Sunday, May 25, 2014


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Potato & Kale Cakes with Smoked Almond Breast of Tofu (Crispy Marinated Tofu Slices or "B of T") and Garlicky Vegan Hollandaise Sauce.
Fettuccine and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Lemon Gremolata
Last night we invited our friend Brenda over for a little birthday dinner.  I had a couple of ideas (see photos above) for some new dishes that I wanted to try out and I thought they would be sufficiently interesting for this occasion.  They turned out very well and Brenda enjoyed them (recipes below)-- I hope you'll let me know what you think of them. 
The cake:

For dessert, since it was just the three of us, I wanted to make a small, simple cake. I chose a moist chocolate "buttermilk" cake (also low in fat and made with whole wheat pastry flour) recipe that I had veganized from a recipe by Camilla Saulsbury in her delightful book "Enlightened Chocolate" (see this post). My vegan version of the recipe is here.  I know that Brenda likes icing, but I was almost out of powdered sugar, so I decided to veganize another recipe from Camilla's book-- a chocolate sauce with marmalade in it.  My version went like this: Mix 1 cup soy or nut milk with 6 tablespoons orange marmalade in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer, whisking the whole time.  Remove from heat.  Add 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, and 2 T. unsweetened cocoa.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in 1 T.  orange liqueur (I didn't have any, so I used some dark rum).  Refrigerate until ready to use.

I drizzled this over the cake (over which I had sifted what was left of my powdered sugar) and added a sprinkle of grated orange zest.  It was delightful- tasting much richer than it actually was.


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Serves 6
Make-Ahead Notes: All of the components can be made ahead of time, but the potato cakes should only be formed and refrigerated—brown them at the last minute.  The “B of T” and the Sauce can be made earlier and gently reheated. The cooled mixture may be reheated gently, as well. (You may have to add a bit more nondairy milk and whisk briefly.)

PS: Leftover Potato & Kale Cakes are great for breakfast!

     The recipe for “Breast of Tofu”/Crispy Marinated tofu is at this link.  For this recipe you will need 18 to 24 slices of the marinated tofu from that recipe (depending on the appetites of your guests).
     For the tofu coating, mix 1/2 cup of the Seasoned Flour (included in Breast of Tofu recipe) with 1/2 cup hickory-smoked almonds, ground fairly fine in a dry blender.
     Cook the coated tofu slices as directed in the B of T recipe either for the Crispy Oven-Fry method or the Crispy Slices method.  They can be made ahead and reheated in the oven just before serving, if you like.

     My recipe for Vegan Hollandaise Sauce is here.  Add 1 to 4 garlic cloves, pressed to the basic mixture. For a spicier variation, add some minced chile chipotle in adobo sauce (to taste—err on the side of caution to begin with) to the Hollandaise.

1 1/2  lbs. Yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups (packed) tender kale leaves (stripped off stems)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup panko or dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese shreds (your choice)
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
plenty of freshly-ground black pepper
Optional: panko breadcrumbs for coating

GARNISH: Fresh herb leaves, such as marjoram, savory, tarragon, or snipped chives or parsley.

To make the Potato & Kale Cakes, boil, steam or microwave the potato cubes until tender, but not mushy.  NOTE: This amount of potatoes microwaves nicely in a 2 qt. covered casserole with no water. 10-12 minutes on high should do it.  This method saves a lot of energy compared to stove-top cooking, and also saves nutrients, since none are lost in the boiling water.

While the potatoes cook, bring 1 qt. water to a boil (you can use your electric kettle to save energy and then dump it into a cooking pot).  Add your kale leaves, stir around, cover and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. (This is called “passive boiling”.)  When they are sufficiently soft, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until you can handle them. Squeeze the kale until you get as much water out as possible.  Chop the cooked kale quite small with a sharp knife.  (Pat the squeezed kale down on your cutting board and slice the mass into about 1/4-inch (or less) slices going in one direction, then do the same in the other direction.  Use your fingers to loosen up the mass.

When they are done, drain the potatoes, if necessary, and place back in the cooking pot or casserole.  Mash with a potato masher (a few lumps are okay).  Add the chopped kale, pressed garlic, panko or other breadcrumbs, Daiya shreds, mustard, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Form the mixture into 12 equal balls.  To form the cakes, press the balls into about 2 1/2-3-inch patties, smoothing the edges.  If you like, coat them lightly with panko crumbs.

These can be refrigerated for several hours before cooking, if you like.

When ready to serve, spray a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with oil from a pump-sprayer and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the cakes (you’ll probably have to cook about 6 at a time, unless you have 2 skillets) and fry until the bottoms are golden to brown.  Spray the tops with a bit more oil and carefully turn them over.  Cover and cook until the other side is golden-brown.  If you are cooking them in batches, keep the cooked cakes hot on a cookie sheet in a pre-warmed oven.

To serve the Potato & Kale Cakes with Smoked Almond “Breast Of Tofu” and Garlicky Vegan “Hollandaise” Sauce:  Have all three components (B of T, Potato & Kale Cakes, and Hollandaise) ready and kept warm.  For each serving, place 2 Potato & Kale Cakes on a warm plate, slightly over-lapping.  Cut the B of T slices into wedges (see photos) and arrange artistically over or around the cakes.  Drizzle with some of the Hollandaise Sauce (save some to serve on the side), and add your garnish.  Serve immediately.

Fettuccine and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Lemon Gremolata (this a serving of the salad the day after, with chickpeas added)

Serves 6

The Lemon Gremolata makes a savory, crunchy topping that is a good contrast to the silky pasta and roasted vegetables. The salad can be made ahead but is best at room temperature.
PS: The day after I made this, I added some cooked chickpeas to the leftovers for a full-meal salad.

8 oz. dry fettuccine pasta
8 oz. broccolette (or broccolini)
1 medium onion, thinly-sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and thinly-sliced
6 oz. cremini mushrooms (the brown ones), sliced
Olive oil
(Makes about 1 cup + 6 tablespoons—save any leftover for other salads)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1-3 cloves garlic, pressed
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Lemon Gremolata:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
The zest of 1 organic lemon
1 tablespoon vegan parmesan sub (I like Go Veggie! Soy Parmesan)
A few sprinkle of salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Optional: chopped chives or parsley

To prepare the fettuccine, break the strands in half and boil in hot salted water for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain, and rinse with cold water.  Set aside. (Energy-Saving Note:  Boil water in an electric kettle and pour into the pot.  Add salt.  Add the broken fettuccine.  Bring to a boil—this will take only seconds.  Immediately turn off the heat, cover and set the timer for 10 minutes.  Drain and proceed as directed above.

To roast the vegetables, heat the oven to about 450°F. You can do this while the fettuccine is cooking and you are preparing the vegetables.  If you use broccolette, you will have to cut the fatter stalks lengthwise so that all of the pieces are of similar thickness. Mix together the broccolette or broccolini and the onion on one baking sheet, and the mushrooms and peppers on another.  Sprinkle or spray the vegetables (both pans) with olive oil—just enough to coat them lightly; they shouldn’t be drenched in oil—and salt lightly.  Roast for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened and getting a little charred.  Remove from the oven.

In a serving bowl, mix the cooked, drained fettuccine and both pans of roasted vegetables.

For the vinaigrette, whisk or shake together all of the ingredients.  Measure out 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette and toss with the salad ingredients.

To make the Lemon Gremolata topping, heat the 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the panko and stir for a couple of minutes, or just until they start to brown.  Remove from the pan to a small bowl immediately.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.

To serve the salad, divide between 6 shallow bowls and top with some of the crunchy Lemon Gremolata. 



Corrin Radd said...

Made the potato cakes tonight. Super good!

Claudia said...

Wow, it all looks amazing -- especially the cake!