Red Pepper Curry, Gyros, and a Cat

I’m much better at just posting pictures than dutifully writing posts. So here are some more testers from Terry’s cookbook-in-progress.

Red Pepper Tofu Curry with Coconut Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables. Rather labor intensive making the curry paste from scratch (it’s got cashews and ancho chiles in it!) but was pretty good. I loved the coconut quinoa (just coconut milk and shredded coconut mixed in).

The gyro seitan in the back there is another tester and it’s awesome. I made tofu feta, roasted tomatoes, hummus, and the cucumbers and steamed broccoli for a gyro feast.

It made me so happy. The only thing missing was the tzatziki sauce, so I’ll just have to make it again.

 

And just because, here’s a picture of our goofy cat.

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Health Food

The other night we ate green. Everything was green. The kale salad, herby quinoa tabbouli, and sumac tofu with baby bok choy and broccoli was delicious and the perfect image of what my dad imagines me eating every day. If only I could eat this every day. Kale salad is one of my favorite things and the tabbouli was a great way to use up lots of fresh herbs from our CSA (maybe a little unconventional with cilantro but it worked really well in contrast to the parsley). I purposefully bought sumac last week to make this tofu after seeing Amey post about it here. All in all an awesome meal.

The tabbouli was based on the one in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, the kale had a golden beet, tahini, soy sauce, and maybe lime juice? Too many kale salads to remember specifics.

Tofu á la Diable

It’s no secret I love France and French food and Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. I picked up Around My French Table a few weeks ago from the library. And then rechecked it out today. And am adding it to my Christmas list (along with far too many other cookbooks). I love the stories and ideas as much as the recipes. I don’t mind non-vegan cookbooks because I enjoy veganizing things.

Like this here Tofu á la Diable which means devil tofu. I guess it was supposed to be scary hot since dijon mustard is soo spicy (/sarcasm). I added some cayenne to mine and it still wasn’t very devilish, but it was super tasty and easy. Mix together some strong, good dijon mustard, a minced shallot and a minced garlic clove, some cayenne pepper, and a little water or wine to thin. Dip tofu slices in this then press into panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle with melted EB if you so desire and broil for a few minutes (watch the breadcrumbs closely, they like to burn). Flip and broil a few more minutes.

Next time I might marinate the tofu and make some sort of sauce for it. Along with it I had some kale salad (because I’m addicted to it) and celeriac-potato mash. It was supposed to be puree, but it didn’t want to cooperate with my brand new ricer. This was my first time trying celery root and I really like it. I’m not usually a fan of celery unless dipped in peanut butter, but I will add the root into regular rotation among the mashed veggie set.

Neighbors

We have wonderful neighbors here in Ames. They invite us for dinner and speed scrabble. We loan each other ingredients and baking pans. AND when they dumpster dive they bring us treats. Like today when we got bread from that ubiquitous overpriced bakery chain. 

I like sticking it to the man with blueberry bagels. 

I also baked sunflower cookies and am marinating tofu which will go into stir fry.

Asian Marinated Tofu

1 lb. Extra firm tofu

Slice and press for at least half an hour.

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. tamari

1 tbsp. red wine (sake or sherry would be better, but I had open red wine)

1 tbsp. cider vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

3 tbsp. water

1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

 

Combine all in an oven safe pan, add tofu, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes at least. It can also be left overnight. Flip tofu halfway through marinating.

Preheat oven to 375ºF and bake for 35 – 45 minutes. Add tofu to stir fry or serve on its own. The juice is wonderful added to stir fries as well. Mix with a little cornstarch and you got yourself  a little sauce.

Moussaka

It may sound weird on the tongue, but it tastes just fine. Most traditional moussaka has lamb and cheese and all that jazz. But vegan moussaka doesn’t need all that malarkey. I had an eggplant that needed using and I didn’t want to go the curry route. I’ve made the Veganomicon moussaka before and its damn tasty. Trouble was I didn’t have all the ingredients. So I improvised and created an incredibly untraditional recipe. This is based off the VCon recipe which you can find in the book, or if you’re a broke college student its floating around the interwebs. In which case you should ask for it at the next appropriate holiday.

Moose Kaka? No, no – Moussaka 

1 eggplant, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch sheets

1 zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch sheets

1 sweet potato, you get the picture – trimmed and sliced

Oil

Sauce

1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes, but sauce would save a step)

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 tsp. each dried thyme, oregano, rosemary

Salt and pepper

Nut Cream

1 lb. silken tofu

2/3 c. almonds or walnuts (I used a mix of both)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 rounded teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

Pinch of mace

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Oil some sheet pans and arrange the sliced veggies on them. Roast 15 minutes for the zucchini and eggplant, and 20 minutes for the sweet potato.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting and the sauce a’simmerin’ you can make the nut cream (terrible name but I don’t know what else to call it, maybe walnut ricotta). Pulse the nuts until evenly chopped. Add the lemon juice and grind to a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl every once in a while. Add the rest of the cream/ricotta ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the salt and seasonings if you need too. 

At this point the veggies should be nearing done and the sauce is ready. Turn off the stove, turn down the oven to 350ºF and take the veggies out. Let them begin to cool either on the pan or if you have limited space (such as myself) put them on a plate and out of the way. If you used tomato sauce kudos to you. If you used diced tomatoes then scrape the cream/ricotta into another dish and puree the tomato sauce. Now, assemble!

In a 9×13 pan layer a good 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Now in goes a layer of eggplant then sweet potato. Another layer of tomato sauce and 1/3 to 1/2 the nut stuff. On goes the zucchini, the rest of the eggplant, rest of the tomato sauce, and the rest of the nut cream/ricotta.

The original recipe calls for putting this in for 35-40 minutes. I think mine was in for an hour, but thats because not all the dinner participants were there. I took mine out after an hour, let it cool, then popped it back in to warm it up later. I think this made it really nice. We all know lasagne is better the next day because its had time to set, same thing here. Don’t try to cut it up immediately out of the oven. Your patience will be rewarded. 

But no picture, you have to make it yourself. We ate it too quickly and the remains disappeared into a lunchbox.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of KarynMC.

The Obligatory Vegan Post

I haven’t been vegan long. I actually have no idea how long. There have been the obvious slips and falls but I can’t pinpoint a time where I definitively said I was vegan. When asked I’ve said I am for a while, but time is such a transient thing. I can tell you how long I’ve been vegetarian. I had my last piece of eel sushi on December 11, 2006. It was my birthday and I decided that would be the end. Other meat has been gone for maybe 3 years or so. 

It is all thanks for my best friend Jen. She’s been vegetarian since high school and I went to visit over spring break one year. For the sake of not being a burden I decided to be vegetarian for a week. And it just sort of stuck. I was used to eating whatever my mom made me and I found that I liked to cook. All my dietary transitions have been slow. I still made allowances for my mom’s meatballs at Thanksgiving and sushi on birthdays. But that is all done now. I actually look forward to making vegan versions of my favorite comfort foods. 

The beginning of my veganism was full of veggie stir fry, soup, and hummus platters with lots of crudite. While still delicious I know I’ve come a long way from that. Tofu is no longer to be feared In fact I love that stuff. And just last night I made my very first tofu scramble. Nick made me my first one a few days ago and last night I made it myself. Its been dubbed Bavarian Tofu Scramble and will go into rotation every week now.

1 tbsp. oil

1/2 c. chopped cabbage

1 tsp. each granulated garlic and onion

1/2 lb. firm tofu

1 tbsp. Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning (crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and sage)

1 tsp. kosher salt and a few turns of the pepper mill 

3 tbsp. nutritional yeast or however noochy you like it.

1/4 c. chopped parsley

Heat oil over medium high and add cabbage. When cabbage starts to become tender (3-5 minutes) add onion and garlic. Crumble tofu into pan and add Bavarian, salt, and pepper. Once its all stirred in add the nooch and keep cooking. Don’t stir constantly, you want those really good crunchy bits. Add parsley near the end of cooking. It needed using up so here it is. 

 

Speaking of classics, I had a bunch of apples that were not suitable for eating out of hand. That plus a box of prune plums that I got for $.69 makes apple-plum butter. There are also a few strawberries thrown in for good measure.

5 apples, cored

12 small plums, pitted

2/3 c. frozen strawberries

Sugar to taste (I used approximately 1 c. sugar)

1/2 tbsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Toss the apples in the food processor until you have a chunky applesauce, same with the plums and strawberries. Dump it all in a crockpot along with the spices and some sugar, you can always add more sugar. I let mine go overnight on low with the cover on. In the morning I cracked the lid and let the liquid cook out. This made one and a half jars.

 

And just today I had my first bite of a tofurkey and veganaise sandwich. Good god that stuff is good.