Have you looked through the Post Punk Kitchen list of 100 things from 2011? They were the things vegans were eating, using, reading, and talking about last year. On the list were some things I loved – soaked cashews, massaged kale salads, and FÜD nachos. There were new finds like the Cuisinart Green Gourmet skillet and chickpea tofu. One of the items that looked very familiar was the Tofu Xpress with a link to my review from last spring and a picture of my Lemon Rosemary Tofu.
As you can see in my initial review, when I received the Tofu Xpress my feelings about it were mostly positive but mixed. It made life easier and my laundry pile of kitchen towels smaller to use this square, plastic contraption that’s dishwasher safe. However, I didn’t feel it pressed tofu quite as firmly as my former method. The Xpress comes with a lid for use while marinating tofu, and because the box is not much bigger than a block of tofu, I didn’t feel it allowed the marinade to fully infuse the block with its flavor. (I prefer to marinate tofu with it already cut into slices, so that it can touch every section equally.) Finally, while I won the Xpress in a giveaway, I wondered for the typical cost if it was worth $50 (including shipping) to lose the hassle of towels, a book, and a weight taking up shelf space in my refrigerator.
Now that many months have passed since I first received the Tofu Xpress, I thought it was time for an update. After using it multiple times a week for the past 9 or 10 months I have this to say, if my Xpress broke in a terrible tofu-related accident, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Since my review in April, I have done the old book/weight/towel method exactly… zero times. It’s so convenient to reach into the drawer where I keep the Xpress, drain tofu from its water-packed package, put in the block, and return it to the refrigerator until I’m ready to use it. If I get to it that day, fine. If I get to it the next day, even better since it means the tofu will be that much more pressed. Plus, it’s easier to enlist the help of family members to help you prep for dinner if it’s a simple, “Hey, could you put the tofu in the Xpress?”
After the first couple of uses, I stopped marinating the tofu in the Xpress because of the reasons I mentioned earlier of it not fully penetrating every part of the tofu. Instead, after the tofu is pressed I cut it into 6 to 8 slices and put it into the baking dish or pie plate that I’ll ultimately be baking it in. Then I cover it in marinade and let it marinate for an hour or more.
If I’m using a tofu recipe that doesn’t require marinating, I’ll mix the sauce for the tofu in the Xpress. I’m going to wash the Xpress anyway, and so it’s handy to just use it instead of dirtying a mixing bowl.
The only negative I have is that after months of use, my Xpress is now in four pieces instead of two. One of the plastic tabs on the pressing plate broke off after I washed it in the dishwasher one day, and the spring that connects the pressing plate to the lid came disconnected from the pieces. Now I have to twist the spring into place on the pressing plate each time I use it. It doesn’t cause any issues that it’s no longer attached to the lid. It still stays in place fine. Sometimes I haven’t twisted it completely evenly and the tofu presses at an angle, but it doesn’t make a big difference ultimately. One other thing, I still think it would be great if they would make a wide version made of the same glass as Pyrex that could be used for pressing, marinating in slices, baking, and then storing.
The long and short of it is that after this much time, the Tofu Xpress has become an essential part of my kitchen. I use it more than the immersion blender, more than the waffle maker, and more than the grill, but not as much as the blender and coffee grinder. That’s a pretty high status.