Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crispy Cajun Tofu Sticks

My approach to tofu these days is to coat it in some kind of spice mixture before doing anything else. This is a great way to add lots of flavour to the otherwise neutral bean curd. After coating with spices you can fry it, grill it, coat it with sauce . . . whatever suits your fancy. This tofu is dipped in soymilk and coated with bread crumbs (cereal, actually) to provide some crispy crunch. I think these would have been even better with some kind of dipping sauce, so I am open to suggestions.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, cut into sticks
- 3/4 cup soymilk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- bread crumbs, or crushed cereal

Spice Mix
- 2 tsp (smoked) paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- cayenne pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Mix together ingredients for spice mixture in a large bowl. Add in tofu sticks and gently toss to coat.
2. Mix together soy milk and vinegar. Dip a tofu stick in mixture, then toss in bread crumbs or crushed cereal to coat. Repeat with remaining sticks.
3. From here you have two options: 1. Fry in 350 degree oil; or 2. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 mins, turning half way through.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

English Muffins: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I am munching on one of these right now, slathered with the strawberry jam I made this summer (the jam is on the muffin, not me). I have made these before, but after some practice I think I have them perfect now. The trick is to make a wettest dough you can without it being sticky. This will give the muffin a nice tender and holey structure.

GENERAL NOTES
1. I always double the recipe so I can make a dozen. No point going to all that work for 6 muffins that the kids would down in one sitting.
2. As mentioned above, aim for a wet dough without it being sticky. You need to shape it without it sticking to your hands. I used the full amount of liquid listed and kneaded it in a stand mixer.
3. I like to press the boules into puck shapes so they are flatter and cook more evenly.
4. I use a cast-iron flat skillet to cook these. Monitor the temperature carefully to make sure the muffins do not burn. Adjust as needed.
5. When the muffins rise, they round slightly on the top side. Cook the top side first, and gently press down on the muffin with your fingers once in the skillet to flatten it out a bit.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I subbed plain soy milk for the milk.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I didn't have anything to celebrate (seeing as I have to go back to work tomorrow), but this is the next recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice so celebration bread it was. If you actually had people over for some kind of celebration, this bread is bound to impress--a double braided loaf crammed with fruit and nuts. After messing up the challah, I got the braiding technique right this time, but found that my loaf rose a little lopsided. Oh well. It still tastes great. The recipe is not on Google Books, but you really should buy a copy of the book.

GENERAL NOTES
1. I used pecans instead of walnuts since I had no walnuts.
2. I did not have enough dried cranberries, so I used a mix of cranberries, dried cherries, and some leftover candied orange peel from Christmas. It was actually really good.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I subbed an equal weight of soy yogurt for the eggs.
2. I subbed soy milk for the milk.
3. I subbed margarine for the butter.
4. I used plain soy milk instead of the egg wash. As you can see, you can still get that deep brown and glossy crust without egg whites.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bourbon Glazed Acorn Squash

Reading week is drawing to close and I have accomplished less than half of what I wanted to. Sigh. But, we did get to the cottage for a few days for some snow-filled fun with the cousins. Since we had pancakes for breakfast every day at the cottage, I really was not in the mood for them come Shrove Tuesday. Instead, I went with some Cajun flavours--a Cajun tofu (next post) and this glazed squash. No real culinary breakthrough, but very tasty nonetheless.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 acorn squash, seeded, cut into quarters
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch cayenne pepper

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Place squash quarters skin side up on a baking sheet. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 mins.
2. While squash is baking, melt margarine in a small pot, then remove from heat. Stir in sugar, bourbon, and spices. Set aside.
3. Remove squash from oven, and remove squash from baking sheet. Line baking sheet with the foil you used to cover the squash, then place squash skin side down on foil. Brush thickly with glaze.
4. Return to oven and bake another 20-30 mins, brushing with glaze about every 5 mins until deeply golden and cooked through. The glaze will pool a bit in the bottom of each wedge, which is fine. Serve in the skin. If you have leftover glaze, mix it with some cooked carrots.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Sunday is Chinese New Year, and since I know next to squat about good Chinese cooking, you need to head over the Chow Vegan for an amazing spread of nine dishes to make your own New Year's feast. I only wish I could find egg-free wonton wrappers and yuba sheets so I could make all of this stuff!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Corn Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

This is the best corn bread I have ever had. Not that I have had a lot of corn bread . . . but still. Instead of dry and crumbly, this corn bread is moist and fluffy and filled with tasty, tasty, corn (I love the flavour of baked corn). Baked in a cast iron skillet for a nice crispy crust, this bread is perfection. Note: the pages are out of order on the Google Books version. Just scroll up a few pages to see the rest of the recipe.

GENERAL NOTES
1. I did not soak the polenta overnight because I did not plan ahead. Instead, I warmed up the soy milk and let the polenta soak for about 2 hours.
2. I think I will reduce the baking powder to 1 tbsp next time--the final bread had a bit of a taste.
3. As mentioned above, I baked this in a cast iron skillet. I think it is smaller than 10 inches, so I ended up baking it for 45 mins.

VEGAN NOTES
1. No bacon.
2. I added 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to the soy milk to make "buttermilk."
3. The 3 eggs were made from 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax and 3 tbsp water, let soak, then whisk) and soy yogurt to make up the rest of the weight.

4. Maple syrup for honey (could use agave, I am sure)
5. Margarine subbed for butter.
6. I used 1 tbsp of canola oil to grease the pan instead of the bacon fat.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Easy Southern Tofu

This is a quick and simple version of my Memphis BBQ Tofu recipe. I have really been slacking off on the winter BBQing this year, and I am pretty sure I am out of propane. I guess I am getting old and timid because in years past I have had no problem shovelling a path to the BBQ to grill up tasty food and dream of summer. The meal started with Peter Reinhart's corn bread (recipe coming in my next post) and I felt I needed some southern flavours to go with it. I had bought some collard greens earlier in the week so I cooked whipped up this recipe (but cooked them for about an hour). And, I made this tofu.

INGREDIENTS

Dry Rub
- 4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- cayenne pepper to taste

- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, cut into 8 slices
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/3 cup Jack Daniels
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- dash of hot sauce

METHOD
1. Combine rub ingredients. Roll each tofu slice in rub until coated. Set aside.
2. Heat oil on med to med hi in a large frying pan. Fry tofu for a few mins on each side, until nicely browned. Add more oil, if needed. Remove from pan.
3. Add Jack Daniels to pan and let reduce a bit. Add remaining ingredient and mix well. Bring to bubbling and let thicken. Add tofu and turn to coat. Serve.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Entry two in the cinnamon section: a raisin walnut bread. For the life of me I can't find the pics I snapped of the bread, so I am including the one from the book found on Google Books. Sorry to say that the recipe is not also included (I guess this is what "limited preview" means). This is a pretty straight forward raisin bread (with super easy vegan subs), and the walnut adds a very nice touch. It was perfect warm from the oven, and still good the next day toasted for breakfast.

GENERAL NOTES
1. I need to get an 8.5 by 4.5 inch pan since Reinhart seems to favour smaller loaves for breads baked in pans. I was tempted to just make one mega loaf in a large pan, but decided against it.
2. I used half of the cinnamon mixture for the cinnamon swirl, and opted against dusting the loaves with cinnamon and sugar.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I used an equal weight of soy yogurt for the egg.
2. I used soy milk for the whole milk.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Easy Green Curry

I love green curry, but I find I rarely make it and gravitate more to a sweet and sour red curry. This dish came together quite quickly from the veggies still kicking around in the fridge at the end of the shopping week. As you can see from the pic, this is a drier curry, but you could add more coconut milk to make it more saucy to be served over rice. I really like the black beans with the broccoli--an unexpected and tasty combination.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp, oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
- green curry paste, to taste
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup coconut milk, or more as desired
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Saute shallot, garlic, and ginger for a few mins, until fragrant and lightly browned. Add sweet potato and fry for 5 mins.
2. Add broccoli and cook for about 15 mins, adding splashed of water as needed to help stem/cook the veggies and keep them from sticking to the pan.
3. Add curry paste, along with 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Add soy sauce and beans and cook for about 5 mins, making sure the veggies are now fully cooked.
4. Add coconut milk, season to taste, and serve.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cinnamon Buns: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I am now into the cinnamon section of the cookbook, which is a pretty nice place to be!

GENERAL NOTES
1. I made 12 buns--this made for a good size, not too big or too small.
2. The recipe calls for quite a bit of cinnamon-sugar filling. I found it spilled out when I cut the roll of dough, so I sprinkled it on top of the buns so it did not go to waste.
3. The recipe also makes WAY too much icing (4 cups). This could easily be halved, if not more.
4. I did not care for the orange extract in the icing and would just use vanilla extract next time.
5. The recipe calls for bread flour or all purpose flour, so I used half and half. This made for a nice chewy bun that was still tender.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I subbed an equal weight of soy yogurt for the egg.
2. I subbed soy milk for the milk.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tofu and Potato Cakes

This is a take on a fish cake from an Indian cookbook I have. While the nori flakes do give some sea-like flavour, the end result is nothing like a fish cake, of course, but still tasty. I actually liked these better the next day after being fried up in a pan. I think it's because the potatoes firm up a bit and are less gooey. Still, either version is pretty good and the kids loved them.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 20 cakes
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, and coarsely mashed
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 green chile, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp nori flakes
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup soymilk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- bread crumbs

METHOD
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. While potatoes are cooking and cooling, crumble tofu into a bowl. Add green onions, chile, ginger, cilantro, nori flakes, flax seed, cornstarch, and salt and pepper. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, mix into the tofu. Knead a bit with your hands to being it all together.
2. Whisk cider vinegar into soymilk. Shape potato mixture into patties, dip in soy milk, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing the patty into the crumbs to get a good coating. Place on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake for 30 mins, turning patties after 20 mins. Serve with chili sauce.