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.


Printable Copy

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. 


Saturday, May 17, 2014


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You may have seen the other yuba recipes I have shared on this blog. (See below for recipe links.)  This recipe is quite different from both the Chinese "Buddha's Roast Duck" and the two European-style stews (one with a Peruvian flair).  It's a recipe I developed for my now defunct vegan cooking newsletter, inspired by some Malaysian food I enjoyed in a Portland restaurant-- rich and spicy.

I love yuba-- it's a very versatile and satisfying food.  I hope you'll give it a try after you've read the information below and checked out the recipe.  Fortunately, you don't have to live in a city with a large Asian population anymore in order to source dried yuba sheets and sticks.  These products, and most of the other more unusual ingredients required for a recipe like this, are available online (see links in recipe ingredient list) and in Asian grocery stores, and, more recently, in many large supermarkets, as well-- check the "International" aisle.

YUBA PRIMER: Yuba (also called “bean curd skin” or tou-p'i, doufu-p'i or doufu-i) is considered a delicacy Japan, but is a much more common food in China and Taiwan, where each city will have a number of shops or market stalls selling only bean curd skin and products made from it. It is made by simmering soymilk and lifting off the "skin" that forms on the top, just like that on dairy milk. This "skin" can be used fresh, or is dried in sheets or rolled-up "sticks". The sticks are used in soups, stews, and stir-fries, and can also be barbecued. The sheets, either fresh or dried and soaked, can be cut up like "noodles", or used in soups, stews, and stir-fries as well. They can be rolled around fillings and baked, steamed or fried for delicious appetizers, or used as a crispy "skin" around vegetarian poultry substitutes.

Fresh sheets are also available in large cities in Chinese tofu shops, and must be frozen for future use. They often come in 16"-diameter round sheets, or semi-circular sheets. These are sometimes labeled "Fresh Spring Roll Skins or Wrappers", but are not to be confused with the wrappers made from flour. The package will tell you that the ingredients are only soybeans and water. Some varieties are very thin, some are as thick as canvas. The sheets are folded into many forms and sizes to make rolls and stuffed pouches, or molded and steamed.

I refer to this product by its Japanese name, yuba, because it is shorter, is becoming more universally accepted (like tofu instead of “bean curd”), and is less confusing than the various English translations from the Chinese, such as "bean milk sheets", "pressed tofu", and other confusing monikers. Yuba is a very concentrated, rich-tasting  soy food. The dried version, available in Asian markets and some large supermarkets, must be soaked in warm water before using.

Yuba products and probably usually available in Asian grocery stores, large supermarkets (in the "international" aisle), health food stores, and some delis and bulk food stores). You can order dried yuba products online, too. Amazon carries them, but the prices that I just checked today (May 17, 2020) are outrageously expensive!

SOAKING: Dried yuba MUST be soaked before it's cooked, so don't skip that step. The sticks need to be soaked an hour or two, in warm water; the sheets about 10 minutes. I have never experienced sheets not becoming flexible in that amount of time, but the sticks often have certain spots in them (usually where they were bent) that never get flexible. If you are deep-frying them, it doesn't matter. If not, just cut those parts off and discard.

(It's possible that really old yuba [like really old dried beans] won't ever rehydrate well. Try to go to a store that has a decent turnover.)

The Chinese have used amazing ingenuity to create "mock meats" using yuba. In Chinese yuba shops you will find replicas of chickens, ducks, fish, hams, rolled meats, sausages links, etc., all made primarily from yuba. These dishes, with names such as Buddha's Chicken or Buddha's Duck, as served on cold plates at fine restaurants or family banquets.

Here is a history of yuba.

Here is how to make your own yuba.


Buddha's "Roast Duck"

Dried Yuba sticks

  Servings: 4
This is even better a day after making it, and a great new way to serve yuba.  If you haven’t used yuba before, please read all the information in the "Yuba Primer" in the text above.

1 pkg. (6 oz.) Chinese yuba (dried bean curd skin) "sticks" (See the "Yuba Primer" above.)     
2 Tbs peanut oil or other neutral-tasting oil
2 small red hot chilies, fresh or dried, seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tsp galangal powder (or 1 cm. piece galangal root) (This is a rhizome related to ginger, available in Asian grocery stores. Omit if you can’t find it.)          
1 tsp  turmeric
zest of one organic lemon, grated OR 1 stalk lemon grass, smashed (Most large supermarkets sell this now, and any Asian grocery store will.)
1/2 Tbs tamarind paste (also called "concentrate") 
1/4 cup coconut cream (in block form-- carries itincluding organic varieties, and so does and most Asian grocery stores, health food stores, large supermarkets, and some delis and bulk food stores)
2 1/2 cups vegetarian "chicken-style" broth (liquid measure)
6-8 oz daikon radish, peeled and cut into small chunks (Most large supermarkets sell this now, and any Asian grocery store will.)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
If you like more heat, add some chopped green chilies.      

Soak the yuba in a large bowl of hot water until it is flexible. Drain and cut it into 1" pieces, discarding any hard bits.

Soaked yuba sticks
Soaked yuba sticks cut up for a stew
Grind together the Paste Ingredients in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet, stir-fry pan or wok. Add the ground Paste ingredients, along with the lemon zest or lemon grass stalk. Sauté until fragrant. Add the drained yuba and stir to coat. Add the daikon, broth, tamarind, and coconut cream and stir well. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and simmer about 5 more minutes. Serve with steamed rice.


Thursday, May 8, 2014


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Brownies with bobble-y antennae on the ferry to Vancouver

It's been two weeks since I blogged-- sorry about that! We went to Vancouver for the first time in a year (!!) to visit friends and relatives for a few days, and since then I've been playing catch-up in the house and practicing with my dance class for a little show. We ate very well in Vancouver (as usual)-- Vancouver is known for its wonderful and varied restaurants. We stayed with my cousin Chris and his partner Roxanne at their lovely little house in the East End. Chris is a retired landscaper, as you can see: 

When we first arrived, we all (along with my stepson Laurence) headed for Banditas Tacqueria, a funky vegetarian place on The Drive (Commercial Drive)-- delicious homemade ginger beer there, too.

Fabric art show on the walls at Bandidas
Vegan soft taco sampler plate that I had (Roxanne, too)-- these are five of the 6 vegan fillings, all delicious.  (I forgot to take the picture until after I'd already eaten one!)
Here are all the fillings-- very original-- I couldn't decide which one was my favorite!
MR. B’S: Roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, pinto beans, cheese, sour cream, & roasted salsa (Daiya vegan cheese is available.)

CONNIE’S: Walnuts ground, apple salsa , cheese & roasted red pepper sauce.

WOLF & GOAT: Fresh guacamole, purple cabbage, pinto beans, fresh red salsa, cheese & sour cream. (Daiya vegan cheese and house-made vegan sour cream are available.)

LEONA GAYLE: Smoky-sweet chipotle tofu (organic), pinto beans, cheese, roasted red salsa, romaine lettuce & sour cream.  (Daiya vegan cheese is available.)

STELLA: Kale, roasted red pepper salsa, pinto beans, cheese, & sour cream. (House-made vegan sour cream is available.)

RONNY RUSSELL: Roasted yams and onions, fresh guacamole, black beans, green salsa, purple cabbage & toasted pumpkin seeds.


On Saturday, after a morning visit with my sister Karin and BIL Allen, we went with Chris to have lunch with  some Denman Island friends, Sarah and Gordon, who have moved to the lower mainland.  We had a wonderful visit and a lovely meal at Tamam Restaurant.  It's a great place to go with a mixed group (vegan and non-vegan) because there are lots of vegan items, and items that can be made vegan.  (Vegan and vegetarian items are marked with a leaf icon on the menu.) Very friendly and everything is made fresh-- and the homemade lemonade was amazing!

We all shared freshly-made and smooth-as-silk Humus & Matabal (roasted eggplant & tahini), a spicy green pepper sauce and olives with pita
My main course was Mujadarah: rice, lentils and roasted onions and salad.  his is one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes.  Yummy!
Sarah and Gordon and my DH Brian has the Vegan Stuffed Fresh Cabbage Rolls with salad-- delicous! (I had a taste.)


We ate in on Sunday--  my youngest daughter Justine and her partner George and my youngest grandson  Logan came for breakfast, along with my stepson Laurence.  Justine brought delicious whole wheat vegan banana muffins, Roxanne made a beautiful fruit salad, we had sourdough bread from a Granville Island bakery, and also a lemon cranberry tea loaf that my sister had brought to us. For the main dish, I made five vegan onion, red and orange pepper and vegan "ham" Spanish potato tortillas (like fritattas/baked omelets)  from my book "World Vegan Feast")


We had so much food left over that we enjoyed the leftovers for another casual meal in the afternoon with DH's stepdaughter Barbara and her husband Mehdi.


Our last meal in Vancouver was breakfast with my 2nd oldest granddaughter Kate at the Wallflower Modern Diner on Main St..  Kate grew up on Vancouver Is., but she is studying at Langara College in Vancouver and she's flourishing in the big city.  

The Wallflower Modern Diner is another great place for a meal with a mixed crowd.  They have several vegan items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they are not run-of-the-mill. ( Check out the menu here. ) The vegan dishes are flavorful and interesting, and we plan to go there again. 

Brian had the BBQ Tofu and Veggie Hash

My granddaughter Kate at the Wallflower Modern Diner.

 I had the Vegan Benny with salad and hash browns-- English muffins topped with grilled portobello mushroom, marinated tofu, and vegan cheesey sauce.  Yum!

Thanks to Roxanne and Chris for a great visit and for being such wonderful hosts, as always!

I didn't want to end this post without a recipe, so I'm posting this old favorite.  The cremini mushrooms we've been getting lately are big and firm-- perfect for this dish. (Sorry, the photo didn't turn out!)  PS: This is not the usual calorie-laden "spinach and artichoke dip" type of stuffed mushroom. It's simple, but scrumptious.

 Makes 4 main dish servings

These sumptuous morsels make great appetizers, too (enough for 12 appetizer servings)
MAKE-AHEAD NOTE: You can stuff the mushrooms ahead of time, cover and refrigerate them until just before baking and serving.

 approximately 1 1/2 pounds stuffing mushrooms, white or brown (NOTE: I use mushrooms about 1 to 2 inches across for appetizers and 3 to 4-inch ones for main dish servings.)
1/4 cup finely-chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetarian broth or dry white wine (can be non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (1 slice)
 14 ounces frozen or canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
(NOTE: If you only have marinated artichoke hearts, place them in a colander and rinse them thoroughly with hot water to eliminate most of the oil and vinegar. Drain well.)
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup soy parmesan (I use GoVeggie! soy parmesan, which used to be Galaxy Vegan, but use your favorite)
1/2 cup lower-fat vegan mayonnaise (I use my homemade version or homemade Tofu Mayo, but you could use Spectrum Naturals Light vegan mayo or Reduced-Fat Vegenaise.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
 freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Panko breadcrumbs for topping

 Clean the mushrooms gently with a damp cloth. Remove the stems. Chop and reserve the stems. Steam-fry the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic in a large heavy nonstick skillet sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, until soft, adding a squirt of water or white wine as needed to keep it moving.

 Add the broth or wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Stir in the bread crumbs. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool. Combine the onion-bread crumb mixture in a medium bowl with the chopped artichokes, green onions, soy parmesan, vegan mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.

 Fill each mushroom cap with the filling so that it’s gently mounded. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms, just touching, in a shallow baking pan which has been sprayed lightly with oil from a pump sprayer. (At this point, you can cover the mushrooms with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.)

 When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the stuffed mushrooms with a little of the panko breadcrumbs (for crunch) and spray with a little oil from a pump sprayer. Bake the mushrooms for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.

 Nutrition Facts: Nutrition (per serving): 144.4 calories; 9% calories from fat; 1.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 448.8mg sodium; 534.1mg potassium; 21.4g carbohydrates; 6.7g fiber; 2.5g sugar; 14.8g net carbs; 7.6g protein; 2.2 points. Enjoy!