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Kapow Tofu for Mother’s Day

kapow tofu100 crop

If my cats could cook, I’d want them to make me this Ka-pow Tofu for Mother’s Day.  Since I know that’s not going to happen, and I know I’m not going to drive for an hour to the nearest Thai restaurant on Sunday, I guess I’ll be doing the cooking (as usual).  I’ll let Jon have some, but none for the cats.  They don’t like spicy foods.  Instead my little darlings can let me celebrate Mother’s Day and their birthdays all on the same day.  Since I don’t know any of their actual birthdays, I always celebrate them on Mother’s Day because these fur babies (Gary and Mitzki and Simon and Benny Mae) are the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.

CATS 2shot

Now here’s that recipe in case you want to try it — it’s from 100 Best Vegan Recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

“Ka-Pow” Tofu

Serves 4

When I order tofu kaprao in my favorite Thai restaurant, I know it will contain the wonderfully fragrant Thai basil.  I also know it will pack a spicy punch, so I’ve come to call it “ka-pow.”  Serve over jasmine rice.  If the sublime Thai basil is unavailable, there’s no exact substitute, although you could use regular basil or cilantro and still have a tasty meal.  Vegan oyster sauce (sold as vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom soy sauce) is available at Asian markets or online. If you can’t find it, leave it out and add a little extra soy sauce.

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

1 sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup Thai basil leaves

 

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cornstarch, and toss to coat.  Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (The amount of red pepper flakes you use will depend on how hot they are and how spicy you like your food.) Stir well to combine and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the reserved tofu and cook until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the scallion and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the reserved tofu, the reserved sauce, and the basil and stir-fry until hot, about 3 minutes.

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 344

 

Isn’t it amazing how there seems to be a special day for everything? Happily, today is National Coffee Cake Day!  And have I got a coffee cake recipe worth celebrating.  It’s the Sour Cream Coffee Cake from my new book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes.  It really is perfect with a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer!) I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. (Thanks to Zsu Dever for the photo of the cake.)

A favor to ask:  If you have 100 Best Vegan Recipes, I’d be most grateful if you would post a brief review of it on Amazon.  Many thanks!

 

SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE

Serves 8 to 10

A tube pan or Bundt pan will give this cake a classic “coffee cake” look, but you can also bake it in a 9- x 13-inch baking pan if that’s what you’ve got.

Recipe is from 100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson (c) 2016.

 

3/4 cup chopped walnuts pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 (12-ounce) package firm silken tofu

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup vegan butter

 

  1. Grease a pan and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cinnamon, and 3/4 cup of the sugar and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. 4. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine the butter with the remaining 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and the reserved tofu mixture and beat on a low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium, and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Spread half of the reserved nut mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread half of the batter in the pan and sprinkle with the remaining half of the nut mixture. Spread the remaining batter evenly over the top of the nut mixture.
  5. Bake until firm, approximately about 60 minutes. When the cake is completely cool, turn it out of the pan and onto a plate.

 

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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chimichurri asparagus 100 best

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and I make it often the spring when prices are lower.  While I always roast asparagus (because it tastes best that way!), I don’t always serve it the same way.  Often, it is relegated to side dish, lightly seasoned with just a squeeze of lemon as an accompaniment to a seitan or tofu dish.  But I also like to feature it prominently in stir-fries or pasta dishes featuring more assertive flavors such as the chimichurri sauce in this recipe.

Loaded with flavor, chimichurri sauce is a Brazilian condiment made with garlic and parsley.  It’s easy to make but can also be found in jars in most supermarkets if you’re in a hurry.  Either way, this dish pulls together quickly, using cooked or canned white beans.  It’s equally good served over cooked rice or quinoa or tossed with hot cooked pasta. (Thanks to Zsu Dever for the great photo!)

Happy Spring!

CHIMICHURRI WHITE BEANS AND ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Serves 4

This recipe is from my new book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes.

 

1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Pinch of sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pinch of sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 1/2 cups cooked white beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup water

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees F. In a bowl, combine the asparagus and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat. Spread the asparagus on a baking pan and roast until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a small food processor, combine the garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Process to a paste. Add the vinegar and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the beans and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until hot. When the asparagus is roasted, transfer it to the saucepan with the beans. Add the reserved sauce and mix gently to combine. Serve hot.

 

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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Corned Seitan and Cabbage

IMG_1883 Corned Seitan 3-14-16

Not like you need an excuse, but St Patrick’s Day is always a good reason to make the Corned Seitan and Cabbage from Vegan on the Cheap.  Another good reason to make it is for the great Reuben sandwiches that happen with the leftovers. This year I was so in the mood for the corned seitan that I made it a few days ahead of schedule.  I always make it in a slow cooker because the long slow cooking time makes all the veggies taste great and the seitan cooked in the slow cooker has a wonderful texture.

I previously posted the recipe for Corned Seitan and Cabbage (from my cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap) but this year I made a few minor tweaks to the recipe, so I’m sharing the latest version.  And here’s a pic one of the bonus Reuben sandwiches:

IMG_1890 Reuben Sand 1

Corned Seitan and Cabbage

You will need a large oval slow cooker to make this recipe as written. Adapted from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson © 2010.

1 large sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 large carrots, cut diagonally into thin slices

1 small head cabbage, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices, reserving 2 large outer leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups vital wheat gluten

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 1/2 cup vegetable broth, divided

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse brown mustard

3 tablespoons pickled beet juice (optional but recommended)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons pickling spices

1 pound small red potatoes, halved

  1. Lightly oil the insert of a large oval slow cooker or spray it with cooking spray. Arrange the onion, carrots, and sliced cabbage in the bottom of the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the two reserved cabbage leaves on top of the vegetables.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, onion powder, coriander, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Add 1 cup of the broth, the soy sauce, the 1 teaspoon of mustard, beet juice, and vinegar. Mix well, adding more of the broth, a little at a time if the mixture is too dry, then knead for 2 minutes until it is a smooth doughy mass. Shape the seitan to fit inside your cooker. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons mustard and the sugar and stir until well blended, then spread evenly on top of the seitan. Sprinkle the pickling spices on top, pressing them into the mustard mixture to make them adhere.
  4. Carefully place the seitan in the cooker on top of the cabbage leaves. Arrange the potatoes around the seitan. Pour the remaining broth over the potatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on Low until the seitan is firm and the vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours. To serve, allow the seitan to sit for about 10 minutes, then thinly slice with a serrated knife. Serve with the veggies.

 

Note: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can bake it in the oven. If you have a roasting pan large enough to hold everything, arrange everything in there and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the seitan is firm to the touch and the vegetables are tender. Otherwise, you can use two separate baking pans and bake the seitan separately from the vegetables. Be sure to cover the baking pan with the seitan tightly with foil and pour about 1 inch of the liquid in the bottom of the pan with the seitan to help steam-bake it.

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Polenta with Spicy Tomato-Mushroom Ragu

Polenta Tomato Ragu Marked

My new book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes hits the shelves this week.  To celebrate, I’m sharing another recipe from the book.  This one is a childhood favorite, Polenta with Spicy Tomato-Mushroom Ragu. Whenever my mom made this, she’d spread the cooked polenta onto a large wooden board (about 42 inches square) that my mother used for rolling out homemade pasta and kneading bread.  The board was placed on top of the kitchen table for the occasion.  The polenta was then topped with her rich tomato sauce that often included pieces of homemade spicy Italian sausage.  We’d all sit around the board and dig in, marking off our own section of the polenta and eating directly from the board.  In this version, bowls replace the board and mushrooms and seasonings provide a sausage-like flavor and texture to the sauce.

As I mentioned in a previous post, many of the recipes from 100 Best Vegan Recipes are favorite recipes that you helped me choose from my book 1000 Vegan Recipes.  I’ve also included several all-new recipes into this slim hardcover volume with gorgeous photos by Lucy Shaeffer. I hope you enjoy this recipe — and the book!

POLENTA WITH SPICY TOMATO-MUSHROOM RAGU

Serves 4

For an even quicker version, use pre-cooked polenta, available in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Cut it into slices and sauté in a skillet in a small amount of olive oil, then top with the sauce. Excerpted from 100 BEST VEGAN RECIPES, © 2016 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

1 1/2 cups polenta or coarse-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cups marinara sauce
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly stream in the cornmeal and add the salt, whisking constantly. Decrease the heat to medium- low and continue whisking until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce, fennel seeds, basil, red pepper flakes, and marjoram. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. To serve, spoon the warm polenta into shallow bowls and top with the sauce.

 

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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Thyme-Scented Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives

Thyme Sweet Potatoes

With just a week to go before the release of my new book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes, I want to share another one of my favorites from the book, Thyme-Scented Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives and Garlic. Packed with umami flavor, these delicious sweet potatoes are the polar opposite of those candied sweets that put so many people off this wonderful vegetable.

If you’ve never been a fan of sweet potatoes, I suggest you try them prepared in a savory rather than sweet way. You can simply bake sweet potatoes (in their jackets) or make healthy “fries” — just peel and cut lengthwise into strips and then toss in a little olive oil and bake on a baking sheet until just tender.

Or you can try this recipe, redolent of garlic and thyme and studded with kalamata olives. Excerpted from 100 BEST VEGAN RECIPES, © 2016 by Robin Robertson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


Thyme-Scented Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives and Garlic

SERVES 4

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives

Peel the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and garlic. Sprinkle with the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. A few minutes before serving time, add the olives and taste to adjust the seasonings, if needed. Drizzle with a little additional olive oil, if you like.

Check out 100 Best Vegan Recipes for more favorites…

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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