impact and reduce the risks of diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and breast cancer. The other positive effect from the soy food is that it helps to manage weight problems that we currently face in the United States. There is an epidemic of unhealthy food products and eating habits. Introducing soy and replacing harmful foods for health rich soy foods can have an immediate positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.

How to Press Tofu

Pressing is a great technique to know when cooking tofu. Silken tofu in particular has a high water content, making it delicate and easily crumbled. However, pressing helps remove some of the excess water so the tofu is firmer and sturdier, and better suited for stir-frying, grilling, and other applications in which the tofu takes a little abuse.


You may think you need a fancy gadget to press tofu, but actually it can be done easily at home with common household items! All you need is some paper towels and a flat, heavy object.



How to Press Tofu




1) Start with Morinaga Firm, Extra Firm, or Nigari tofu. Remove the tofu from the box and drain the excess water.




2) Wrap the tofu in a paper towel or two.




3) Now place something flat and heavy on top, like a heavy hardcover book, or a cutting board with a jar of peanut butter on top.


3 extra packages of tofu will do it, too!


4) Let the tofu sit under the weight for about 15 minutes. Then remove the tofu from the plate, unwrap, and slice however you like: slices, dices, or even triangles!



Your tofu is now firm and ready for action!

Featured Blogger: Terry Hope Romero

We are thrilled to introduce our new featured blogger, Terry Hope Romero of Vegan Latina! Be sure to check out her recipes featured on our website and Facebook page.


Bio

From VeganLatina.com:

Terry Hope Romero, author and co-author of bestselling vegan cookbooks Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Viva Vegan!: Authentic Vegan Latina American Recipes has also presented informative and lively cooking demonstration and talks to hungry crowds at food festivals and conferences the world over, ranging from Paris, New York City, Boston, Toronto, and many more. Terry also contributes to VegNews (leading vegan lifestyle magazine) her Hot Urban Eats column. She also holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University.

Terry lives, cooks and eats in NYC.

Recipe: Pan-Fried Tofu

A complaint we sometimes hear about Morinaga Silken Tofu is “It’s so soft! I can’t stir-fry with it, it falls right apart!”

It’s true all Morinaga tofu is silken tofu, which is especially soft and delicate and more likely to crumble than its pressed counterpart. However, don’t think for one minute that silken tofu is off-limits for your stir-fry! All it takes is a little know-how.

One way to make silken tofu suitable for stir-fry is pressing and pan-frying. In addition to deep-frying, silken tofu can be pan-fried in a small amount of oil to create a beautiful golden crust. This crust creates a lovely complementary texture to the soft silken tofu within—and it also makes silken tofu sturdier! Pan-fried silken tofu can be gently tossed in stir-fries and salads without crumbling.

There are countless variations to pan-fried tofu that can include seasonings, spices, or cornstarch for an especially crispy crust, but this basic technique is a surefire place to start:

Pan-Fried Silken Tofu



1) Start with Morinaga Firm, Extra Firm, or Nigari tofu. Remove the tofu from the box and drain the excess water.




2) Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and place something flat and heavy on top. For example, a cutting board with a jar of peanut butter sitting on top. Let the tofu sit under the weight for about 15 minutes.



3 extra packages of tofu will do it, too!


3) After 15 minutes, remove the tofu from the plate, unwrap, and slice into bite-sized pieces. Thin, flat triangles are a good shape because it is only necessary to flip them over once.




4) Heat 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet. Arrange all of the tofu on in the skillet so one of the largest surfaces is face-down in the oil.




5) Cook for 3-5 minutes, using a flat spatula to check the underside of the tofu periodically. When tofu is golden-brown on the bottom, gently flip over and cook on the other side until it is also golden-brown. If you like, keep flipping until every face of each piece of tofu is golden-brown.




6) Drain on a paper towel, then add to anything you like: salad, stir-fry, stew, on its own drizzled in sauce . . . it’s up to you!

Even carnivores can’t resist!

Featured Blogger: Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen

We are very proud to introduce our new featured blogger, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen! Please visit her amazing blog and look out for her recipes featured on our website and Facebook page.



Bio

Jaden Hair is a television chef, food columnist and award-winning food blogger at Steamy Kitchen. She is one of the chef stars on this season’s Recipe Rehab on ABC. You can also watch her cook monthly on Daytime Show, syndicated in 140 markets.


Jaden has been a food columnist for Discovery Health, TLC and for The Tampa Tribune.
Jaden is a cookbook author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and the Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites.


Jaden is one of the most influential food people in social media. She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Oprah.com, and Parents Magazine. Jaden was recently one of the hottest women in food (blush) and also one of the best food bloggers on Forbes.com as well as The Daily Meal.


Jaden is a mom of two little boys, Andrew and Nathan, who love to eat almost as much as she does! Her husband, Scott, is also part of the Steamy Kitchen team, he’s the web developer that makes the magic on this site happen, otherwise known as the “.com” of business.


And she love, love, LOVES cooking with tofu!!

Recipe: Cajun Fried Tofu

By those who don’t know her well, tofu often gets stereotyped as a healthy, “boring” food: flavorless, mushy, blah. But her friends know tofu can be plenty exciting—and even a little naughty! And this Cajun Fried Tofu really shows off her wild side.


A note about deep-frying: Of course deep-frying isn’t the healthiest, but if you deep-fry properly at a high enough temperature, less of the oil will seep into the food, which is healthier and makes for a crispier, more delicious result! We recommend frying in oil heated to at least 325F. Ideally fried silken tofu will be firm and crispy on the outside and warm, soft, and delicate on the inside.


If you’re looking for a meatless alternative to Cajun fried chicken or craving a zesty spin on silken tofu, you'll want to check out this Cajun Fried Tofu:



Cajun Fried Tofu






Ingredients


1 package Morinaga Silken Tofu – Extra Firm
1-2 eggs
~1 tsp Cajun seasoning (equal parts cayenne pepper, dried oregano, paprika, black pepper, and salt), or to taste
~1 cup flour
~1 cup panko breadcrumbs
canola oil

Preparation


1) Dice tofu into bite-sized pieces. Allow to dry on a paper towel for a few minutes.

2) Place the flour into one bowl, add beaten egg to another, and the panko mixed with Cajun seasoning in the last bowl.



3) Fill a deep pan or fryer with enough oil to submerge the tofu. For the best deep fry, allow oil to reach at least 325F. If you don’t have a thermometer, another way to test is to dip a wooden spoon or chopstick into the oil and see if the oil bubbles vigorously around it. Or toss an unpopped popcorn kernel into the oil—if it pops, you’re good!



4) Dredge each piece of tofu first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and cook in the oil until golden and crispy. Don’t overcrowd the pan, but cook the tofu in small shifts as necessary. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Serve hot.

Will you try our Cajun Fried Tofu? What's your favorite way to give tofu a kick?

RECIPE CONTEST WINNER: Lunchbox Tofu

Thanks to everyone who submitted a recipe to our Lunchbox Tofu Recipe Contest! We received many delicious and creative submissions. (But is anyone surprised Morinaga fans have such great taste?).

To pick our winner, we took into account taste, visual appeal, ease and convenience of recipe, and suitability for a lunchbox. So without further ado, our winning recipe!


TOFU BUFFALO BITES
by Priscilla Y.





Priscilla’s Buffalo Bites are fast and simple enough to whip up on a busy weeknight without sacrificing taste or excitement. These flavorful, baked bites are tasty warm or cold and easily eaten by hand—and great for dipping! The recipe is easily doubled for families with lots of lunchboxes to fill.

Ingredients


1 package Morinaga Silken Tofu – Extra Firm
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce such as Frank’s
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
carrot and celery sticks
cooking spray


Preparation


1. Heat oven to 425. Drain tofu and pat dry. Grate tofu into a medium bowl. Add bread crumbs, celery, hot pepper sauce, mayonnaise and egg; stir until blended.

2. Roll a rounded tablespoon of mixture into a ball, place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and press to flatten tops slightly. Repeat with remaining tofu mixture to make 20 balls. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray.


3. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn with spatula and bake 5 to 7 minutes more or until golden brown on both sides.


4. Pack the cooled buffalo bites, ranch dressing and vegetable sticks in 3 separate containers. When it’s time to eat, dip away and enjoy!


Congratulations Priscilla! Your recipe will be featured on our website and your gift card is on its way! Thank you for sharing with us (:

Watch for our next post coming soon about our runner-up winners!

RECIPE CONTEST: Lunchbox Tofu

*SUBMISSIONS FOR THIS CONTEST ARE NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SENT US A RECIPE! WE WILL BE POSTING ABOUT OUR WINNER SOON!*

All across the US, school’s been in session for about a month now. Are you and your kids sick of the old lunchbox standards, or have you kept things exciting? Start getting inspired, because it's time for a tofu recipe contest-- all about the LUNCHBOX!





Morinaga tofu lovers already know just how versatile tofu can be, so what better food to rise to the challenge of the sack lunch: made hours in advance, resilient in the face of backpacks, buses, bicycles, and still satisfying at noontime!

But while we have themed our contest around Back to School, you don’t need to have sack lunch-carrying kids to participate. Do you pack a lunch for work? Are you a master of easy picnic meals? Show us what you’ve got! Any tofu dish that can be included in a portable meal can qualify for the contest.



Recipe Contest: LUNCHBOX TOFU




How to Enter

1) Create your original lunchbox-appropriate tofu recipe using Morinaga tofu. Be sure to specify which variety of tofu to use: Soft, Firm, Lite Firm, Organic Firm, Extra Firm, or Nigari. Recipe can be for a main course, side dish, dip, or dessert-- anything so long as it is portable for carrying in a lunchbox.

2) Write your recipe into the body of an email titled “Lunchbox Tofu Recipe Contest.” Include your name, mailing address, and phone number in the email.


3) Send the email to [email removed at end of contest].
Download official Contest Rules HERE



The Winner


The winner will be decided by vote of the staff of Morinaga Nutritional Foods, Inc. based on taste, visual appeal, convenience and suitability for carrying in a lunchbox.


The winner will receive a $500 gift card, and the winning recipe will be featured on our website, Facebook, and Twitter—and perhaps some other future Morinaga publications, too!

Any questions? Feel free to contact us at the tofumorinaga@gmail.com or through our contact page.

Recipe: "Banzai" Tabbouleh

One of my favorite things about tofu and soy products in general is how accessible they are. Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike have a place for soy in their diets. Additionally, soy makes a great alternative to common allergens like dairy and eggs. (Psst, did you know you can use Morinaga Silken Tofu in place of eggs?). What a crowd-pleaser!

Tofu is also naturally gluten-free, but while you might not think tofu could take the place of gluten-containing products, today I'd like to challenge that!

Tabbouleh is a pretty safe food as far as dietary restrictions go; made from primarily raw, fresh ingredients it is vegan with no egg, dairy, or nut allergens. However, traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat-- a big no-no if you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity!

And that's where the tofu comes in! This recipe uses granulated tofu in place of bulgur for a unique twist on tabbouleh that is completely gluten-free.


Recipe: "Banzai" Tabbouleh







Ingredients


1 package Mori-Nu Silken Extra Firm Tofu
juice of 2 lemons (or 1/4 cup lemon juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup minced green onion
2 bunches of minced parsley leaves
1 bunch of minced fresh mint leaves
1 baby cucumber
2 tomatoes
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
extra salt to taste
Preparation


1) In advance: Take the tofu from the package and put in a Ziploc bag to freeze for 2 days.

2) When ready to prepare: Thaw the tofu, drain and squeeze out the excess water.

3) Chop tofu in food processor until granules form about the size of half a pea.

4) In a large bowl, mix tofu, lemon juice, olive oil and 1 tsp. salt. Set aside.

5) Chop cucumber and tomatoes into 1/4 inch cubes.

6) Combine all ingredients and salt to taste.

7) Tabbouleh can be served right away, but is most flavorful the next day. Serve chilled.

If you think tabbouleh without grain is just too weird, quinoa is also a great gluten-free alternative to bulgur wheat. Try mixing in a cup of cooked quinoa with the tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt before adding the vegetables! The tofu will complement the grain by soaking up the flavors and adding a balance of softness to the dish while also contributing an extra dose of cholesterol-free protein.

Do you keep a gluten-free diet? What do you think of tabbouleh made with tofu instead of bulgur wheat? If you try it, let me know what you think!

Recipe: Hummus Lite


Here in southern California we were spared the heat wave for most of the summer . . . until now! Personally, when the weather is this hot I have an appetite for only the lightest foods-- and last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. A light-tasting, no-cook recipe like hummus is exactly what I crave.


This light hummus recipe replaces half of the chickpeas with firm silken tofu for a light-tasting hummus with a little less calories and fat.



Recipe: Hummus Lite







Ingredients


1 package Morinaga Silken Tofu in Firm or Organic Firm (Lite Firm may also be substituted for even lower calories)
1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup water

¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

¼ cup lemon juice OR the juice of two small lemons

2 tbsp olive oil

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin powder
cayenne pepper and cumin for garnish (optional)


Preparation



1) Blend tofu, garbanzo beans, and garlic in a food processor until chopped.


2) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.


3) Garnish with cayenne pepper and extra cumin if you like, and serve with pita bread or vegetables.




What foods do you crave most in the heat? Did you try this hummus recipe? Let us know what you think!

Recipe: Easy Cheesecake


Yesterday we posted a picture of this cheesecake on Facebook or Twitter, accidentally in honor of National Cheesecake Day. (Pretty great accident, huh?). You hungered for the recipe, and here it is!




Easy Cheesecake










*NOTE: This recipe contains eggs and dairy. If you cannot eat eggs and/or dairy,
Please Pass the Tofu and Happy Herbivore have some fabulous vegan versions that also use silken tofu.


Ingredients


½ package of Morinaga Silken Tofu in Soft

~2tbsp of water

5oz cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp lemon juice

¾ cup condensed milk

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp corn starch

1 pie crust, unbaked

fruit preserves or canned fruit pie filling of choice (we used cherry pie filling), for fruit topping

sugar for sweetening fruit topping, if necessary


And what's better than cheesecake? TWO cheesecakes! Recipe can easily be doubled to make two pies and use up the entire package of tofu.



Preparation




1) Puree the tofu with water in a blender or food processor until smooth.


2) Mix with cream cheese and sour cream until fully blended. This can be done by hand—no need for a blender or mixer.


3) Slowly add egg yolk, condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and cornstarch while mixing until everything is smooth.


4) Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


5) Cool in the fridge for at least a half-hour. A full day is best!


6) Serve topped with fruit preserves or pie filling of choice.



Did you know it was National Cheesecake Day yesterday? Did you celebrate with cheesecake? Let us know if you try this cheesecake recipe, and tell us what you think!

Chocolate Mates Promotion!



Chocolate Mates Promotion!




Have you tried our Mates pudding/pie mixes? Blend one package of Mates with one package of Morinaga Silken Tofu and a little water to create a light pudding:




. . . or spread into a pie crust and chill for a pie that’s, well, easy as pie!

Mates are vegan, dairy-free, kosher, and contain no refined sugar. Combined with Morinaga Silken Tofu, they make a low-fat, protein-rich dessert.

From now until July 22nd, purchase any three 12-pack cases of Morinaga Silken tofu from our website or by phone and we’ll include one FREE package of chocolate Mates!

*Promotion ends July 22nd, 2012. Applies to any variety and combination of Morinaga Silken tofu. Tofu can be purchased as one 24-pack + one 12-pack, or three 12-packs. Chocolate Mates only. While supplies last.

Types of Tofu: What is Silken Tofu?


Poor blog, sitting here collecting dust! Well, that's about to change. We have lots of plans in the works for the blog, including new recipes, tofu facts, and tips and techniques for getting the best results with your tofu, as well as company news and more sweepstakes for the chance to win free Mori-nu tofu!

We'll make an announcement on Facebook and Twitter each time a new post goes up, so be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW us so you don’t miss out!


To start out, let's talk some tofu basics.



Types of Tofu: What is Silken Tofu?


For those just starting to cook with tofu, the huge variety on the market can be intimidating. It’s not just as simple as soft vs. firm! What are these labels like “silken” or “spongy” or “cotton”? And then some of the tofu comes in plastic tubs, some in vacuum packs—and one kind in a box?

What are the differences? And why do they matter? Let's break it down!


There are two main types of tofu, which differ in texture. The English names vary, but in Japanese they are called momen and kinu.

Momen tofu, also called “regular,” "coarse," “spongy,” "cotton," or "wool" tofu, is drained and pressed as the tofu is forming so the excess liquid runs out. Momen tofu is dense and spongy and you can sometimes see a lightly imprinted pattern on its surface from the cloth used to press it. It can be sold as soft, medium, firm, or extra-firm, but all momen tofu is quite sturdy.

Kinu means "silk" in Japanese-- hence its English name "silken" tofu. Silken tofu is not drained or pressed, so all of the liquid remains in the tofu as it forms, making it very smooth and light. It has a delicate, silky texture like fine custard. While on the whole it is softer, silken tofu also comes in a range of firmness, from soft to firm to extra-firm. Soft silken tofu is ideal for blending into sauces, dips, and drinks, or for baking. Firm and Extra Firm silken tofu are best for thicker sauces, soups, salads, and entrees.

All Mori-nu Silken Tofu are—you guessed it!—silken (kinu) tofu. You can be assured of smooth, creamy texture in every box. Even our Firm and Extra Firm varieties are silken because they are made without draining or pressing. Their firmness instead comes from additional soy protein. The result is the smooth texture of silken tofu, but sturdier.

As for packaging, traditionally both momen and kinu tofu are sold in water, in plastic tubs that must be refrigerated and used within a few days. These days you can also find tofu sold vacuum-packed without water. But Mori-nu Silken Tofu is sold in an aseptic box that protects it completely from light and air. Our box keeps our tofu fresher for much longer (an entire year!) than other packaging methods—and with no refrigeration necessary! This is why you can find Mori-nu Silken Tofu sold on the shelf (rather than the refrigerated section) in some stores. You can keep it in your pantry at home, too!

To read more about the benefits of our aseptic packaging, click here.

Hip New Look!

Over the last few months, we hope you’ve enjoyed our new website. With this post, we’re launching our newest website feature: our Blog. In addition to the blog debut, we have an exciting announcement to share -- Mori-Nu Silken Tofu has a brand new look!



You might have noticed the new package designs of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu on our website over the last few days. These beauties will be rolling out to retailers and hitting store shelves over the next several months. The new designs feature some of our most popular recipes including the Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Eggless Egg Salad, and Mixed Medley Stir Fry. As always, the packages include the complete recipe for the dish pictured.



Although the new photography is gorgeous, rest assured that our unique aseptic packaging remains unchanged. It still protects the nutritious vegetable protein inside from light, air, and microorganisms that lead to spoilage. And you can still store Mori-Nu Silken Tofu in your cupboard, pantry, or refrigerator – whichever works best for
you. Refrigeration is not required until the packages are opened.



Tell us what you think about the new look below! Have you followed or liked us yet? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @MorinagaTofu or Facebook.com/morinutofu.







July Promotion: Click for detail