I Can't Cook! :( - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 10-27-2004, 06:46 PM
Beginner
 
80s_Lover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 126
I give up, I just can't cook. It's so frustrating, I do exactly what the directions tell me and unless everything is supposed to fall apart in the pan/burn/taste like crap-I'm not doing something right I had another bad experience today with cooking tofu. The outside was burnt and the inside was still cold? Then I thought maybe I should cut it into smaller chunks and let it marinate longer (overnight this time) and I had the same results. I love tofu, I've had it cooked properly at restaurants and it's about the only reason I still go out to eat but my versions leave my results to something you'd eat on Fear Factor. I just wish I could take one of you pros home with me some night and have you over my shoulder for a night of cooking! Tofu tips appreciated...
80s_Lover is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 10-28-2004, 08:47 AM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
I'm like you-- most of the stuff I cook even the simplest recipes turn out yucky. Mostly it's the cookies that I have the least problems with.. I guess baking's just easier. Not sure about the tofu thing. Sometimes I have breakfast as "scrambled" tofu with shredded potatoes and smart bacon.. that's one of the meals I actually like. What kind of tofu are you using? I don't know much about it but the tofu I use is firm tofu from trader joe's.. I just chop it into little tiny pieces with a knife/spatula, then chop it some more when it's in the pan and add some water or oil and turn the heat to high or medium.. and add some salt for flavor.
spehlbaund is offline  
#3 Old 10-28-2004, 09:15 AM
Veggie Regular
 
rij73's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 290
When you cook, do you leave yourself enough time to do it in a calm, careful way? Sounds like with the tofu at least you are cooking on too high heat, and probably messing with it too much. I had some bad experiences cooking tofu at first too, so I'll share my way of doing it in a stir-fry for example.



First, I slice the extra-firm tofu into about 1-inch thick slices. I press each slice gently between paper towels until it's as dry as possible. Then I cut into chunks and sprinkle soy sauce and seasonings on it (but not too much!).



Then, get a nice big non-stick frying pan. Put a LITTLE BIT of oil in. Heat the oil up using medium heat. Then add the tofu in one layer. Leave it for a couple of minutes (checking the bottom of a chunk now and then). Let the down side get nice and brown before messing with it. Then, GENTLY move the chunks around to get browning on the other sides. It's okay if they don't all get browned on every side.



Now, take the tofu out of the pan! Turn it out onto paper towels and let it sit while you stir-fry up other vegetables. When everything else is done, gently put your tofu chunks back in. GENTLY stir things around so the tofu gets heated and mixed up with the veggies.



Serve!



I'm not the best cook either, but I find if I do the tofu this way, it always comes out good. You just have to dry it, be gentle with it, and not use too hot of a pan.



Let me know if this works for you!
rij73 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#4 Old 10-28-2004, 09:19 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Tash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,447
Cooking with gas is also a way to control the heat better I've found. Turn it off, and it's off. Rather than electric taking long to stabalize when turned lower..
Tash is offline  
#5 Old 10-28-2004, 09:27 AM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
I was wondering what the problem was because I cook tofu on really high heat quickly (sort of sauteing) and never had a problem with it being cold on the inside .. maybe it's because I chop the tofu in such small pieces..
spehlbaund is offline  
#6 Old 10-28-2004, 09:32 AM
Veggie Regular
 
rij73's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 290
probably it is the size of the pieces, spehlbaund... I was talking more about chunks of about 1-inch across...
rij73 is offline  
#7 Old 10-28-2004, 09:37 AM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
Yeah that's what I was thinking. I think it's called "sauteeing" when you cook foods on high heat but quickly.. so I guess you can't do that with large chunks of tofu.
spehlbaund is offline  
#8 Old 10-28-2004, 09:50 AM
Veggie Regular
 
MollyGoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by spehlbaund View Post

Yeah that's what I was thinking. I think it's called "sauteeing" when you cook foods on high heat but quickly.



No, that's "searing." Sauteeing is frying something lightly.
MollyGoat is offline  
#9 Old 10-28-2004, 09:54 AM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
are you sure? I've read it was to saute when cooking over high heat for a short period of time. And I checked it again and it seems to be rougly the same.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=saute

http://www.wordreference.com/definition/saute.htm

spehlbaund is offline  
#10 Old 10-28-2004, 12:46 PM
Beginner
 
80s_Lover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 126
Thank you guys



I get so frustrated hearing of all the wonderful dishes you all make and can't make anything that even resembles tofu



I tried looking for a veggie cooking class...closest one I found was in Boston and boasted that it would help eliminate the problems of cooking for a vegetarian friend...wtf?
80s_Lover is offline  
#11 Old 10-28-2004, 06:54 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
Just keep trying and don't give up. Everyone has made mistakes with recipes.

Most of the times I have messed up a recipe, I was rushing or I did not

read the recipe carefully enough. I make sure that I read the recipe over

and over before I make a new recipe. Think of it as studying for a test,

you would not want to take one without being prepared and cooking is

the same way. I also have a computer by my kitchen so I bring up the

recipe to refer to as I make the recipe. If it is in a book, prop it up so

you can refer to it. If it is a recipe I know by heart, I no longer have

to do this like my pizza crust recipe, my lasagnas, my calzones, breakfast

cookies, etc.



I have made tofu in many different recipes

and I actually cook mine on high heat in oil and watch carefully until brown

and then flip and repeat. I make it this way for stir fries, then remove and

make the stir fried veg, add tofu and sauce stir over high heat to thicken.



Start with some easy recipes and build your skills up to more

complicated recipes. Good luck
GhostUser is offline  
#12 Old 10-28-2004, 07:03 PM
Veggie Regular
 
thebelovedtree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,477
Quote:
Originally Posted by spehlbaund View Post

Yeah that's what I was thinking. I think it's called "sauteeing" when you cook foods on high heat but quickly.. so I guess you can't do that with large chunks of tofu.





Sautee is french for "to jump" it means to cook something in a pan with oil and with the intent to brown it lightly. Searing is done at a slightly higher temp and only cooks the outside of the food, sealing in juices but leaving the middle pretty raw.
thebelovedtree is offline  
#13 Old 10-29-2004, 10:59 AM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
Yeah the definition of 'saute' I've found everywhere is usually to the effect of "to fry on high heat for a short amount of time in a small amount of fat or oil" 'Searing' I've found is to just "scorch" something kind of like what you said probably..
spehlbaund is offline  
#14 Old 10-29-2004, 11:12 AM
Administrator
 
Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,873
I can't cook either but if you need a little confidence builder this one is impossible to screw up and it tastes delicious...



Chocolate Pie



1 9" pie crust

1 bag (12.3 oz) chocolate chips

1 package (12 oz) firm silken tofu

1 teaspoon vanilla



Put the tofu in a blender and blend until smooth. Melt the chocolate chips and add to the blender, blend again until thoroughly mixed. Add the teaspoon of vanilla and blend again. Pour mixture into the pie crust, refrigerate one hour, serve.



If I can do it anyone can! Seriously!

VeggieBoards Alumni Facebook Group

If you're an old time VB'er stop by and say hi!


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Michael is offline  
#15 Old 10-29-2004, 11:34 AM
Veggie Regular
 
cookingVeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post

If I can do it anyone can! Seriously!



I make a similar recipe with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of booze -- orange liqueur is particularly nice.
cookingVeg is offline  
#16 Old 10-29-2004, 11:36 AM
Administrator
 
Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,873
Ah... I saw that recipe (with the booze) somewhere online the other day.

VeggieBoards Alumni Facebook Group

If you're an old time VB'er stop by and say hi!


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Michael is offline  
#17 Old 10-29-2004, 11:46 AM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
i recently started keeping a log of what i cook with pitchers! everything i make is made up along the way, pretty much impossible to screw up, and the most amazing tasting food ever. oh wait, its about as healthy as it gets, too! i just started a couple days ago, so theres only a few things.. but it should help give u some ideas.. ive had bad luck following recipes too :]



http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu...20041029113747



i dont think u need to be a member to see that? also ppl with myspace should comment on the jounral with yer own foods so i can get some ideas!
GhostUser is offline  
#18 Old 10-29-2004, 12:04 PM
Veggie Regular
 
cookingVeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,202
Quote:
Originally Posted by treybo View Post

i dont think u need to be a member to see that? also ppl with myspace should comment on the jounral with yer own foods so i can get some ideas!



I clicked your link and it said I need to be a member.
cookingVeg is offline  
#19 Old 10-29-2004, 12:45 PM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
Same here. It specifically said "You Must Be a Member To Do That!" lol.

wait... I think I'm laughing for no reason. that wasn't funny..
spehlbaund is offline  
#20 Old 10-29-2004, 01:10 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
well thats stupid. anyway, i just made lunch and it was some noodles with prego or whatever tomate sauce and tossed in frozen veggies + microwave. took as much time as a bowl of cereal to prepare.. just start simple, it still will taste amazing! and simple is often healthiest = D
GhostUser is offline  
#21 Old 10-29-2004, 01:38 PM
Veggie Regular
 
MollyGoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebelovedtree View Post

Sautee is french for "to jump" it means to cook something in a pan with oil and with the intent to brown it lightly. Searing is done at a slightly higher temp and only cooks the outside of the food, sealing in juices but leaving the middle pretty raw.



Hehehe I'm a culinary student. I know the terms.



Cooking over high heat over a short period of time really can mean lots of things, but if the tofu is black on the outside and raw in the middle, THAT is SEARING. If it was sauteed--like thebelovedtree said--it would be lightly browned.
MollyGoat is offline  
#22 Old 10-29-2004, 01:49 PM
Veggie Regular
 
spehlbaund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,461
When I said "saute" I was referring to the tofu I cooked which was not cold on the inside. lol. And yes they were definitely no where near black.. just a tiny bit browned.
spehlbaund is offline  
#23 Old 10-29-2004, 03:41 PM
Veggie Regular
 
MollyGoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,159
Now I am hungry and I want something seared
MollyGoat is offline  
#24 Old 10-29-2004, 04:49 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
I've learned that any recipe that calls for blending tofu in a blender...always tastes awful. I don't like that nasty soy taste that takes over EVERY OTHER taste in the recipe. I was so excited when I saw a recipe to make the HIdden Valley Ranch from the packet...cuz i LOVE that stuff, but it requires buttermilk. So i made it with the tofu like it said to..and that was all you could taste. it was awful. *sigh* I'll keep on tryin'...
GhostUser is offline  
#25 Old 10-29-2004, 07:59 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
How about using soymilk mixed with a little vinegar to create buttermilk?
GhostUser is offline  
#26 Old 10-29-2004, 09:14 PM
Newbie
 
jenni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 93
you can also use lemon juice in a ratio of about 3 tsp to 1 c. soymilk. it thickens up quite nicely.
jenni is offline  
#27 Old 10-30-2004, 09:02 AM
Veggie Regular
 
MollyGoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pisces Coda View Post

I've learned that any recipe that calls for blending tofu in a blender...always tastes awful.



SO not true. There are definitely a few nasty blended tofu recipes out there...but there are also a TON of awesome ones.



Tofu pudding from Tofu Cookery...Jo Stepaniak's Crock Cheese...Bryanna's tofu ricotta...oh man.
MollyGoat is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off