DDD #131 – Luvo & Hodo Vegan Thai Curry Food Review (Nuggets & Coconut Curry Rice)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

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

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DDD #113 – Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart (Pie) with Homemade Buttery Crust

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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 keep throwing softballs like this out there to you kids.  Softballs in that the recipe is easy & the result delicious.  When, oh when, will you trust me & try one?

This one is almost like a quiche but uses no eggs or heavy cream – and it is vegan!  I used three colors of heirloom tomatoes but any tomatoes would work, even cherry tomatoes, I suspect.

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For the pastry crust

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

16 TBS ice cold (even frozen) vegan butter

1/4 cup or more of ice water

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

Pie crust – uncooked

5-6 heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin

2 cups fresh arugula

2 cloves garlic

1 (14 oz) block firm tofu

4 oz vegan cream cheese

2 slices of your favorite flavor vegan cheese

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan – grated  (plus a bit extra for topping – optional)

S&P

Basil – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the pastry crust

Put the flour, salt & sugar in a food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Then, 1 TBS at a time, pulse in the cold butter until it is all incorporated.  Add a few TBS water & pulse until little balls of dough begin to form & it falls away from the bowl of the processor.

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Remove from the bowl & press into two balls – one a tad larger than the other.  Press flat, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for about an hour.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you roll it out.

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DIRECTIONS

for the Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the dough into a greased pie or tart pan.  A traditional pie dish is absolutely OK to use – as is a spring form pan.  Slit the crust at the bottom and par-bake it for 7 minutes.

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Put the sliced tomatoes on paper towels, salt them & press more paper towels on top.  If your tomatoes are very wet & seedy, squeeze some of the seeds out to avoid excess moisture in the pie.  You can see that I did this with my red tomatoes.

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Meanwhile, blend the tofu, cream cheese, cheese slices, vegan Parmesan, arugula & garlic in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P.

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When the crust has baked 7 minutes, top with the cup of grated Parmesan, the tofu mix & the drained tomatoes.  Add some S&P.  Maybe sprinkle some grated vegan Parmesan on top.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes – or until the ricotta is set.  You might need to wrap the edges of your pie with foil (or one of these cool silicone things – the red thing below – that I got at Bed Bath & Beyond) to prevent the crust from over-browning.

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When the center seems set, allow this to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.  It can be eaten warm or room temperature.

Garnish with basil & eat it up!

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DDD #65 – Vegan “Tree of Life” Cabbage Cake or Stuffed Cabbage Tower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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To watch the video, click the image above.

I had cabbage & I had a desire for some old school comfort food.  I was Googling around looking for inspiration & saw this thing of beauty by Proud Italian Cook:

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Both my friend, Rose, and I were blown away & both swore to make it immediately.  And we both did.  I think she stuck with the original recipe but I had to make it vegan & make it before work – including going to the store to buy a different kind of cabbage – Savoy cabbage – so I could get that pretty lace effect – so I had quite a task ahead.  My cabbage, ultimately, was not quite as vascular as the one Proud Italian Cook used & my oven heats unevenly – so I did not get quite the forest effect they did & I browned one side.  No matter!  This was easy to make & is really delicious & quite the show stopper!

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I would have just used two bags of the Beyond Meat rather than add tofu but I only had one bag.  I used frozen tofu that I thawed & then squeezed the water out.  It gives the tofu a spongy-texture that resembles ground beef more than raw tofu does.  It also has the added benefit of removing lots of the moisture.

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I also added maitake mushrooms (seen above) and 2 grilled zucchini – simply because I had them.  You could fill your cake with whatever traditional filling you would use for cabbage rolls or use this recipe or tweak this recipe.  I used Rao’s sauce for ease & because it is the best jarred sauce on the market.  You can use your own favorite – homemade or from a jar.  Whatever you decide – I promise you will be delighted with this unexpected & regal reinvention of the humble stuffed cabbage roll.

Vegan “Tree of Life” Cabbage Cake (Stuffed Cabbage Tower)

Serves 4-6 (depending on appetites)

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of Savoy (or other green) cabbage

2+ TBS olive oil

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (or 18 oz or more and skip the tofu below)

1 lb tofu – frozen, thawed, water squeezed out & crumbled

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 celery stalk – chopped

1/2 to 1 lb mushrooms – chopped (optional)

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

1-3 tsp fresh thyme (or oregano) – less if you use dried

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown basmati)

S&P to taste

24 oz of your favorite red sauce

1 cup or so of Grated vegan Parmesan – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Core the bottom of the cabbage (leaving it in tact) & place in a deep pot cored-side down.  Add 2-3 inches of water & bring to a boil – covered – for 5 minutes.  Plunge into cold water & when it is cool enough to handle – carefully peel the leaves away & place on paper towels to dry.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan & then cook the onions, celery and mushrooms (if using) until soft (my photos do not reflect the proper order & it doesn’t really matter).  Add the beef, tofu, and garlic, thyme, parsley rice & 1 cup marinara.  Blend well.  Season with S&P.

Grease a deep, round casserole or souffle-type dish & then arrange the prettiest and largest leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that and up the sides of the dish all around.  Layer in some beef mixture (maybe 1/2 inch) & top with another layer of cabbage.  Repeat until you reach the top or run out of filling.  Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and a sprinkling of about half your cheese (if you are using vegan or real cheese) all over.  The cheese can be eliminated completely with little impact on this recipe.

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Bake for about 40 minutes.  Let it rest then invert a serving plate over the casserole dish, then carefully flip it over.  Top with more warmed marinara & some of your cheese.  Cut into slices and serve with additional warmed marinara and more grated cheese.

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DDD #51 – Vegan Red Coconut Curry Pad Thai Noodles with Crispy Garlic Tofu

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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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Click the image above to watch the video.

Red Coconut Curry Pad Thai Noodles with Crispy Garlic Tofu

serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tofu

oil

3 TBS red curry paste

1 15 oz can lite coconut milk

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

2 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS soy sauce

for the marinade

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS crushed red pepper

for the noodles

1 lb noodles (either fresh Pad Thai noodles or a pound of cooked & drained noodles of your choice)

1 small onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos – sliced

Your mix of fresh vegetables (I used 1 15 oz can of baby corn, 1 small can diced water chestnuts, 1 cup broccoli florets, 1 cup chopped purple cabbage, 1 cup chopped carrots, 1 cup sliced snap peas, 1 cup frozen peas)

Garnish: lime wedges, cilantro, sesame seeds and maybe another can of warmed coconut milk with red curry paste whisked in to use as a gravy over the noodles – for those that like a saucy dish)

DIRECTIONS

Optional – cut the tofu in half so you have two large squares about 3/4 inch thick.  Put them between paper towels & cover with a heavy pan for 30 minutes to release some moisture.

Cube the tofu.  Whisk the marinade together & marinate the tofu for 30 minutes or longer.

Heat a TBS or oil & over high heat – fry the drained tofu.  Let it sit a few minutes on each side before turning until it is well browned.  Set aside.

Heat 1 TBS oil in a pan & saute the onion & jalapeno.  When soft, add the remaining vegetables (retaining the frozen peas to add later) and saute a few minutes.  Add garlic, ginger & soy sauce.  Stir to combine.Add curry paste & coconut milk.  Stir & add fresh or cooked noodles.  If it gets too dry – add some water.  Heat through.  Stir in the frozen peas & heat through.

Plate each serving & top with the crispy tofu.

Garnish as you desire.

I warmed another can of coconut milk & whisked in more red curry to drizzle over each serving.

Devour!

DDD # 44 – Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

Serves 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

for the chili oil

1/2 cup oil

3 star anise pods

1-2 TBS chopped fresh ginger

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2-4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – chopped

for the dressing

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

for the soba salad

7 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained

1/2 – 1 pound tofu (I used pressed tofu)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp S&P

1 TBS sesame oil

Mixed chopped vegetables.  I used:

1/2 cucumber

4 radishes

1/4 red bell pepper

1 cup purple cabbage

2 scallions

(you could use edamame, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green beans or whatever you like)

Cilantro

Sesame seeds

Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles & set aside.

Whisk the dressing together & set aside.

Heat the oil for the chili oil in a pan.  Add the star anise & crushed red pepper.   Add the ginger & scallions.  When the scallions are soft & just starting to brown – add the garlic & heat for one minute.  Put the oil in a storage container to cool.  You won’t need all the oil for this recipe & the leftover should keep in the fridge for several days.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil.  Add the brown sugar & salt & pepper.  Add the tofu & heat until the sugar caramelizes onto the tofu.  Set aside.

In a bowl – toss the noodles with the tofu & veggies.  Add some dressing (not all of it) and a drizzle of the chili oil.  Start very light with both the dressing & the chili oil & add more to taste.

Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro & serve with lime wedges.

 

DDD Ep. #24 – Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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This is a really easy dish but this recipe makes a boatload so you might want to consider cutting it in half – or doublinf the tofu paneer recipe because that shit is yummy!

Click the image below for the video & please subscribe to my channel.

Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

INGREDIENTS

for the tofu paneer

1 block extra firm tofu

4 TBS nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan

3 TBS olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the saag

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cumin seeds

1 small onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS ginger

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS garam masala (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS ground coriander (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

5 tomatoes – diced

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 cup of either vegan heavy cream or sour cream or cream cheese or a combination

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the nutritional yeast, oil & salt in a bowl.

Slice the tofu in half & place between paper towels.  Rest something heavy on it to press out some moisture.

Cube the tofu & toss it in the mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Puree 1 lb of spinach with some water in a blender or food processor.  Just use enough water to facilitate the pureeing.  This is optional.  You could opt to just chop half the spinach – or all of it.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in as pan & add 1-2 TBS cumin seeds (use less for a less heavily spiced dish).   When they start popping & get fragrant, add the onion & saute until soft.

Add the garlic & ginger & jalapenos.  Saute a few minutes & then add the spices.  Add some water to create a thin paste.  Heat through & add the tomatoes.  Add the sugar & salt & combine.  Once the tomatoes are warmed & soft – start adding the fresh spinach until it all cooks down.  Ad the pureed or chopped spinach & stir to combine.  Stir in the vegan dairy you chose to use.  Heat through.  Taste & adjust seasonings.

Serve with the baked tofu paneer on top and some rice or naan.

Video Vegan – Bacon Two Ways – Rice Paper Bacon & Tofu Bacon

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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 just 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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Two new videos up on my Delightful Delicious Delovely & Video Vegan channel on Youtube.  They are for this amazing rice paper bacon-

Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

INGREDIENTS

Rice paper sheets

2 TBS olive oil

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)

6 TBS nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1 TBS maple syrup

DIRECTIONS (watch the video for visual directions)

Cut the rice paper into strips.

Mix the remaining ingredients.  Get a bowl of water.

Heat a frying pan.  I sprayed mine with cooking spray.  Soak the 2 strips in the water a few seconds until they soften.  Squeeze excess water off the first one & dredge it through your smokey paste.  Stick the other strip to one side of the dredged slice to make it a double thick slice (single thickness is too fragile in the pan).  Dredge the thicker slice again & fry it 2 minutes or so on each side or until it starts to get crispy but before it burns.  Drain on paper towels.   Repeat.

Taste.  Lose your shit.

and that tofu bacon just above.  Bother a really good in sandwiches.  Enjoy!

Vegan Tofu Bacon

INGREDIENTS

1 block of the firmest tofu you can find – sliced thin

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)

1 TBS nutritional yeast

1 tsp liquid smoke

1 tsp onion powder or granulated onion

1 1/2 TBS maple syrup

DIRECTIONS (watch the video for visual directions)

Heat the oven to 375.

Slice the tofu thinly.  Whisk the remaining ingredients together & marinate the tofu strips in it a few minutes.  Grease a cooking sheet & bake the tofu for 15 minutes or until crispy.  Drain on paper towels.

Enjoy!

 

Bacon, Eggs (or Tofu) & Spinach Breakfast Pasta (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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Breakfast pasta is something I discovered in the 80’s at Hugo’s.   It is best made with homemade pasta or the fresh pasta you can buy at the supermarket (though that pasta is not typically vegan).   I had leftover dry pasta – so I used that but fresh pasta is really key to the magic of this dish – as is Parmesan & parsley.

The important revelation here is – I made this version VEGAN – using my most exciting new find – homemade VEGAN BACON made from rice paper!  Check it out!

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I made that this morning & it was easy, fast & delicious!  You simply must try it!

I also used tofu & vegan Parmesan in this dish.

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This dish could be made using Follow Your Heart’s vegan egg – but I think it takes bizarrely long to congeal & it kinda freaks me out but, if you like it, knock yourself out.

If you are vegetarian – you could use real eggs & real Parmesan.

I added turmeric to my tofu to give it that yellow color of real scrambled eggs – but I don’t think I will in the future.  I only used a bit but the flavor was very present in this dish & not perfectly suited to it.  Scrambled tofu is exactly like scrambled egg whites & that is good enough here – unless you are trying to fool someone into thinking they are eating real, whole eggs.

Breakfast pasta is like an omelet – in that – you can add anything you want to it.  So – if you like tomatoes, American cheese (or vegan cheese) & garlic in your omelet – add them to the pasta dish…and so on & so on.  Anything goes.  Any meat (vegan or otherwise), any veggies & any cheeses (vegan or otherwise) that you love.

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Bacon, Eggs (or Tofu) & Spinach Breakfast Pasta (Vegan or Not)

Serves as any as you care to feed

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pasta, cooked pasta or leftover pasta – cooked

Bacon (this  homemade vegan one or your favorite kind) – cooked

Parmesan cheese to taste

1/4 to 1/2 block tofu per person or as many eggs per person (2 eggs per would be plenty) as you like

1 tsp turmeric (very optional & really only here for color) – or just enough to get that light yellow color (curry powder would work, too)

Spinach (a big handful per person) – chopped

S&P to taste

Chopped parsley (not just a garnish but a delightful flavor so I go heavy-handed with it)

Sliced avocado – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Make the bacon, if you are using the recipe I posted.

Make the pasta & drain.

In a saute pan, add some cooking spray or a bit of olive oil & add the tofu (and turmeric, if you are using it).  Combine & then add the spinach & pasta & Parmesan.  I added a bit of water because my pasta was cold (leftovers) and needed some steaming.  Your pasta might not need that (if you just cooked it).  Season with cheese and S&P.   Crumble some bacon on it & combine.

Once it is heated through, serve on plates with more crumbled bacon, lots of parsley & some avocado slices – and maybe more cheese.

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Vegan Fried Tofu Tacos with Purple Cabbage & Heirloom Carrot Slaw

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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Tacos are kind of like pizza in that they are endlessly customizable & virtually everyone loves them.  I have no great revelation here except that it is kind of hard to pan fry breaded tofu & have it look pretty but who cares?  These are TACOS & nobody cares what they look like – only what they taste like.  And these were very tasty.  Because the tofu was fried & I added avocado – I wanted to keep the rest pretty light – so I added no cheese or cream sauce but you certainly could. I made a very simple slaw with very little vegan mayo in it & it worked great because it added color & crunch but not much in the way of calories.  If calories don’t concern you, you could make the slaw with a creamier dressing, add more mayo or even use a different dressing altogether  – like an Asian miso salad dressing or something.  As I said – tacos are endlessly customizable so make these to suit yourself.  One pound of tofu will likely fry up to make enough filling for 6-10 tacos – depending on the size of your tortillas & your appetites.  Like with pizza – I am just making suggestions here as to ingredients but you can add ones you want, lose ones you hate, and fill them as densely or sparingly as you please.  They are tacos – almost impossible to fuck up.

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Purple Cabbage & Heirloom Carrot Slaw

Makes enough slaw for 6-10 tacos

INGREDIENTS

1/4 large head purple cabbage – chopped or grated (I used the grating blade in my food processor)

5 heirloom (or regular) carrots – grated (I used the grating blade in my food processor)

5 scallions – sliced finely

1 small bunch cilantro – chopped

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 cup vegan mayo

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix everything up & season with S&P.  Add more mayo if you like a wetter slaw

Set aside.

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Vegan Fried Tofu Tacos

makes 6-10 tacos (as far as tofu goes – the other ingredient ratios are up to you)

1 lb extra firm tofu – cubed

Corn tortillas

Avocado – sliced

Tomato – diced

Cilantro

1 TBS sriracha

1 TBS agave nectar

1/2 cup corn meal

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

S&P

1/4 cup olive oil

Potential garnish:  grated cheese, sour cream, diced onion, corn, black beans, cilantro, jalapenos, lime wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Toss the cubed tofu in the sriracha & agave.  In a large bowl, mix the corn meal with the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder & some S&P.  Toss the tofu in the corn meal until it is well covered.

Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold all the tofu – or do it in shifts.  If the tofu is too crowded – it might start breaking up.  Fry – carefully tuning once in a while – until it is all browned.  Never fear if some breading falls off.  You are gonna drop lots of goodies on top of the tofu so pretty is not important.

I like to warm my corn tortillas over the burners of my stove until they get some char marks.  You can do this – or not – but I recommend it.

Assemble your tacos! Layer some slaw, then tofu, tomato, avocado & cilantro and/or whatever toppings you have chosen.  Shove them in  your face.  Swill a beer.  Eat more tacos.  Have no regrets!

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CHEF’D – Vegetarian Tofu Parmigiana with Arugula Salad

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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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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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So – as you can see from that big, orange box – I am posting yet another recipe from Chef’d – their Tofu Parmigiana with Arugula Salad.  I haven’t eaten meat since the eighties and the question I get most (after, “Where do you get your protein?”) is “Do you eat a lot of tofu?”
That used to get me disproportionately cranky because it implied that the only thing vegetarians ate was tofu – and sort of excused meat eaters from examining the truth because, after all, nobody should have to live on tofu!  But – I have never been a huge tofu fan and, frankly, have never bought into the whole protein “myth.”  Most of the largest animals on Earth – from elephants to rhinos & gorillas – are primarily vegan or vegetarian – and I am pretty sure they don’t take protein supplements.  At any rate – I was never a huge fan of tofu (unless it was fried) and, therefore, had very little tofu (if any) in my diet.  Then a vegan friend requested a vegan scramble recipe – so, I broken down & made one – my Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below.
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I was SHOCKED at how delicious tofu could be & by how convincingly it replaced eggs.  This success led to Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & CheeseVegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & CheeseVegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage and even my Vegan Spicy Orange & Sriracha Glazed Tofu with Pomegranate Seeds – seen below, respectively.
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I have come to really love tofu!  So, when I saw the Tofu Parmigiana on Chef’s menu – I had to try it!  And am I glad that I did!  It might have been the easiest to prepare of all the Chef’d dishes I have tried so far & it really was delicious.  I made no changes to the recipe (though I did accidentally break one of my tofu patties) – and it came out very well.  There was a little arugula, cherry tomato & pine nut salad that was crazy easy to make and, since arugula is my favorite of the lettuces out there, I found it to be delicious – and clean & lite.
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As you can see – I overcooked the cheese a bit – likely because my oven needs calibration – but Chef’d had supplied more mozzarella than the recipe called for so I just added a bit more & baked it another 2 minutes or so – until it melted.  The golden cheese was actually quite yummy!  In fact – the entire dish – including the salad are definitely worth repeating.  But – while I was photographing it – I decided a bit of fresh basil would be a nice touch – so I went on my balcony to get some.  And look who met me out there!
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Cutie, little lady bug!  I tried to get a better shot but she scuttled away.  So – I picked some basil & continued to photograph.  And then I ate it up.  But – like with the CHEF’D – Vegetarian Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese – I found this meal to be quite light – maybe too light to serve two for dinner.  I made this for lunch & easily killed the salad alone and scarfed three of the tofu Parmigiana cutlet thingies and had to stop myself from eating the fourth.  Granted, I had just done a heated spinning class that burns about 1000 calories but – still.  I think there is no way two MEN could share this meal & call it dinner – unless they were looking to restrict portion size & trying to lose weight (and who isn’t trying to lose weight?).   And – maybe I am just a good ole-fashioned American glutton – but I nearly ate all of this for lunch – all of a meal planned to feed two.  I would definitely eat it all at dinner – all of both portions.  I mean – the tofu seemed to be about 1/2 lb (notice the label is the label for almost a pound but is cut in half) –
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meaning that the 1/2 pound block supplied only has 225 calories.  Add the sauce & cheese & even the salad and you increase the calories a bit but still – if feeding two – within the calories range of your average Lean Cuisine.  I don’t know about you – but although I used to eat Lean Cuisine – ALL THE TIME – I never found them very filling.  That said – there are likely more people out there looking for a truly light but still delicious vegetarian meal & this dish supplies that in spades.
After writing that – I realized that Chef’d must supply nutritional info – and they do.  Here it is (below) showing more calories than I guessed – at 495 per diner.   I think 500 calories for a dinner – for most people – would result in weight loss.  Since most of us need to lose a few – that could be a very good thing.  Still – I think it is unrealistic to think most Americans would find this meal substantial enough for two adults – for dinner.
That said – it really was easy & it really was tasty & I really am glad I did not eat the whole 2 portions for lunch – like I wanted to.  Primarily, because I still have an entire Chef’d pizza – a White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and an Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette – downstairs.  Waiting to be cooked.  By me.  And eaten.  By myself.  Tonight.  Alone.  Whole pizza.  Yup.
Don’t judge me!   🙂
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PS – Chef’d has two holiday dinner options that you can customize – to serve 4 or 8.  Smoked Goose & Prime Rib.
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Vegan Cabbage Cake (Stuffed Cabbage Tower)

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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 had cabbage & I had a desire for some old school comfort food.  I was Googling around looking for inspiration & saw this thing of beauty by Proud Italian Cook:

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Both my friend, Rose, and I were blown away & both swore to make it immediately.  And we both did.  I think she stuck with the original recipe but I had to make it vegan & make it before work – including going to the store to buy a different kind of cabbage – Savoy cabbage – so I could get that pretty lace effect – so I had quite a task ahead.  My cabbage, ultimately, was not quite as vascular as the one Proud Italian Cook used & my oven heats unevenly – so I did not get quite the forest effect they did & I browned one side.  No matter!  This was easy to make & is really delicious & quite the show stopper!

I used:

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I would have just used two bags of the Beyond Meat rather than add tofu but I only had one bag.  I used frozen tofu that I thawed & then squeezed the water out.  It gives the tofu a spongy-texture that resembles ground beef more than raw tofu does.  It also has the added benefit of removing lots of the moisture.

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I also added maitake mushrooms (seen above) and 2 grilled zucchini – simply because I had them.  You could fill your cake with whatever traditional filling you would use for cabbage rolls or use this recipe or tweak this recipe.  I used Rao’s sauce for ease & because it is the best jarred sauce on the market.  You can use your own favorite – homemade or from a jar.  Whatever you decide – I promise you will be delighted with this unexpected & regal reinvention of the humble stuffed cabbage roll.

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Vegan Cabbage Cake (Stuffed Cabbage Tower)

Serves 4-6 (depending on appetites)

INGREDIENTS

1 head of Savoy (or other green) cabbage

2+ TBS olive oil

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (or 18 oz or more and skip the tofu below)

1 lb tofu – frozen, thawed, water squeezed out & crumbled

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 celery stalk – chopped

2 zucchini – grilled & diced (optional – both the grilling of the zucchini & the zucchini themselves)

1/2 lb mushrooms – chopped (optional)

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

1-3 tsp fresh thyme (or oregano) – less if you use dried

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown) – or more if you eliminated the zucchini & mushrooms

S&P to taste

24 oz of your favorite red sauce

1 cup or so of Grated Parmesan (vegan – or not, if you are not vegan) – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Core the bottom of the cabbage (leaving it in tact) & place in a deep pot cored-side down.  Add 2-3 inches of water & bring to a boil – covered – for 5 minutes.  Plunge into cold water & when it is cool enough to handle – carefully peel the leaves away & place on paper towels to dry.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan & then cook the onions, celery and mushrooms (if using) until soft (my photos do not reflect the proper order & it doesn’t really matter).  Add the beef, tofu, zucchini (if using) and garlic, thyme, parsley rice & 1 cup marinara.  Blend well.  Season with S&P.

Grease a deep, round casserole or souffle-type dish & then arrange the prettiest and largest leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that and up the sides of the dish all around.  Layer in some beef mixture (maybe 1/2 inch) & top with another layer of cabbage.  Repeat until you reach the top or run out of filling.  Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and a sprinkling of about half your cheese (if you are using vegan or real cheese) all over.  The cheese can be eliminated completely with little impact on this recipe.

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Bake for about 40 minutes.  Let it rest then invert a serving plate over the casserole dish, then carefully flip it over.  Top with more warmed marinara & some of your cheese.  Cut into slices and serve with additional warmed marinara and more grated cheese.

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Vegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage

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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 quiche is very dense with the vegan sausage – and it was quite tasty!  I bet if you told someone it was egg whites rather than tofu – you could fool a bunch of folks.  You might not want so much sausage in yours and – if that is true – just use more broccoli to make up the gap.

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Vegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage

INGREDIENTS

1 lb extra firm tofu

14 oz vegan sausage (I used Lightlife Gimme Lean)

1/2 large onion – diced

1 small head broccoli – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

3 (or more) slices cheese of your choice (I used Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne)

10-15 sage leaves

1 vegan pie crust

5-10 cherry tomatoes – quartered

Olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 TBS olive oil to a pan & flash fry (just a minute or so) – the sage – being sure not to burn it (see above photo).  Drain on paper towels.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan & brown the sausage.  Add the onion & saute a few minutes & then add the broccoli & saute until the broccoli is softened.

In a blender or food processor – pulse the tofu, jalapeno, cheese, fried sage & some S&P until well blended.  Add this to the sausage & broccoli & mix well.

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Press the crust into a pan & fill with the sausage etc.  Crinkle the edges – if you care to – and top with tomato pieces.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the crust is nice & golden.  My oven heats unevenly – hence the unevenly cooked crust.

Let it sit 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Devour!

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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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Vegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & Cheese

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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 never been a huge quiche fan.  Sure – I’ll eat it – but I will eat most things if they are my only option.  I became even less charmed with quiche when I made a few & realized that they really are not mostly egg – but rather – are mostly heavy cream.  They are as rich & decadent as ice cream and, frankly, I’d rather eat a tub of sour cream with spring onion powdered mix in it & gorge on an entire bag of reduced fat Ruffles.

So – I recently discovered the charms of tofu masquerading as egg whites & I am very pleased.   I made Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & Cheese & Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below, respectively.

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And, when I am working, I scramble a quarter of a block of tofu with S&P and some spinach or veggie sausage & wrap it in an 80 calorie tortilla & dip it is salsa & call it breakfast.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I am now completely off eggs.

So – I thought – why not make a tofu quiche?  Cruelty-free & way less rich than a traditional quiche.  I used chard & spinach & vegan cheese in mine but you can adapt this to reflect whatever quiche ingredients you prefer.  A little veggie sausage would be nice.

I used 5 slices of this Field Roast Chao cheese – below.

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I really, really like that cheese – in all three flavors.  The texture is believable & it tastes yummy.  I pulsed mine into the tofu so that it might melt more effectively and, no matter what kind of cheese you use – I recommend this method.

The real secret to a delicious-looking quiche is the depth of it – so be sure to pack yours with ingredients.  I could have added sausage or other veggies – like broccoli – to this & it would still have fit into the crust – so err on the side of too much stuff in the crust rather than too little.

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Vegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1 prepared vegan pie crust

1 lb extra firm tofu

1 head chard – hard ribs removed – chopped

2 cups fresh spinach – chopped

1/2 onion – diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1 carrot – diced

5 slices of vegan cheese (or 1/2 cup or more of your cheese selection)

2 TBS tahini (optional)

1 TBS miso (optional)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 TBS fresh basil – minced

Olive oil

Smoked (or other) paprika

5-10 cherry tomatoes – halved

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the crust into a pie pan.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  saute the onion, carrot & red pepper until soft.  Add the chard & spinach & basil & saute until the greens wilt.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor – pulse the tofu & cheese together with the Dijon and the miso & tahini (if using).  Season with S&P.  Add to the vegetable mixture & combine.

Pour into the crust & sprinkle with paprika.  Arrange the tomatoes on top.  Pinch your crust edges – if you like.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is browned to your taste.

Let sit 10 minutes & serve.

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Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & Cheese

3 Comments

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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OK – I will confess – I am a recovering tofu bigot.  I gave up meat in the eighties – way before there were ANY vegetarian faux meats and even using the word “vegan” was a decade away for me.  The only fake meat out there was stuff like Bacos – that were accidentally vegan.  OK – fine – they had seitan in health food stores but it was bland & unconvincing & I was not yet skilled enough to make it really work.  So – tofu emerged as potentially the most versatile vegetarian meat substitute.  I experimented a bunch but the results were always iffy and, frankly, the taste & texture of tofu sorta bummed me out & seemed not worth the calories involved.  The only tofu things that were any good were deep fried appetizers doused in rich peanut sauces at Asian restaurants.  So – I kinda let tofu go.

When you are a vegetarian as long as I have been – you quickly grow increasing annoyed by the question, “Do you eat a lot of tofu, then?” and “Where do you get your protein?”

Fuck tofu!  Being vegetarian doesn’t mean I live on tofu.  And I have NEVER made any effort to increase protein in my diet.  Vegetables & beans & nuts etc all have protein but I never bought into the whole protein myth.  Look at some of the largest mammals on earth – gorillas, elephants, rhinos, hippos, cows, horses, bison, giraffes and some whales – all vegetarian or vegan.  So fuck protein &  fuck tofu.

Then, my vegan friend asked if I had a vegan scramble recipe & I did not.  Eh – fine.  I will scramble some fucking gross tofu for the hippies out there.   Tofu scramble?  Blech!  Slimy & wet – tasting all tofooey.  Ugh.  But – for the sake of this blog – I did it.  I made Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below – and they were a revelation!

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Emboldened – I get more and more adventurous with scrambling tofu until I got to the point where I would scramble some with spinach and S&P and wrap it in a tortilla & eat it with salsa every morning before work.   Scrambled tofu really is almost indistinguishable from scrambled egg whites but without all the cruelty involved.

As to this breakfast burrito – I added the things I did because I had them.  You can make yours with any of your favorite omelette ingredients.   A little turmeric makes the tofu yellow & becomes even more visually convincing that you are not eating tofu – but eggs.  I recommend trying it at least once!  You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Sorry, tofu!  I had you all wrong!

Also – I used Daiya shredded mozzarella in this.  In some photos – you can see the gooey melted cheese in the burrito.  The Daiya shreds melt very well when used like this.  The taste is distinctly NOT mozzarella but it is not unpleasant.  You can use your favorite brand – or skip cheese altogether.

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Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & Cheese

Makes 2 burritos

INGREDIENTS

2 large tortillas

1/2 block of firm tofu

4 mushrooms – diced

1 tomato – diced

2 handfuls of spinach

Shredded cheese

fresh or pickled jalapeno – diced (quantity to suite your taste)

2 TBS chia seeds (optional)

1 pinch each of: ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper

Sliced Avocado

Cilantro

Garnish with salsa

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DIRECTIONS

In a nonstick pan, or a pan sprayed with cooking oil, heat everything up (except avocado & cilantro – if using) – mashing the tofu into everything.  Really – that’s it.  Once the spinach wilts & the tofu is heated through – adjust seasonings and wrap that shit up in your tortillas with some avocado & cilantro.  Serve with some salsa!  YUMMY!

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Blue Apron Vegetarian Dinners – Night Two – Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans

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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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OK – I had a far more successful experience with this recipe than I did with my Blue Apron Vegetarian Dinners – Night One – Spring Pea Gnocchi – seen above.

If you read that post about the gnocchi, you will learn that I had a compulsive eating situation with the brie & the bread they delivered.  Turns out – that bread was sent in error.  I got four loaves of shitty sub bread rather than the 4 slices of bread I needed to make the grilled brie sandwiches that were 1 of the 3 meals in the package – so – I might not be making the grilled brie.  Because 1) they did not send me the right bread and 2) I ate all the brie is a wine-fueled frenzy…as is outlined in the gnocchi post.  But – I do love me some brie – so – keep tuned.

The gnocchi dinner was labor intensive and underwhelming for the effort (my friend, Jack, who gifted me this week of meals confirmed that the gnocchi was the hardest & least effective of the Blue Apron meals he has tried).  This one – easier to make & to clean up after & tasted super yummy!  I pressed my tofu (wrapped in a kitchen towel with a heavy pot on it in the sink) to get the excess water out & it kinda mushed it so that it did not cut into pretty cubes but it tasted great.  700 calories per serving is pretty shocking, however, so I threw most of the peanuts away & used less oil than they suggested and ate less than half the rice in my serving.  So – without further adieu, let me present Blue Apron Vegetarian Dinners – Night Two – Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans.

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Blue Apron Vegetarian Dinners – Night Two – Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans

I am not going to list ingredients & directions because they are in the images below.  Enjoy!

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