Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tofu & Sprouts UNVEILED!

As usual, there is information before the recipes to help you get started on the right foot. The marinade recipe is from Sheryl Ellenwood who is the co-author for our book 3 Plates at the table. If you have questions or comments you can e-mail me (which most of you do) or leave a message here.

*What can I sprout?
I like to sprout lentils, mung beans and wheat These are the tastiest to me. Many people like to soak alfalfa, broccoli seeds, fenugreek seeds. The list goes on. When soaking nuts (almonds and walnuts) it mainly soaking them for 10-24 hours to remove phytic acid. Do not expect or anticipate a sprout “tail” as it doesn’t have one.

*Do I need special equipment to sprout?
Sprouting seeds requires no special equipment. You can buy a seed sprouter but you can also sprout seeds in a bamboo basket, a colander covered with a plastic bag, sprouting bag or a wide-mouthed quart jar covered with cheesecloth or linen and secured with a rubber band.

*Can I mix and match?
Yes you can. Take care that you are sprouting grains that will go well together. Here are some examples of 50/50 ratio:
Wheat/chic pea
Wheat Rye
Wheat/ sunflower

*Why are sprouts good for me?
Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley.
Grain and nut sprouts, such as wheat and sunflower, are rich in fats. While fats in flour and wheat germ are going rancid quickly – we should refrigerate them, fats in sprouts last for weeks.
By sprouting nutrients are broken down and simplified: protein into amino acids, fats into essential fatty acids, starches to sugars and minerals chelate or combine with protein in a way that increases their utilization. These processes all increase nutrition and improve digestion and assimilation. Certain acids and toxins which ordinarily would interfere with digestion are reduced or eliminated.
Next to sea vegetables, sprouts are the best source of minerals and trace minerals. Most salad sprouts are rich in calcium and magnesium, have more phosphorus than fish, and are excellent sources of hard to find trace minerals such as tritium, selenium, manganese, chromium and others.
Baby green sprouts, like all green vegetables, are an excellent source of B-vitamins. B-vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, folic biotin, lecithin and others increase an average of 4 to 16 times during the first 7 days of germination. Some factors increase even more. B-12, the elusive vitamin alleged to be unavailable to vegetarians, increases almost 2000%, Vitamin B-17, also known as laetrile, multiplies 50 to 100 times that of the original seed. Nucleic acids, fundamental agents of cell growth and regeneration, increase up to thirty times upon sprouting.

*What can I do with sprouts?
Sprouts can be used in salads/dressings, dips, casseroles, soups/stews, sandwiches/wraps, snacks (raw or dehydrated...crackers, etc), breads, seasoning, stir-fry, drinks (rejuvelac, milk, juiced, smoothie), "cheese", crackers, "cadies" (with dried fruit) and cereals.

*Why should I sprout?
1. Only Pennies Per Serving
One tablespoon of seeds will fill a quart jar with several ounces of sprouts. A 4-ounce package will yield several pounds.

2. Simple and Easy
Take less than a minute per day to grow and prepare. They will grow nearly anywhere indoors, in any season. Sprouts require very little space and travel well. They are the ideal vegetables for campers, boaters and RV’ers.

3. Fresh and Ready Quickly
This “garden in your kitchen” grows very fast, in any kind of weather. No digging, planting, weeding, pests or chemicals involved. And there’s no long wait, as in seasonal outdoor gardens. Just 3 to 7 days to a bountiful, nutrition-packed harvest. When stored in your refrigerator, they will stay fresh for days- even weeks if rinsed properly.

4. Toxin-free Food
Sprouts are as sweet and pure as Nature intended food to be. NO pesticides and no chemicals needed.

5. Complete Foods
Sprouts are real health food. They are full of life- as you will see in how fast and luxuriously they grow. The right combination of sprouts contains many nutrients for life and health. All their many nutritional elements are easily assimilated and readily available to your body. When home-grown, you know they are pure, and you can enjoy them at the peak of their perfection.

6. Tasty and Delicious
Bursting with flavor, you may be surprised how truly delectable they are. Enjoy them in salads, on sandwiches, stir-fried, steamed, or even baked in wholesome, home-made breads.

7. Highly Nutritious
Several contain more protein (though not as complete) than cooked meat-at a tiny fraction of the cost. The presence and balance of amino acids makes this protein very digestible. All sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and fiber. When exposed to light, several become rich in chlorophyll.

8. Low in Calories / Fat
One fully-packed cup of alfalfa sprouts contains only 16 calories. These are simple sugars for quick energy. Sprouts contain no cholesterol and provide several essential fatty acids. Sprouts are perfect weight-loss and body-purification.

9. Help Detox your Body
Chlorophyll helps cleanse and oxygenate the blood. Enzymes aid in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and contribute to the body’s life force. Fiber aids elimination and their lecithin helps the body get rid of cholesterol.

10. Build your Immune System
Antioxidants protect you from radiation and toxic chemicals. They help the body to cleanse, detox, rebuild and heal itself. Sprouts are rich in antioxidants and help protect your health from toxic build up. Antioxidant enzymes are especially important, because they are essential for the proper function of the immune system. Sprouts are one of the best sources for these important nutrients.
**The Sprouting Book:How to Grow and Use Sprouts to Maximize Your Health and Vitality- Ann Wigmore
**Rawsome!-Brigitte Mars

*What is tofu?
Tofu or “bean curd” is a fermenting of the soybean that renders it digestible and free of phytic acid.

*What kinds of tofu are there and how do you use them?
There are 2 categories that most tofu can fit into. These are firm and silken. Firm tofu can be pressed, chopped, crumbled, sliced and more. Silken tofu is used in puddings, sauces, desserts, etc. You must know which one to use for a successful tofu experience.

*Why do I have to press tofu?
It isn’t necessary to press tofu. Unfortunately, un-pressed tofu has given ALL tofu the bad reputation for being slimy, tasteless and weird textured. Therefore, I suggest always pressing for a minimum of several hours. This ensures that most of the liquid will be removed and the tofu can soak in the marinade and have a more enjoyable texture.

*What can I use tofu in?
Tofu is known as a “meat substitute”. It can be use with rice, in stir-fry, casseroles and wraps. The list goes on. Tofu is relatively tasteless and can be used in any way that the imagination takes aim.

*Why must tofu be organic?
Organic tofu is made from organically grown soybeans. Any product, which is certified organic, does not contain genetically modified organisms nor has it been subjected to radiation. Radiation has become an otherwise accepted (and not indicated on labels) way of helping preserve some food products. Even though the federal government has declared that genetically modified foods are acceptable, there are no long-term studies to prove that they are not harmful. We do know that conventional farming practices do lead to contaminated streams and soil depletion. Organic farming practices help sustain the planet’s natural eco-systems.(see

Sprouting 101:
1) Place rinsed 1/3 cup of grain/legume in a jar.
2)fill jar with warm water, cover with cheesecloth, secure with rubber band and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours.
3) Strain water out and rinse seeds.
4)rinse and drain and sit at a 45 degree angle.
5) Repeat #4 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days until sprouts are long enough for you.
6) Refrigerate to STOP the sprouting and to store.
7) use liberally.

Miso Tofu Marinade:
1 TBSP Red or white miso
3 TBSP lemon or lime juice
3 TBSP Agave/honey
3 TBSP Tamari or liquid aminos
2 TSP sesame oil
1 TBSP nutritional yeast powder
1 TSP smoked paprika or ¼ TSP liquid smoke

Mix together all ingredients. Pour over to pressed cubed/cut tofu. Marinate at least 1 hour. Line a pan with parchment paper or foil. Arrange tofu on paper in a single layer. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip/stir tofu pieces and bake another 20-30 minutes taking care not to burn. Remove from oven and cool. Serve or store in refrigerator.

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