Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best Tofu Sandwich EVER! Smoky Miso Tofu Sammiches!

Best Tofu Sandwich EVER! Smoky Miso Tofu Sammiches!

     Seriously. These are the best vegetarian sandwiches ever. For reals. The marinade is to die for, and has all my favorite flavor combinations; smoky, sweet, savory, salty, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, GREAT texture! Pressing the tofu gets rid of all that unnecessary water, makes room to soak up all that delicious marinade, and makes the tofu nice and firm! I also slice the tofu fairly thin, which really allows the marinade to get IN the tofu. Notice the color of the tofu? That's the marinade in there! No spongy, flavorless tofu here!
     I had a few of my fabulous omnivorous friends over for a simple dinner of this Smoky Miso Tofu, on some lovely toasted Sourdough bread, with thinly sliced tomato, avocado, and peppery wild arugula. On the side we had baked kale chips (will definitely be doing a post on those soon, because hunnie they were a HIT), and some store bought Terra chips, and homemade Tzatziki. All that plus a giant bottle of wine, and a wonderful night of good eatin' and drinkin' was had by all. As a bonus I made a double batch of the tofu and had extras to make sammy's for a few day's to come. HECK YES. Thank you VeganYumYum for this amazing tofu!

Smoky Miso Tofu

1 Block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 Tablespoons red miso
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap your drained tofu in a bunch of paper towels, and place something heavy, like a cast-iron skillet or a plate with some cans on top, for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large casserole dish, or similar large shallow dish,  whisk together the miso, lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce, yeast, and liquid smoke to make the marinade.

Unwrap the tofu and cut many thin, width-wise slices with a large knife (about 20 slices per block).

Place the tofu in the marinade, making sure to get marinade on both sides of each slice. Let marinate about 10-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with some parchment paper (I've tried with aluminum foil, but had some sticking).

When ready to bake, place the slices on the parchment lined baking sheet in one layer. Brush the tops with any leftover marinade. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let the slices cool on the sheet. The tofu should be darkened around the edges, but not burned.

To make a sandwich using the tofu slices, use whatever ingredients you like. I liked sourdough bread, arugula, tomato, avocado, and some mayo....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Better For You" Kids Classic: Tempeh Helper

"Better For You" Kid's Classic: Tempeh Helper

     I love a man who loves to eat junk. Without me he would eat frozen chicken nuggets, shoestring french fries, and cheeseburgers all day, every day. As much as he wants junk all the time, he is a champ as a vegetarians boyfriend. He willingly, and happily eats whatever veggie, fake meat, fake cheese concoction I throw at him. So when he asks for a classically junky meal like Hamburger Helper, or Sloppy Joe's, I try my best to appease him. Plus every once in a while I need to feel like I'm getting away with eating something really bad for me.

     This Tempeh Helper recipe from Appetite for Reduction lets you feel like your getting away with something, while actually being light in calories. I don't know how experienced you are with tempeh, but I am a tempeh novice, I think this is only my second time working with it. I wasn't super impressed by it the first time, but it's been quite a while since that first experience, and I wanted to give it another shot. I'm pretty happy that I did. It's nutty and slightly chewy.... try it, you might like it! It breaks up pretty small in this recipe, kind of the way ground meat does in regular Hamburger Helper, so it work's pretty nicely. I might try it with some Boca brand Burger Crumbles next time for something a little more authentic. So no longer do you have to stir in the mysterious "spice packet", you can make your own. Go ahead make yourself some home made "helper", you'll love it!

Tempeh Helper
Serves 2-4
1/4 recipe has 310 Calories

1 recipe Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces tempeh
3 cups water
1 cup small shell whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup frozen peas

Seasoning Mix:
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons broth powder (Use Frontier chicken-style broth, I found it in the bulk spices section of my Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt to taste

Preheat a large skillet (that has a lid) over medium heat.

Drizzle the oil in the pan, tear the tempeh into bite size pieces, adding them to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the tempeh is lightly browned. Use cooking spray as needed. In the meantime, mix the seasonings together in a mixing bowl.

Add a few tablespoons of water to the tempeh to deglaze the pan. Add the 3 ups of water and the seasoning mixture, giving a good stir to get it all mixd in. Add the pasta nad cover. Bring up the heat to a boil. Once the water is boiling, you can lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once. Remove the lid, add the peas, and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to your liking, usually about 3 minutes. Taste for salt and serve with Cheezy Sauce.

Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce
Makes 2 cups, 8- 1/4 cup servings
45 calories per serving

3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons broth powder (Use Frontier chicken-style broth, I found it in the bulk spices section of my Whole Foods)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

Place the nutritional yeast, flour, garlic, onion flakes, salt, turmeric, and broth powder in a bowl and mix together. Add the water and use a fork to mix and beat out any big lumps. Once relatively smooth, pour into a 2-quart sauce pot. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Once it comes to a boil, bring down the heat to a simmer. The sauce should start bubbling and thickening. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until it has a thick, smooth, melted cheese consistency.
Mix in the mustard and taste for salt. Serve hot or warm over the Tempeh Helper, or even steamed broccoli.