Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Best Tofu Salad, Another Tester Burger, and Baking Class Report

You've probably noticed that I’ve been searching for an awesome tofu salad. Not for me, but for Chase to have something he can wrap or sandwich during the busy school week. I found Julie Hasson’s recipe on the Everyday Dish blog for Ginger Peanut Tofu Salad, and since peanuts and tofu are Chase’s most favorite foods, I decided to make it. Now it was really really good on its own, but I decided to stretch it since Chase ate the last tofu salad I made all in one sitting. When I buy tofu, it goes straight into the freezer, and as I often do, for this recipe I put the crumbled tofu in a dry nonstick skillet over low heat just to dry it out a little more. It also warmed it so the peanut butter would mix in easily. Other than that, I followed the easy recipe exactly, then added in a small head of broccoli sauted in tamari water, half a red bell pepper, enough miso mayo to make it a salad, and a little more seasoning and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. I know tofu salad isn’t very pretty, but this looks rather Christmasy!

Chase came over to pick it up and I asked him to try it so I could report to blogland. He did and said “It’s the best tofu salad ever.” I said, “Really? The best one I’ve ever made?” He said, “No. The best tofu salad anyone has ever made.” I made him stop eating it before it was half gone. So there you go. I now have the perfect tofu salad. Thank you, Julie!

I also tested another of Joni’s burger recipes. This is a delicious soyfree wheatfree quinoa burger I made with red quinoa. The quinoa gives it such a wonderful texture. I ate it plain with a side of broccoli – oh, so good!

A couple of other meals – Lentils with Zucchini (remainder of monster zucchini from the farmers market).

Sweet Potatoes and Blackeyed Peas, with red and green peppers, onions, and quinoa. A very nice combination for something I threw together to satisfy my craving for blackeyed peas.

I also made some Banana Ginger Muffins that don’t have enough ginger flavor, but they will next time!

Speaking of muffins, a few of my Strawberry Jalapeno Muffins “curled.” Does anyone know what makes them do this? Please don’t tell me my oven isn’t heating evenly and I need a new oven.

By the way, Chase is feeling much better. Thanks for all your well wishes and germ information. And the avocado soup I made over the weekend that was too limey to eat as soup is perfect as is on salads or mixed in with rice. I’m so glad I didn’t have to throw out 4 cups of soup!

Now for the report on the vegan baking class. Whole Foods has a “no pictures” rule, so sorry for that. Perhaps after showing you my curly muffins I shouldn’t have said in my last post that we were more knowledgeable about baking than the instructor. He did graduate from the French Culinary Institute and the class was geared toward beginners. But I’ll give you three examples of why I said that.

1. Every recipe used soy milk. I asked him what his second choice for milk was. It was like it never occurred to him to use anything else. He said coconut milk, but that’s only because he was using that to make coconut ice cream later. I said “What about almond milk?” He said, “That’s a great idea! Or you could use rice milk!” That’s all I ever use.

2. He made a pastry cream/pudding for a tart very similar to the banana pie I recently made. I told him I hadn’t cooked mine long enough and had tried to use the leftover like yogurt to make a cake. Again he said “That’s a great idea!” I told him it didn’t work and asked him why he thought it didn’t. He told me to just cook my pudding longer. Well I told HIM that. That’s not the answer I was looking for.

3. He also said he had learned from the raw foodie in our class that you could make a pie with cashew cream. He had never heard of that either.

To his credit, he made an awesome chocolate cake. He had one already prepared for us to eat, and then he baked a demo one. Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache. When the demo came out of the oven at the end of class, he said “Someone should take this home. Anyone want it?” Before I could kick my poor sick half-asleep son under the table, Chase raised his hand and said “I’ll take it!” He got to take home a freshly baked vegan chocolate cake. Here’s a picture of a slice. I think that made the class worth attending.


Vegan_Noodle said...

That tofu salad does look like the best! I've never made one, but sounds like it would make great lunches. Your quinoa burger looks excellent as well.

How funny that the instructor, who attended culinary school, hadn't even thought of a replacement for soy milk. Is he really a vegan chef? Or just someone whole foods found that at least knows a few vegan recipes? Chocolate cake makes anything worth it!

VeggieGirl said...

I think your tofu salad is QUITE pretty!! mmm, that quinoa burger looks fabulous as well (and you ate it with one of my all-time favorite cruciferous vegetables, yay! haha)- Joni's recipes always seem to come out perfectly!!

your lentils & zucchini dish, sweet potato & black-eyed peas dish, muffins (bananas and ginger? yum!); hmm, I've never experienced "curling" with my muffins before - did you use enough baking powder? I'm not sure why that happened - I hope it's not your oven!

I'm SO glad to hear that Chase is doing better - I've been under-the-weather these past few days, so I know how he feels/felt.

I can't believe that the baking-class instructor only used soymilk - with so many nut- and grain-based "milks" out there (my favorites being oatmilk and hempmilk), he should become more aware of the alternatives to soymilk! oh well - it certainly sounds like you're a better chef than he is (no shock there - all your food is AMAZING!) - at least you have this experience to look back on :0)

Johanna3 said...

as always your food looks awesome!

laura jesser said...

I'm so glad to hear that you've found the tofu salad to beat all tofu salads! I'll have to try that recipe sometime. I'm sorry to hear about your baking class--it's always a disappointment when you already know everything (but you're such a great cook, that's not really a surprise--maybe you should teach one sometime!). I went to a vegan baking class once, and as the girl was mixing up the cake batter she said "And if you're not vegan, you could even throw in an egg!" Grrrr....

Veganista said...

Mmm, that tofu salad looks good! And all up this is a very impressive post with loads of great-looking food. Sounds like you should have been the one leading the class! Have to say his chocolate cake looks pretty good though... :)

Megan the Vegan said...

that tofu salad sounds fantastic. I know what I'm making soon

erica said...

Wow, "the best tofu salad anyone has ever made" is certainly high praise! (cake looks good, too).

Fred goes to the vet this Sat. for another test, I'm sure he'll be all better. I'll keep you posted! His coat is starting to get that raw sheen; he's so fluffy his tail is as wide as both his legs! Michi is pretty fluffy, too, their dreadlocks are disappearing. I just wish raw food for cats wasn't quite so gross :P

Jennifer C. said...

I think the reason muffins curl like that is too much liquid in the batter, so it's too heavy and they climb up the sides of the pan instead of rising in the middle.

Your quinoa burger looks so yummy, I'm going to try making a raw sprouted quinoa burger.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I am making that tofu salad this weekend for sure!!! It sounds delicious. I better pop that tofu into the freezer tonight.

stonielove said...

after a quest, i trust your judgement and i will call it the best tofu salad, too! it looks wonderful.

urban vegan said...

YOU should be teaching the class, my dear. After all, you did win the VGW contest ;)

Everyone's an expert, right?

For example, we were hiking today along some treacherous terrian, and we asked some girl about where the path was. She confidentally pointed us tpward a sheer-drop cliff. Good thing we questioned her confident answer.

Anonymous said...

Hey there!!! I wish my veggie burgers looked that good...mine always fall apart! lol

My blog is switched to private and I gave you access...take a look when you can and check out the testing post...thanks!

Simple and Divine said...

Woh. Crack --- I MEAN CAKE!