One of my favorite cookbooks lately has been Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This tofu preparation was slightly adapted from a recipe in the book… and deciding to pair it with everything that follows was a matter of seasonal timing.
Our parsley went gangbusters this year… we’re talking mega-weed proportions. And, as I am not a big lover of parsley-for-its-own-sake, I was desperate to find some use for it. I had always wondered what kind of pesto it might yield, and after poking around a bit, I found plenty of proof that others had already successfully blazed that path.
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The parsley pesto can be made a day ahead if you like. It’s easy to whip together and add at the end or set on the table for serving. In terms of timing, prep is probably best ordered as noted below. (Serves 4)
2-3 cups parsley, loosely packed
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts, heaping
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (if you’re going strictly vegan, you can use skip it or add a handful of almonds and splash of lemon juice instead)
approx. 1/4 cup oil (added 1 Tbsp at a time)
salt + pepper, to taste
- In a food processor (or blender or chopper), add the parsley, garlic cloves, walnuts, and Parmesan (or quickie almesan). Pulse to blend until mixture is nothing but little, uniform-sized bits (sort of like wet, tiny confetti).
- Slowly add oil while whirring away (1 Tbsp at a time) until you reach a consistency you like. I tend to go for a spackle-like substance, but some people really like a more oily, creamy pesto. There is no wrong. Do what suits you best.
- If making ahead, place in fridge and bring back out about 20 min ahead of when you’ll need it (so it can get to room temp). If making at the same time as other components, simply set it aside for later (you can keep it in your processor if you plan to prep each dish or transfer it to a bowl if you want to let everyone have at it).
Spicy Sour Cream
1/2 cup sour cream (or Tofutti)
2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
- Combine sour cream/Tofutti and sriracha in a small bowl. Mix vigorously and chill until ready to serve.
Chipotle Chili-Crusted Cornmeal Tofu
1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup soy, nut, or coconut milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup cornmeal (you can use yellow, white, or blue)
2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
dash of cayenne (if you like it even spicier!)
vegetable oil, for frying
- Once tofu has been drained and pressed, cut it into 8 equal pieces (the easiest way to do this is to half the block, then halve each halve… then halve everything once more). Slice each rectangular eighth along the diagonal to create a triangle.
- Mix together your soy/nut/coconut milk and cornstarch in a shallow dish/bowl (I like to use a fork) until all cornstarch is dissolved.
- Mix together the cornmeal, chili, salt, and other spices in a separate shallow dish/bowl so that all ingredients are well blended.
- Heat your high-heat vegetable oil up in a frying pan. Once oil is hot, dip each triangle into the “milk,” followed by dropping it into the cornmeal mixture. Toss it around in there to get it all nicely coated. (It’s ok if you have to do this in waves due to the size of your dish/bowl.)
- Depending on the size of your frying pan, put half to all of the triangles into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes. Flip over and fry 2 minutes more.
- Remove to paper towel to drain briefly before you plate them.
Dill Tomato-Corn Saute
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or thawed from frozen)
2 Tbsp dill
1/4 tsp paprika
dash or two cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best)
salt + pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
- Add tomatoes, corn, and spices. Saute for approximately 5-7 minutes. Tomatoes should start to look sort of soft and shiny – and you should get a very strong aroma from the pan.
- Pour lemon juice over vegetables and stir. Take a little taste and decide how much salt and pepper you want to add in.
- Serve warm and enjoy!