Blackened Tofu!

As I mentioned the other day, I am a big fan of blackened tofu. It’s just so spicy and delicious–and soft yet crunchy at the same time. It is quick and easy to make, and it goes wonderfully with sandwiches. This is my basic Blackened Tofu Sandwich recipe.

Blackened Tofu Sandwiches


1 baguette
avocado (if available)

olive oil

1 lb. extra firm tofu (pressed and cut into thin rectangles or triangles)Blackening Seasoning:

Blackening Seasoning:
1 t. each red, black, and white pepper (ground)
2 t. thyme
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. chili powder
1/4 c. flour, cornmeal, or matzoah meal

Mix spices together in a bowl.
Heat olive oil in a pan at medium.
Coat tofu–I like to sprinkle the blackening seasoning on the tofu with a spoon and then rub it in. I would not recommend shaking the tofu in the seasoning in a bag because the tofu will fall apart.
Once well coated (and when the pan is hot), place tofu in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Make sure you don’t leave it too long, or it will burn. Also, make sure you leave it long enough, or else it will not be crispy and delicious.

Cut baguette in half and toast. Place a few slices of blackened tofu on it with tomatoes, lettuce and Veganaise. If you’re really feeling fancy (or if it’s summer), throw on some sliced avocado.

Store extra blackening seasoning in sealed tupperware or bag in the fridge.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes, not including pressing the tofu.


New Recipes and Restaurants

So I began writing this post over the summer when I was living in Dallas/Fort Worth. I think I was at one point going to add recipe instructions, but I have, alas forgotten the details. I do remember them generally, though, and have described them below. This post was inspired when my friend Lindsay and I headed to Dallas for some good music at the Granada Theatre, which was delightful. After being stuck in traffic for an hour, we were starving. We decided to eat at Cafe Izmir, a Mediterranean Tapas Restaurant/Bar across from the Granada. Overall: delicious food, but small portions. Thursday is Ladies Night which meant 1/2 price wine and $15 pitchers of Sangria. We went with the Sangria, which was tasty and refreshing, and ordered a spicy eggplant dip, hummus, pita, and some falafel. The eggplant dip was really good, but the falafel was not the best falafel in the world. On the negative side, their hummus contains dairy, so I sat that one out–but according to Lindsay it does live up to it’s self-proclaimed “Best Hummus In Dallas” title. For the money, you should probably split the dinner for two (either vegetarian or meat-based options) for $23, since the tapas potions are a-la-carte.I give it 3.5 stars–good option when in the area, but really, as far as veg*n fare goes, you could do better.

On the cooking front, I did have some good experiments. Up first, tofu marinated in Mr. Yoshudia’s sauce and then pan fried. Served with steamed broccoli, asparagus, La Crema chardonnay:

Notes: Really good flavor with the marinade, and I only had to marinade it for about 5 minutes (after I pressed it). I used extra-firm tofu. Pretty fast and easy.

Next is Blackened Tofu with Black-Eyed Pea succotash with 3 Bean Salad:

I am a HUGE FAN of blackened tofu. This one I do actually have a recipe for, which I will be posting later this week with a much more delicious Blackened Tofu Sandwich recipe. The black eyed peas were a little freezer burned and didn’t work super well in this recipe, so that was a little sad.

And last but not least, Vegan Lunch Box‘s Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce (Go buy this book, make these right now), a delicious salad my mom threw together (fresh avocado and cherry tomatoes will solve world problems) and a Soba Noodle Salad. The soba noodle salad was not fantastic, and I will probably not make it again. The other two, however, were amazing. Please please please go try these spring rolls Jenn is a genius genius genius.

BBQ Tofu and Mashed Turnips

So it is October 3 and this is my first VeganMoFo post. Mild fail. In my defense however, this recipe made a lot of food for one person, as did last week’s Roasted Tofu Beet Burgers. So, yeah. Haven’t really been cooking up a storm, but certainly have been enjoying some good food.

I’ve posted on BBQ Tofu before, but I had no pictures then and I used a different recipe this time. So yeah. It’s kind of newish. I had some turnips lying around and my mother suggested I mash them, because apparently mashed turnips are good. One of my turnips mashed properly, the others did not. Thus, I had turnips and a mashed turnip. You can see then sitting next to each other in the picture. Defective but delicious. Also, I sauteed my asparagus in olive oil. I’ve found that cooking asparagus this way  allows me to stop it from cooking before it gets gross and mushy, which is great because I like my asparagus firm. Enjoy!

BBQ Tofu with Mashed Turnips and Asparagus


1 lb. firm tofu
1/2 bunch asparagus
3-5 turnips (washed and peeled)
1 recipe delicious BBQ sauce (I used my old standby)

Olive Oil
1 T. Thyme
1 T. Chili Powder
1 T. garlic powder

To begin, press the tofu. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the turnips in a small dish and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the BBQ sauce and tofu. The tofu bakes at 350F, so make sure you adjust the oven before putting it in.

When tofu is pressed and ready, slice into rectangles. Lay in baking dish and brush with olive oil. I sprinkled thyme, garlic powder, and chili powder on at this point. Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip, and cover with BBQ sauce. I preheated my BBQ sauce in the microwave for about 2 minutes to make sure it would fully cook and thicken while the tofu was baking. Bake an additional 30 minutes.

While tofu is baking, mash turnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper for taste.

Wash and prepare asparagus by breaking off bottoms. Put 1 T. olive oil in a sauce pan. When tofu is almost done, turn heat up to medium (around 5). When asparagus begins to sizzle, reduce heat to medium-low (around 3). Once asparagus has turned bright green (about 5 minutes, maybe less) remove pan from heat immediately to prevent the asparagus from continuing to cook and getting mushy.

Prep time: 1 hr. 30 min., mostly inactive.

Vegan Mofo III!

So, I have been negligent in my posting. Since my last post, I travelled to Europe and moved from TX to Indiana for graduate school. I am ready to get back to posting. I’ve been doing lots of yummy cooking and experimenting. Last week, we experimented with dried apricots and made a delicious rice dish. Last night, we had a vegan pizza potluck extravaganza, with half the English department drinking beer and chowin’ down. Sadly, no picture of either of these events. Recipes, but no pictures. I DO, however, have pictures from the Roasted Tofu Beet Burgers I made a few nights ago. Susan V. posted this recipe  a little while back and I was super excited to try it. I love beets, but rarely eat them. When I was a kid, we never had beets because my dad hated hates them. I probably would too if I had been forced to eat nothing but spaghetti with beet sauce for a month. But, now beets are part of my life again! Hooray!

ALSO: this October is vegan food month, so I will be attempting to rectify my neglect for this blog and write about food as much as I can by participating in Vegan MoFo III


Roasted Beet and Tofu Burgers


3 small/medium beets
1/2 yellow onion
1 lb. extra-firm tofu (pressed)
3 large cloves of garlic (minced)
2 t. black pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. Hungarian paprika
1 T. noosh
2 T. ground flax
1 T. soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Wrap the beets and onion in foil. Bake for 1 hour. When cool enough to handle (about 5-10 minutes), remove foil and peel beets. Dice onion finely. Shred Beets. (I placed both in food processor using the shredding insert, though one could take a cheese shredder and shred the beets by hand)

Meanwhile, mush together tofu and all other ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add beets and onions. Form small patties with your hands. These burgers don’t stick together fantastically, but they work well if you pack them tightly like you would a snowball. You should be able to make about 8-10 burgers that are between 2 and 3 inches across.

Bake burgers for 25 minutes, or until tofu portions are browned. Serve with lettuce, tomato, and veganaise. Yum!

Prep Time: 1 h. 30 min., mostly inactive.

PS: These burgers work well for lunch the next day, but beware of the dripping beet juice! The office microwave will be pink.

I also steamed the beet tops while the burgers were baking. It takes about 3 minutes and they are absolutely delicious!

Serve with potato chips and steamed beet tops!

Serve with potato chips and steamed beet tops!


Picnic Sandwiches

A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of going to the grocercy at 1 pm on a Saturday, and as a result waited in line for a long time. All was not lost, however, because I perused and proceded to purchase the latest Vegetarian Times and saw Jennifer McCann’s badass picnic lunch, which I proceeded to make (in part) for my house-hunting trip to Indiana. I brought it with me on the plane and chowed down, to the dismay of my overly talkative and super jealous neighbor, who was eating $17 pretzels (ok, I maybe rounded up on the price, but you all know which pretzels I mean!).

I changed Jennifer’s recipe a bit by adding sliced pickles to the sandwich and also putting diced cucumber in the cream cheez mixture and reducing the sliced cucumber on the sandwich, ’cause I’m picky ’bout my cucumber like that.

partially assembled sandwich and its inspiration

partially assembled sandwich and its inspiration

the finished product!

the finished product!

Overall, a great sandwich. If you actually carve out some of the bread, then you can pile up this sandwich with all the filling and delicious goodness available. Take it on a picnic, or a plane, or a train. Check out the recipe in June’s VT.

Vegan Ribz!


Last night some of our neighbors had a barbeque cookout and I decided that since no one else present was vegan, I would bring Lindy Loo/Susan V‘s Fat Free Vegan Ribz to grill along with the gratuitous pork/beef/burgers/etc. Since it was a neighbor’s grill and since the majority of the space on the grill consisted of raw meat, I decided to grill the ribs wrapped in foil. This resulted in a delightful consistency, soft and slightly chewy. Plus they steamed themselves full of barbequey goodness, so overall, win win. However, they did not get crispy like Lindy Loo and Susan V’s ribs did, so moral of the story: if you like your ribs crispy and have a clean grill available, you should grill them on their own.

I changed up the recipe a bit, mainly just by adding some different spices and oil, because I find seitan-y dishes taste better with a little olive oil added in. If you’re watching the scale, though, check out Susan V.’s version, which is basically fat free.

I also made the ribs earlier in the day and let them sit in the sauce for about 1-2 hours before we grilled them, which I think really helped their flavor.

Vegan Ribz
1 c. vital wheat gluten
2 t. paprika (I used Hungarian, but the Susan V. and Lindy Loo used Smoked Spanish)
2 T. nutritional yeast
1/2 t. cumin
1/2-1 t. thyme, ground between your fingers
1 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. chili powder
Some freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c. water
2 T. tahini (or other nut butter)
1 t. olive oil
1 t. Liquid Smoke
1 T. soy sauce
1 C. BBQ sauce of choice (my recipe, stolen from Lindy Loo, man she is a genius, is listed below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil (wipe with a paper towel so it is just lightly greased).

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl to distribute spices.
Mix water and tahini in measuring cup, then add other wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to mix well. It will form a spongy, dough-like consistency. Knead a bit to firm it up some.

Put the dough in the baking dish and spread/flatten to fit the entire pan.
Cut 7-8 strips, then cut those in half to form 14-16 strips. The dough will be hard to cut, and when they bake they will cook themselves together anyway, but at least they’ll be easy to separate later.

Bake for 25 min. While baking, make your BBQ (if making), and prepare the grill.

When done baking, recut the ribs and brush liberally with bbq sauce. Then wrap in foil (or don’t) and grill for about 10-15 minutes on each side on medium to low heat. If not covered in foil, grill until crisp on each side and be careful not to burn. Continue to brush with gratuitous BBQ sauce. When done, slap on some more sauce and serve. Delicious.

brushing the ribz with extra sauce!

brushing the ribz with extra sauce!

BBQ Sauce

1 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. ketchup (or tomato paste + 1/2 t. garlic powder and 1/2 t. onion powder)
1 t. salt
2 T. molasses
1 t. white sugar
1 t. Cayenne pepper
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. ground white pepper
1 t. crushed thyme
1 t. smoked chili powder (optional)

If just making sauce, mix ingredients together in a measuring cup until combined, then simmer until sauce reduces and thickens, about 20-30 minutes.



Smörgåsbord Catch-Up Post

So I recently moved back to my parent’s house to save money before graduate school this fall. Suburbia isn’t really my favorite place, but I’ve been cooking up a storm here (and alternating between my Netflix queue and watching a million reruns of House and NCIS). Sadly, I keep forgetting to post, or sometimes take pictures, and thus delicious recipes like the Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna, Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes, Vegan Sloppy Joes, and a variety of Chinese Noodle stir-fries and soups have fallen through the cracks, along with my more spectacular failures, including the Practically-Too-Dense-To-Eat Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (whoever thinks using three cups of flour in muffins is a good idea,  they are wrong) and VwaV‘s peanut butter cookies (you may think non-natural peanut butter works as a substitute, but it really just results in cookies with the consistency of the melted insides of a Reeses–great on ice cream, terrible as an actual cookie).

However, below I have some pictures and recipes for some recent favorites, including my Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms and Italian-Style Scrambled Tofu and Hash Browns.

Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

Wowowowowow these are amazing.

8-10 large white mushrooms, rinsed/dried with stems removed (chop them for later)

6-7 artichokes (either canned or in oil)

8-9 sun dried tomatoes, cut into large chunky pieces (either in oil or dry)

2 cloves garlic, smashed and then pressed (you don’t want large chunks)

2-4 T. Balsamic vinegar (depends on your affinity for vinegar–I like tangy)

A small chunk of tofu (like, 3 T. worth of either firm, extra firm, or silken; scraps or a chunk of a leftover block works well; you can adjust the amount as well–it just makes more filling)

Black Pepper

Pinch of salt

Preheat the over (or a toaster oven) to 450 F. Put mushroom caps, tomatoes, artichokes, tofu, garlic, vinegar, and seasonings into the food processor. Pulse until you reach a chunky yet creamy consistency. Add a little water if too dry. Spoon filling into mushrooms. Bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes or until mushrooms release juice. Spoon mushroom juice on top just before serving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Isa's Banana Bread from The PPK Forums

Isa's Banana Bread from The PPK Recipe Forums

Perfectly sweet and great served warm with some Tofutti Cream Cheese. I like to make it on Sunday and munch it for breakfast throughout the week.  Recipe can be found here.

Italian Style Tofu Scramble with Hash Browns

Italian Style Tofu Scramble with Hash Browns

I used an onion and some grape tomatoes and seasoned with oregano, basil, thyme, a pinch of Herbs de Provence, and a little turmeric for the color. Firm or extra firm tofu both work really well here (just don’t forget to press first).

For the hash browns, some coarse kosher salt and a few dashes of fresh black pepper work well as seasoning, and cooked them with a little olive oil in a cast iron pan (about 12 minutes on each side). My favorite way to do Sunday Brunch.

Carrot Cake CupeCakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Tak Over the World"--AMAZING!

Carrot Cake CupeCakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World"--AMAZING!

These are kind of the best cup cakes I have ever had in my life. I recommend you buy the book and make them immediately if not sooner. If you don’t have the soy yogurt called for in the recipe, you can mix some applesauce and molasses together to bind, moisturize, and add delicious flavor (slightly decrease sugar and oil/fat if you do this). Yumyumyum.