Friday, March 6, 2009

A catch up post: Tofu Scramble, Maple Nut Granola, and Wilted Red Cabbage and Bell Pepper Slaw

Here's a little roundup of some things I have been making recently!

Tofu Scramble

This recipe was actually made out of necessity, since I had a carton of tofu sitting in my fridge with an expiration date rapidly approaching. I always buy tofu with the best of intentions, and then let it sit on the shelf until it is no longer usable, and then I feel bad for wasting food and money. I decided that this time, I would not let that tofu go to waste, so the other day I put about a third of it in some miso soup and decided that the next morning I would make a tofu scramble with the rest.

I have had a few previous experiences with tofu scramble, most of which have been from the brunch menu at Kate's Joint in the East Village, and (sorry Kate), most of which have been kinda disappointing. I keep ordering it though, because in theory, I really like the idea of scrambling up some tofu with veggies and spices, but the result is often a little mushy, watery, and bland.

I finally decided to take matters into my own hands when I saw the following recipe on the blog Bread and Honey. They recommend draining the tofu of any excess water before preparing the recipe, and I think it makes a huge difference in the texture of the dish. I did this by putting the tofu on a plate, covering it with saran wrap, and then putting a weight on top (in my case, a 5 pound bag of flour.) If you do this for about 15 minutes while assembling the rest of your ingredients, you will be all set. This recipe made me really happy because it had a great, firm consistency and was so flavorful. It is a nice change from traditional scrambled eggs, and I think now that I know how to make it, I won't have to stress about wasting tofu as much.

Wakantanka Tofu Scramble: adapted from Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced (I didn't have this, so I omitted it. Still tasted fine!)
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 pound tofu, extra firm, crumbled (Keep in mind that the proportions of this recipe are for a whole package of tofu. If you are using less, don't forget to adjust the proportions of spices accordingly, or your scramble will taste crazy.)
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast (I didn't have this either , so I used some Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead.)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari
Also recommended: juice of about 1/2 lemon.


Heat oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tofu. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. (Before serving, squeeze lemon juice on top.)

Maple Nut Granola (via Epicurious)

This was my second attempt at making granola, and I think this will be my go-to recipe from now on. Making granola is really easy and it makes your kitchen spell really fragrant and toasty. Of course, you can also modify this recipe in a bunch of different ways and add whatever dried fruit and types of nuts you prefer. I like it because it is not TOO sweet, but just sweet enough, and is delicious with some plain yogurt.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup slivered almonds (I actually used 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins (I think dried cranberries are even better.)
I also added about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 250°F. Lightly spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Toss oats and next 2 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk syrup, brown sugar, oil, 2 tablespoons warm water and salt (and cinnamon, if using) in small bowl to blend. Pour syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake until evenly browned, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in raisins/cranberries. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)

OK: finally, I made this recipe for Wilted Red Cabbage and Bell Pepper Slaw. Now that spring and summer are almost here, I think this would be a really good dish to bring to a picnic or barbeque. This slaw is really crunchy and pungent and would be very refreshing on a hot day - (or a cold day when all you want to do is fantasize about going to picnics and barbeques.)

Wilted Red Cabbage and Bell Pepper Slaw (via Epicurious)

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch julienne strips
I also added thin ribbons of peeled carrots. Totally optional, but tasty.

In a saucepan bring vinegar and water to a boil with sugar, salt, and mustard and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they begin to pop. Stir in cabbage and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add vinegar mixture and simmer vegetables 1 minute.

Drain vegetables in a large fine sieve set over a saucepan and transfer them to a bowl. Boil liquid over moderately high heat until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and stir into vegetables. Chill slaw, covered, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Whew. That's it for now. Let me know if you try any of these. They are all easy and tasty!

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