Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Easy Tofu Bacon

tofu bacon

I willingly admit that, on weekdays, I eat the same sort of easy breakfast every day. Quick cook oatmeal with almond milk and a bit of maple syrup, fruit smoothie if there's fruit in the freezer, glass of water if there isn't. Also tea. Earl Grey Tea. Which is, as I've said, one of my favourite things. It is right up there with The Man of Science, This American Life, punk rock, and Airstream trailers. Serious love.

Where was I? Oh yes, breakfast. While my weekday breakfasts might be monotonous and spare, my weekend breakfasts (see last post about Spanish Omelets) are fancy. Fancy and tasty.

When I took over the Saturday breakfast making duties at the House of Science, I was a bit of a one trick pony. And my one trick was scrambled tofu with oven roasted home fries. Lovely and filling, but eventually quite boring. I started seeking other vegan breakfast options that were also delicious and full of protein.

Until this highly anticipated book is finally published in May 2009, I am on my own as far as creative breakfast/brunch options go. And apparently, necessity is the mother of the invention of tofu bacon.

Easy Tofu Bacon

1 block of tofu,

1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Cut tofu into thin rectangular strips. As thin as you can get them!

Mix other ingredients and pour over strips of tofu. (If you put the strips in a big Ziploc bag and lay them out as flat as possible, they will absorb the most marinade.)

Leave tofu marinading in refrigerator for as long as possible. If you are organized, you will do this before you go to bed at night. I tend to do it about ten minutes before I want to cook the tofu.

To cook, place strips flat in a pan over med-high heat. If there is any marinade that didn't get soaked up, you can pour it over top while the strips are cooking.

Turn strips after a minute or two when they start to brown. Cook them on the other side and then they are ready to serve.

Some notes:

-Don't feed this to anyone who really likes real bacon and expect them to like it. If you do want to feed it to this sort of person, don't call it bacon. It will be like the time my Dad told my uncle in Arnprior that he should see the movie The Piano. To this day my uncle makes fun of my dad for recommending this flakey movie. No one needs to be made fun of for the rest of their lives because they called tofu "bacon".

-If you have a grill pan, you can make slightly bacon-y lines on your tofu, like I did in the photo above.

-Tofu bacon is exceedingly tasty when eaten with pancakes.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Vegan Spanish Omelet


The last vacation I took with my parents before enthusiastically fleeing the coop at age 19, was a trip to Spain in the summer of 1994. My parents, who had last been to Spain as young, hippie backpackers, were perhaps hit rather hard by the fact that they had somehow become middle aged suburbanites with two eye-rolling children in tow. No more dancing to Rod Stewart in the discos of Torremolinos. No more whatever else they got up to that I'd rather not think about. The only thing that seemed to be the same was the tortillas (a.k.a. Spanish Omelets) that they ate at almost every restaurant we visited. Never an egg enthusiast, I avoided the tortillas and instead developed an intense affection for gazpacho which remains with me to this day.

Recently, after drooling over a photo that accompanied a Spanish tortilla recipe in a British home magazine, I started thinking about how to veganize it. So I made an experimental tofu tortilla one night for dinner. I was worried that with all that tofu and all those potatoes, it might end up being, well, bland. Instead, it ended up being wildly delicious. The Man of Science, when digging in for seconds, asked, "This is going to be added to your repertoire, right?" I'll call that a success.

To make sure it wasn't a fluke, I made it again for breakfast on Boxing Day, trying desperately to remember what I'd done the first time. And again, delicious. Some of the ingredients were changed slightly, given that I'd run out of both roasted red peppers and tomatoes and had no desire to brave the icy outdoors to procure some more. I subbed in spinach and chopped sundried tomatoes and it was just as tasty.


Vegan Spanish Omelet

7 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 package silken tofu
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp each salt and pepper
¼ cup roasted red peppers
½ cup pitted black olives
1 tomato, sliced
1 tbsp dried basil
more salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until mostly tender

Fry onion in olive oil until tender, add boiled potatoes and fry for another minute or two.

With a blender or food processor, mix tofu, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper.

Place potato and onion mixture in a baking pan and pour tofu mixture over top.

Mix in olives and roasted red peppers.

Top with tomatoes, sprinkle basil and some salt and pepper over top.

Bake at 400 degrees for about one hour.

Some notes:

-This recipe is not low-cal by any stretch of the imagination. Dishes featuring oil, salt, and potatoes seldom are. This means I recommend eating it for breakfast and maybe going to a brisk walk afterwards to avoid feeling bogged down.

-A cast iron pan is really the way to go if you have one that is large enough. It means you can fry your onions, dump in your other ingredients, and slide the whole thing into the oven without a second thought.

-The finished product does not come out in nice, firm slices like a more eggy version might. In this case, though, form is happily sacrificed in the name of taste.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's ain't meat, babe: an introduction.

Photo 82
Well, hello there. 

My name is Jo Stockton and I like to eat. Well, only half of that is true. The eating part. My name is not actually Jo Stockton. Jo Stockton is the name of Audrey Hepburn's character in the movie Funny Face. She's a naive, bookish, brainy-type who is essentially kidnapped by a fashion magazine and brought to Paris to be their newest big-time model. I don't use my real name because for my job I need to have some measure of authority and I don't want people googling me and finding out my personal details. Because they do that. And it's creepy. 

But listen, here's some stuff that is true about me: 

I have been a vegetarian since I was a teenager.

I was vegan for many years and still usually cook and eat vegan food. 

I am not fully and completely vegan primarily because one of the things that makes me happiest in the whole world is having a cup of Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar every morning. And I have tried every milk substitute out there, but to me they all make my tea taste like ass. 

Cheese gives me migraines and I've hated eggs since birth. So I have no trouble avoiding those.

I learned how to bake from my mother and how to cook from two vegan roommates who I lived with for most of my university days. 

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in a one bedroom apartment with a small, cute kitchen. 

I also spend a lot of time at The House of Science, which is the primary dwelling of my lovely boyfriend, The Man of Science.

The Man of Science is also a mostly-vegan-vegetarian and a good cook. We both lucked out that way. 

I am starting this food blog because my food posts on my personal blog always seemed to be well received. And because I love reading other food blogs. And because it will be nice to have a blog where the subject matter is never up in the air. 

So let's see where this takes us, shall we?