Tuesday, November 25, 2008
A JAPANESE-THEMED VEGAN DINNER PARTY
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, MY AMERICAN FRIENDS!
My full plate!
DH and I were invited to a vegan dinner party Sunday night. Our hosts chose a Japanese theme. It was a fun night-- great company and conversation in a lovely setting, wonderful hosts, some lovely Japanese music, and fabulous food (sake, too, if one was so inclined!). We all had the same thought-- "If only all those doubting omnivores, thinking us so deprived, could join us!"
Here are the highlights:
One end of the buffet-- Our hosts' elegant veg sushi, and S.'s scrumptious miso-glazed grilled eggplant. You can also see F.'s delicious buckwheat soba sushi in front of the bowl of rice.
Some cute, colorful sushi that E. made especially for DH (who isn't fond of seaweed), rolled with "Soy Wraps" instead of nori.
F.'s lovely and tasty Japanese-themed salad of spinach, edamame, local walnuts and other goodies, with some different varieties of sushi, including inari sushi (sushi rice in tofu pockets). I also brought some lemon-simmered winter squash, but didn't photograph well.
I also made small ganmodoki-- Japanese fried tofu patties, traditionally made by Japanese tofu makers with day-old tofu (recipe below).
For dessert, P. brought a lovely vegan chocolate cake topped with fruit from Whole Foods (incredibly large boysenberries!), and I got brave and made a modern Japanese dessert!
A slightly fuzzy picture (not alot of light) of Japanese Wafu (waffles) topped with my homemade vegan Vanilla Gelato, homemade Chunky Red Bean Jam, and drizzled with Japanese Brown Sugar Syrup.
I got the idea for this dessert from a Japanese cookbook (Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh-- not vegetarian but a lovely book), but, of course, used vegan waffles (this recipe would work well with this dessert, and you can also make waffles with this recipe, or this one, or this one). I also made the vegan vanilla gelato (the recipe is here-- just leave out the applesauce and amaretti crumbs!). Red bean jam or sweet red bean paste are used in many Asian desserts. We westerners often profess not to like it, so it was a gamble, but everyone loved it.
If you would like to recreate this recipe, you can use the recipes I noted above and view the recipe for Chunky Red Bean Jam for that recipe here, and the recipe for the Brown Sugar Syrup here.
Here's the recipe for the tofu patties:
BRYANNA’S GANMODOKI (JAPANESE TOFU PATTIES)
From my book “Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause”.
This simple tofu dish is made every day in tofu shops in Japan, using the remaining tofu that was made the day before. These patties are usually deep-fried, but can be successfully shallow-fried or oven-fried. They are delicious cold or hot and will keep one week in the refrigerator. They make great snacks and day-hiking food, too.
You can use large patties like regular burgers, or small patties as appetizers. You can eat them plain or with soy sauce, chutney, ketchup, salsa, etc.. Cold ganmodoki can also be sliced and added to Japanese-style soups and stews (oden), or braise whole cold ganmodoki patties for 4-5 minutes in a mixture of 4 C. water, 1/4 c. Japanese soy sauce or tamari, 1/4 c. dry sherry or mirin (Japanese rice wine), and 1 T. unbleached sugar.
10-12 oz. firm tofu
2 T. grated carrot
2 T. grated fresh ginger
2 T. minced onion, green onion, or leek
2 T. frozen baby peas (petit pois), thawed
2 T. lightly-toasted sesame seeds
3/4 tsp. salt
OPTIONAL: 2 T. chopped mushrooms (preferably fresh shiitake or soaked dried shiitake or Chinese forest mushrooms-- discard stems)
cooking oil for frying or brushing
Crumble the tofu very finely, or process in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and knead together by hand or in the food processor until it holds together. Form into 8 to 12 patties (or more tiny ones for appetizers) with smooth edges.
To shallow-fry, heat about 1/2-inch of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties and fry til golden and crispy on one side. Turn over and fry until the other side is golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
To oven-fry, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place the patties on dark oiled cookie sheets and brush or spray with a little cooking oil. Bake about 6 minutes per side, or until golden and crispy on both sides, and slightly puffed up.