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zucchini stacks

zucchini stacks with mozzarella and tofu

Mozzarella. Nothing beats fresh mozzarella. Silky-soft goodness. Eat it with fresh tomatoes, eat it on pizza, eat it on its own. Fresh mozzarella is meant to be eaten shortly after being purchased. It’s common to see Italians waiting in line at their local cheese shop early in the morning to get fresh mozzarella for their evening’s meal.  If you don’t plan to eat all of it in one sitting, make sure to keep the whey liquid it’s packed in; it’s vital to keep the cheese moist.

Tofu. I can’t say that nothing beats it. It is silky-soft and good, but I can’t eat it right out of the container. It is also packed in a liquid that is vital to retaining moisture. You don’t see people waiting in line at the grocery store waiting to pick up tofu. It doesn’t come from buffalo or cow milk, but it does have a similar texture to mozzarella. In my ongoing quest to limit dairy in my diet I’ve become more creative with using tofu.I’ve used tofu in ice cream and in cupcakes. I’ve used it in lasagna. Could I get away with it in a caprese salad? I tried it recently with house guests. One night they had tofu ice cream and didn’t know. The next night I tried apps of caprese stacks and egglant and zucchini stacks.

polenta tofu stack

polenta and tofu caprese stack – vegan!

I was a bit nervous when I made the switcheroo with the ice cream. The real test would come when the tofu wasn’t fully incorporated into the dish, when each ingredient stood on its own. I made half the stacks with mozzarella and half with tofu and mixed them together on serving platters. I marinated the tofu squares in Devo Olive Oil’s Fig Balsamic. I think that was key in helping to fool my guests.

Just like the old Folgers commercials, and now the, dare I say, Walmart steak-overs*, the idea of secretly replacing a known with an unknown can turn skeptics into believers. Even if the skeptic doesn’t want to admit it. Some of my skeptic guests openly turned believers, others just couldn’t say it, but continued eating.

I didn’t bother writing up any of the recipes. For the caprese stack I used fresh tomato, fried polenta round, tofu, fresh basil and Devo Olive Oil’s Fig Balsamic. The balsamic was used to marinate the tofu and then I also made a reduction to get a thicker glaze for drizzling. The eggplant and zucchini stacks were breaded in panko, fried and stacked with fresh basil and balsamic, following the method used for caprese.

(*I’m too much of a skeptic to try the Walmart steak. I prefer to buy local, and I don’t mean my local Walmart.)