Blue Plate Special #44: Grilled Tofu & Squash with Summer Corn

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There is nothing like fresh summer Long Island corn. I like to cut it off the cobs and sauté it with a little olive oil. Tonight I served it with grilled tofu and the green patty pan squash from the CSA. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

Grilled Tofu
1 package extra firm tofu
Olive oil
S and P

Press the tofu for as long as you have. Cut the tofu into triangles (cut it half, half again, then triangles.) Brush the top side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tofu, seasoned side down, onto a hot grill pan and do not move it for a few minutes. Lift up the tofu and check for grill marks. Flip and cook the other side.

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Grilled Squash
1 green Patty Pan squash *
Olive oil
S and P

Cut the squash in half and then slice it. Brush the top side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash, seasoned side down, onto the hot grill pan and do not move it for a few minutes. Flip and cook the other side.

Summer Corn
3 ears of fresh corn on the cob (1 per person)
Olive oil
Salt, dash

Cut the corn off the cobs. Add a very small amount of olive oil to a pan and heat. Add the corn with a dash of salt. Cook until the corn is bright.

Serve tofu and squash with corn. Enjoy!

* CSA 2013 Week #9

Blue Plate Special #42: Baked Mustard Tofu with Warm Lentil Salad

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This is a total rip off of a Barefoot Contessa meal. I saw her make it one day on the telly and wrote down all of the ingredients*. I thought, I can do that same lentil salad but substitute tofu for the “protein.” How easy is that…to veganize!

makes 3 to 4 plates

Baked Mustard Tofu
1 box extra firm tofu
1 cup panko
1 big handful fresh parsley, about 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons lemon zest, about 1/2 a small lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
S and P
Dijon mustard (I love grainy Dijon)

Press the tofu for as long as you have time for. Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut the tofu into any shape you like – – triangles, squares, rectangles – – 8 pieces all together.

Chop the parsley and then mix with the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Combine well with a fork.

Spread mustard on the top of each piece of tofu. Top generously with the panko mixture. (There will be a little left over.) Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the panko starts to brown, but not too much longer or the tofu will get overcooked.

Warm Lentil Salad
1 cup cooked French lentils (1/2 cup dried lentils makes a little more than 1 cup)
1 carrot
1 leek
1 clove of garlic
S and P
Olive oil

Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (again, grainy)
1 teaspoon vinegar (sherry, white wine, white balsamic all would be great)
S and P, to taste

Make the lentils. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.

Dice the carrots. Clean and slice up the leek (cut in half, half again and then thinly slice the short way.) Mince the garlic.

Pour a bit of olive oil in a pan with sides. Not too much but enough to sauté the vegetables. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add the carrots and leeks and cook until softening, but still al dente. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked lentils into the vegetables and then the mustard vinaigrette. This should be done when the lentils are hot so they can absorb the flavors. Toss well. Note: this salad can be made ahead of time and warmed up when ready to serve. It is also great on its own!

Plate it up and enjoy!

* I always like to link back to the original inspiration for my recipes but I can’t find this in any of the Barefoot Contessa or Food Network archives.

Tempeh Parmesan Hero

I love breading tempeh and using it for blue plate specials. Recently I made tempeh cutlets and the next day I heated up the leftovers to make a sandwich. As I was eating, I thought to myself that this would be great with tomato sauce and vegan cheese. So here is my version of a parmesan hero. And it is great over pasta (see below) too!

Breaded Tempeh
1 package soy tempeh
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
Flour
Vegan milk (I used oat because I had it in the house)
Panko breadcrumbs
Fresh parsley, chopped
S and P

Cut tempeh in half, half again, and then into 8 cutlets. Steam in apple juice and tamari for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Set up breading station by pouring each element into a bowl. I have no measurements, just use your judgement!

1 – flour
2 – vegan milk
3 – panko + fresh chopped parsley + salt + pepper
4 – plate for breaded tempeh

Dredge the tempeh in the flour, then the milk and then the panko. Heat up sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet and cook until tempeh is crispy on the first side. Using tongs, turn and cook on the other side.

Tomato sauce
Hero bread (I used Ezekiel 4:9 Buns)
Olive oil
Vegan parmesan, optional
Vegan mozzarella cheese, optional (We love Daiya!)

Heat the tomato sauce.

Brush the hero bread with olive oil and toast in a 350 oven for five minutes until crispy.

Place the tempeh on the bread and top with tomato sauce. Top with vegan parmesan and/or vegan Daiya cheese. Place back in the oven for five minutes to melt the chese.

Enjoy!

Bonus! Tempeh Parmesan and Spaghetti (or what to do with leftover tempeh cutlets). For a quick leftovers lunch, heat tomato sauce in a skillet and add the tempeh. Make the pasta and then toss it all together. Top with vegan parmesan. Enjoy!

How to Make a Complete Vegan Dinner in 30 Minutes

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I get asked all the time how I get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Well, I have learned through experience to keep certain ingredients on hand – tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), apple juice, panko, flour, vegan milk, and the best kept secret in the world, organic potato flakes – in order to pull together dinner in the middle of a hectic week with the same effort it would take any other mom in the kitchen.

Tonight, I made breaded tempeh with vegetables. I could have easily made tofu the same way, without the pre-steam. Beans are also another good centerpiece, if you have them on hand. I used the vegetables that I had in the refrigerator and my two-minute-perfectly-smooth-mashed-potatoes! Now, how easy is that?

Breaded Tempeh
1 package soy tempeh
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
Flour
Vegan milk (I used oat)
Panko breadcrumbs
S and P

Vegetables
Carrots, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, spinach

Mashed Potatoes
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oat milk
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 1/4 cups organic potato flakes
S and P

Cut tempeh in half, half again, and then into 8 cutlets. Steam in apple juice and tamari for 10 minutes. Let cool.

If using tofu, press it and then bread it. The rest is the same. If using beans, just heat up.

While the tempeh is steaming, cut the vegetables and prepare the breading station by pouring each element into a bowl. I have no measurements, just use your judgement!

1 – flour
2 – vegan milk
3 – panko + salt + pepper
4 – plate for breaded tempeh

Dredge the tempeh in the flour, then the milk and then the panko.

Get the vegetables into the pan with olive oil, starting with the hardest ones first. In this case, I added the carrots first to let them soften up a bit, then added the Brussels sprouts. Next the zucchini and finally the spinach, letting it wilt. Season with salt as you throw in each vegetable.

Heat up sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet and cook until tempeh is crispy on the first side. Using tongs, turn and cook on the other side.

Boil the water, oat milk and Earth Balance. Take off the stove and add the potato flakes. Mix well.

Plate it up and enjoy!

Blue Plate Special #41: Breaded Tempeh Cutlets with Mustard Roasted Potatoes & Cauliflower Broccoli Mash Up

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This is a super simple, mid-week blue plate special. Breading the tempeh with panko makes it super crispy and I love the cauliflower broccoli mash up with the potatoes. The perfect bite is a little of each on the fork!

It is a good habit to buy fresh parsley (and cilantro too) and keep it in the house. Fresh herbs really liven things up and make things seem fancier than they really are!

Breaded Tempeh
1 package soy tempeh
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
Flour
Vegan milk (I used oat because I had it in the house)
Panko breadcrumbs
Fresh parsley, chopped
S and P

Cut tempeh in half, half again, and then into 8 cutlets. Steam in apple juice and tamari for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Set up breading station by pouring each element into a bowl. I have no measurements, just use your judgement!

1 – flour
2 – vegan milk
3 – panko + fresh chopped parsley + salt + pepper
4 – plate for breaded tempeh

Dredge the tempeh in the flour, then the milk and then the panko. Heat up sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet and cook until tempeh is crispy on the first side. Using tongs, turn and cook on the other side.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes
1 lb. fingerling potatoes
1 onion
Grainy Dijon mustard, about a tablespoon
Olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
S and P

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the potatoes in half. Slice the onion into semi-circles. In the bottom of a big mixing bowl, whisk the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw in the potatoes and onions and toss to coat. Turn out onto a baking sheet, turn the cut side of the potatoes down, and roast until well browned, 40 to 45 minutes.

Mashed Cauliflower & Broccoli
1/2 head cauliflower
1 small head of broccoli
Earth Balance
Nutritional yeast (nooch)
S and P

Break up the cauliflower and broccoli. Place in a pot and fill up about halfway with water. Steam until soft. Drain the water and add a spoonful of Earth Balance, a few shakes of nooch, and salt and pepper to taste. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to puree until you get the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Plate it up and enjoy!