Cooking the Blog: Birthday Dinner 2017: Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Mixed Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

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I am loving looking back on my old posts and seeing how my vegan cooking journey began and how far I have come. When I made my own birthday dinner six years ago, I was so proud of myself for breading tofu! And the concept of mixing Russets and sweet potatoes, an idea from a woman who taught me a few things about how to cook vegan, was mind blowing.

Back then, I breaded the tofu with cornstarch, rice milk and cornmeal. I don’t do that anymore. I never have cornstarch in the house because my niece is allergic. Nor do I have rice milk. I used to add whole pistachios to Brussels sprouts, which I simply halved. Eventually I started shredding Brussels sprouts because I like them better that way when I make them on the stovetop and whole pistachios don’t make sense. And back in the day, I used soy creamer and Earth Balance for the mashed potatoes and added chives to the potatoes.

Today, I grind up the pistachios into a meal, mix them with homemade breadcrumbs and use that as my breading. I make my own butter and plant milk for the potatoes. And I sprinkle the whole plate with the chives. This updated version is in the rotation in my house quite frequently but I am particularly nostalgic when I make it on my birthday.

As I was back then, I am still totally obsessed with getting a beautiful, healthy and easy meal on the table in 30 minutes. The key is organization. Peel and get the potatoes boiling. As they are cooking, slice the shallots and get them going. Shred the Brussels sprouts and have them ready. Then bread the tofu and finish cooking each element. Everything should be ready at the same time.

A few notes…

I used to press the tofu on a towel lined plate with a heavy can on top but I got a tofu press which makes life a lot easier. I take the tofu out of the package and press it while it sits in the press in the refrigerator for a few days until I am ready to use it.

I process 1/2 cup ground pistachios and mix with 1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs. I use whatever I need for this meal and then keep it in a jar in the refrigerator for whenever I want to make this dish again.

Serves 2

Pistachio Crusted Tofu
1/2 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon chickpea/fava flour *
1 tablespoon chickpea/fava flour + 1/4 cup cashew milk
Ground pistachios + breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
Chives, for garnish

I like to use either chickpea flour or chickpea/fava bean flour from Bob’s Red Mill.

Set up a breading station. (I love these stainless steel breading trays!) Add 1 tablespoon flour to one tray. In another, whisk together the flour and plant milk. Add the ground pistachios/breadcrumb mixture into the third tray.

Cut the tofu into four pieces. Dredge it in the flour, then into the wet mixture, then into the breading mixture. Set onto a plate. Repeat with the rest of the tofu.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet and when shimmering, add the tofu. Cook for a few minutes until the first side is browning. Flip very carefully and cook the second side for another minute or two.

Mixed Mashed Potatoes
1 russet potato
1 sweet potato
1/2 cup plant milk
1 tablespoon vegan butter
Salt, a few pinches

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Add plant milk, butter and salt and mash. Add more butter or milk for desired consistency.

Brussels Sprouts and Shallots
1 dozen Brussels sprouts
1 big shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
Salt, a pinch

Thinly slice the shallot and add to a skillet with the oil. Turn the heat on low and let the shallots cook until just softening. Press the garlic over the shallots and cook for a minute.

Shred the Brussels sprouts by hand or in the food processor. Add to the skillet with the shallots and garlic and cook for a minute or two, until the Brussels are bright green.

To plate up the dinner, place a pile of mashed potatoes on a plate. Top with the Brussels sprouts and tofu. Sprinkle with freshly cut chives. Enjoy!

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