Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It has been a long time coming, but I finally feel like I'm getting my groove back in the kitchen.  Returning home from Africa, I just had no motivation to be a "food blogger".  I wondered if I had lost my drive, and some of my audience.  My posts for the last month have been much more Faith focused, and a little less Vegan focused.  While my faith is always most important in my life, I really have neglected my other passion, which is cooking and eating vegan food. 

While I am on this journey to re-discover why I am vegan, I thought it also important to get my booty back in to the kitchen and re-discover my passion for cooking and food.  It wasn't too hard, just like running, the first time back is always the hardest.  Thus, last week's loaf of bread that was horrendous!  This week's (pictured above) is much better all around, but not wonderful.  The taste is a little off and it still didn't rise as much as it should, leaving a very dense crumb.  Dense but soft at least!  Last week's loaf was a brick!  I've lost my knack, and I imagine it will take several more trials to gain it back!

Bread isn't the only thing brewing in the kitchen.  While last week's meals featured convenience foods such as frozen veggie burgers and pre-made ravioli, this week I am beginning to stretch my creative genius in the kitchen. 
At no point during the process of this meal was this supposed to be the outcome.  I envisioned pasta, I envisioned grilled tofu, but a salad was not in the plans. 

I began with a pesto recipe I found on A Healthy Slice of Life and tweaked it just a bit.  I had basil that was fast approaching its second death and pesto was all I could come up with.  I suppose my creative genius needs a little more practice! 

Tomato Basil Pesto
adapted from Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life

1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 ripe tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, finely process almonds until it forms crumbs.  Add in garlic and basil and tomato.  Continue to process until smooth.  Slowly add in Nutritional Yeast and olive oil, a little at a time until your pesto reaches your desired consistency.  I may have gone a little lighter than 1/4 cup olive oil to keep mine pretty chunky.  If I would have decided to make pasta afterall, I would have thinned it out even more, maybe with water.

After the pesto was created, the meal began to take on a life of it's own.  We had lots of farmer's market veggies that needed to be used including small potatoes, an onion and salad greens.  I got to work chopping the onion and potatoes and set them in the oven at 400* to roast for about 30 minutes.  At that point I decided to add tofu to the meal, so I quickly drained a container, pressed it between two cookbooks with heavy weights on top (cans) for a few minutes and chopped into 4 "steaks".  I laid each steak on a piece of tin foil, topped with a tablespoon of pesto and cooked for 30-40 minutes until brown.

Pesto Tofu "Steaks"

1/2 container Extra Firm Tofu, drained and pressed
1 batch Tomato Basil Pesto recipe (above)

Drain and press tofu according to directions above.  Cut half the block of tofu into 1/2" thick slices.  Place on greased baking dish or parchment or foil on baking dish and spread 1 tablespoon of pesto over each slice.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 400* oven until brown.  You will have extra pesto leftover.

At this point in the cooking process, I had tofu steaks, roasted potatoes and onions, prepared pesto and half a tomato leftover.  How on earth shall I incorporate all these pieces together into one cohesive meal?

Add a bed of lettuce or mixed greens of course!  I piled my plate with greens, tossed in the cooked potatoes and onions, topped the salad with diced tomato and my tofu steaks with a dollop of pesto on top.  I also stirred in a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. 

The tofu was full of flavor.  The hit of warm potatoes and onions combined with the cool refreshing tomato was a party in my mouth!  (Yes I just said "party in my mouth").  The rich flavor of the vinegar together with the pesto screamed summer!  This salad was so filling and delicious!

So now that I am fully inspired, I have another amazing meal planned for this evening.  I think it is time to jump in the kitchen and get cookin'!

1 comment:

  1. Speaking as a fellow vegan Christian, I do hope you find your passion for veganism again. Because I lack age and wisdom, that's all I dare venture to say! :p

    I do wish you good luck on your journey.