Saturday, October 1, 2011
MEMORIES OF OLD FRIENDS & A VEGAN VERSION OF MY GREAT-GRAMMA'S "FINNAN HADDIE"
I'm going to Vancouver for a couple of days to celebrate our 20th, so, despite vegan MoFo, I won't be blogging again until Wednesday.
Vegan "Finnan Haddie"
This is one of my favorite dishes from my new book, World Vegan Feast. It's called Finnan Haddie and, odd as it may seem, the fishy version of this, made with smoked haddock, was a winter favorite of mine when I was a kid. I have alot of food memories-- interesting food was important to me at an early age-- and one memory in particular is of being served this stew on a chilly winter night at the home of our friend Rosie, who lived on a beautiful, funky homestead near Felton, CA (close to Santa Cruz). I still go back to Rosie's house in my mind when I eat this stew.
I have to digress here: Rosie was born in 1910 and was the daughter of a refugee of the Armenian genocide, and one of the most free-thinking and fascinating people I've ever known. She was a little older than my mom, but they stayed friends all of their lives. They met through my mom's sister, Jonnie. Jonnie and Rosie worked in the San Francisco shipyards during WWII. (I don't know whether or not Rosie was a riveter, but my Aunt Jonnie was a rivet-catcher.)
My mom, Eve Tonge Urbina, on the L, Rosie in the middle, and my Aunt Jonnie (Jeanette) Tonge Rankin (Summer 1943, San Francisco)
Rosie built her house pretty much by herself, sometimes with the help of my young uncle Kenny and his friend Dalny. Dalny was the son of another old family friend, Gene Travaglio, an Italian anarchist printer whose wife Esther was another close friend of my mother's (obviously, I have some interesting family memories, too!)-- you can read a little about Esther and Gene here. I remember them as very kind older people.
Anyway, back to the stew! My mother made it according to her Grandmother Marie Colwell's recipe-- the Colwells were of Scottish ancestry. Finnan Haddie is actually the term for a form of smoked haddock, named for the
As a young girl, I found this stew tremendously comforting on a winter night and I was quite thrilled when I was able to devise a vegan version that I found just as satisfying.
NOTE: be sure to use a smoked tofu with plenty of smoked flavor. There are some that are pretty tasteless! I use a local brand, Soya Nova from Salt Spring Island, BC.
Here are some brands:
Soya Nova Tofu Shop
1200 Beddis Rd., Ganges, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2C8
(250) 537-9651 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildwood Foods makes three kinds of smoked tofu.
Tofu Shop in California makes smoked tofu. Store locator.
Soyboy is from NY and is evidently sold US nationwide-- "Our products are available at natural or health food stores, co-ops, or the natural food section of supermarkets." It is sold on amazon.com, too.
In Toronto, check out http://www.yingyingsoyfood.ca/products.html#ts
Taifun Organic Smoked Tofu is available online in the UK.
Blue Lotus Smoked Tofu is available in Australia
BRYANNA’S VEGAN CREAMED "FINNAN HADDIE" (Milky Smoked Tofu Stew with Potatoes and Onions)
4 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy)
2 Tbs chicken-style veggie broth powder (or 1/4 cup homemade)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp liquid smoke (see this post about this ingredient)
1 long piece konbu seaweed
2 bay leaves
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 medium thin-skinned potatoes, peeled if you wish, and quartered
450 g (about 1 lb.) smoked tofu, thinly sliced (use a smoked tofu that has a really smoky flavor)
(See notes above)
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large shallow pot. Add the konbu, bay leaf, onion, potato and tofu.
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer, covered until the potato is tender. (The milk will have thickened into a sauce.)
Remove from heat, taste for salt and add plenty of pepper. Remove the konbu and sprinkle with chopped parsley. If you want a richer stew, add a pat of Earth Balance to each serving. Serve in bowls.
Nutrition (per serving): 291.4 calories; 19% calories from fat; 6.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 951.4mg sodium; 1246.9mg potassium; 43.1g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 6.3g sugar; 37.9g net carbs; 18.3g protein; 5.5 points.