Recipe: Lettuce wraps for your mouth »
Any of y’all ever go to P.F. Chang’s? It was my favorite restaurant when I was but a wee teenager in Indianapolis, and one of the yummiest menu items was the vegetarian lettuce wraps. I found myself craving these this weekend, but the nearest Chang’s is on the other side of the bay, so I decided to try to make some instead. Even though I used the “wrong” kind of lettuce because that’s what I had so GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, they were still really yummy: Goes well with Blue Moon, 2-Buck Chuck, Absolut straight from the bottle, +c.
Accidentally Low-Carb Lettuce Wraps Ingredients
1 head of lettuce (iceberg probably works better than the red-leaf I used)
3 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 pound of tofu, pressed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup celery, minced
5 smallish carrots, minced
1 8-oz. can of water chestnuts, minced
2 bulbs shallots, minced (PROTIP: save time by mincing all this shit together, in a food processor if you’ve got one)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger (did you know you can buy that madness in jars now?)
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
Hot chili paste or sriracha, to taste
1. Heat your skillet on medium-high, and pour 2 Tbsp. of the oil in there. Once it’s hot, throw your tofu in there. Stir frequently until it’s pretty brown; this will take maybe 10 minutes. Add your ginger, coriander, thyme, and pepper. Stir for about a minute, and then add your minced mix. Take a moment to appreciate the shallot: It’s like if garlic and onion had the most beautiful, delicious baby ever in existence, not that babies are generally delicious, I mean, I wouldn’t know about the taste of babies, OKAY GOD ANYWAY.
2. Stir and cook for a while (10 minutes-ish?) until your veggies are soft. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and as much chili paste or sriracha as you can handle. Cook for a while longer until some of the liquid evaporates. Once it’s acceptable to you, remove from heat. You might want to let it cool for a while so its sheer heat doesn’t rip holes in your lettuce.
3. Take a leaf of lettuce, put some of this mixture on it, roll it up to the best of your ability, and nom. Make sure you have a fork nearby.
Warning: These are low-carb, so if that’s bad for you, add some rice or toast or something. I would marry carbs if they were a person, so I had some popcorn later in the evening. #popcorn4lyfe
Book review: “Rabbit Food” cookbook has a lot of info and cute drawings »
I’ve been sent an adorable copy of Beth Barnett’s cute new cookbook, Rabbit Food, to review, and it contains much more information than simply recipes, which is good because I had to modify substantially the savory recipes I made. I’m a bitch, sorry!
That being said, I’m a big fan of “Beth Bee,” as I understand she goes by. This book is accessible to vegans, vegetarians, and omnis, as the preface says: “I know that not everyone using this book will be vegan or completely vegetarian. This book will not self-destruct in protest. It’s happy you’re at least at the table!” However, it’s worth noting that a few recipes contain honey.
The book’s zine roots are apparent in the by-hand illustrations and spiral binding:
MOUSSE ≠ MOOSE, sillyhead!
The book goes on to discuss the vegan perspective on the food supply, health considerations, and the history of food in North America, a section that is highly fascinating and covers the food practices of indigenous peoples up to now. Then it gives you some tips for starting your first garden, whether urban or regular. The last bit before you get to the food (which is what we’re waiting for, right?) shows you how to sew your own reusable grocery bags and produce bags, the latter of which is, to me, a novel idea.
The breakfast, soup, entree, drinks, and sweets recipes include such tasty gems as Easy Baking Powder Biscuits and Almond Gravy, Split Pea & Potato Soup, Tofu Pot Pie (recipe below), Nutritional Yeast Cheese, and Cocoa No-Bake Drops.
While the sweet recipes were winners, it is my opinion that fresh onions and/or garlic would be a welcome addition to almost every recipe. Some recipes half-ass it with onion and garlic powder, but I really think the fresh versions are worth the trouble.
I will now share this Tofu Pot Pie recipe from the book with you. While it looks a bit involved and has a lot of parts, it really doesn’t take too long to make. You can mix the crust and/or cook the tofu in advance, even. Sadly, it could use some modifications that seem so obvious to me now, so you’ll see a few spots where I edited it below.
A light burned out in my kitchen, and I can’t reach it. Deal with it.
Tofu Pot Pie
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain “milk”
pinch of salt
Mix everything together; knead. Set aside while preparing filling for pie. Then preheat the oven to 450 F.
Separate the dough into two slightly unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece between two sheets of parchment paper (do this, trust me) and then lay it into the pie pan. Cover the crust with foil, fill it with dry beans or pie weights (do this too, trust me!) and bake it for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven, and set aside the bottom crust and the extra dough.
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because Trader Joe’s does not carry poultry seasoning, or lime juice, for that matter)
diced minced onion
Boil water, add the bouillon cube and oil, mix together flour & yeast and then add SLOWLY while whisking, stirring out lumps. Add diced onion last. Stir and cook on low to medium heat until thick. Set aside. IGNORE THIS.
Saute your onions in a saucepan with the vegetable oil until they are nice and soft; otherwise your pot pie ends up with crunchy onions, which, when in a soft, soupy setting, fully gross me out. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—add your onions last as the recipe mandates.
Add water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. While you wait, mix the other ingredients together. Once water is boiling, whisk in the dry mixture little by little. When it gets thick, remove from heat.
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 lb. firm tofu, cubed
Shake to mix everything but the tofu together in paper or plastic bag. Add tofu cubes and shake to coat well.
1 lb. breaded tofu (from above)
2 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped potato
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup diced onion (EDIT: To make this easier and faster, instead of celery, carrot, and peas, I just used two cups of “ghetto veggies.”)
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (EDIT)
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
In a large skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sauté everything on medium heat. Stir frequently, cooking for about 20 minutes total, or until the potatoes start to soften up. They don’t have to be completely done, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and mix in the gravy from Part 2.
Y’all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of vegan cooking, it’s never trust a recipe without garlic. Here’s what you really want to do: In a separate skillet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, saute the tofu, flipping as much as you can, until it gets nice and brown and crispy.
While you’re working on that, heat the remainder of the oil in another, much larger skillet. Saute the onions and fresh celery, if using, until they’re soft (maybe 8 to 10 minutes). Add the garlic and salt, and stir until that shit is fragrant as fuck. Then add the rest of your veggies and continue cooking until everything is cooked through. Mix in the tofu and the gravy.
N.B. You will need a big-ass skillet, and don’t make the mistake of using cast-iron on your tofu (royally fucked that up myself).
For assembly (FINALLY)!
Decrease oven temperature to 375 F. Then pack all the filling into the pre-cooked bottom pie crust in the pie pan. Pat down the filling to remove pockets of air. At last!
Roll out the second half of the pie crust dough (between the two pieces of parchment paper). Drape and position the top crust dough over the filling, and pinch it together at the edges with the bottom crust. Using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative vents in the top.
Bake your pot pie at 375 F for 30 minutes.
Vegan MoFo PLUS: Tofu Xpress makes amazing antipasto! »
The cool dudes over at Tofu Xpress were kind enough to send over a unit for review, and I was so pumped about using the nifty gadget that I decided to incorporate it into my Vegan MoFo recipe. Talk about slicing two carrots with one knife!
The Tofu Xpress is a fully dishwasher-safe, easy-to-use, gourmet kitchen tool. Though it was created to remove moisture from a traditional block of tofu, it can be used for other foods that need pressing as well. To use, place a block of firm or extra-firm tofu into the container, attach and lock the lid, and let it do its job. Most of the water will be gone after an hour or so, but you can leave the Tofu Xpress in the fridge overnight, or however long you’d like.
Once pressed, tofu becomes easier to grill, marinate, stir fry and bake and results in richer flavors and increased versatility. After food prep, the machine is easy to clean and store, with only two, corrosion-resistent parts. Miraculous! After searching for some relatively simple pressed-tofu recipes, I was thrilled to find the perfect project: Marinated Tofu Cheese.
After pressing a block of extra-firm tofu for 48 hours (I wanted to be sure!), I chopped it into small blocks and tossed it with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh basil and rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. After making sure it was well combined, I packed the whole mixture into a Mason jar, topped it up with more olive oil, and let it sit in my fridge—patiently—for almost four days to soak up all the goodness.
Today, I picked up an Italian loaf at a local market and packed it, along with about half of my ready-to-devour mixture, and headed into work. After tasting the antipasto goodness myself, and gathering feedback from my foodie coworkers, the consensus is that my first Tofu Xpress experience was indeed a GREAT success!
Next time I’ll add a few whole cloves of garlic to the marinade, but aside from that it was truly delicious and rich. One of my coworkers said she’d even love to serve it at a party! Win! Can’t WAIT to try another recipe!
[Tofu Xpress image via Rollin’ Oats Market]
Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival happening on Saturday in Japantown! »
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Who loves tofu? I DO! I want tofu every day, every way, just like I want my men. I mean.
I have no idea who I am or why the tofu cube in the video looks so evil, but the first annual Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival is on Saturday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in San Francisco’s Japantown Peace Plaza. It’s supposed to be a fundraiser for the Nichi Bei Foundation, a nonprofit benefiting the Japanese-American community, but entry is free.
Supreme yumminess will be present in the form of booths for Tofu Yu, JapaCurry, San Jose Tofu, and many other vendors and sponsors. There will also be a raffle ($1,000 grand prize!), educational materials on soy (who cares—it’s delicious), live performances from hula to rapping, and free samples (NOW YOU’RE SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE).
If you want to be one of the audience judges for the Tofu Dessert Competition, listen up: space is limited to the first 30 people who show up, and it costs $25. The desserts must be at least 50 percent tofu, but there’s no stipulation that they be vegan, so take your chances if you dare! Or have an omni friend do it and sneak you bites of the vegan ones! CAN I GET A “HELL YEAH”?!
"The best tofu scramble ever," by Casey R. Are those soybeans in there? And kale? Uuuuugh I miss tofu so much you guys.
Product Review: Rico M. Panada spinach and tofu empanadas! »
Welcome to my new favorite thing: Rico M. Panada’s spinach and tofu vegan empanadas! I’m a fan. I’m even toasting them, as the box recommends, instead of microwaving them, as my impatient stomach demands. Many of the brand’s empanadas aren’t vegan but the spinach ones are and then they have a beet and black bean vegan one I’ve yet to try (haven’t found it yet).
As you might imagine, the flavor of this empanada is very reminiscent of spanakopita. It doesn’t have that creamy and salty flavor you get with the traditional spanakopita cheese mixture, but it’ll definitely remind you of the Greek dish. I’m pretty into them. I feel like they are something my mom could get down with but I’m not sure if they are up to my tofu-phobic dad’s level. They are kind of high in fat but have no saturated fat, they are high in protein and fiber, AND they are Mediterraneanish—total mom food. Am I right? Come on, I’m always right! At least when it comes to mom-trends. Is that something to be proud of?
They have them at Union Market here in Brooklyn. I can’t tell where else they have them! Their site doesn’t seem to say. But you should totally write them and be like, “How can I be down?” That’s what we have to start doing now; writing the hell out of everyone like, “Ship to this coast! We’re hungry!”
Tim is trying to engage your Vegansaurus in some sort of polyamory by luring us the the East Coast with his dinner. All the potatoes and tofu fried with onions, poblano, grape tomatoes, and avocado “[we] can eat,” he says.
You guys we’re not really into sharing much besides food and our boundless wisdom but for fried avocado we could be persuaded.
[Send me your food porn, if you’ve got it!]
Reader JP shares this photo of Soyrizo, tofu, black bean, potato, Daiya, and jalapeño tamales. Family traditions made vegan!