Posts Tagged herbs

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Chervil

So, the funny thing about choosing chervil from the Flavor Bible is that I couldn’t find chervil anywhere, fresh or dried.  Apparently chervil is quite fragile and hard to stock.  Regardless, I forged ahead with my idea.

Chervil, page 113, is a key ingredient of fines herbes, along with chives, parsley and tarragon.  Other flavor matches are leeks, lemon juice and peas, and I served my dinner along with one more match, potatoes.  My original intent was to stuff the herbs inside the tofu, but my tofu slices were pretty thin, so I put the herbs on the outside instead.


Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree

The balance of flavors in this dish is great; the leeks are soft and sweet, the tofu is chewy and herbaceous, and the pea puree is salty, tangy and smooth.  Even with multiple strong flavors going on, the delicate fresh herbs shine through.  I had truffled mashed potatoes on the side, but crispy roasted potatoes would be a nice texture contrast too.

Tofu:
14 oz extra firm tofu, patted dry and cut into four slices lengthwise
2 Tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp vegetable broth or water
2 Tbs each fresh chervil, tarragon, parsley and chives, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Leeks:
6 medium leeks
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1 cup white wine
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
Pea Puree:
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp white miso
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs vegetable broth or water

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and heat a wide pan over medium-high heat.
2. Trim most of the green parts off of the leeks and discard, leaving the white and light green parts.  Trim the root ends, leaving enough so that the leeks hold together.  Cut each leek in half lengthwise then rinse to remove any dirt, separating the layers.  Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the dijon mustard, vegetable broth, herbs, salt and pepper, and mix well.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil.  Spread some of the mustard mixture thinly on a slice of tofu, then sprinkle with 1 Tbs of panko and pat the breadcrumbs into the mustard.  Place the tofu on the baking sheet breadcrumbs down, and repeat with the rest of the tofu.  Aim to use about half of the mustard mixture on the bottoms of the tofu.
5. Spread the rest of the mustard mixture on the tops of the tofu and sprinkle 1 Tbs of panko on each piece.  Pat the breadcrumbs into the mustard.  Once all of the tofu pieces have been topped with breadcrumbs, spray with oil.
6. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, melt the Earth Balance in the hot pan.  Add the leeks cut side up and cook for a few minutes, until browned.  Flip the leeks and continue to cook for a few minutes.
8. Add the wine to the pan (it will hiss), then drizzle the agave nectar over the leeks and sprinkle in the lemon zest and salt.  Shake the pan to combine.
9. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, and braise the leeks for 30 minutes, until a sharp knife is easily inserted near the roots.  Most of the liquid should have evaporated.
10. While the tofu and leeks are cooking, prepare the pea puree.  Place all puree ingredients (peas through vegetable broth) in a food processor and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
11. If the tofu is not browned on top after baking 30 minutes, place it under the broiler, watching very carefully, for a minute or two, just until browned.
12. To serve, lay three leeks on each plate.  Place a piece of tofu on top of the leeks, then a dollop of pea puree on the tofu.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 357.89
Calories From Fat (24%) 86.22
% Daily Value
Total Fat 9.67g 15%
Saturated Fat 1.86g 9%
Cholesterol 0.06mg <1%
Sodium 756.94mg 32%
Potassium 402.26mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 42.68g 14%
Fiber 6.28g 25%
Sugar 11.79g
Protein 16.49g 33%

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31 Before 31 Results

I wasn’t even close to doing everything on my 31 Before 31 list, but I’m glad I wrote it because it really did help me to focus on my goals.  Here are the results!

Stuff that I did:

2.  Hike to the peak of Mount Tamalpais.  Done, and it was so awesome that I’m hoping to go back soon and do an even longer hike!  Here are a few pictures.

San Francisco skyline in the background

4.  Take a kickboxing class.  It was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
5.  Try acupuncture.  It didn’t help with the issue I went for, but it sure was interesting!
6.  Borrow a foreign cuisine non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.  I chose Mexico One Plate At A Time by Rick Bayless.  His recipes looked so good that it was hard to choose only three.

Potato Chorizo Tacos with Avocado Salsa (recipe posted here).  These were so good, and so easy to make!  I used Trader Joe’s Soyrizo.

Smoky Chipotle Beans with Wilted Spinach and Masa Dumplings (recipe posted here).  You soak dried black beans, then cook them with onion and garlic, and it turns it to this wonderful, thick broth.  Then you add in tomato, chipotle and spinach, and simmer the masa dumplings on top.  This took some time to make, but the flavor was so worth it.  The side dish is my attempt at turnips Gracias Madre-style.

Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos (lettuce wraps) and Red Rice.    I reduced the oil in the salad and left off the avocado, and the salad really could’ve used one or the other to balance the flavor – it was SPICY.  For the rice, I followed Bayless’ directions to substitute brown rice for white, and while the rice was cooked through the dish was still watery.  Tasty though.

8.  Advertise personal chef services at discounted rate.  Done.
13.  Register for Vida Vegan conference.  Yes!  I’m going!
15.  Get trumpet cleaned.
16.  Fix and update iTunes library.
19.  Plant herbs in the flower box.

planted mid-April - oregano, flat leaf parsley, sage, cilantro, curly parsley, basil

mid-May, not looking quite as good. The left side is faring better than the right. The parsley has actually made a comeback since this photo.

20.  Get a few houseplants and try to keep them alive.  I’m still working on the keeping them alive part.
21.  Get a new phone.  Got an iPhone, and love it!
22.  Learn some basic conversational Spanish.  I’m through chapter 12 of Spanish for Dummies and can say more words and phrases than before, so I consider this done.  I’m going to keep working on it.
24.  Visit a city I’ve never been to.  Done twice – Clayton GA and Mendocino CA.
27.  Go to SFMOMA or the de Young.  Went to SFMOMA in December.  Favorite sculpture:

31.  Go on a picnic.  I took a picnic lunch on my Mt. Tam hike.

Tempeh Salad from Vegweb, made with half the mayo and tamari, on a multigrain wrap with Persian cucumbers and red bell pepper.

Stuff I did not do, which may or may not be on my 32 before 32 list:

1.  Jog 2 miles without feeling like dying afterward.  (I have been jogging, but my stamina isn’t up to two miles straight yet.)
3.  Work up to ten real push ups.  (I tried, but am not even close.)
7.  Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
9.  Enter all of the recipes I Have printed into Living Cookbook database.  (I didn’t realize what a huge project this is.  Am chipping away at it little by little.)
10.  Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
11.  Change blog template.
12.  Update blog roll.
14.  Invest in some props for food photography and take more interesting pictures.
17.  Go to a symphony concert.
18.  Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and start to think about style/arrangements.
23.  Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
25.  Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
26.  Take an SF City Guide walking tour.
28.  Host a dinner party.
29.  Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
30.  Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Mint

I wasn’t thrilled when I landed on page 219 of the Flavor Bible, mint.  While I love peppermint flavor, I don’t really like fresh mint, so matching it with anything was going to be a palette challenge.  I took the easy route and went with one of the “flavor affinities”:  mint + cilantro + dill.  I also added other flavor matches with beans and yogurt.

This is bean salad with herbed yogurt dressing.  In the bowl is a can of chickpeas, drained, a can of black beans, drained, 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen green beans, 6 ounces plain soy yogurt, 1/3 cup each chopped fresh mint, cilantro and dill, the juice of one lemon, a Tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper.  This turned out okay, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites.  The cilantro and dill did turn out to be a great match for the mint; In each bite, a different herb came to the forefront.  I couldn’t really put my finger on why I didn’t love it.  Maybe it was the yogurt?  Maybe the dressing needed a touch of sweetness?  Dunno.

Served in a whole wheat pita with spinach, it made for a nice and filling lunch.

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