Wednesday, July 28, 2010

TofuXpress My first product review

The people at TofuXpress ( sent me one of their units to test out and here's the initial result.  I'm sure as I use it more and more I'll be letting you know how the dishes come out.

TofuXpress at the ready, all loaded and ready to go.
It's a pretty nifty device out of the box, a kitchen utility crossed with a medieval torture instrument and now that it's on the counter I see how it works.  The other thing I wan't to say is it's smaller than I thought it would be and that my friends, when looking at the world through a tiny Manhattan, NY kitchen, is an incredibly good thing!

I read the fairly short and to the point User Guide and off I went for:

Test 1

The press sitting on the block of tofu before applying pressure.

Pushing down on the spring exerts pressure on the tofu and the plate is slightly twisted under the flanges.  A bit more twist and the TofuXpress is locked and loaded.

Within 5 minutes the TofuXpress had about 1/4 inch of water pressed out.  You can see how the marinating lid fits underneath like a base.

As the water gets squeezed out it rises above the pressure plate and accumulates above.  The tofu doesn't rise up, just the water.  It amazed me that the tofu didn't squish up the sides but it didn't. 
You have to turn over the unit to drain the water, then twist the top so it clears the flanges and the top comes off.
I sliced this right in the bottom of the unit which in retrospect probably wasn't such a good idea as I'm not sure I want a unit with knife scratch marks.  Next time I'm not going to be lazy and remove the tofu, put it on a cutting board and replace it.  I did this to avoid using another container, (I'm somewhat manic over not cleaning anything more than I have to).

Ok, so here's the general first impression evaluation.  I used tofu about 20% of the time and usually as a "throw in," just to add protein to a dish, or as a filler.  I never really gave it much thought as making seitan is something I do once a week or so.  One of the reasons for that is that I usually had *something* in the sink and to make the tower of plates and cans involved cleaning out a sink and then building this precarious structure.
The tofu would end up sitting in the water as it was pressed out and sometimes the block of tofu would split and the whole thing would topple over.  
Other times my wife would wash something, not noticing the 14" high science project in the sink getting soap all over everything.
So as you can see I wasn't a big fan of pressing tofu.

I can only say the device is brilliant.  It did exactly what it set out to do.  The tofu was pressed and firm and worked very well in the dish I cooked.  I just put it in the fridge and forgot about it until the next day.  No muss, no fuss, no water all over everywhere.  I won't go as far as saying it was pleasurable, (and there are very few tofu experiences I can say are actually at the level of pleasurable), but it was nice not to have to worry about making a mess.  Relaxing.  Yes, I checked on it a few times, (you can see the plate underneath it in the second picture below), and at some point I stopped worrying about this project.

Test 2

Now for the other thing it did very well and this is definitely an added bonus.  I am always skeptical when it comes to something not leaking.  If it can leak, it will, so be forewarned and take precautions.  The TofuXpress comes with a marinating lid.  In my mind marinating also means rotating every so often so now I'm worried it's going to leak all over the place.  It's just a tight fitting molded piece of plastic.  I used a "drier" marinate which still had enough liquid to seep out if seeping was going to occur.
Sliced tofu with the marinade in the TofuXpress

The result of Test 2 was impressive.  I kept rotating the unit every time I went into the fridge, gently shaking it to coat all the sides of the tofu and setting it down on the top, bottom, and the sides.  There was no leaking at all.

If pressing tofu is something you do with a home made tower of plates and weights I'd say this is definitely something you want in your kitchen.  

Now what to do with my newly pressed tofu ... hmmm ... lets sweat some onions, zucchini and garlic.

Nicely sweating away

Frying up the marinated tofu.  I didn't get the crispness I wanted on the outside but was too lazy to set up a breading station and do it right.

They were a little crispy and definitely had that cooked toothiness to them.

Lets make a pan gravy.  A little white wine to deglaze and some leftover stock from the seitan I made the other night.  I thought the flour in the stock would be enough to thicken the sauce. It wasn't.
Made a quick buerre manie to thicken it up.   Not real beurre, flour mixed into Earth Balance

You can see the sauce doesn't run back after moving the spoon across the bottom.  

I didn't have any parsley for garnish, which would have looked nice so I lamely threw a few sprigs of Thyme on top

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