Friday, November 30, 2007

Catching Up. Cauliflower-Tofu Bake, Spinach- & Tofu-Stuffed Shells

I have been a very naughty blogger, and now it's the end of the month and I haven't posted anything here in over three weeks! Shame on me!!!! I have no excuse except for having such a good time that cooking something new took second place to life with a capital L. The middle of the month we were in New York to see friends, attend opera and ballet, visit museums, wander around, and visit restaurants. Restaurants? Yes, we especially liked Candle 79 (not to be confused with Candle Cafe) and Franchia (sister restaurant to HanGawi, which we visited last time, but less formal). And I mustn't forget Dawat (not vegan like the others, but vegan-friendly), which belongs to actress, chef, and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey (our kitchen saint).

Since then and even just before then, I have been either raiding the freezer for previously cooked yummies or re-running old menus and recipes. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does mean rather lean pickings for blogging here.

But here are a couple of things you might like.


Here's a simple thing we did with cauliflower the other day. It was easy to partly cook the cauliflower, cut into flowerets, then make a sauce from some silken tofu, flavouring it with sodium-reduced soy, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, white miso, and various kinds of pepper - probably including cayenne ;) I used, for the two of us, about a package and a half of the tofu and thinned it to the right creamy consistency, and half a head of cauliflower. Some chopped onion gives a nice zip. Mix the sauce and the cauliflower together and bake until the top browns. Around half an hour should do it, depending on how much you use and how hot your oven is. I topped mine with some flavoured crumbs - ya know, the old ground-up nuts, crumbs, nutritional yeast, paprika, blah blah blah mix I keep in an airtight jar in the refrigerator all the time. You probably have your own favourite.


I have posted a Stuffed Shells recipe here before, but this one, also in the nature of an experiment, was even more successful. That may have been because I made a few changes to my previous recipe. I did however use the same very nice brand of brown rice shell pasta I used before.

Following the basic idea of my previous attempt, I substituted a couple of big handfuls of fresh baby spinach for the basil. This I chopped and then zapped with the wand blender along with some garlic, the tofu, mushrooms, etc., to which I also added a good squeeze of lemon juice, some herbs (what? Probably thyme or oregano), a little vegan worcestershire sauce, pepper (Cayenne too? Probably - just a dash) and two or three Tbsp nutritional yeast. These additions made for a similar looking but stronger tasting stuffing. If there was something else in there, I forget, but I tasted as I went along and kept going until it tasted right :) Proceding as before, this is what it looked like as plated.

You might want to keep some sauce to pass at the table.

And yes, thanks, we had a lovely time in New York! Here we are in Fort Tryon Park on our way to see The Cloisters for the first time in something like 35 years or so. Lovely day!!!


Anonymous said...

Great to see you back and posting again! I am glad to hear you had a nice time in NY and jealous of all the fabulous restaurants you got to eat in!

That cauliflower bake sounds SO good, and I actually have a head of cauliflower in my fridge, just waiting to be used...


VeggieGirl said...

So happy to see you in the blogging world again!! I was worried!! Sounds like you've been awfully busy, and having fun as well!! NY is fabulous indeed :0)

The cauliflower-tofu bake, as well as the spinach-tofu-stuffed-shells dish, looks quite scrumptious!!

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to make a stuffed shell dish, so thanks for the recipe. It looks delicious! Glad you had a great trip to New York. My daughter was just there, with my camera, and they also had a great time.

Jackie V

Melody Polakow said...

Sounds like you've been having a great time. Both dishes look and sound delicious. I make a similar cauliflower/pasta bake that is like mac and cheez..

You look awesome! Thanks for sharing the picture.

River said...

Aren't you all so very nice to me! Thanks, guys!!!
About the cauliflower and tofu bake - I have also made it with (pre-cooked) quinoa macaroni folded in. Very nice, but I must look for a vegan mac n cheez version, as Melody suggests.

Love and hugs and many many thanks to you all!