Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tofu goodness, a new addition and Father's day goodies!

Are you in love with tofu just as much as me?? Here's $1/1 Nasoya product coupon that doesn't expire until 12/31/2010!! This made a very happy Stephanie :)

Why hello there! As I bring to a close my first all vegetarian week, I thought I'd post about some of the meals I've used to start my new lifestyle off with! I had the return of two tofu favorites...

Tofu Stir Fry (I find it funny that in this post, I say that while I love vegetarian food, I don't think I could ever  become a vegetarian...oh how the times have changed! haha)

For the stir fry, I used Emily's Tofu Tutorial to make the perfect tofu! While I've been eating tofu for a few months, it's been sporadic and so I've really only made it 5 or 6 times..still a newbie, in my opinion. This is a good place to start if you're interested in trying it! :)

And now on to the best tofu I've had in my life. And I have a new addition to the family to thank for it.

Beautiful. (Yes, I am cradling the pan like a baby. Hush.)

I'm telling you, a good pan makes ALL the difference. (Plus, I got this 50% off from the Publix clearance section...SCORE!)

Now on to the tofu! I showed you the pan because it made a HUGE difference in the amount of oil I was able to use. We've never had a brand-new, high-quality non-stick pan before now so bear with my gushing.

Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushroom Gravy - Serves 4
from Vegetarian Times' online database
  • 1-16 oz block extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable! I halved this recipe and only needed 2 Tb. but this might be because of my fabulous pan ;)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 5 white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Drain and press tofu then cut into 8 slices (The recipe says 6...but if it serves 4 that makes no sense!). To make herb crust, combine cornstarch, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish.

To make mushroom gravy, sauté onion in olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes, or until browned.

Add rosemary, mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Add broth, and simmer until mushrooms are tender (this took about 5 minutes for me).

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat.

Coat each tofu slice with crust mixture. (I double dipped to make an extra crunchy crust!).

Set in oil, and fry 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels. (This only takes about a minute)

Heat gravy over high heat. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water, whisk gravy until thickened, then remove from heat.

Spoon mushroom gravy over tofu and serve.

Wow! For real, this tofu was AWESOME! So crunchy! And the mushroom gravy, while it wasn't really the gravy I'm used to, was fabulous!! I could drench everything in that gravy and be a happy person. 

Father's Day was my first vegetarian meal at someone else's house. I was extremely nervous. (Is this normal? To be completely terrified of how people close to you will react to such a life-changing decision??) The host, my sister, was kind enough to let me bring a bean side just to be sure I would have enough food. I decided to dig into one of the many vegetarian cookbooks I've been reading lately and I found a yummy, and easy, side dish!

Ranch Beans - makes 10 to 12 servings!
from Vegetarian Times' Low Fat and Fast cookbook
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1- 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used dried. Soaked and cooked beforehand and used 1 cup.)
  • 3- 16 oz cans vegetarian baked beans, undrained (I used a 32 oz and 16 oz because it was cheaper!)
  • 1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 Tb. prepared mustard
  • 1 Tb. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
Sauté onion in oil.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly.

Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

See? Super easy! And pretty good! I would make a few adjustments next time. I would drain the tomatoes. I thought it was too liquid-y. I would also decrease the brown sugar by ALOT. It was super sweet and already had sweetness from the baked beans. I would go down to about 1/2 cup, maybe less. I think the cider vinegar and mustard flavor got lost in all the sweetness, which is truly sad since they are a great combo. But, I will be making this again because it was still really good!

And for dessert...

Lemon Baby Bundt Cakes - makes 24 baby cakes or cupcakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of half a lemon (their recipe used 1/4 tsp five-spice powder but I wanted lemon)
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 325° F. Coat mini-bundt pan with butter or shortening and then dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Throw in lemon zest. 

Cream the butter and sugar, using an electric mixer set on high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs and yolks one at a time - fully incorporating each addition. Mix in the vanilla. 

Alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream, in thirds, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated.

Divide the batter among the cake molds, filling each about 3/4 full. 

Bake in the middle rack of the oven until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean - about 15 minutes.

Let cool on a rack for 20-25 minutes. HOW CUTE!

I didn't feel like cleaning out my mini-bundt pan and greasing it all over again so I just did the other 12 in my cupcake pan. Same distribution, same temp and time. 

I made a simple glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tb. milk and drizzled it on top. 

These were PERFECT topped with whipped cream and some of the delicious, organic berries we snagged at Earthfare that week. YUMM. I personally wasn't over the top impressed with them by themselves but everyone else loved them so that may just be my preferences. 

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