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Tofu ricotta cheeze + gadget reviews

August 30, 2010

I adore kitchen gadgets—probably a little too much. In my dollhouse-sized kitchen (which is not as cute as it sounds!), space is at a premium, but I still can’t stop myself from acquiring new and interesting foodie tools. I’ve got two to share in this post, along with a recipe using one of them, and tomorrow I’ll show you a dish for which I utilize both gadgets (though neither one will be required to make it).

If you’ve ever come across a recipe calling for “tofu, pressed and drained,” you’ve probably either rolled your eyes and skipped it, decided to grin and bear it and dirty all the necessary appurtenances, or just skipped the pressing step altogether. The truth is, pressing and draining tofu really does make a difference in the texture, which will be firmer, chewier, and just better overall. I must admit that I used to not bother with it—who wants to put a plate on a block of tofu on a cutting board, pile cans or a brick or the family cat on top to weigh it down, and then find some way to rest the board at an angle such that the water drains into the sink? Not I. Enter TofuXpress.

I knew from the first time I saw an ad for this thing that I would covet it until I got my hands on one. So when Richard at TofuXpress sent me one to try, I was grateful and excited.

So how does it work? You just put a block of tofu in…

…and fasten on the lid. Its spring mechanism gently and slowly compresses the tofu, and the released water rises to the top.

All you do is pour off the water that collected on top, and you’ve got extra-EXTRA-firm tofu! You can press your tofu anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on how dry you want the final product to be. You can also remove the spring top, pop on the included lid, and refrigerate your drained tofu in the very same container until ready to use. Clean, simple, and effortless. Here’s my tofu after just 30 minutes in the TofuXpress.

It can be used for more than just tofu, as well; for example, to press the water out of thawed frozen spinach, zucchini, eggplant, etc. You can also use it to press homemade nut cheeze! Speaking of cheeze, a great use for pressed tofu is homemade vegan ricotta.

Tofu ricotta cheeze
1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt (or to taste)

Crumble the tofu into a food processor or blender. Add all remaining ingredients.

Cover and process until mostly smooth (add a splash of water if necessary). Use immediately, or transfer to a small container and refrigerate for up to a week.

Yield: 6 servings.
Per serving (about 1/3 cup): 114 calories, 8.1g fat (1g sat), 2.3g carbs, 1g fiber, 7.3g protein.

The TofuXpress is such a time (and frustration!) saver, and I can already tell it will be an invaluable item to have in my kitchen for years to come. Thanks so much again to Richard at TofuXpress for sending me one!

Another kitchen gadget I recently received is a Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer, formerly known as the Spirooli. I’d been wanting to try it for quite awhile, so I was stoked when Christian at World Cuisine sent me one!

I have no doubt that many, if not most, of you guys have seen/read/heard about this device already. It’s most popularly used to make raw spaghetti with zucchini, so that’s what I tried first.

The Spiral Slicer has four rubber “feet” that grip the countertop to keep it in place as you crank the handle, which helps a lot. It comes with three different blades; two of those create spaghetti-like strands in 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch diameters.

With just a turn of the handle, I instantly had a pile of looong zucchini noodles. It pretty much comes out as one big strand, so you need to cut it as you go along (unless you want feet-long noodles!). You’re also left with the zucchini core (Averie once cracked me up by calling it a “zucchini schlong,” haha!), which you can either throw away or find some other use for. The noodles, of course, can be eaten with a yummy raw pasta sauce, or in any other way you can dream up.

The third blade is used to make thin ribbon-like cuts like you see below. The Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer is easy to use (just turn a handle!), easy to clean (it’s dishwasher-safe), and will be easy to find multiple uses for in my kitchen. Thank you again to World Cuisine for sending me the Spiral Slicer!

Do you have a tofu press or a spiralizer? Have you ever wanted either of these gadgets? What’s your most coveted kitchen tool?
You’ll see those zucchini ribbons and the tofu ricotta above in the recipe I’ll post tomorrow. To be continued!

If you like this, you might also like…
Tofu-veggie breakfast scramble
Tofu parmigiana alla marinara
Tofu makhani curry

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 1:01 pm

    Oh, I would love to have a spiral slicer! I know I would use it all the time! As for the tofu press, I’m not a huge lover of tofu, but I would love to try it for spinach and other veggies. Pressing the water out is really hard sometimes. (But I can never give my husband anything called nut cheez….I’d never hear the end of it!)

    I can relate on the tiny kitchen. Mine is horribly small, and I pass up a lot of recipes just because I know I don’t have room to cook them. Someday…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:43 am

      Haha, oh man, don’t even get me started! Nut cheeze, nut meat, nut milk…the euphemistic possibilities are endless. 😛

      Having a tiny kitchen sucks, doesn’t it?! I have half of the second bedroom in my apartment dedicated to just food and appliance storage! =/

  2. August 30, 2010 1:52 pm

    I have zero interest in a tofu press for tofu, but I’m wondering if it would work for making nut cheeses….

    I absolutely positively want a spiralizer, though. Major jealous there.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:44 am

      I have made one nut cheeze in it so far, a really simple cashew mozzarella for raw pizza, and it worked great!

      The spiralizer, though, wins the “just plain fun to use” award. :]

  3. August 30, 2010 2:02 pm

    Yay for the spiralizer!! Can’t wait to see what beauties pop out from there 🙂 I think TofuXpress needs to contact me next (hehe).

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:49 am

      By “beauties,” do you mean flaccid vegetable appendages? And by “pop out,” do you mean…oh, never mind 😛

      I hope TofuXpress does contact you! I have seen them sponsor giveaways elsewhere in the blogosphere, so keep an eye out. They have a Facebook page you can “like” as well.

  4. August 30, 2010 2:19 pm

    Yes! I love gadgets for sure. I just got the Tofu Xpress as well and need to review it too! Thanks for the reminder! I am also getting the spiralizer soon with some CSN money.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:50 am

      That’s awesome that you got a TofuXpress too! And I think a spiralizer will be an excellent use of CSN money :]

  5. August 30, 2010 2:57 pm

    First off, I have been coveting the Spirooli for years….words cannot express how jealous I am that you have one!

    Second, the tofu express seems nice, but I have my tried and true set-up. I have a candy dish that weighs about 3 pounds and is the PERFECT size to rest on top of a tofu block. To soak up the liquid, I set the block on 2 folded paper towels. And I don’t feel guilty about using paper towels because they can go into the compost :).

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:54 am

      Sounds like you have the perfect DIY setup for pressing tofu! I didn’t know you’d wanted a spiralizer…you’re welcome to borrow mine sometime for a week or two. Maybe doing some experimenting with it would help you decide once and for all if you wanted to purchase one.

  6. Mom permalink
    August 30, 2010 7:29 pm

    What neat gadgets those are. The pasta comes out so fresh-looking and I can see wherethe tofu press would be great for squeezing out other items like spinach as you suggested!

    How fun is that to come home wondering what surprise could be waiting for you next??

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:56 am

      I think both of these fit into the category of “Things you didn’t know you need, but once you have them, you’re unwilling to do without.” :] I’m loving the samples and other blogger perks I’ve been receiving, and I definitely don’t take any of it for granted! I feel very lucky indeed.

  7. August 30, 2010 7:51 pm

    I definitely want the Tofu Xpress because, as you say, I’m one of those people who never bothers, even though I know it helps the taste/texture so much! Love the recipe, too – makes me think of feta rather than ricotta 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 9:59 am

      Feta, hmm…I think you may have something there. Perhaps you could add some lemon juice to the recipe for tang, and then after blending the mixture, you could put it BACK in the TofuXpress and press it into a crumbly block. Ooh!

  8. August 30, 2010 10:02 pm

    I have never heard of the Tofu Xpress, but I want one! That thing is awesome! I hate pressing tofu b/c it’s messy and such a pain, so that gadget would be perfect!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 10:01 am

      I know exactly what you mean; that’s why I hardly ever bothered to press tofu before. This one gadget has improved the taste and texture of tofu in all the dishes I’ve made with it so far :]

  9. Sarah permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:28 am

    Ooo! I need a TofuXpress. And a new kettle. I broke the kettle as it threw itself off the kitchen bench when it was balanced on top of the tofu draining it…. Oooops.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 10:04 am

      Haha! What a perfect testimonial of the need for a tofu press! They should use something like that in their advertising. “TofuXpress: saving teakettles since 2009.” 😛

  10. August 31, 2010 11:30 am

    ahh everybodys got one of these fancy tofu xpress thingys these days! oh and spiralizers are key 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 31, 2010 12:33 pm

      I know, right? They’re popping up everywhere, and with good reason.
      I’m glad I’ve finally been introduced to the world of the spiralizer :]

  11. September 1, 2010 6:25 am

    If you make a cut longways down your veggie before putting it in the spiralizer, it will break it up so you don’t have foot long spirals!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 1, 2010 9:19 am

      That’s an awesome tip! Thanks Lauren :]

  12. September 1, 2010 2:30 pm

    glad im known for schlong…omg, too funny LOL

    I have actually stopped calling it that on my own blog b/c ppl were writing me all up in arms about it LOL.

    I LOVE both my TofuXpress AND my Spiralzier. Seriously, 2 gadgets worth their weight in GOLD for 30 bucks each, give or take.

    I highly recommend them to anyone!!!! For 30 bucks, they kinda are life changing in terms of the types of food and cuisine and options they open up! ENJOY!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 1, 2010 2:33 pm

      Thanks for your two cents on the value of these products!
      HAHA! I wouldn’t say you’re known for it, but I did pick it up as particular gem of a term. ;D

  13. September 5, 2010 8:43 pm

    Amber – so fun to see new gadgets like these. How is it that you try out products for review? Super fun and informative!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 5, 2010 10:00 pm

      Thanks Kylea! Sometimes companies contact me asking if I’d like to review their product(s), and other times I see something I’d really love to try, so I write to them! Sometimes that works, sometimes not, but once you get the ball rolling, more opportunities arise on their own.

  14. September 6, 2010 6:44 am

    That’s great Amber! Love the info – you’re great at this 🙂

  15. September 6, 2010 1:57 pm

    To get the most use out of your Tofu Press…Once youve squeezed it (best overnight) youll find that the device can be pressed down even more…Do so and get more water out…Now what the Tofu Press people leave out…If you want the Tofu to really taste good so the marinade you use goes all the way through you need to get the Tofu to be dry enough that it will act like a sponge and absorb the marinade…You need to learn a technique to make Dry Fried Tofu..Its a little daunting to learn and takes practice but once you learn how to do it its a sinch! You are going to be using a pan to heat the tofu and a spatula to press down on the tofu as it is heated to gently remove the rest of the moisture..There is a certain technique to it and I urge you to search for How to make dry fried Tofu…No oil is used and no frying but that is the name of it..Once you are done you end up with a piece of tofu that is slightly cooked but very dry and with the ability to quickly absorb any marinade all the way through…Between freezing the tofu then using the press an pressing out as much and then the dry fry tofu technique you can get amazing results..No offense to you guys but I like the taste of meat( but dont want to eat it)..With this technique I was eating Tofu that tasted like meat(again no offense..I wasnt eating meat) In fact I got very carried away and ate several blocks of Tofu cause of it (Hey it tasted like meat..It was still vegan and healthy so….) I am suprised that the people who make the Tofu press dont also include info on the dry frying of Tofu…Again the equiptment is only a dry frypan (No Oil) a Spatula and a low flame..I mention it again cause their is one other type of dry tofu that it is actually fried..It is freeze dried and then it is dumped into a fryer to be deep fried…Not the healthiest and not going to absorb your marinade so hopefully with that info youll find how to dry Fry Tofu
    Here is the site I consider to explain it the best with pics and great instructions. Make sure to read the comments as some have good ideas and might answer some of your questions..
    Go to:
    http://hubpages.com/hub/How_to_Cook_Tofu_Like_the_Pros
    And start thinking of what marinade you want your Tofu to fully absorb! So much better than the Tofu press alone..The article doesnt use a Tofu Press but if you do the technique works much fater and easier and very consistent!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2010 11:09 am

      Wow, that is a lot of info! I’ll have to make sure I try that dry-frying technique sometime soon. Thanks!

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