Veganomicon Curried Tofu

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I think the best thing about the Veganomicon is that even if you felt like you went through it thoroughly years ago, you can still find new things to make. Take this easy Curried Tofu (page 127!) recipe for example. I couldn’t even recall seeing it before, but on a recent read, I noticed it and mentally noted it. Later in the week, we had Indian food leftovers that I wanted to pep up for a second dinner round, and this seemed like the perfect thing!

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I used a little ground cumin instead of cumin seeds, tossed in a little cayenne, & doubled the tofu (I ALWAYS do for any tofu dish. There is always more than enough marinade – without doubling it, and Thomas is a tofu eating monster!) I used the Baked Tofu instructions on page 129, but left it in the marinade. (Also one of my standard practices.)

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Result:

This was a great idea! It was not only EASY, but went perfectly with our food, gave it a little variety for the 2nd round, and extended it pretty inexpensively. Tofu dishes do not go unappreciated in this house, and we can both use the protein for our respective athletic endeavors. This has now earned a folded page in my book. I’ve gone back to all my Isa books lately as I’ve started cooking at home again more often. I really appreciate that her recipes are tasty and dependable.

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Slow Cooker Spicy Chipotle BBQ Beans

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You know when you’re just cruising around social media and you see an eye catching post like this one: Suck at Cooking? Here are 6 Vegan Recipes You Can Handle, and then suddenly you’re down the rabbit hole making your own version of someone else’s recipe? Once I saw these words Slow Cooker Chipotle Tacos, I was in.

We’d received the slow cooker as one of our wedding presents, but I hadn’t been much interested in the recipes in the slow cooker book I’d gotten. (Please, Isa – write one!!) One of my friends had also recently asked me if I knew of any cheap, easy, slow cooker recipes, so I thought the timing was perfect. I really liked the simplicity of this recipe, but also decided to use it as an excuse to take care of some of the leftovers I had in the fridge. Plus, I did some swaps for other stuff called for like chipotle powder vs. pepper, and Sriracha BBQ sauce instead of the chile sauce. So, I’m not saying this is some perfected recipe by any means! It was really more of an experiment that I’m documenting for the future. 🙂 (Which is really what I use blogging for the most, if I’m being honest.)

We like spicy food, so this has many layers of heat. If you want a lot less, use regular black beans and regular BBQ sauce, and maybe chili powder instead of the chipotle powder. Adjust salt as necessary.

Slow Cooker Spicy Chipotle BBQ Beans

2 (15 oz.) cans Spicy Black Beans (Trader Joe’s), drained
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. peas (leftovers)

1 cup corn kernals, frozen
1.5 c. frozen veggies

~ 6 oz. tomato paste (leftovers)
~ 8 oz. tomato sauce (leftovers)
3/4 cup Sriracha BBQ sauce (Trader Joe’s)

2 tbsp. chipotle powder (could use just 1 tbsp, a chipotle pepper, or maybe some chili powder instead?)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Mix everything up well in the insert, and set cooker to High for 2 hours.
(The original recipe cook times were Low 3-4 hours, or High 1.5-2 hours, but I added a bit of volume, so went for the higher.)

2. Cook up some rice if you feel like it, or use it as filling for things.

EAT! 🙂

Results:

Okay, I had my doubts, but this actually turned out pretty well! I was really happy with the veggies I threw in too. I almost put in greens, but I was really in the mood for cauliflower. VERY HOT though, so adjust spices accordingly! No knifework and just throwing everything into the crockpot was a pretty awesome way to get dinner on the table. It took maybe 10 minutes to prepare, popped the lid on, and then I just walked away. The only thing that really heated up the kitchen was the rice that I cooked on the stove halfway through, so extra bonus points for a hot summer day with no A/C. (Thomas is working on trying to find us one as I type this. Heat wave this weekend!) I’m glad I documented this, so I can play with the ingredients another time.

Just gave a quick stir and popped the lid on.

Just gave a quick stir and popped the lid on.

2 hours later!

2 hours later!

Tastes better than it looks! ;)

Tastes better than it looks! 😉

Have any slow cooker recipes to share or a favorite book to recommend? Please let me know! 

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Vegan Blueberry Pancakes and Ceramic Non-stick pans!

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My phone photo, all other photos by Thomas!

My phone photo, all other photos by Thomas!

Last weekend I woke up with the grand idea of making blueberry pancakes and some savory tofu. So I turned to my trusty friend the internet once again for recipe advice. Pinterest turned up a bunch of gluten free versions, which I had no interest in. I was just looking for a good old fashioned simple recipe. The web provided me with this simple enough recipe Light and Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Pancakes, and I was off to the kitchen…

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As it turned out, my tofu block wasn’t thawed yet, so that put an end to the idea of a savory side protein, but I was most excited to try the pancakes. I was using frozen blueberries, so I gave them a quick rinse to get the frost off.

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Then I mixed up the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. It sounded like an awful lot of baking powder to me, but I use aluminum free kind, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

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The only thing I subbed was flax milk for the soy milk. I used canola for the oil.

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The batter came out really fluffy and bubbly from all the baking powder, and looked really promising!

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So, the recipe had mentioned using a non-stick pan. In Florida, I had always kept a small non-stick around, just for pancakes. When we moved, it didn’t make the cut, as I saw that it had some wear to it despite being well cared for. I have one of these Le Creuset enameled, seasonable skillets though, which I love, and had always been curious if it could handle pancake duty. I gave it a whole bunch of butter in the hopes that it would work…

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Sadly, it did not work. The one side came out okay, but after flipping, the second side stuck to the pan like crazy! We scraped up the pancake, split it, (tasted good!) and put on some shoes for an emergency trip to Target. I put the bowl of batter in the fridge to keep it away from the cats while we were gone.

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Well, apparently there is this new thing called ceramic non-stick! I ended up getting a Green Pan brand, and they had an aluminum version with a plastic handle, and an anodized steel version with a metal handle, so I got the latter. Thomas ended up getting a waffle maker with the ceramic non-stick coating too. (I’ve always wanted a waffle iron!) Apparently this ceramic non-stick is the future! We haven’t tried the waffle iron yet, but I can tell you about the skillet.

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This thing worked great! It’s so much lighter than my cast iron, and the metal handle stayed nice and cool. I forgot what it was like to be able to lift a skillet with one hand; it made it easy to flip! (Pancake pictured post flip!) Clean up was also a breeze!

The first pancake came out a bit crepe like. I was still getting the temperature right, and the batter seemed to have settled down while we were gone, and lost some of its fluffiness.

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But then the subsequent ones came out much fluffier. Maybe the batter needed to be reactivated a bit? Hard to say, but after this the pancake going got much better!

Verdict:

After all was said and done, we had ourselves an excellent stack of blueberry pancakes by 5 pm, that we washed down with a couple of beers! 😉 This was definitely worth that surprise trip to Target, and I’m glad I’ll now have the means to make these babies whenever we like.

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Do you have a favorite pancake or waffle recipe to share? Leave it in the comments below!

Tofu Parmigiana!

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We were running pretty low on food recently, but fortunately I had defrosted two packages of tofu and we had some pasta sauce in the cupboard. (I made Thomas make a run to the PCC on the next block over for some pasta and vegan mozzarella!) So I decided that tofu parm was probably a thing, and got to the internet for inspiration. I found this recipe (Tofu Parmigiana on allrecipes.com) in no time.

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I cut each of the frozen,thawed, quickly squeezed, tofu bricks into 4, giving me 8 generous portions. Then I pressed them into the breadcrumb mixture that I made using whole wheat crumbs and all the Italian spices I had in my cabinet. I then pan fried them, miraculously losing a lot less of the crust than I thought I would.

Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese

Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese

For the cheese, I took a brick of Follow Your Heart cheese and cut it into 8 very uneven slices to top my tofu with.

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Which was fine. Except I had all these leftover breadcrumbs…

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So I thought, why not make the cheese breaded too?

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Then I went back and breaded the ones I initially had put on plain.

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The sauce that was already on them made the breadcrumbs stick even better, so I would probably just use that method in the future.

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After 20 minutes baking, I wasn’t convinced that the cheese had melted – my concern immediately after I had sliced up such big slices of cheese. So I broiled on High for another 5 minutes…

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Which was PERFECT! Melty, toasty, bubbly, and golden!

Verdict:

This was a great idea! I usually just marinate and bake tofu at home. The crunchy, pan fried texture was a huge hit. The tofu was firm and juicy inside, and the cheese was awesome. The only thing I might experiment with when there’s more time is making a bit of a marinade for the tofu, just to add one extra layer of flavor in there. This was even better the next day! Thomas kept the praises coming. I’m definitely going to have to put this one into the regular rotation!

Anyone else have a tofu parm recipe they love? Leave it in the comments!

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