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Battered, Southern-Fried Tofu

19 Jun

One of my many variations, this one seems to be juuuuuuust right.
Also, people that are truly Southern-bred may already know this, but I discovered the key to effortless battering: keep one hand wet and one hand dry.

2# hard tofu, each cut into 16 “fingers”
Oil for deep frying

Dry Mixture:

1 cup flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika

Wet Mixture:
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water

–Heat the deep fry oil to 375′.
–In one bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
–With one hand, coat the tofu in the wet mixture and then drop it in the flour mixture. With the other hand, cover the tofu with the flour mixture, retrieve it, and put it on a plate. This keeps one hand dry and your flour mixture from getting all gummy.
–When the oil is hot, fry a pound of battered tofu at a time (or whatever works with your pot / deep fryer) for about 6 minutes.
–Let drain on a towel and enjoy!


Pulpeta (Cuban meatloaves)

20 Feb

‘Cubanized’ this recipe and then baked it some more in a sauce modified from this recipe. You can totally do this recipe in steps over a day or two as your time allows – it really is not very pressing and pretty easy.

Makes 8 mini loaves
Total baking time – 1 hr 30 min

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 lb carrots, finely chopped
2 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 cup breadcrumbs + 1 more cup for breading
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in a pan. Sauté onion, carrots, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Set aside and let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Smash the beans with the cooled veggies (if the ingredients aren’t totally cooled, the gluten will get stringy and too chewy). Add the remaining ingredients, except the extra breadcrumbs for breading, and squish/mix/knead until it’s a uniform ball.

Divide the ball into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small, rectangular-cube type loaf. Bread each loaf with remaining bread crumbs. Place on a spray-greased baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes to brown all four sides. While loaves are baking, prepare the sauce.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1-14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Saute the veggies in the oil until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer about 10 minutes. Place the loaves in a 13x9ish baking dish and pour the sauce on top. Bake uncovered another 30 minutes. Enjoy.

Baked Jollof Brown Rice

30 Jan

There are many variations, but it seems to be a staple throughout most of Africa. Fairly similar to Spanish rice (in fact, to make Spanish rice, you could use the same recipe, just omit the bell peppers and/or carrots, sub oregano for thyme and cumin for tumeric). As with most African recipes, it is traditionally spicy, but I have omitted the spice for the sake of my children.

This was a big hit with the kids. It was a pretty big hit with me, too. It was super flavorful, healthy, and once it was in the oven it took space off the stove and countertop (this was my first attempt at baking rice, so that was quite novel). I had reduced the water from the various recipes that I had adapted it from, but it was still a bit mushy, so I will reduce it a bit further next time.

Makes about 10 cups, enough for 4-6 as a main dish or 6-8 as a side dish
1 Tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
(spicy to preferences – scotch bonnet chilis are traditional, or cayenne)
2 c uncooked brown rice (I used a long grain Jasmine variety)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 1/3 c 3 c un-chicken or veggie broth (I used Harvest Vegetarian Chicken Flavor Bullion that I got from My Thanh)
1 c frozen peas

-Preheat the oven to 375′.
-In a dutch oven on the stovetop, heat the oil.
-Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes to soften.
-Add the carrots and garlic and sautee another minute.
-Stir in the salt and spices, then tomato paste and then brown rice and saute for another 3 minutes, until rice begins to brown and absorb some tomato color.
-Add in the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
-Turn off heat, put the lid on, and slide the pot into the oven. Bake for 1 hour.
-Turn off the oven and wait ten minutes before removing from the oven.
– Fluff with a fork, stir in the peas and adjust seasonings if necessary.


27 Jan

Pretty much Julie Hasson’s recipe, just modified a bit for the spices I use. Here for posterity. I’ve tried making the sausages with mashed tofu/beans (a la Vegan Dad or Isa), but they just come out chewy. Stick with the chickpea flour!

Makes about 8 sausages
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 T dehydrated chopped onion
1 1/2 T whole fennel seeds
1 T granulated garlic
1 T paprika
2 t ground pepper
1 1/2 t Goya Adobo red-top
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp allspice

Wet Mix
2 1/4 cold water
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Get water going in a pot with steamer tray. Divide into eight pieces and shape each into a vague log on tinfoil. Roll up like tightly and twist the ends (like a tootsie roll). Steam for 45 minutes, let cool and unroll.

Tastes best when made ahead, allowed to refrigerate and firm up, then pan fried whole or in pieces.

slow-cooked, double-boiler polenta

20 Dec

serves 3-6, increase as much as you need
cook time: 2 hours, but very little hands on
this recipe/method takes all the work out of polenta, it just takes time!

3 cups water
1 cup polenta (cornmeal or corn grits)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
(spices – Italian seasonings, pepper)

Have two pots that fit into each other, or a double boiler. Bring water for the bottom pot to boil, also bring the water for the polenta to boil separately in the pot that fits inside. When it is boiling, whisk in the polenta, salt and Earth Balance. Put the pot inside the other pot, put a lid on it. Stir every 30 minutes or so, after an hour and a half taste for bitterness, doneness, and spices. Can be kept warm and soft over water bath for 3 hours.

If you spread it into a container, it will firm up rather quickly and be slice-able. Will keep for about a week in the refrigerator, and would be great fried.

Noodle Casserole

22 Nov

x2 for dinnershare – it makes a potluck sized batch on it’s own, though

1-16 oz pkg dry pasta 8 oz of dry pasta (half package)*
1/2 cup margarine
1 medium onion, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
10 ounces sliced mushrooms
3/4 flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp Goya Adobo
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cans chick peas, drained, rinsed and loosely mashed
1 cup peas – I wanted to put these but it turns out I was out. I used broccoli instead.
1 1/2 cups french fried onions
1/2 cup plain potato chips, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and prepare an 13×9″ baking dish with a quick spray of cooking oil.
2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
3. While the pasta is cooking, heat margarine in a pan. Add onion, celery and mushrooms and saute for a while, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have shrunk some and let their juice out. This took about ten minutes, I think.
4. Sprinkle the flour and nutritional yeast over the veggies. Slowly stir in the veggie broth, until there are no clumps. Then slowly add the soymilk and bring to a gentle simmer. When it begins to bubble and thicken, turn of heat and stir in Adobo. Adjust seasoning to taste.
5. When pasta is done, drain it and pour it into your pan. Stir in the chickpeas and peas (or, uh, broccoli), then the sauce.
6. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven, sprinkle with onions and chips, and bake for another 10 minutes.

*the sauce was really good, but became bland & dry when the noodles were added. I would make it again, but would reduce the noodles by half, for sure.

Bratwurst for Dinnershare

21 Oct

Makes 18 sausages using 1/2 cup of the original dough
Based on Cassie J’s recipe & influences:

These came out too chewy. I should’ve just stuck with Cassie J’s recipe. I think it was the mushroom-tofu combo that made them chewy. Or, I could’ve stuck with fail-safe Spicy Italian sausages, even though those aren’t exactly German.

1 16 oz package Banyan Soft Tofu, drained (in the produce section of HEB)
1 1-oz pkg dried ‘Shirakiku’ Shitake mushrooms (‘ethnic’ section of HEB)
4 tsp Better than Bullion No-Chicken Base (Wheatsville, Whole Foods or CM)
1 qt plain soy milk
5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning (this was in the fresh seafood section, gross!)
2 Tbsp Goya Adobo (red top) seasoning
Tinfoil sheets for sausaging
Large pot with a steamer rack and lid

In the food processor, puree the tofu, mushrooms, BtB and some of the soymilk until well processed. You don’t want to add all of the soymilk because it will get messy, just enough to get things moving. Empty the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the rest of the soymilk.

In another large bowl, mix the wheat gluten, yeast and spices. Add the liquid ingredients. Get the pot of steam water going. Using a half cup scoop, put a scoop of mixture on a tinfoil sheet. Roll it up like a tootsie roll. Continue until they are all done, at to the steamer pot and steam for about 1 hour.