Vegan Spicy Orange & Sriracha Glazed Tofu with Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have done a zillion 90210 interviews recently – building up to the 25th anniversary of when the pilot aired.  Above are a few recent photos from a 90210-inspired shoot.

And here are two of the interviews – HERE at TEN MINUTE INTERVIEWS –

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and HERE  at COMPLEX.

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Tonight is the Lifetime movie about the show at after it – there will be an interview special – in which I took part.

That said – let’s get into this dish.  The glaze is the shit & would work on most things from shrimp to vegan or real chicken or, as here, on tofu.  I could not figure out what to do with the tofu first.  Should I bread & fry it?  I tried that & it just seemed like a bad thing to add all those calories.  So – after half-frying half the tofu – I baked it all at about 400 for thirty minutes – after coating it in some glaze – like you see below.

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Ultimately – you could just throw the uncooked tofu into the glaze & warm it that way.  I feared the tofu would be too mushy & break apart and – since I didn’t try that version – I cannot tell you what happened.  So – it is up to you.   You could BAKE IT first, or FRY IT – or just use it plain.  Or – do what I did, coat it with glaze & just bake it a bit to add some texture.  Your call.  Whatever you decide – the glaze is easy & comes together fast.  If I were to make it again – I would cut the sugar in half.  If you like spicy-sweet, go with the full 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  It is pretty spicy – so if you are sensitive to heat – lessen the sriracha.

I added pomegranate seeds because I have a shitload left over from my AMAZING Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds & Cucumber – or Really Fancy Baba Ganoush – seen below – which was INSANELY addictive.  The seeds are pretty but don’t add much to the tofu dish so blow them off – if you feel inclined.  They are critical & amazing in the baba ganoush, though!

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Vegan Spicy Orange & Sriracha Glazed Tofu with Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 2 – with rice or in lettuce wraps

INGREDIENTS

1 lb extra firm tofu – cubed

Panko (only if you are frying – in which case you need oil, too.)

1 cup orange juice

zest & juice of one orange

1/4 cup (or less) brown sugar

1/4 cup (more or less according to taste) sriracha

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS ginger – grated or minced

2 TBS cornstarch whisked into 2 TBS water

GARNISH – sliced scallions, pomegranate seeds and then cooked rice or lettuce leaves for serving

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DIRECTIONS

OK – here you need to decide what you are doing with the tofu.  Are you just going right outta the package or fry it or – as I did – toss it with some panko & some (only a little) glaze & bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes?  I don’t think it makes a massive difference – except fr the effort and, in the instance of frying, the calories.  You could brown it in a frying pan with a little olive oil – to add texture.  Blow off the panko – really – unless you are frying it.  These are your decisions to make and that decision is the hardest part of this recipe.  If you are in a hurry or are lazy – just use the naked tofu.

Prep your tofu.  I tossed mine in a bit of glaze & baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Make some rice or prep some lettuce leaves for wraps.

To make the glaze – heat the orange juice, zest & juice of one orange, brown sugar, sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce or tamari, garlic cloves and ginger and bring to a boil.  Add the cornstarch/water mix & the glaze should thicken up in less than a minute.  Add the tofu & heat through.

Serve either on rice or wrapped in lettuce with a sprinkle of scallions & pomegranate seeds.

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Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds & Cucumber – or Really Fancy Baba Ganoush

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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31 years ago today – I moved to Los Angeles intending to establish residency & go to a state school (UCLA) for film – hoping to one day direct. I was 19 & did not know anyone else in LA – and – I had never driven a car (and lived here for 2 1/2 years without car or even a driver’s license) and lived for the first week in a creepy, rent-by-the-week motel on Whitley just north of Hollywood Blvd – until I found an apartment at Sunset & Normandie – where I lived for the next 4+ years. 19 and alone – very far from anything familiar and, apparently iron-clad balls because I can’t imagine being that brave now.  And to be honest – I cried almost every day for the first year & had to deflect my mother’s repeated offers to fly out here, pack me up & move me back home.  Honest to God – I have no fucking idea what I was thinking or how my mother let me go in the first place. I look at my friends’ kids who are at or near that age & cannot imagine sending them off to a seedy big city (which Hollywood really was in 1984) – 3000 miles away. I am very, very proud of my 19-year-old self & what that kid pulled off – through sheer willpower. I wish I had the nerve & gumption now that I had then. I am very grateful to live in LA. It is a great town – despite what the haters will tell you. So, anyway – happy anniversary to me & my youthful courage.

See Los Angeles in all its coolness!

Below are some images of me from that general era.  Notice the shaved sides in the top picture that I tried to mask with bangs in my first ever headshot – just below it.  Little did I know that the edgier me was going to be the key to my ever working as an actress.  Conformity – or my attempts at it – fooled nobody.

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So – onto this gorgeous recipe!  I saw it on The Iron You (seen in their photo above) and could not resist the chance to photograph something so gorgeous.  I made a few minor tweaks – in the interest of it being vegan & a little less caloric – but it is really their recipe – and is is CRAZY delicious!   As The Iron You states – “The end result is an addictive, creamy, smoky, tart, sweet, salty, and aromatic dip/spread/salad.  It can stand on its own as a dip or condiment or as a side to meat or fish or it can be served as a refreshing Middle Eastern inspired salad.”

Funny that I often co-opt Iron You recipes because their primary focus is a Paleo diet which – in reality – is almost the opposite of my focus – a vegan diet.  But they use lots of veggies & their photographs (like that one just above) are so inspiring – I am a big fan!

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This is easy & requires no special tools.  I used a food processor but out of laziness – not need.  Chopping the mushy eggplant would be almost as easy by hand.   It is basically a fancified hummus – but using eggplant rather than chick peas.  I think it is virtually guiltless – as far as calories & it really does have a complexity of flavors that is delightful!  And just LOOK at it!  Can you imagine a pretty holiday appetizer?

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Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds & Cucumber – or Really Fancy Baba Ganoush

Serves several as an appetizer served with pita wedges

INGREDIENTS

1 large eggplant

1/3 cup tahini

1 TBS plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp agave nectar

1 garlic clove – minced

3 TBS chopped parsley

1/2 large pomegranate

1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded & diced

Sesame seeds

S&P

More parsley & maybe olive oil for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the eggplant by placing it directly on a burner over a high flame.  You might want to protect your stove with foil – but I didn’t.  Turn frequently – and don’t walk away from it – lest it catch fire.  This should take 10-15 minutes & the skin should be charred almost all the way off & the flesh of the eggplant should be soft.  Allow to cool & then rub off the burned skin & stem top under cold, running water.  Allow to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

Get the seeds out of half the pomegranate.  HERE are some tutorials showing how to do that.

If you do not have a food processor – chop the eggplant as finely as possible.

If you do have a food processor – pulse the eggplant a few times.

In either scenario – then mix/pulse in the tahini, lemon, agave, garlic & parsley.  Then fold in the cucumber & 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds.  Season with S&P.  Salt adds depth to this so definitely use some.

Garnish with the remaining pomegranate seeds, some chopped parsley & some sesame seeds.  Traditionally – olive oil is drizzled on top but I see no need to add those calories.  Knock yourself out if calories are of no concern to you.

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Spicy Vegan Sriracha Miso Cole Slaw

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is super easy – especially if you buy some of that pre-chopped slaw mix.  And why not?  Why buy two heads of cabbage & spend time chopping & then not use all the cabbage & have two half heads in the fridge – laying a guilt trip on you until they turn brown enough to warrant tossing them?   Who needs that shit?  Cabbage likes to pop all over the place, too, like cauliflower.  So – do yourself a favor and buy a bag of cole slaw mix.  Or not – your call.

This can be served as a side or as a burger topping or, as I did last night, put on top of tacos.  Creamy, yummy & cruelty-free.

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Spicy Vegan Sriracha Miso Cole Slaw

Makes about 3 cups

INGREDIENTS

8 oz (3 cups) of chopped cabbage (I used a bagged slaw mix) & carrot shreds

1/8-1/2 cup sriracha – start small & add in increments until you reach your spice level

1/3 cup vegan mayo – (increase if you like wetter slaw)

2 TBS white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

2 TBS miso paste

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 TBS agave nectar

1/4 tsp salt

2 TBS chia seeds (optional but very good for you)

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DIRECTIONS

I literally put everything in a tupperware container & just shook the bejesus out of it.  You can just stir it all up in a bowl.  Increase mayo or sriracha or salt to taste.

Chill & serve!

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I know I say that a great many of my recipes are born simply of what I have handy and it is true.  It is true even when I say that all I had around was a bag of Brussels sprouts and an aging pomegranate.  And pistachios.  And when I thought to make a salad of them, I wished I had some dried cranberries to add to it.  I don’t typically go for dried fruit in anything but dried cranberries just sounded so right for this.  I dug deep in my crisper drawers looking for some other inspiration & found an unopened but very old & gross bag of raisins & while I wondered why I ever even bought a bag of raisins because, you know, ew – raisins – I spotted a bag of something from a bulk bin in the corner of the drawer.   Closer inspection revealed it to be a small bag of dried cranberries!  WTF?  Why did I have dried cranberries?  Quickly, I wished for a series regular gig on what would turn out to be a long running & iconic HBO series and waited for a few seconds for my life to change.  Nothing.  A few minutes later I was still me, still unemployed & still holding the bag.  Of dried cranberries. Fuck.  I hate when I waste the wishes that will be granted on things like a small quantity of dried cranberries.  I felt like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when, confronted by a real, live genie, wishes for his own personal theme music & not to have bones.

So, yeah.  Career still on hold but that’s a go on the salad!

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Salads aren’t really recipes, are they?  I made this guy for myself & I used about 8-10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts & ate the entire salad – even though it was probably enough for two.  So – anyway – I will give you rough estimates of what I used but you can add or subtract ingredients & adjust quantities to suit your own taste.  If there is wiggle room in making anything – it is salad – so go for it.

I made a simple dressing of lemon & olive oil & then decided I wanted something a bit creamier – so I added a bit of Greek yogurt.  You can skip that or, if you are vegan, add a bit of vegan mayonnaise.   Or use another of your favorite dressings.  I ain’t judging.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves two

INGREDIENTS

10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts

Handful of pistachios

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise)  – optional

2 TBS lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)

1 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with S&P.  Taste & adjust the flavors.  Some like lemon more than others.  Some like more salt.  Suit yourself.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color.  Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them.  Set aside.

Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand.  Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.

Now, just toss all that shit together (go easy on the dressing) & eat both servings yourself.  FTW.

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Japanese Cucumber Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Easy as can be and a nice side dish for sushi-themed meals.  I bought about 2lbs of gorgeous ahi today so brace for the sushi recipes!

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Japanese Cucumber Salad with Sesame Seeds

INGREDIENTS

2 cucumbers (I used regular ones)

2 TBS sesame seeds (I used 1 each of black & white)

6 TBS rice vinegar (or more – to taste)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp sesame oil (or just 3 tsp sesame oil if toasted is unavailable)

4 TBS scallions sliced thin & diagonally

2 TBS mint – chopped finely

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds – shaking the pan a lot & being careful not to burn them – until they begin to golden – about 4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

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Shave stripes into your cucumbers by peeling portions & leaving others with the skin on.

Halve them & scoop out the seeds.  Using the finest blade setting on your mandolin or other slicer or with a knife – slice the cucumber into slices as thin as you can muster.  Put in a colander & toss with 1 tsp salt & let drain for 10-15 minutes.

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In a bowl – whisk the rice vinegar with the sugar & sesame oils.  An another bowl, toss the drained cucumber with the sliced scallions, mint and toasted sesame seeds.  Add the vinegar mixture & toss again.  Add S&P to taste.  Serve immediately.

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