Tofu Escalopes With Salsa

Tofu Escalopes with Salsa

tofu-escalopes-with-salsa

I’ve never been successful cooking with tofu. In fact, the last time I attempted a tofu stir-fry, it ended up in the bin. Restaurants seem to manage to make it so it resembles actual food and not a gungy spongy lump of tasteless splodge but whatever their technique is, it has so far eluded me.

Until now, that is. Recently, I’ve read on various blogs and Facebook pages about people pressing tofu to squeeze all the water out of it. Pressing techniques ranged from using a fancy press to using a plate with something heavy on top. I chose the ‘plate with something heavy on top’ technique.

I placed the tofu (it had been frozen and defrosted first, as freezing also helps to make it firmer) on a plate, placed another plate on top of the tofu and placed two heavy cookbooks on top of this and left it for about an hour. Some water had indeed been squeezed out but, on prodding it, there was a lot of water still in the tofu so I pressed down harder and squeezed more out of it. Even after pressing down and pressing down, the tofu still seemed a bit waterlogged but it was certainly a lot firmer than it had been and I decided it had got to the ‘it’ll do’ stage.

‘It’ll do’ certainly did, as the tofu, once cooked, was the perfect texture and not in the slightest bit gungy or spongy. It was, despite being marinated, a bit bland – next time I’ll coat it in some barbecue sauce or something similar before dredging it in breadcrumbs.

I can’t believe I managed to cook tofu successfully and I’ll definitely be using the pressing method again.  Although I served two per person, they were filling and I reckon one would be enough.

panko-crusted-tofu

Tofu Escalopes with Salsa (makes 6)
(recipe adapted from Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes)

1 block tofu, sliced into 6 slices
2 eggs
75g Japanese panko crumbs
5 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper

Marinade

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

Salsa

100g drained tinned haricot beans
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp bottled jalapeno chillies, drained and chopped
1 handful of coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and season well. Put the tofu in a large, shallow dish, spoon the marinade over and spread over both sides. Leave to marinate, covered, for 1 hour.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the salsa together and leave in the fridge until serving.
  3. Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish and season. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip the tofu slices into the egg and then the crumbs until coated all over, then fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the salsa.
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Vegan Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m supposed to be writing a book review, so obviously I had the urge to bake something instead. I had it in my head that I wanted to use up the silken tofu in the cupboard and googled recipes for muffins that used silken tofu, then realised I didn’t have any other muffin-making ingredients and plain tofu muffins didn’t sound too appealing.

So, I had a look on the Post Punk Kitchen website and found this recipe for oatmeal peanut butter cookies.

vegan-peanut-butter-cookies

Isa’s recipe is slightly different to mine as I didn’t have the same ingredients, but after reading the comments, I discovered I could use mashed banana instead of applesauce (which I didn’t bother mashing as it was going into the blender). I also used rapeseed oil instead of canola oil (which might be the same thing, I’m not sure), agave nectar instead of molasses, plain flour instead of whole wheat flour and on discovering the tofu I thought was silken, was just normal tofu, used that. Also I used vanilla soya milk as that’s what I’ve got open in the fridge.

vegan-oatmeal-peanut-butter-bars

I made half the dough into cookies and half pressed down into a tray. Both are delicious, but the cookies are firmer, while the bars have a more cake-like texture (although they were still warm when I tried them, so they may well firm up a little when cool).

The recipe below is how I made them – if you want the recipe as it was originally (and by someone who knows what they’re doing), go to the link above or below.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
(Adapted from the recipe at The Post Punk Kitchen)

Ingredients
3 oz tofu
1/4 cup banana
1/4 cup rapeseed oil
1/4 cup soymilk
3/4 cups peanut butter
1 cups sugar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups oats
1 cups plain flour
1 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 180C

In a bowl, sift together the flour, oats, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and sugar until well combined, 3 – 5 minutes.

In a blender, crumble the tofu in, add banana, soymilk and oil. Whizz on high until completely smooth. Add this mixture to the sugar mixture and cream together until well combined. Beat in the agave nectar and vanilla. Fold in the oats/flour mixture.

Make into balls with your hand, slightly flatten and place on to an ungreased cookie sheet, or press down into a tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

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Tofu, vegetable and hoisin sauce stir-fry

Mmm, my first post-detox dinner. I had some spinach, broccoli and chili to use up, so I went to the supermarket and bought some marinated tofu, mushrooms, spring onions, beansprouts and hoisin sauce (oops, processed food, naughty) and managed NOT to buy any wine and went home and heated a bit of sesame oil in a wok, stir-fried the tofu and veg, added the hoisin sauce, boiled some basmati rice and had my first hot, cooked, solid food of the week, eaten out of a bowl with a fork and not drank out of a smoothie jug.

stir fry 004

And I didn’t even have a massive portion. Full of self-control, me.

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Competition: Win a copy of Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

If you’re vegan, or even if you’re not, you should own a copy of Veganomicon.

Now Isa Chandra Moskowitz – the bestselling author of Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – has brought us a new cookbook: Vegan Brunch.

It starts with a list of pantry items, most of which are quite hard to find in the UK, e.g. vital wheat gluten (I tried to find it and failed, and ended up buying seitan mix from Veganstore), liquid smoke (which apparently is smoke from smouldering wood that has been condensed into its liquid form [no, I’m not making this up, honest] and tempeh. Also, it might be just me, but I’ve never heard of black salt (which according to Isa is pink and tastes of egg yolk and I‘m trying to decide if that‘s a good thing or not) and smoked salt (which only one recipe – tofu benny (Isa’s take on eggs Benedict) – calls for anyway).

The recipes are set out in sections. First up is the savoury section. A bit heavy on the tofu side, it starts with 11 tofu omelette recipes, followed by 20 pages of recipes containing tofu. Good news for tofu lovers then. Bad news for the other 99% of the population. Still, if tofu’s not your thing, there are plenty of other recipes to tempt you, e.g. mushroom, leek & white bean pie, chili cashew dosas with spiced apple cider chutney and buckwheat waffles with red wine tarragon mushroom gravy.

Pancakes and waffles take up a lot of room in the sweet section, including the odd sounding chocolate beer waffles and the gorgeous looking lemon cashew-stuffed crepes with whole berry sauce.

In the sides section there are a few sausage recipes and a recipe that caught my eye was the potato spinach squares.

Next up is the bread basket section, with a selection of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, bagels, rolls and scones (including a very tasty looking tomato & rosemary scone recipe).

Towards the end is the messy stuff; toppings, e.g. cashew sour cream and smoked almond gravy.

Finally, at the end is the drinks section, including pink grapefruit mimosas, so you can drink champagne in the morning, safe in the knowledge that everyone knows this is a socially acceptable thing to do and does not mean you are a raging alcoholic who drinks as soon as they get up.

Paperback, 240 pages, colour photographs throughout.

**Win a copy of Vegan Brunch**

Vegan Brunch is out on 4 June 2009. To get your hands on a copy before then, please leave a comment and I’ll pick a name out of a hat (a pink straw one to be precise) and will send one lucky winner a copy in the post.

Competition ends Friday 22 May 2009.  UK entries only please.

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