Category Archives: Tofu

Building Block Recipe: Lemony Baked Tofu

Slices of Lemony TofuInspired by my blogging buddy, Susmitha at Veganosaurus, I signed up for a How Do account about a year or so ago.  Susmitha has a great voice and her How Dos are cute, concise, and helpful.  So, I made one (Hot Chocolate Mocha),” back in 2012, and while the process was fun, a negative review I got took the wind out of my sails and it was a long time before I tried again.  But every time I watched one of Susmitha’s it nagged at me: I wanted to try again.

Lemony Baked Tofu (in turn inspired by Oh Mai in Salt Lake City – but that’s another blog post) seemed like a good candidate for the How Do treatment. It’s a simple recipe that can easily be broken down into short steps.  I’m still working out the How Do kinks (Martin Scorcese, your job is safe), but I think these little “videos” are a great idea and add a nice dimension to a blog post.  Incidentally, my freebie WP site won’t allow for me to embed the video, which would be super-nifty, but clicking on the image will get you to the same place.  (I shared this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday at The Veggie Nook.)

Watch my How Do video by clicking the image, or you can follow the recipe below.

How Do ImageLEMONY BAKED TOFU a micro guide by Annie on HowDo

Lemony Baked Tofu
Makes ~20 slices

1 14 oz. block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lemon oil
1 garlic clove, minced

Make the marinade:
Whisk together all of the ingredients and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Prepare the tofu:
Press tofu for several hours or overnight.  I splurged for a TofuXPress and I’m so glad I did.  It does a fantastic job of squeezing out all of that water – but use your own tried-and-true method.

Layer a baking sheet (I used a quarter sheet) with paper towels.  Set aside.  Cut the tofu into very thin slices.  You should get about 20 per block of tofu. Place the slices of tofu onto the paper towels; stacking layers is fine.  Cover slices with more paper towels, top with another baking sheet and place in the freezer overnight.

When you’re ready to bake the tofu, remove the pan from the freezer and let the slices thaw.  At first the slices will be dark yellow, but they’ll return to their regular white color once thawed.

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Place the slices into a baking pan (I used Pyrex) and pour the marinade over top.  Again, don’t worry about having the slices in one layer.  Bake the tofu for about 20-25 minutes or until the marinade is nearly gone.  The edges of the slices should be brown and the tofu should be fairly dry.  Let the slices cool; they’ll firm up even more.  They are now ready to use in sandwiches (like the Lemony Baked Tofu Sandwiches I’ll be featuring here soon), salads, and in Asian-inspired soups.

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Nasoya Nayonaise & NayoWhipped Sandwich Spread Review (& Some Recipes)

Sandwich on PlateWhen I was growing up there were two distinct camps: the Mayonnaise camp (in my neck of the woods, Hellman’s brand) and the Salad Dressing camp (Miracle Whip). It all depended on what your mom used on the sandwiches she made and in our house, mom used Hellman’s. No-way-no-how those of us in the Hellman’s camp wanted our tuna salad or bologna, cheese and potato chip (yes, chips ON the sandwich) sangies to have even a hint of sweetness! And if your best friend’s mom used Miracle Whip, well, that could mean the quick demise of a beautiful friendship.

Just cuz I’m a plant-based sandwich-eater now doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love of mayo and Nasoya has both types represented – the savory and the sweet. I recently received a couple of bottles to try out. While both products are creamy, thick, and ringers for the “real” things, my taste preference holds true today. I really prefer a “mayo” spread that is savory rather than sweet. But I did use both products with very tasty results.

Here’s a look at NayoWhipped and Nayonaise:

nayonaisebottlestext

Spoonfuls of Mayo

Here’s what’s in them:
Soy milk
Soybean oil
Vinegar
Salt
Dried cane syrup
Mustard flour
Xanthan gum
Guar gum
Lemon juice
Turmeric
Paprika
Garlic Powder
Vitamin B12

For inspiration, I visited the Nasoya website for ideas and made several things, riffing on the original recipes. First up is a classic that reminds me of the best egg-salad-sandwich-maker in the whole wide world, my mom.

Bean & Tofu Nada-Egg Salad Sandwiches
Makes 4

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
7 oz. firm tofu, pressed, drained, and crumbled
3 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 sweet gherkins, chopped
5-6 green olives, chopped
thick slice red onion, chopped
lots of ground black pepper
pinch salt
1 tsp. dried dill weed
~1 cup Nayonaise

4 big biscuits, cut in half (or 8 slices of bread)
A handful of sprouts

In a large bowl, mash the garbanzo beans – don’t go crazy, leave some big pieces – and add the remaining ingredients. Stir it all together and let it chill for a little while.

Delicious on bread, of course, or on top of a big pile of chopped romaine lettuce with slices of avocado on top and plenty of raw tortilla chips on the side.

Biscuits and Nada-Egg SaladOne of my favorite ways to use mayo is in a super-quick aioli and I whipped up a batch to go on top of pinto bean burgers. The creaminess of the mayo and the tang of chipotle, garlic and lemon complemented the smokey southwestern flavors beautifully. This would also be great as a dip for sweet potato fries.

Aioli

Spicy-Lemony Aioli
Makes 1/4 cup (2 servings)

1/4 cup Nayonaise
1/2 tsp. chipotle in adobo (chopped or processed until smooth)
1 small clove garlic, minced
zest of 1/2 a lemon

Combine all of the ingredients. Let chill in the refrigerator for a few hours so the flavors blend.

How did I use the NayoWhipped? In the super-moist muffins pictured below – again, a recipe based on one posted on the Nasoya site. I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The spread replaces the traditional fat and I think works a bit like using yogurt. These smell so good while baking.

So, whether you were a Hellman’s girl like me or whether you craved that sweet-tang of Miracle Whip, there is a creamy, rich cruelty-free, vegan alternative that will make your sandwiches (and your muffins!) very yummy indeed.

Applesauce-banana Muffin

Applesauce Banana Muffins
Makes 8 giant ones

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. powdered stevia
1/4 tsp. salt
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup NayoWhipped Sandwich Spread
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Lightly oil muffin tins and preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, stevia and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the banana, applesauce, Sandwich Spread and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until combined – then gently stir in the chips and pecans.

Spoon batter into eight of the greased muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. Devour while still warm. These freeze well.

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Savory Pumpkin Pie with Shiitake Mushroom Streusel

Savory Pumpkin PieIf you’ve had your fill of sweet pumpkin pie already, you might want to try this one.  Nothing sweet (save for a hint of maple syrup) here.

This recipe is an adaptation of one from the November 2012 issue of Cooking Light.  The vegan gruyere cheez is a very slight variation of a recipe I snagged from The Culinary Confessions of Betty Rocker.  I’d never seen oatmeal used in a vegan cheez recipe and therefore had to try it immediately.  I didn’t change it enough to warrant including the recipe here, however, and I encourage you to check out Betty’s site.  Feel free to use your favorite vegan cheez as a substitute for the gruyere (cheddar would be quite nice) – or leave it out entirely.

One year ago today: Roasted Eggplant Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions & Roasted Tomato Sauce

Savory Pumpkin Pie with Shiitake Mushroom Streusel
Serves 8

Filling:
1 recipe for single whole wheat pie crust (I use the recipe on the back of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour bag)

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup silken tofu
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
ground black pepper, to taste

~2/3 cup vegan gruyere cheese, shredded or chopped, divided

Shiitake Mushroom Streusel:
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1/4 cup white wine or water
1/4 cup “bacon” bits, optional (I use Wayfare Foods’ Pig Out Whole Grain Bacony Bits)
1/2 cup whole wheat panko or bread crumbs
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke or use a dash of smoked paprika
ground black pepper, to taste

Make the filling:
Preheat the oven to 425F.  Line a 9″ pie pan with the whole wheat crust and set aside.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the pumpkin puree and the silken tofu.  I processed the tofu in a blender prior to adding it to the pumpkin puree.  Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of vegetable broth, Bragg Liquid Aminos or water to the pan.  Saute the celery and garlic until soft and then stir in the poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove pan from the heat.  Stir the celery mixture along with 1/3 cup of the vegan gruyere into the pumpkin mixture.  Set aside.

Make the mushroom streusel:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of vegetable broth or water.  Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until tender.  Add the wine and cook until has just about evaporated.  Now stir in the “bacon” bits, panko, maple syrup and Liquid Smoke or paprika and ground pepper.  Stir and let the mixture dry out a bit.  The topping will brown up and crisp in the oven, so no need to let it completely dry out in the pan.  Remove from heat, stir in the remaining 1/3 cup vegan gruyere and set aside.

Assemble the pie:
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie shell and smooth out the top.  Crumble the mushroom topping over the filling and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is baked through and the mushroom topping is crisp and browned.  Let the pie rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.  Also tasty served at room temperature.

Savory Pumpkin Pie

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VeganMoFo: Spicy Baked Tofu Sandwich

Tofu SandwichI’ve got a thing for tofu snuggled between two pieces of bread and have offered a few variations (Muffaletta w/ Smoky Tofu; Tofu Salad Sandwiches; The Virtues of Baked Tofu) here already – so what’s one more?  This sandwich contains flavors that I return to again and again in my cooking and is accompanied by the always-welcome creamy avocado, juicy tomato and peppery red onion.

What I posted one year ago today: Rice and Beans with Greens and Artichoke Hearts

Spicy Baked Tofu Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches

Tofu:
1 16 oz. block tofu, cut into 8 thick slices
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. chipotles in adobo sauce (I puree mine)
1/2 tsp. paprika, smoked or otherwise
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. soy sauce
dash Liquid Smoke
1 tbsp. tomato paste concentrate (I use the stuff in a tube – wonderful)
1 tbsp. white miso paste
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 cloves garlic
dash ground black pepper

Guac:
1 avocado
handful of cilantro, chopped
dash cumin, chile powder, coriander and black pepper
squeeze lime
glug of Chipotle Tabasco
some chopped red onion

1 big tomato, thinly sliced

8 slices whole grain bread, toasted

Make the tofu:
The tofu…The first time I made this I didn’t take the time to press/freeze/press the tofu.  What I ended up with was a rather bland sandwich – more tofu than spicy.  The second time I pressed the *[email protected]$ out of the tofu, cut it into 8 slices, froze the slices, thawed them and pressed again.  Yes, you just end up soaking the tofu in the marinade, but the spicy liquid gets into the tofu and isn’t diluted by – - tofu water.  End of speech about pressing/freezing/pressing. You now know where I stand on the matter.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish.  Add the slices of tofu, flip them, and then let soak for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425F and bake the tofu, turning once or twice, until deeply reddish-brown and crispy on the edges.  Add more vegetable broth if needed.  I prefer the tofu to be very firm throughout – but bake it to your textural liking.

Make the guac:
Meanwhile, prepare the “guac.”  In a small bowl, lightly mash the avocado and mix in the cilantro, spices, lime juice, Tabasco and red onion.  Let the guac sit for a while to let the flavors develop.

When the tofu is ready, assemble the sandwiches by piling the guac, tofu and tomatoes on the whole grain bread.  Slice and serve.

Baked Tofu

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VeganMoFo: Khatchapuri Day 2, The Bread

Khatchapuri on PlateMay I present to you the finished product, those little Georgian cheez pies that made life so much easier while living in Russia!

Now, I’d like to draw your attention to the small wine glasses pictured here.  Actually, they are not wine glasses at all, but vodka glasses and they hold a high sentimental value for me.  As some of you know, my brother passed away from brain cancer in July of this year.  In 2005, my dad, brother and I went to Russia together.  It was a chance to spend time together and an opportunity for me to share with them what I’d seen while living there.  The trip had its highlights and low lights, but those stories are for another place and time – accompanied by a few snorts of vodka, perhaps.  The glasses came from the various overnight train rides we took while there.  When you travel First Class on a Russian train, a couple of these small glasses, filled to the brim with vodka, are waiting for you in your cabin.  Talk about hospitality.  This fact delighted my brother.  There’s no doubt it made the train travel that much more enjoyable for him.

I am now in the process of going through my brother’s belongings, sorting through the material things that made up his 51 years of life.  It is a strange, sad, funny and enlightening task.  These glasses were tucked away in a curio cabinet along with other mementos.  My brother saved not only the vodka glasses, but everything else from our trip to Russia: ticket stubs, metro maps, menus, coins and store receipts.  And now the glasses have come to live with me – along with all of those memories from our crazy trip together to Russia.

Khatchapuri
Makes 8 little “pies”

1 cup almond milk, scalded
2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. regular yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Tofu Farmer Cheez (about 1/2 the recipe)

Fresh cilantro, for garnish, if desired

In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, agave nectar and 1/4 cup water.  Set aside to bubble.

In a large bowl, pour the hot milk over the coriander, salt and coconut yogurt.  Add the yeast mixture and the flours and stir just to create a very rough dough.  It will be in chunks and pieces.  Do not be alarmed.  Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

You probably won’t need flour to knead the dough – but if for some reason it’s too sticky – add sparingly.  Conversely, if the dough is dry, sprinkle water on it as you knead.  Knead for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.  Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it to rise for about 1 hour – cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  The dough should nearly double in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 8 pieces.  Roll the pieces into balls, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.

Using your hands, a rolling pin or a combination of both, flatten the dough balls into ovals.  Mine were about 6-8″ in length.  Right in the center of the ovals (leaving an inch or so all around), spoon on a generous scoop of the farmer cheez.  Fold in the two long sides and then pinch the ends.  Set the dough on a baking sheet and proceed with the remaining dough balls.

How To Collage

Cover the baking sheets with clean kitchen towels and let rise for about 45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  They’ll get fat and puffy and sometimes the pinched ends come loose.  Just gently press them back together.

Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350F, rotate the pans and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheez is firm and the khatchapuri are nicely browned.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so before digging in.

Khatchapuri from Above

Khatchapuri on Plate, Wine

VeganMoFo

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VeganMoFo: Khatchapuri Day 1, Tofu Farmer Cheez and A Potluck Update

Farmer Cheez in BowlVirtual Vegan Potluck Update:  We have reached (actually surpassed!) our goal of 100 Potluck participants!  Yay!  The sign-up form on the website will be closed at noon U.S. Mountain Time today – so there’s still a little time to get your blog added.  Tomorrow I will be posting the final list of blogs – in the order they will appear in the Potluck.  The list will be available tomorrow morning both on the VVP Page here and on the VVP website.  More vital information is coming in the days ahead, but you can also visit the website now to get the lowdown on what you need to do to prepare for the Potluck.  Time to get into the kitchen!

Now, let’s make some cheez…

Khatchapuri is a Georgian cheese bread – not unlike an American pizza or a Turkish pide – and it was my absolute favorite thing to eat during the year that I lived in Moscow.  The key to a delicious khatchapuri is a good salty, pungent, tangy, creamy cheese. A bit of a problem for a vegan.  When I was still eating the stuff, I’d use a combination of feta and cream cheese, both readily available items here in the States, while whatever cheese Georgians use for theirs is probably not.

I haven’t made khatchapuri since I went vegan well over a year ago, but VeganMoFo is demanding all the culinary shenanigans that I’ve got – so I decided to tackle one of my most-missed food items. I’ve seen recipes for khatchapuri that call for something called farmer cheese, which I guess has the requisite consistency and tart pungency. I considered making tofu feta, but the recipes I’ve seen call for a lot of olive oil and I’m just not going there. I went somewhere else completely.  The resulting creamy, very salty (without salt), lemony cheez kinda blew off my socks. Tofu, once again, your versatility and chameleon-like abilities amaze me.

Tofu Farmer Cheez
Makes enough for 2 batches of khatchapuri

1 16 oz. carton extra firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup cashews, soaked in water for a few hours, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup almond milk
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup white miso paste
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
ground black pepper, to taste

Combine 1/2 cup almond milk with half of the lemon juice, stir and set aside for a few minutes.

Cut off one-third of the block of tofu and crumble into a blender. Add the cashews, the milk mixture, the soy sauce and miso paste and process until smooth.

Crumble the remaining two-thirds of the tofu into a large bowl. Add the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, garlic, onion flakes, cilantro and black pepper. Stir in the tofu-miso mixture. Pour into an air-tight container and let sit for several hours in the refrigerator – or overnight. The mixture will firm up as it sets.

(This would make a super tasty pita filling – as is – no cooking/baking.)

Khatchapuri, Unbaked

VeganMoFo

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Kung Pau Tofu: The Unprocessed Giveaway

IngredientsKung Pau Tofu from Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight, by Chef AJ.  For details on how to enter the giveaway, please see below.

Bowl Kung Pau Tofu

Kung Pau Tofu Bowl

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below or on any other Unprocessed blog post describing what you find most addicting: sugar, salt or fat.  Or, share your story of how you have cleaned up your diet and changed your life.  For additional entries you can also Like my Facebook pages, An Unrefined Vegan and/or Virtual Vegan Potluck.  The giveaway ends September 25.  Thank you!

The Deets
Title: Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight
Author: Chef AJ (aka Abbie Jaye) with Glen Merzer
Publication Date: 2011
Page Length: 178 pages including 100+ recipes
List Price: $19.95
Publisher: Hale to the Kale Publishing
Websites: www.EatUnprocessed.com; www.chefajshealthykitchen.com
Facebook
Twitter

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(Eating Vegan) Under the Sheltering Sky

Two Cookie-cookies

It can be challenging enough to feed Kel and me while we are on the road, but what about feeding 10 or 11 or 15?  In a place with (count them) zero restaurants, convenience stores or a bright and shiny Whole Foods stocked with vegan salads, hummus and whole grain bread?  Now consider that most of those I’ll be feeding are carnivores.

To celebrate my brother’s life, a big group of us – including many camping greenhorns (I’m among that number) – are heading south into the desert of Ten Mile Wash for a few days to spend time in a place my brother loved.  And before we do that, we’re running, walking or strolling The Little Grand Canyon 10k.  An army fights on its stomach; we have to eat.  By my count we’ll have two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner out in the boonies.  I’ve cooked in small kitchens before, but the camper kitchen is a little snug, so I’m planning on bringing everything down in a nearly-finished or finished state.  Coolers will be clearly marked with “breakfast,” “lunch” and “dinner.”  Plastic bins will have almond butter, mixed grains, trail mix, dried fruit, utensils, kitchen towels, wet wipes, foil, freezer bags, a cutting board, knives and of course, lots of dog food for Ike.  He has to eat, too.

I planned out my menu several weeks in advance and in the week before the trip, I’ve been preparing and pre-baking and -making what I can.  I started with dessert first (makes sense, right?) with crazy Cookie Cookies from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  Along with Double Chocolate Cookies with Blueberries and Mini Dark Chocolate Cashew Cheezcakes  (based on a recipe by Somer at Good Clean Food - who toiled away in her kitchen to develop these just for me; her selfless family did the taste-testing), our sweet teeth should be well-satisfied.

Mini Chocolate Cheezcakes

Mini CheezcakesBreakfasts will consist of mixed rolled grains with dried fruit and almond milk, whole grain bread with cashew and almond butters, apples, bananas and yummy raw bars featured in a previous post; plus the amazing Cookie Bites from a recipe by Erika at Good Clean Food.  My friend Sue specifically requested coffee so I’ll be bringing down a pound of Two Creek which serves up a proprietary blend from Jack Mormon Coffee.

Two Creeks Coffee

Cookie Bites

BBQ Tofu in TortillaFor lunch on the first day, we’ll have BBQ Baked Tofu Sandwiches from The Real Food Daily Cookbook, by Ann Gentry, served on Ezekial sprouted (wheat-free) tortillas (these are my new favorite thing) loaded with avocado, arugula, red onion and an amazing ranch dressing also from Real Food Daily.  Black bean potato salad with arugula pesto should compliment the sandwiches nicely.  That recipe is courtesy of the Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health cookbook.  We’ve got some gluten-intolerant folks coming along and I don’t want anyone to go hungry.

Macadamia Nut Cheez

Red Lentil Soup

We’ll start dinner off with a few slabs of Macadamia Nut Cheez, another recipe from the good folks at The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  It can get pretty chilly in the desert as the sun sets, so I’ll employ one of the camper’s burners to heat up a big pot of Red Lentil Soup also from the first Forks Over Knives cookbook.  I use green garbanzo beans instead of green beans and add mustard seeds and fresh spinach and cilantro.  It is such a flavorful and satisfying soup and I was able to freeze a big batch several days before the trip.  I’ll serve Curried Couscous Salad with the soup as well as whole grain rolls and the aforementioned mini Chocolate Cashew Cheezecakes.

I’m trying not to stress out too much, but there’s some pressure here.  Most of the people I will be feeding are not vegan and I want their eating experience to be satisfying, surprising (in a good way) and delicious.  I’d love to change some minds about what it means to eat plant-based.  I’d also like to be prepared enough that I can focus on why we are out in the desert.  This is all about remembering and celebrating my brother.

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Miso-Ginger Soup with Lettuce Veggie Cups & Two Dipping Sauces

Miso-Ginger Soup

Lettuce CupsThe first time I made this simple miso soup, I was home alone and suffering from a bad cold.  All I wanted was soup (a little sympathy wouldn’t have hurt, either), but I didn’t have the desire or energy to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Miso was the perfect solution.  Quick, easy, comforting and healthful to boot.  You can make it as fancy or as simple as you like.

The veggie wraps come nearly unchanged from a terrific recipe in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.  The biggest revision I made was to ditch the egg roll wrappers (I’ve never been able to successfully wrestle those rascals, anyway, and the ones available to me aren’t vegan) in favor of crisp lettuce.  I also omitted the cooking oil.  The sauces are a result of my tinkering with several different recipes.

If you participated in the recent Virtual Vegan Potluck, wanted to participate or if you’d just like to keep current on the what’s happening, please Like our new Facebook page dedicated to the event.  We’ve posted all of the links to the wonderful recipes from everyone who did participate – please visit and check it out!  You can also keep in touch via the Potluck Twitter handle, @veganpotluck.  Thank you!

Miso-Ginger Soup
Serves 4-6

2″ piece of ginger, peeled and microplaned (or finely minced)
6 cups water
Red Miso, White Miso Paste3-4″ piece kombu
4 tbsp. white miso
3 tbsp. red miso
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 scallions, chopped + additional for garnish
fresh cilantro, chopped

Other add-ins, if desired:
cubed silken tofu
thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
grated carrots
buckwheat noodles

Put 6 cups water in a large saucepan.  Add the kombu and the microplaned ginger.  Gently heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove kombu.  If using add-ins, put them into the soup now and simmer for a few minutes, just to slightly soften the vegetables. (I cook the buckwheat noodles separately and just stir them into the soup at the end.)

Whisk in the miso and the tamari.  Do not let the soup boil.  Cook for about 30 seconds.

Divide soup among 4 or 6 bowls and garnish with additional scallions and cilantro, if desired.

Lettuce Cup in Hand

Lettuce Veggie Wraps
Serves 6 or more

2 oz. bean thread noodles
vegetable broth for cooking
2 cups green cabbage, grated
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or microplaned
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Medium-size head red lettuce or your favorite tasty green

Soak the bean thread noodles in warm water until softened, about 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth and saute the cabbage for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, garlic and ginger and continue to saute for another 4 minutes.  The mushrooms should be soft.  Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes or until carrots and pepper are hot, but still have a nice bite.  Remove from the heat.

Drain the bean thread noodles and cut into 4″ lengths with scissors.  Add them to the vegetables along with the scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, basil and cilantro.  Stir to combine.

To serve, place a generous spoonful of the bean thread mixture onto lettuce leaves.  Dip.  Consume.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 small clove garlic, microplaned or finely minced
1/4 tsp. chile garlic paste
dash ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and dip to your heart’s content.

Chile Garlic SauceChile-Garlic Sauce

1 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos (or additional tamari/soy sauce)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. white vinegar
3 tbsp. vegetable broth
pinch crystallized stevia or maple sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced or microplaned
2-3 scallions, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes.

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Build It and They Will Come: Muffuletta with Smoky Tofu & Olive Salad

Muffalette SandwichI love baked tofu sandwiches.  But one thing that has always kind of nagged at me is that the baked tofu that I remove from the oven (dark brown, crisped edges) is not the same baked tofu that I remove from the refrigerator the next day.  It’s still delicious and perfect for stuffing sandwiches, adorning salads, or filling out stir-fries, but the texture has reverted back to its soft, cushy beginnings.  I decided to see what I could do about that.

I started by freezing the tofu because this easy process apparently changes the texture of the tofu and makes it firmer, chewier.  For added moisture reduction, I pressed the tofu prior to freezing it – then sliced it very thinly.  Once it had been frozen and thawed, I gently pressed it again, just using paper towels and the pressure from my hands.  The final step in creating a crispier tofu, was to broil it briefly after baking.  I’m very happy with results: a bit chewy, and bit crispy, but still tender.  The marinade is packed with flavor and combined with the olive salad this sandwich will do all kinds of good things to your taste buds.

A note on the bread that I made for these sandwiches.  It’s a pane Siciliano from Peter Reinhart’s wonderful book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I upped the whole wheat, but otherwise stuck to his 3-day process.  This loaf reminds me of the sesame seed-encrusted Italian bread from my childhood which makes perfect sense.  What does muffuletta mean?  Round, Sicilian sesame bread.

Muffuletta with Smoky Tofu & Olive Salad
Makes enough for several sandwiches

Tofu Marinade:
Sliced Tofu1 tbsp. vegetable broth
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
3 tbsp. red miso paste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch ground black pepper
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
1 tbsp. water

Olive Salad:
1 16 oz. jar of Italian Mix Giardianera
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 cup green olives
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the tofu:
A day or two before making the sandwiches, freeze the tofu.  Before I did this, I pressed the tofu for about a half an hour, drained it and sliced it very thinly. You can see that I got 17 slices out of it.  I placed the slices on a parchment-lined half halfsheet baking pan, covered it with plastic wrap and popped it into the freezer.  After a day, it got a slight yellow color which disappeared after I thawed it.  Once it’s thawed, press down lightly on the tofu to extract moisture.  Now you’re ready to marinate and bake.

Make the tofu marinade:
Combine all of the marinade ingredients and whisk together.

Bake the tofu:
Preheat the oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment (if using parchment, remove before broiling – no one wants to see their tofu go up in flames).  Brush both sides of the tofu slices with marinade.  Really slather it on there.  When the oven is ready, get the tofu in there and bake – taking it out now and again to baste the slices and turn them.  I kept doing this until the marinade was gone and the tofu had started to brown and crisp.  Because I was going for a really firm, crispy texture, I finished off the tofu by popping it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Either use the tofu immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the olive salad:
In a food processor, combine all of the olive salad ingredients.  Process until the desired consistency.  I like it evenly pulverized, but if you like bigger chunks, have at it.  Set aside or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.  You will have more than you need for a couple of sandwiches, but it makes a tasty spread or dip, too.  You’ll think of something.

Pane SicilianoBuild your sandwich:
Grab some hearty wheat rolls or thick slices of crusty bread and start layering.  Add what you love – tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, red onion…

Build It

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