27 October 2013

Orange Tofu with rice and broccoli

We bought a tofu press this week. This one to be exact. It is essentially two plastic cutting boards with screws on two sides to compress the tofu. It is amazing. I looked at the reviews for both this one and the Tofu Xpress and decided to go with the simpler gadget. It took about 20 minutes to press the block of tofu down to dense deliciousness. For the first go with the press, I decided to use the resulting tofu in an orange sauce over rice with broccoli. I used a combination of three recipes for the orange sauce (Food52, Vegetarian Ventures, and the PPK).

1 16 oz package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
olive oil

zest from 1 orange
juice from two oranges
2 - 4 T rice wine vinegar (I think the higher amount balances out the sweet and salty well)
1 T maple syrup
1 - 2 T soy sauce
2 inch chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
Sriracha (or a fresh chili, or red chili flakes)
1 T cornstarch


1 head broccoli
olive oil

green onions, chopped

Press tofu using whatever device you fancy until it is firm, dense, and dry. It took about 20 minutes with our new gadget.

Cook rice in whatever way you fancy. We have a cheapo rice cooker and I'm not sure how I cooked rice without it.

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F. Chop broccoli into pieces and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put on a small pan in a single layer and place in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes until the florets are a bit burnt and the stalk is tender.

While the tofu is pressing, rice is steaming, and broccoli is roasting, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust sauce, although not too much, the character changes a bit when it is heated. Make sure there are no clumps from the cornstarch.

When tofu is done pressing, cut into slices. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and add slices. Cook on each side until crispy, about 10 minutes all together.

Once the tofu goes into the pan, add the sauce to a large high sided skillet. Heat the sauce over medium heat until it starts to bubble and thicken and turn off the heat. Stir every so often to keep the sauce from becoming too stiff. Add the broccoli and tofu to the sauce when they are done and stir to coat. Serve over rice with fresh green onions.

We both loved the texture of the tofu after pressing it and the sauce was delicious. The tofu was chewy and not mushy at all. I am a tofu press convert. I cut the tofu into cubes and because I didn't marinate the tofu before cooking, the tofu was a bit bland in the middle. I suggest cutting thin slabs for this dish or marinating in the sauce before cooking. I am eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow and perhaps the sauce will soak in by then.

27 March 2013

Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches

When I was growing up, church was three hours. In order to feed our hungry bellies after church in the quickest way possible, my parents would usually have something going in the slow cooker before we left for church. One of the things that I really enjoyed were the BBQ sandwiches. I'm not sure what meat was used (pork? beef?), but it was placed in the cooker and covered in BBQ sauce. When we got home, it was shredded and placed on toasted buns with slices of American cheese and pickles. I loved it. This is my vegan recreation of that.

Serves: 4 sandwiches (with about 1/2 cup leftover)

Inspired by BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich

1 15 oz can of jackfruit NOT IN SYRUP
1/2 12 oz jar of BBQ sauce (I used Stubb's BBQ Sauce, I think I was feeling particularly nostalgic for Texas the day I bought it.)

1/4 small cabbage
2 T vegan mayo
chiptole powder

Bulkie buns
vegan cheese, optional (a nice vegan cheese sauce might be good here)

Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Place the jackfruit into a 1.5 qt slow cooker, add BBQ sauce and stir until the jackfruit is covered. Cover the cooker and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. I let it go to 8 hours and that might have been too long. Using a strong fork "shred" the jackfruit.

For the coleslaw, shred the cabbage into "coleslaw" style pieces. Mix in the vegan mayo and spices. Taste and adjust seasoning. This is here to provide some crunchy contrast to the jackfruit.

Toast the rolls, place a portion of the jackfruit on the rolls, add some coleslaw, and top with pickles and optional cheese.

This was amazingly delicious. I have one more can of jackfruit in my pantry and I think I might have to make this again. We both really really enjoyed it, a lot. Make it, and make it soon.

26 March 2013

Vegetable Bowl

As the day was winding down at work today, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. We had several vegetables near the end of their lives and I knew that we had a lot of lentils and rice in the pantry. Thus the vegetable bowl with lentils and rice was born!

Serves: 2 (with about 1 cup leftover lentils, and 1 cup leftover vegetables)

1/3 - 1/2 cup brown lentils
1+ cups water
chipotle powder
smoked paprika

1 "cup" rice
1.5 "cup" water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 medium butternut squash
3 stalks broccoli
1/2 onion
4 stalks rainbow chard
olive oil

Measure and rinse lentils. Place in a small saucepan and add water and spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn to a medium simmer and stir every so often to prevent sticking. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Using the "cup" measuring device from your rice cooker, measure and rinse rice. Put rice in rice cooker with the water and cumin seeds. My very simple cooker has one setting, but if you have a fancy pants cooker, you might want to set it specifically to the type of rice you are using. Cook until rice is done.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel and cut butternut squash into 2 cm pieces. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut broccoli into 4 cm long pieces, place on prepared baking sheet. Chop the onion into large pieces and place on baking sheet. Any other "roastable" vegetable can be used here - carrots, beets, potatoes, etc. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, rosemary, and anything else you think would be tasty. Stir vegetables to coat.

Place in oven, and bake for about 25 minutes or until tender, flipping vegetables over halfway through. You can also bake the remainder of the butternut squash at this time, but if you leave it in large pieces, it will have to bake for longer.

While the vegetables are in the oven, chop chard into 2 cm pieces. Sauté in a cast iron pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper, until wilted.

Grab a bowl, put in a scoop of rice, a ladle full of lentils, half the roasted vegetables, and half the chard. Repeat with second bowl.

This was delicious. I was reminded that we need to do vegetable medley dinners more often. We get a lot of produce with our food box delivery and I hate seeing portions of it go to waste each week. My husband was a big fan of this meal.

Other ideas for combinations:
Quinoa, beets, sweet potato, spinach
Quinoa, kale, carrots, potatoes
Rice, kidney beans, onion, carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado
Rice, white beans, cabbage, onion, thyme
Millet, chickpeas, carrots, chard, onion (inspired by Vegan Richa)
The possibilities are endless!

03 March 2013

Breakfast Board

I started eating what I call breakfast boards when I visited Svalbard, Norway for work a few years ago. At the hotels they had Pickled breakfast buffets - pickled fish, pickled onions, pickled pickles, brown cheese, soft-boiled eggs and I loved making myself a plate with everything I could eat.

The last time my husband and I visited Portland, we went to Broder and I was so happy to have something so similar to my Svalbard memory. Over Christmas, we went to Berlin, Germany and had breakfast at Cafe Marx where they had a delicious vegetarian breakfast board (if a bit salty, but all German food is too salty to me). It was time to make a breakfast board at home.

You can use a variety of vegetables/dips for your board, this is just what I had on hand today.
bell pepper
bread and butter pickles
toast points with homemade bread

I love being able to put together different food bites during my breakfast to get a variety of flavours and textures.