Tag Archives: tofu

Sunny Days in Texas: Popcorn Tofu Po’Boy

Have you ever seen such and amazing looking sandwich in your life?

If you’ve got a better one… let’s hang out because I want to try it! The popcorn tofu po’boy from Wheatsville co-op here in Austin Texas is kind of legendary. You can ask just about any deep fried vegan in town what they recommend on a trip to Austin and probably every single one of them will tell you that the nooch-battered tofu on a fresh roll with the veggies of your choice and surrounded by the homemade creamy cashew tamari dressing is about as good as it gets.

With the Sunny Days in Texas zine you don’t have to travel all the way to Austin to try one (though you still should).  All you have to do is find a roll and then make the recipes for both the popcorn tofu and the cashew tamari dressing, which are both in the zine and cover with whatever will make you feel good about yourself. The recipes are the actual coveted Wheatsville originals so they are both to make a restaurant quantity of the ingredients. I haven’t perfected either one on my own yet (I have been busy!) but I can tell you that going with your gut works better than trying to do a straight math conversion.

Eat tofu! Help Animals!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

TaKorea – Vegan Tacos, Hot Dogs, and Tostadas all with a Korean twist

Takorea closed down :( Check out Chi’lantro for your Korean Taco needs

TaKorea has been on my must try list for I don’t know how long. They just moved to the Longhorn Food Court, up the street from where I spend my weekdays in between downtown and UT, so on Thursday I braved the rain and went to try this Mexican Korean fusion trailer. Right now it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing spot but I think that is bound to change as the other trailers open in the coming weeks (including Dog Almighty!). I imagine they will add such luxuries as tables to eat at! For now it is a very bare bones concrete parking lot.

We met the owner Paul who was very nice and answered my one thousand questions about the menu graciously. He assured me that all the tofu items were completely vegan and free of egg or dairy. The vegan taco can either be healthy style in a cabbage wrap and topped with cucumbers or in a corn tortilla or on a fried tostada topped with a sweet chile sauce. I loved that they have multiple options here because sometimes I want something healthy and sometimes I want some deep fried goodness. At 2.50 each they seemed like a good deal but probably not a complete meal. Paul said the hot dogs were the most popular thing on the menu. He has smart dogs on a toasted sesame bun topped with tofu and Korean fixins for 4.50. I am not typically a big hot dog fan but it sounded so fabulous piled high with cabbage and chile sauce so I couldn’t resist.

I ordered one of each and we waited for the food.  When it came out my anticipation almost overwhelmed me because it looked fabulous. Both the hot dog and the tostada were piled high with topping. The tostada shell seemed freshly deep fried and the sesame bun was perfectly toasted which made me super happy. It makes such a difference to have a crusty vehicle for the toppings in both of these cases.

I ate the tostada first and I was completely blown away. It reminded me more of traditional street food than anything else I have I can remember eating in town, maybe because the deep fried action. The sweet chile sauce was amazing. I want to learn his secrets!After the tostada I had the hot dog but after the first couple bites we had to run off because it started pouring down rain. I felt like a true American running down the street while eating a hot dog. It was beautiful and had a lot of flavor but next time I think I would ask for the sweet sauce to be on it as well because I liked that one better than the spicy one. It was a wonderful filling meal and I got a beverage too and paid just 7 bucks. What a terrific addition to the neighborhood! They are open 11-8 Tuesday through Saturday.

Posna Zeljanica Pita – Serbian Vegan Spinach Pie

My mom’s mom, my Baba makes the best cheese pita in the world. This is an undisputed fact, it is known among everyone whoever tried it. If you have ever had burek or gibanica it is like that. The recipe calls for half a dozen eggs, a pound of brick cheese, cream cheese, and a stick of butter. My mom more often would make the spinach version, like spanakopita, when I was a kid called Zeljanica which I preferred, probably because it is fun to say (zel E on it za). It was definitely the first dish that I can recall eating my greens and liking them. It was also one of the first things that I learned to make and when I went away to school I liked to make it for potlucks because it is so delicious and easy to make and the recipe makes more than just a few people *should* eat.

After I went vegan I sadly realized I would never eat it again since there was just too much to substitute. Plus, the eggs make it puff up and I didn’t want a bunch of green muck which happened to me once before when I didn’t have the recipe right. A few weeks ago Chicago Soy Dairy sent me some mozzarella Teese and it eventually got me thinking that now I had the perfect cheese element wrapped up in front of me! I could easily replace the cream cheese with tofutti cream cheese and olive oil replaced the butter (I didn’t want to use melted earth balance but I think it would be great). The only problem was the cottage cheese and egg so I replaced both with big tofu crumbles marinated for a couple of minutes in salt and lemon juice and some pine nuts. I also thought that I would have more texture using Swiss Chard, spinach’s sturdier cousin. Then since it is spring time I added a giant leek.  I really couldn’t believe how well it all turned out, I still can’t. It is just perfect, even better than I had hoped. The teese worked perfect, there is no weird taste and it is decidedly rich. I don’t want to say “you won’t believe it is vegan” but dammit, I have to!  I am also excited because I have my go to potluck dish back!

The Zeljanica also works great as an easter dish, especially if you want to serve it to your Serbian Orthodox friends for American easter since they will still be fasting for another week. You can also sing along with them to this video or enjoy 3 X Love and everyone can have a laugh. You could also serve it for your equinox festival, to celebrate the opening of the first public library (in 1833, in Peterborough, NH), your 4/20 throwdown, Buddha’s birthday or for brunch. It is a dish that will work for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, appetizer, or feast. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter.

Zeljanica

1 lbs extra firm tofu
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
10 oz Mozzarella Teese, grated
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn
8 oz plain toffuti cream cheese
1 large leek, white part cleaned and chopped in skinny half moons
Box of Filo Dough, defrosted*
olive oil or melted earth balance
*the fresher the filo dough the better it will work. If you have a greek store you can usually find it there in the refrigerated section as opposed to the freezer. Otherwise, get the frozen kind and let it completely thaw in the fridge for a day before you use it. Don’t try any other method (trust me) it doesn’t work you have to wait.
Crumble the tofu into a bowl with your hands squeezing the water out as you go. You want pretty big chunks, like tablespoon size. Next, add the salt and lemon juice and mix together and let marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Add the Teese, the chard, the leek and the toffuti to the bowl and mix everything together with your hands until everything is incorporated but not blended.
Next, Preheat the oven to 375 and assemble your workstation. You want everything at hand because once you get the filo out of the packaging it dries quickly. Get a baking sheet out and oil the bottom and put about a third of a cup of oil in a bowl with a pastry brush. Get a towel slightly dampened with no wet spots, you don’t the filo to get wet because it will stick together so make sure that your damp towel is not that damp! Open the filo and unfurl it and place it under the towel.Carefully peel off the first layer of filo. Usually the first layer doesn’t come off well so I end up putting it to the side. Don’t worry about messing it up because you have more dough in the box than you will need and the bottom layers don’t have to be perfect. Lay the first sheet down on the oiled pan, cover the remaining filo back up with the towel and oil the top of the first layer of dough. The oil works like mortar sealing everything together. You can patch pieces together and seal holes with any excess you have moved to the side. When you are done get the next piece out and repeat the process until you have 6 layers down. Then spread the filling out over the dough. Top with pine nuts and then, using the same process add 6 more layers to the top. . You can also use the filo in alternative ways with this filling although this is the easiest. Sometimes I do something decorative on the very top with the leftover filo, just use a lot of oil. I have spelled things out, tried to make flowers, and made a thicker crust around the edge. Or you can top with asparagus pieces and they will roast right on top and then when it is done you can cut it into little squares if you want to be fancy. Once it is assembled you can also refrigerate for a day or two and bake it the day you need it. Another fun thing to do is fold it into triangles and deep fry.

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. The edges will be the first thing to burn so keep an eye on them after 20 minutes. After it has cooled you can cut it into pieces to serve cold or you can keep it whole and warm it up back in the oven if you are not serving immediately. Enjoy!


Ugandan Tofu Scramble

If you try this recipe I swear you will start waking up in the morning craving something Ugandan. This is another dish that is inspired by Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. In the recipe she makes a kind of dry stew with okra, tomatoes, and spices but she said that in Uganda they often topped it with eggs and so I thought it would work well as a tofu scramble. I am pleased to say that it turned out fantastic! I think it was the best scramble we have ever had so if you like okra try it out.

in a bowl Crumble & combine
1 lbs of tofu
juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp salt

In a mortar & pestle make a paste of
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Saute
1 lbs okra, sliced into rounds
after 5 minutes reduce heat & add tofu mix
When Tofu is browned add
2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used one big fat yellow heirloom)
spice paste

Cook until the scramble has reached the desired consistency and serve with mashed yuca, fried plantains, or roasted potatoes and toast or tortillas. Top with chives or scallions.

Enjoy!

A South Austin Omelette

I finally made the omelettes from Vegan Brunch and though they look great I was a little disappointed with the taste. I have never had a recipe turn out badly before from Isa Moskowitz so I am going to assume that one of my ingredients was off. I suspect my black salt is more potent because there was a strong sulfur taste and I have only used a little at a time before. I stuffed the omelette with swiss chard, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes which was the perfect combination for me.

Earlier this week I was at Wheatsville Co-op and saw that they now carry numerous flavors of Teese. I wasn’t very excited to try it again since I last had the nacho teese which I didn’t like at all, couldn’t eat, and threw away. But, I really did like the mozzarella when I tried it so I implusivly decided to give one more flavor a try and I am so glad I did! I got the creamy cheddar and then later read on the internet that it tasted kind of like velveeta. The only way I ever knew to make velveeta palatable is to make it into queso and I decided to do the same thing with the creamy cheddar teese. My expectations were so low that I didn’t even make my own salsa, I bought some from the Austin Spice Company, warmed up the teese until it was no longer lumpy and then mixed in salsa until the consistancy was right. It was perfect! Exactly like half the restaurants in town so I am so happy to finally have a queso recipe that I wouldn’t feel weird to serve to friends. The strange part was when I was making brunch I assumed that the omelette would be great and the queso would be questionable at best but the opposite happened. Yay Teese!

And I almost forgot to post this picture of Dinger, first hoping that the omelette would fall on the ground and then falling asleep in that position.

Thai Fried Rice with Garlic Scapes

If you are trying to cook more meals at home but struggling with it one of the best tips I can give you is always be thinking about your next meal. If you have the grill fired up add some summer squash or some bell peppers to use in meals the next day. Or, if you have the oven going for an hour to bake a casserole you may as well put a couple sweet potatoes wrapped in foil or roast some garlic while you are at it (but don’t roast garlic while you are baking cupcakes!). Not only will you have some of the work done but it can give you a starting point when you are trying to decide what to make the next day. If I am making a pot of rice or beans I always make more and often freeze extra beans. Cold rice can easily be reheated but it is best utilized, in my opinion, as Fried Rice, particularly Thai Fried Rice. I never liked Fried Rice at Chinese restaurants. A lot of times it tastes like the Styrofoam tray that they serve it in and the only flavorings are some soy sauce. Thai Fried rice is totally different, even if you don’t have any vegan fish sauce it will still be fabulous because of the addition of green onions, cilantro, and lime. You can even still add peas and carrots if you like them! In this version I also used garlic scapes because they are delicious but you can add just about anything to Thai Fried Rice, pineapple is a popular choice and tomatoes are really good but don’t be afraid to add some kale or broccoli either. Then you can pretend that you are having a really healthy meal.

4 Cups cooked chilled rice
frying oil
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 Cup onion, chopped
5 garlic scapes (or other vegetable or fruit if you like)
1 lbs tofu (you can drain and press it and cut it into cubes or break it up like in tofu scramble)
2 Tablespoons vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
lime wedges for serving

First heat up your oil in a large wok or skillet so that a piece of garlic sizzles on contact. You will need to use a little more oil for fried rice than for a regular stir fry, about 3 tablespoons. Next add your garlic and onion and stir fry about 1 minute. Add your scapes or other vegetable next and fry for another minute. Next add your tofu. It is important to press the tofu into the pan so that it will get crispy and release any water that can then evaporate. After you put in the tofu don’t toss it until it crisps up about 2 minutes and then flip and fry the other side. Once the tofu is firm break up the clumps of rice with your hands and add them into the wok or skillet. Use the same method as with the tofu for frying; press the rice against pan and let it fry in the oil before you toss it. Once all the rice has changed color add your sugar and sauce, check your balance and see if you need more sugar or more sauce, all the brands are different and if it too salty you might have to add more. Finally, add the green onions and cilantro remove from the heat and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Kentucky Fried Tofu Bowl

What if the colonel had a pink haired grandaughter that took over the company and changed it to Kentucky Fried Tofu and instead of commercial featuring flying pieces of dead birds they had flying pieces of tofu. Would people still protest the company but for different reasons? Would the food still be gross?

These are the topics that we could have discussed while eating my version of KFC’s bowls. Actually, the inspiration came from something we used to eat at summer camp, fried fish mixed with mashed potatoes and corn. I didn’t feel like cooking and this seemed like an easy and hilarious meal to replicate.  I bought popcorn tofu and canned corn from Wheatsville, made some mashed potatoes with sauted garlicky kale so I wouldn’t feel totally deprived of any nutrition, and leftover gravy. Everyone really liked their bowls but who doesn’t like popcorn tofu?