Tag Archives: tofu

Oddities in Context

What fruit cake?! Pork…in a fruit cake. Okay, people, here’s the thing. I don’t do pork. Sure, I loved a crisp slice of bacon or a juicy BBQ tenderloin back in the day but the thought of “one pound of pork” in a cake – baked slowly and then kept around for a while to make it even tastier – that’s nasty.

Christianna sure dished out a doosey for this month’s Recipe Swap. She even dug up a new (to us) vintage cookbook, the Nebraska Pioneer Cookbook. You gotta love the wood stove and the plaid table-cloth on the cover.

I have to admit, as a pioneer braving the wild Nebraskan plains, a pork fruit cake would probably be the most delicious thing I could ever dream of eating. Think of it as the wild west version of the energy bar: you’d get your protein, carbohydrates, and fat all in one stick-to-your-ribs hunk of food! Just slather on some butter and you’d be ready to ride all day!

Hand a Nebraskan cowboy a Powerbar and he’d probably spit it right back at you. Now, hand that same cowboy one of these muffins and I doubt you’d get so much as a questioning glance. Just don’t say anything about the tofu.

My thought process leading to these muffins went something like this:

Yuck! Pork Fruit Cake! -> What odd ingredient would a vegetarian put in fruit cake -> Tofu! -> I’ve got all these tomatoes and I really want to bake with them -> There’s that classic spice cake recipe with a can of tomato soup -> I’ll use tomatoes and tofu!

Slow-roasted tomatoes were the perfect sweet, smokey (dare I say meaty) addition to a block of silken tofu. Blended smooth, the tofu-tomato mixture was delicious on its own (thinned-out it would make an awesome tomato soup) and an adequately odd ingredient for muffins. Here’s where I screwed up: I decided to throw in the last tablespoon of blackstrap molasses at the bottom of the jar. Have you ever taken a recipe experiment just one ingredient too far and blacked-out other flavors in the process? Well, I lost all trace of the tomato-tofu puree when I added that little bit of molasses. I’m sure it still added moisture and protein of course but the muffins I ended up with were very good…molasses muffins! Argh!

Some day soon I’ll make these muffins again without the molasses. Until then. I’m going to enjoy my apple-studded pork-free snacks. The spices remind me that Fall is almost here and these are sweet enough to keep me away from the ice cream carton after dinner.



Molasses Tomato Muffins

Cook Time: PT25-30M

Yield: 16-18 muffins

If you're in the mood for a traditional Mystery Cake (aka. Tomato Soup Cake) this recipe from King Arthur Flour is the one on which I based my muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 palm sugar (or whatever sweetener you like to use)
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 12oz silken tofu (plain yogurt, sour cream, or pumpkin puree would be good too)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup slow roasted tomatoes. I used this recipe minus the spices.
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses diluted with 1/4 cup warm coffee to get it out of the jar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or your preferred flour)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • About two cups chopped apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with some kind of liner or oil.
  3. In a food processor or in a large bowl, using a hand blender, thoroughly blend tofu and tomatoes. The mixture should be smooth with no lumps.
  4. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl at this point.
  5. Add remaining wet ingredients plus sugar to tofu, mixing completely.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  7. Stir dry ingredients into wet and fold in apples, avoiding over-stirring.
  8. Spoon batter into muffin cups. These don't rise excessively high so you can fill the cups to the top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack and store in the fridge for longer shelf-life.

Notes

I used leftover coffee to get the last bit of molasses out of the jar on a whim. It worked great but feel free to substitute water, juice, or milk.

If you don't have roasted tomatoes leave them out. It'll work without them. You could also get crazy and add some sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil or re-hydrated).

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Lemon-Vanilla Bean Blender Pudding

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, like a jar of pudding.

The Vintage Recipe Swap returns! After a several-month-long hiatus, our busy lives finally permit another epic recipe remake. We grew, we split, we frantically (at least on my part) went about our lives for a few months, and now we’re back together as one recipe-hungry group again.

Christianna provided us with an excellent recipe to rekindle our imaginations: Lemon Sponge Pie from the Old Court House Tea Room in Delaware. We are working our way through The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes From Famous Eating Places, compiled in 1954, hence the geographic context.

mmm pie. Lemon pie makes me think of afternoon tea drinking and sophisticated conversation. Maybe it’s the Delaware tea room bringing that scene to mind but I think of lemon as a light, refreshing flavor that is available year-round. In this season of syrupy summer fruit desserts, a little lemon is a welcome reprieve.

I am trying to take it easy on myself nowadays: no elaborate undertakings in the kitchen when there is so much to do outdoors. I’m not baking bread. My pizza stone has seen very little use this summer. I didn’t feel like making pie. I know what you’re thinking: What self-professed baker/blogger is too lazy to make pie? Pie has never really been my thing. I’m a muffin kind of girl, remember? Even those requite too much portioning of ingredients into little tins for my patience right now.

And now to the un-pie. My favorite thing about pie is custard pie filling (mmm crustless sweet potato goat milk pies). For my take on lemon pie, I decided to embrace summer simplicity and my love for creamy filling with a no-cook lemon pudding. Two things make lemon pudding better: vanilla bean and eating it out of a jar. Whipped cream and some simple vanilla wafers would be fantastic too but I didn’t have either of those.

Walnuts made a nice addition.

I completely made up this recipe and I am completely satisfied with how it turned out. The spoon I dipped into the blender came out with a very lemony, creamy bite of heaven. I even sneaked some healthy things in there, balancing out the tangy Greek yogurt with silken tofu and keeping the added sugar to a minimum with only 1/4 cup of agave nectar. I have to warn all traditional lemon-pie lovers out there that this dessert is very lemony and not very sweet. It was perfect for my taste but you could balance things out a little more with more agave or honey and less lemon. I’m providing those variations in the recipe below in addition to my zippy version.

Don’t skip the vanilla bean but substitute vanilla extract if it’s all you have. The vanilla bean flavor shows up more after the pudding chills in the fridge for a few hours. I was so happy to come home to a jar of this after some epic dinghy sailing last night even though my frozen toes and fingers could have used a hot drink instead. The vanilla had come through and the texture had thickened since my sample bowl earlier in the day.

Lemon-Vanilla Blender Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 block (12 oz) silken tofu, such as Mori Nu Organic
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, regular or low-fat
  • Juice from 2 lemons (1 for more subtle flavor)
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar or honey, depending on your sweetness preferences
  • Insides scraped from one vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Add everything to the your blender, starting with the tofu and yogurt.
  2. For the vanilla bean, slit the entire pod open with a knife and scrape out the dark paste (tiny bean flecks!) with the back of a knife or a spoon. Add this to the blender.
  3. Blend, starting on the lowest speed and working your way up, until the mixture is fully blended.
  4. Pour into bowls or jars to serve immediately or chill for a few hours or overnight before serving. The flavors will intensify and the texture will thicken as it chills.
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