Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pub Tofu Fish N' Chips, Homemade Ketchup and spicy remoullade

Baby Holly decided to take a long nap today and this is what Jason and I came up with. Yes, it was a Pat and Gina Neely kinda afternoon. The depth of flavor was not deep enough in the tofu according to Jason, but I'm posting this recipe anyway. Why? Because the story is just too beautiful, not to mention that golden crust. First off, there's that ketchup. From a bottle? Nope. A friend of mine invited me to pick tomatoes from her grandpa's garden, and the respect I have for my adult ESL students got even higher. Nearly most of them work in some type of agriculture and many pick fruits and vegetables. I was out there for maybe 30 minutes tops and they do it day in and day out. It's hard not to get emotional about these people as this is my last year teaching them and next wednesday is our last night. Next year I will be starting a new endeavor as a tenth grade English teacher at the school in our district for those who may have made some mistakes or just need to make up some units. I am looking forward to being both firm and nurturing, but most importantly, not treating them like "bad kids."

So back to the ketchup. Just juice, simmer and add spices. It's that easy. Of course it doesn't taste authentic without a bit of sugar or vinegar, but the spices really take it over the top and make it it's own original thing. You can even not call it ketchup if you want-your prerogative. This is only something to do if you have bags and bags of tomatoes for free of course, and a juicer. People also add cornstarch to their ketchup but I just don't think it's necessary when you can reduce it down and get it as thick as you want. Since Holly's been born, I don't measure much and it's been pretty liberating, so here's what I have for you:

Homemade Garden Tomato Ketchup
2 big bags of tomatoes
onion powder
garlic powder

  • Juice tomatoes and pour in huge pot. Bring to a boil on high, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 or more hours, depending on desired thickness. 
  • Add salt and spices to taste. Paprika makes a huge difference!

Spicy Remoulade
onion powder

  • Mix ingredients to your liking.

French fries are from our CSA box, cut and fried.
Tofu batter was also used on zucchini from our CSA box which I devoured and did not take a picture of. I'll just tell you the slices were thin and crisp, with just the right amount of juiciness inside. The flavor for me was spot on with the deep flavor of the ketchup. I did not actually try the tofu but Jason says the slices should be thinner next time and it needed more salt. So here's what I think is a great start to some good Pub Tofu Fish N' Chips:

Pub Tofu Fish N' Chips
2 15.5 oz packs Extra Firm WildWood Tofu
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup AP flour
2 ts salt
onion powder
garlic powder
2-3 cups panko

  • Slice tofu and drain excess water between paper towels
  • Mix remaining ingredients except for panko
  • Dip tofu in batter, then coat in panko. I use two huge tupperwares for each. Deep fry. 
What I will do next time: 3 ts salt (1 Tb). Also, I will make a buttermilk by putting 1 Tb lemon juice in the measuring cup, filling up the milk to a cup and letting it curdle. I think that will take it over the top.
Update: Later on last night I had some of this tofu and it was perfect-especially with the richness of the ketchup. Jason also agreed that it was way better after sitting for a bit to firm up and cool off, not to mention his propensity for salt is much too high anyway. So the recipe is a keeper for both of us. Oh, and it's tricky with zucchini as it doesn't always guarantee a crispy yield like tofu.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vegan Coconut Cupcakes With Key Lime Frosting

Another day another baby shower, or so the saying goes. For my friend's baby shower today, I knew lime frosting was the way to go. And of course along with lime comes you know what-coconut. I planned to scour the internet for the best coconut cupcake recipe, but once I came across this Sweetest Vegan, I was sold. Her personality is so infectious, and I love how she showed the texture after taking a bite. Most importantly though, the cupcakes received rave reviews in the comments section. Seriously, this girl needs her own show.

I doubled the recipe to make exactly 24 cupcakes. I also used half coconut oil and half shortening with great results.

The frosting is Isa Chandra's Lime Buttercream Frosting from her Coconut Lime Cupcakes, not doubled.

We loved these and will make them again!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Vegan Hubby's Old Fashioned Pancakes

When we asked Ava what she wanted for breakfast and she said pancakes, she meant Jason's pancakes. Isn't it great when a husband has a specialty? He's been making these for years and I think we've perfected the recipe. Makes enough for 3.

1 1/2 cup flour (he used 1 cup white and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 Tb baking powder
1 Tb sugar (he used coconut sugar)
1 1/2 ts salt
3 Tb oil (he used coconut oil)
1 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1 3.2 oz package of apple sauce (equals 1/4 cup)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and briefly mix.

Slather a hot griddle with coconut oil or Earth Balance and make the pancakes whatever size suits you.

*If you want to use coconut oil and sugar you can find them at Costco.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vegetable Potstickers with Thai Red Chili Paste

For my sister in law's baby shower today I did my famous-buy frozen potstickers from Trader Joes and make them special. I forgot to take a picture until we were mostly done eating, but at least you can see people liked them by the almost empty platter. The beauty of these guys is you need no dipping sauce. It's right there on the potstickers. The key is my deglazed concoction of Thai Red Chili Paste and soy sauce. Here's how it's done:

1 package Frozen Trader Joe's Vegetable Potstickers
1 Tb Thai Red Chili Paste
2 Tb soy sauce
1 Tb water
1 ts minced garlic
1 ts chives
oil for pan frying

Mix chili paste, soy sauce, water, garlic and chives in a bowl
Put a very shallow amount of oil in a skillet and heat on medium high until shimmering
Arrange potstickers in pan and cook until golden brown underneath
Pour in Red Chili Paste mixture and quickly cover with a lid
Allow to cook and deglaze for 2-4 minutes. Uncover lid, arrange on a platter, and enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cauliflower Wings with Vegan Ranch

Forgive my use of the camera phone but the real thing seems to be on the fritz. Plus, I've got two kids now and everything is just a bit more...difficult (but oh so wonderful). For this year's Super Bowl Party, I made the ubiquitous Cauliflower Buffalo Wings. Yes, I said ubiquitous. Why? Because the actual chicken variety seems to be a bit old fashioned. Now, everyone is making these guys. Mine don't have that Frank's Red Hot look, but that's because I used Edward & Sons Organic Hot Stuff. It's got a unique and delicious taste. I also discovered that I can make ranch with the quickness. Here are my recipes.

Cauliflower Wings
1 small or 1/2 huge head of cauliflower
1 cup flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 ts salt
1/4 ts onion powder
1/4 ts garlic powder
3/4 cup Edward & Sons Hot Stuff
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tb honey or agave

Prepare wings: Cut off pieces of cauliflower.
Prepare batter: Mix flour, milk, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Prepare hot sauce: Mix hot sauce, oil, and honey or agave.
Coat wings in batter and arrange on a well oiled sheet pan. I used two sheet pans.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, give or take.
Coat wings in hot sauce.

water or unsweetened almond milk
onion powder
garlic powder

Thin out the Vegenaise with water or milk until desired consistency. Sprinkle spices according to taste.