We've been going to quite a few parties lately where we had to bring a dish along. It started me thinking about the good old tofu cream cheese that I used to tote to every event. I haven't made it in years, but I dug up the recipe since it's party season, and this was a dish that everyone, vegans and omnivores, all seemed to like. It never failed that at least one person (usually more) at every event would ask who made it and request the salty-tangy recipe. There were times when I was hesitant to say the word "tofu," if you know what I mean. And the ingredients are not the most common, everyday sort.
I learned to make it during the years when we were macrobiotic, and I really don't know where the recipe came from. Maybe I got it at a cooking class or lecture. I've looked for similar recipes on the Internet but haven't seen anything quite like this one.
There is one part in the recipe where you are supposed to press the tofu for 30 minutes. At first I used to do this in my pickle press, but when pinched for time I used extra firm tofu and skipped it. I think the texture is slightly better when the tofu is pressed but it's not that big a difference. Today the tofu I used seemed more watery than usual so I squeezed it between the layers of a thick waffle-weave kitchen towel. If you want to press it you can wrap it between layers of paper-or non-linty cotton towels, place it on a plate, and put something heavy on top.
The most important thing is to buy extra-firm water-packed tofu. It just doesn't work to use the pasteurized tofu in the box. (like Mori-nu) My favorite is Whitewave organic vacuum packed extra-firm tofu. Also, measure the tahini and umeboshi exactly! Exactly.
Tofu Cream cheese
- one pound extra-firm water-packed or vacuum-packed tofu (NOT Mori-nu)
- 1-1/2 level tablespoons umeboshi paste
- three tablespoons tahini (three VERY LEVEL tablespoons. Don't be generous.)
- three or four green onions, white and green parts
- Place the tofu in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the tofu for two or three minutes.
- Drain then press the tofu for 30 minutes. Or just drain it. (see story above)
- Place the tofu, umeboshi and tahini in a food processor and process until creamy and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Finely slice the green onions and add to the processor. Pulse a few times to distribute them evenly but don't purée the onions.
- Place in a bowl and sprinkle with paprika or a garnish of your choice.
- Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Serve as a spread for crackers or bagels or stuff into celery or cherry tomatoes.
This is a spread and is quite stiff. It has a consistency similar to cream cheese, but can be thinned to use as a dip.
UPDATE: OK, this may be the best tofu cream cheese, but I've discovered a better vegan cream cheese made from cashews. It's a dead ringer for the real thing and you can read about it here.