All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
Yesterday, my friends Alyse & Rose & I had brunch with Sarah Silverman. At Off Vine in Hollywood. There (above) are my very delicious Eggs Sardou (Eggs Benedict but with artichoke hearts rather than Canadian bacon).
And there (below) – across the room in black silhouette – with her back to the window – is Sarah Silverman. Yeah. We didn’t have brunch with Sarah Silverman, really. We had brunch near Sarah Silverman. And that sad & empty champagne glass in the foreground is mine. I really got $17 worth of their bottomless champagne – trust me. I was on a one-woman mission to drink all the fucking champagne they had. I have to tell you – the wait staff there was 100% on board with my plan and really did keep the bubbly flowing & hardly ever looked at me with judgement. In fact, I think one waiter was trying to break me by topping my glass off at regular intervals. And – break me he did. I had to put my hand over my glass – in defeat – when, as we composed ourselves for departure – he offered me yet more champagne. Despite my defeat by champagne waiter guy – it was a delightful morning! And PS – if you like REAL bottomless glasses of champagne – Off Vine is for you. So many places sell you a bottomless glass but rarely offer refills. Off Vine did not pull that shit and neither, I might add, did Cha Cha Cha when I ordered their bottomless mimosa. So – note to self.
So – after eating that very eggy, dairy-heavy brunch yesterday – I decided, today, to make up for it by coming up with a vegan brunch option. And – because I failed at my quest drink all the champagne at Off Vine – I continued my champagne consumption today. That was the punishment I decided fit my crime. More champagne & something with tofu. See? I can be pretty hard on myself.
I have never been a fan of tofu & tend never to order it – unless it has been masked by a deep frying & some fatty dips options – or something like that. The slimy texture is one of the few food textures I like to avoid. When I first gave up meat – in the late eighties – I experimented with tofu in things like puddings & cheesecake or other ways that obscured completely that it was tofu as the main ingredient. None of those experiments netted a recipe worth repeating. The only exception is a Moosewood Shepherd’s Pie recipe. This recipe worked for me because the tofu is frozen, thawed, squeezed dry & crumbled. The resulting texture is chewy & the tofu looks like grated sponges. When cooked as they outline – it really resembles a low-grade ground beef. I’ve made that recipe dozens of times. But that is really the extent of my use of tofu for twenty years. In my three years posting this blog – I have never posted a tofu recipe.
Until today. I’ve never ordered a tofu scramble – partly because I have yet to give up eggs completely & partly because it just doesn’t sound appetizing. Not in the least. It seems like it will be bland & watery & just not tempting at all. Well, let me tell you – these tofu chilaquiles were AWESOME! Spicy & flavorful. The corn chips added texture & the nacho cheese sauce added spice & bound it a bit. The texture was almost exactly the same as an egg white scramble. This dish was fast & easy & I could not scarf it down quickly enough. I recommend it very strongly!
I fried my own corn chips (from cut up corn tortillas) in some olive oil – stove top. The result was an uneven color because I could not bring myself to use enough oil to submerge the pieces. I posted a baked version last year in my Purist’s Homemade Guacamole & Baked Corn Tortilla Chips blog & the chips were far prettier (see below).
Pretty doesn’t matter, though. Not in this scramble. So – fry some up or bake some or use bagged chips. Your call.
I just cannot recommend this any more highly and, remember, I am a tofu-hater. So – don’t be scared!
Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
1 cup Vegan nacho cheese sauce
4-5 corn tortillas (or two fists full of ready-made corn chips)
Oil for frying (I used olive oil)
1/2 white onion – diced
1 (14 oz) block of extra firm tofu
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Garnish: avocado, cilantro, scallions, fresh fruit, extra nacho cheese sauce
Drain the tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel, put it in the sink & set something heavy on top of it – like a cast iron pan or a brick. Anything heavy that will help press out the excess moisture. Let it sit like this for 15 minutes.
Fry (see above) or bake your corn chips – if you are making them. Drain on a paper towel.
In about 1 TBS olive oil, heat the onions with the spices. After it begins to soften, crumble the tofu & add it to the pan with the salsa & nacho cheese. Heat on high & stir until the moisture cooks off & everything is heated through. Toss the chips in & stir to combine & warm the chips.
Serve with the garnish of your desire. Eat & feel guiltless! Swill champagne & FTW!