July 25, 2013

Yuba rolls | Costco revisited | Good chips gone GMO


You may or may not recall my San Francisco post from 3-23-13 where I described how we purchased yuba wraps from the Tofu Yu stand at the Marin farmers market. Since it was impractical to fly back to San Francisco to get another package whenever I wanted, I had to figure out how to reconstruct something similar at home to satisfy my cravings. Whenever I eat yuba, I want to eat it again soon after. I love its chewy texture.


I raided our freezer and found a package of frozen yuba, and a package (for better or worse — probably worse) of fake ham that we'd purchased at two different Asian markets. The ham didn't contain wheat but was probably not gluten-free, but I used it anyway.


This was the first time I used frozen yuba sheets and didn't know what to expect. Previously I'd only had access to yuba that had been tightly rolled into long, 1-inch diameter tubes, and dried. I would soak the tubes in water until they softened, then cook them in soups or stews.

The four, flat sheets of yuba in the package I defrosted were something entirely different. They were enormous. To use them, I folded them in half, then kind of followed the rolling directions from a recipe on the Vegetarian Times Web site. I sort of followed their ingredient list, too, using green beans, carrots, scallions and vegan ham, but I made an Asian-influenced tomato-based sauce to spread inside and on the top. It wasn't hard at all (maybe a little awkward rolling the sheets) but the results were amazing.


Writing about the sauce brings me to something I'd like to confess. Back on 11-23-10, I wrote a rather sarcastic post about our first ever excursion to Costco on a "guest night." I said I didn't think we'd be joining Costco any time soon. Sigh. Well, we did join, and now go there at least once a month. Costco has been increasing their organic offerings on a regular basis, and there are things we buy there to have on hand, as well as things we buy just to eat. For example, they now sell six-can packs of organic beans, large cartons of Mary's Crackers (a personal weakness), organic frozen corn and frozen fruit, various organic fresh fruit and vegetable choices, chia seeds, hemp hearts, big jars of olives, etc. Last night we got organic baby kale, organic spinach, organic broccolini and organic cherries. And lately, we've been buying glass jars of organic crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes are really good, though if they didn't contain salt I'd like them even better. They are very thick, with very little liquid. And, they come in cool jars that look like canning jars. I use the jars to store stuff in the pantry, and also to drink smoothies from.


As for the sauce I made for the yuba rolls — it was created on the fly from whatever ingredients seemed like a good idea at the time — my favorite way to cook. I think of the flavor I want, then figure out what I need to add to create it. Into the VitaMix went tomatoes, ginger, garlic, granulated onion, five-spice-powder, rice vinegar, a little agave and Chinese red pepper. (Maybe other things that I'm forgetting.)

After the rolls were cooked, I sliced them into one-inch pieces to serve, and the finished rolls were a big burst of mouth pleasure. Next time I might use only veggies, or possibly add some soy curls, since the ham was a one-time indulgence.

In case you're unfamiliar with yuba, it's made by simmering soymilk and skimming off the sheets of skin that form on the top. It can be found fresh, frozen or dried, in Asian markets and tofu shops.

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Food Should Taste Good now GMO
My last bag of FSTG chips.

Another item I used to occasionally buy at Costco was Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips. The chips have been my go-to chips for parties, or just when I felt like having a chip or two. They've appeared on my blog a dozen times as I made dips, spreads, nachos, whatever. In the past, the chips were made by a small company, and were GF, organic, non-GMO, etc. etc. I was staring at a small bag of chips the other day thinking something about the package didn't seem right, when I realized the word "organic" was missing from the label. Then I couldn't find a non-GMO statement on the bag. After googling the subject, I learned that General Mills bought the company in Feb. 2012, and is now producing them as part of their "natural" line. Ha! In my humble opinion, genetically engineered foods are not natural. This is a perfect example of why we have to read labels and ask questions even when we've been using a product for years. Maybe I'll just eat celery and carrot sticks instead of chips. Bummer.

UPDATE: FSTG chips are now carrying a non-GMO mark on the package. Perhaps General Mills realized that their customers care about the food they eat. I'm not sure if the chips are again made from organic ingredients, but at least they are non-GMO.

22 comments:

  1. Those chips, that sucks! I hate it when a good product made by an ethical little company gets bought up by one of the multinational beasts who very quietly corrupts the ingredients. Same thing happened to me back when Dean Foods bought Silk soy milk, and one day I noticed the carton no longer said "organic."

    Maybe Mary's Gone crackers can be your go-to cracker now, if you can afford the debt load! I love those too, but can rarely find a box of them for under $6 (and they're obscenely priced on Amazon!) We did snag a couple on sale at a health food grocer in Missoula on our way home for about $3/box, and now I wish I'd bought a lot more of them!

    Sure glad Costco is selling so much good stuff these days. And shopping there for you is practically "buying local!" :-) Robyn is a member since she has various reasons to drive to Billings and so can shop there frequently, and sometimes she'll pick up stuff for us - I'm often amazed at what she's able to find there.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, I remember the Silk buyout. Silk does still make an organic unsweetened soymilk — forced by popular outrage. I don't buy it, though.

      When Costco has Mary's in bulk I buy a couple of boxes — especially when it's on sale. They only carry it sporadically so I don't always have them on hand. I eat snack foods very sparingly so they last me a long time.

      I've been gorging on baby kale the last two days — it's so good!

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  2. That does suck about the chips. Mike used to buy them every once in a while but now we're pretty diligent about checking labels. I really wish they'd make labeling mandatory!

    That's wonderful that the rolls worked out so well. They look delicious!

    We got a guest pass at the Costco here a few years ago but I was overwhelmed almost instantly. We've thought about checking it out again because I keep hearing about how much organic stuff they have. It's just so huge in there!

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    1. If people had any idea how much GMO food they are consuming, I think there would be greater demand for labeling and non-GMO products. I try to avoid it but it's everywhere, and I know I'm eating GMOs more often than I realize.

      I hate shopping in general and huge stores especially, but for some reason I find Costco entertaining. I don't know why. We try to avoid peak shopping hours, but even when we're there at a crowded time, it's amazing how fast the checkers are!

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  3. Those Yuba rolls look amazing! I love dishes that use tofu skin, but I never knew it was called yuba until I looked it up just now. Glad to learn something new! Interesting that you mention Costco because someone I follow on instagram showed a picture of herself and a big tub of eat pastry vegan cookie dough. It made me think that they may have vegan offerings there. I am curious now and will have to check it out with a friend who is a member.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The yuba rolls were indeed delicious. And yes, some places call it tofu skin even though it's made from soy milk and not tofu.

      I've never seen vegan pastry dough at Costco, but it's impossible to see everything! And items come and go and get moved around. There are quite a few vegan things including items like stuffed grape leaves, hummus and non-GMO tofu. They used to have a frozen burger we liked but it disappeared. Costco also carries some local items so we have frozen Rainier cherries in season here in Washington.

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  4. Your yuba meal looks restaurant quality! While you were describing it I was thinking about many wrestling matches with frozen phyllo, although the yuba sounds a bit more formidable and unwieldy.

    That really sucks about the chips. I've never been a fan, but stuff like that happens all. the. time.

    I never even thought to look for hemp or chia at Costco; I'm going to have to take a leisurely stroll through with someone who has a membership very soon.

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    1. I think the yuba was much more manageable than phyllo! It wasn't bad at all, just surprisingly large sheets.

      My Costco was out of hemp on our last two visits but it was back in stock this time. It's hard to figure out where they hide some of the stuff so we go up and down the aisles hoping we'll spot the things we want. I nearly fainted when I saw the Mary's crackers, but then they disappeared for the longest time. You just never know exactly what will be there — kind of frustrating.

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  5. I hate how different the Costcos are in different regions! I always get so jealous of the things other people find at Costcos near them. I have a Costco membership too, but I am seriously considering not renewing it. The things you can get on the West coast and the things my sister can get on the East coast always seem so much better than what I find at my Costco!

    Courtney

    ReplyDelete
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    1. They do vary — and some of that has to do with buying locally. You probably won't see organic frozen Rainier cherries at your Costco, but maybe there will be some from Door County. You can try requesting products and see what happens.

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    2. I have been requesting products at my local Costco for the past 4 years. Nothing yet...sigh. I don't think I am going to be renewing my membership this coming year because they keep discontinuing the few products I actually bought, and their prices on produce keep going up...

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    3. Sounds like your Costco isn't doing much to meet your needs, which is a good reason not to renew. If they ever stopped carrying the things I buy there, I'd do the same.

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  6. Those yuba rolls looks scrumptious. And I used to belong to Costco when I was married to a guy with a big appetite. We only bought staples there.

    Sad about the GMO chips. OMG.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The things we buy at Costco are staples for us — the packages are usually too big for "extras." Our Costco has been carrying more and more things we want, but whether they keep it up remains to be seen. On our last trip we couldn't find the tomatoes.

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  7. Clever stuff - and handy, given I've just bought a load of dry yuba and was wondering how to go about reconstructing some yuba rolls! Happy food synchronicity!

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    1. Dry yuba is different from fresh or frozen in that it requires soaking, and tends to be a bit more brittle. It's tasty, though.

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  8. Yikes, I like those chips a lot. Why would they ever discontinue something like that?? Bummer. I should run and see if I can stock up on ones that are still out on shelves and non Gmo.
    I had my first experience with yuba this week and was underwhelmed and kind of grossed out. maybe because I ate them cold? Yr baked rolls look more appealing.

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    1. I'm bummed about the chips. The business was sold to General Mills and they still make the chips, but the non-GMO symbol is missing from the package now. It's so hard to avoid GMO food now. Most soy and soy is GMO so finding non-GMO soy or corn products can be challenging.

      I love yuba and insist you try again. The rolls were sauteed and then steamed, and were great.

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  9. Andrea,
    Thanks for this sad information. I had no idea they had changed! Ugh! Thank you for keeping an eye out for the rest of us, too.

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    1. Kim, I had no idea either. I was staring at an almost empty package and thinking something didn't seem right with the bag front. Then I realized the "organic" was missing. Granted, they were chips, but still. Our food supply is getting scarier and scarier. Just read something about a disease affecting oranges that is prompting growers to seek a GMO solution to the problem. Oranges!

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  10. Ooo, sneaky about the chips. So annoying.

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    1. I know. I feel sad about it every time I see a bag of the chips. Tsk.

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