Friday, October 21, 2011

Do You Do Tofu?

You don't really need a recipe for a tofu scramble. You can use either water-packed or silken tofu. The trick is to start the tofu first, and let it cook for five to ten minutes (or longer) before adding vegetablesThis one trick improved my scrambles vastly! It's not that the tofu needs time to "cook" as much as it needs time to lose moisture and firm up - especially if you use silken tofu. That's the trick to getting a good scramble texture. Then, I add my veggies and seasonings and let it continue to cook until the veggies are tender-crisp.

Tofu scrambles are one of the most basic veg*n dishes, but I'm surprised how many vegetarians confess they have never made their own.

Aside from tofu, here's what I added to this scramble:
  • broccoli, cut into fine florets
  • yellow onion
  • white mushroom
  • carrot shreds
  • nutritional yeast - about 2-3 TBS. This is my one "must have" ingredient, because it adds so much flavor! I add it at the end, just a minute or so prior to serving.
  • a good dash of soy sauce (actually, it was Bragg's Liquid Aminos) just before taking it off the heat
  • seasoned salt, granulated garlic, and a very small dash of dried dill weed
Here's a great how-to video, and where I learned the importance of letting the tofu cook for some time in the pan first. (I use much less oil than she does, by the way.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes & Tofu

I still have green tomatoes on the vine. This morning, I wanted to jazz up my tofu scramble, so I sliced a few smallish green tomatoes, and did this. The amounts you use aren't important, as long as you don't go crazy and over-season it:

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes, sliced about 1/2" thick
Baking mix (I used Hodgson Mill)
Seasoning blend (I used Spike Hot & Spicy)
Nutritional yeast
Sea salt & pepper

Mix all the dry ingredients in a shallow dish. Spray a skillet with a liberal amount of nonstick spray and let it heat over medium-high. Dredge the tomatoes in the dry mixture, coating them well, and place in the heated skillet. Spray the tops with spray, also. Flip when the bottoms are browning... you understand the rest.

The tofu scramble was just a package of Mori-Nu tofu, onions, a few of the ripened red tomatoes, a dash of soy sauce, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. The key is to really let the tofu cook for quite a long time in the skillet on medium to medium-high heat, before adding the other ingredients.

This was such a simple breakfast, but so satisfying! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Makin' Bacon

You don't need to buy the pre-packaged kind of veggie bacon. Really. It's easy to make your own. 

I'm at the the end of the garden season, and I have a few eggplants left. There are many lovely things to do with eggplants, but I'd never considered that they could be turned into - yes, truly - bacon. When I saw this recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen, I thought, "No way. That will be soggy and gross. But it wasn't - it was crispy and chewy and just right.  And if you don't count the non-stick spray, there are really only three ingredients. I just made half the recipe - one eggplant's worth - and immediately regretted that I'd only made half. I ate the entire pan's worth of "bacon."

(You could make it look more "bacony" by using the long, Japanese-style eggplants and slicing the strips the long thin way, if you wanted.)

You can use a similar marinate to make tofu bacon. I didn't get fancy when I sliced it, but if you prefer the long, thin strips, you can certainly do that. I used my Tofu Xpress and the water-packed style of tofu for this recipe; I don't recommend the soft/silken style that you buy in the aseptic boxes. I made it almost exactly the same way as the eggplant recipe above, but I baked the tofu about twice as long to evaporate more water out of the tofu, and I added a little nutritional yeast and a bit of real maple syrup to the soy-smoke marinate.

1 package of water-packed tofu, drained well, sliced into 1/8" strips, and patted dry
1/4 c. soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

Heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray it with nonstick. Lay the tofu pieces on the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes. While they're baking, mix the other ingredients in a shallow dish. 

When the tofu comes out, dip each piece in the sauce, and return to the baking sheet. Bake another 5 minutes, then remove them and dip them again.  Repeat this process until the "bacon" is as chewy as you'd like. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a long time. Use them for BLT's, dice them for "bacon bits", whatever!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Curried Carrot Soup

Curried Carrot Soup (Yeah, it's vegan!)

Curried Carrot Soup
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TBS curry powder
1 TBS chili powder
1 TBS cumin
2 c. shredded carrots
1 apple, diced
1/4 c. lentils (red preferred, but any will do)
2 c. vegetable broth or reconstituted bouillon
2 c. unsweetened almond milk (or sweetened, if you like... your preference)
sea salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium stock pot. Add onion, garlic, and spices, heating over medium and stirring occasionally until onion is translucent. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove from heat and let it sit to cool. If you're in a hurry, fill a sink with cold water and a tray of ice, and plunge the pan for a bit. Process in a blender, or carefully use an immersion blender, processing until smooth.

Serve with crusty bread, and say "OMG, this is so simple and good!"


I live in Nebraska, where people like steak and are somewhat leery of anything that could vaguely be construed as "hippie food." 

Roasted Seaweed Snack
I was recently snacking at my desk, and commented, "Oh, these are really good, you might like them. Want to taste?"

My coworker naturally asked me what "it" was. I said, "Well, I know you like seafood. This is actually a seaweed chip. Try a little corner?" Cautiously, she tried it.

When an omnivore coworker says, "Hey, that's kind of good!" you should go get some, especially when you can eat HALF A PACKAGE for 30 f***ing calories. It scores h
igh in flavor and mouth feel. It starts cripsy but ends chewy--and that, my friends, makes a fun snack.