Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deviled Tofu with Dill Sour Cream and Seaweed Caviar

This is much less of an entry and more of an excited sharing moment.  For Earth Day, Era and I drove down to San Diego.  While there we went to Ikea and got the coolest vegan caviar around!  Thanks to Fanny for the info!  It's really good and only 2 dollars.  Not sure how much it tastes like caviar, though.  I never had the real thing before.  It's got a pop and tastes pickled with a slight sea taste.  Good stuff.

Anyway, since Easter always reminds me of deviled eggs I just threw some fancypants stuff together.  So this is really just a variation of my original deviled tofu.

Deviled Tofu w/ Dill Sour Cream and Seaweed Caviar
Tip: This also tastes great piped onto fresh veggies for the tofu-phobic.  Just skip straight to making the bean spread, and don't forget your garnishes.

15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup vegan mayo
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
pinch or turmeric
1 1/2 Tbsp minced shallot
black salt (kala namak) to taste
14-16 oz extra firm tofu, divided into four cubes (cut across the length and width)
4 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt*
3 Tbsp vegan sour cream
healthy pinch dried dill (more if using fresh)
vegan caviar

Puree the beans, mayo, mustard, and turmeric in a food processor (or with an immersion blender) until smooth. Stir in the shallot and black salt to taste. Pour into a piping or sandwich bag and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.

In a 3 quart pot bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil. Add the tofu and simmer for ten minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from water, drain completely, and let cool before slicing into squares. I usually get 20 squares, but slice as thick as you like. When cool enough to handle, pat them dry and refrigerate until ready to serve. It is extremely important to make sure the tofu is dry before refrigerating.

Meanwhile, stir the dried dill into the sour cream and chill until read to serve.

Remove the tofu, bean spread, dill sour cream, and seaweed caviar from the refrigerator right before serving.  Feel free to sprinkle a tiny bit of fine salt onto the tofu at this point.  Pipe the bean spread onto the tofu.  Top with tiny dollops of sour cream.  Sprinkle everything with a small bit of dried dill.  Garnish everything with a small spoonful of caviar.

*For the deviled tofu, the actual tofu part should taste just slightly salty like the whites of a deviled egg. I use regular coarse sea salt for this because the black salt flavor just disappears in the water. Feel free to use fine sea salt. Just add to taste. The water should be salty enough to flavor the tofu.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vida Vegan Con Excitement and Palm Greens Cafe

I don't know about y'all, but I am getting so freakin' excited about Vida Vegan Con.  Almost two weeks ago, speakers got some more information about our designated topics.  So, I'm going to be doing a budgeting/meal planning class with the loverly Melody and Lidiana.  I also get to do a writer's block workshop with Kittee, Amey, and somebody named Isa.  Awesome sauce!  You can read all about the classes, panels, and workshops  here.  I can't wait!

Anyway, this spring has been really beautiful so far.  I think we have a few more weeks of gorgeous weather before it just becomes miserable.  The weekend before last, we were feeling lazy and adventurous so we decided to go to a local place called the Palm Greens Cafe.  I was really excited to try something outside of Native Foods.

When we walked in, I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere.  Big booths, colorful art, and dim lighting.  I like to feel like I'm eating in my own little zone and so many restaurants out here just don't feel like that to me.  I ended up getting the Salad Sampler and Era got the Falafel Wrap.  It's weird that I ordered a salad at a restaurant because I don't like to order stuff I can make myself.  But this salad is the most genius idea ever: take a bed of greens and cover them with every salad you make!  AWESOME!

salad sampler
The salad had cucumber, carrots, shredded beets, tomato, cous cous salad, seaweed salad, sweet potato salad, regular potato salad, tahini noodle salad, sunflower tuna salad, hummus, tofu egg salad, and tofu curry chikn salad.  I had mine with ranch, and it was good.  Best: hummus, tofu egg salad, and tofu curry chikn salad.  Worst: cous cous salad and seaweed salad were incredibly bland.  Overall, I loved it!  My only regret is being so involved with my salad that I forgot to try a bite and take a pic of Era's wrap.

Oh, and I also ordered a gluten free brownie.  I really wish I would have tried one that was freshly made (we got there right before closing) because the brownie was good, but I bet it would've been great!  It was this perfect combo between cakey and fudgy.  I can't even really explain it.  So super good!

gf brownie with choc chips and walnuts
I think I'd definitely go to Palm Greens Cafe again.  I'm trying to go to more places around the desert.  I feel like we stay way too much in our comfort zone.  We even found a really cool thrift store next door to the cafe!

Well, that's all for now.  Next entry I'll finally upload pics for the final week of the cookbook challenge and show some tester photos for the books I'm testing for right now.