Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tofu and Mushroom Piccata

Years ago, I bought  Robin Robertson's 'The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook'I grew up in a regular ol' Canadian household, with lots of nourishing comfort meals. I got the book thinking it would be full of more of those comfort type dishes and it certainly is! Also included are some things a little more elegant. One that caught my attention was Tofu & Mushroom Piccata. Now, readers of my old blog know that I am adverse to those little fungi, but Jim likes them, so I followed the recipe and just didn't put any mushrooms on my plate.

This is so simple to make and comes together quickly, so why not dine fancy on a weeknight? 

The bright fresh flavours of lemon and parsley mingle nicely with the salty bite of the capers. It truly is a nice balance. 

Tofu and Mushroom Piccata 

1 large lemon, peeled and white pith removed
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter or soy margarine (optional)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Cut the lemon into very thin rounds, discarding the seeds, and set aside.
Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Season the tofu with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, tapping off any excess. Transfer the tofu slices to a platter and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tofu, in batches, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Place the tofu slices on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
Deglaze the skillet with the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring a few times, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the lemon slices, capers, and parsley and simmer until hot. Stir in the butter, if using, to enrich the sauce. 
Arrange tofu on a serving platter or individual plates. Pour the sauce over the tofu and serve at once.
Serves 4
©Robin Robertson

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Remember back in 2009 when the movie Julie & Julia came out, and suddenly there was a renewed interest in Julia Child? When I was a little girl, I'd watch PBS in the evenings. There was The Electric Company, Zoom and then The French Chef would come on. I sat mesmerized watching Julia doing her thing in the kitchen. And who doesn't have this in their cookbook collection?

Because of the movie, one of the food channels started running some of the French Chef shows again. I managed to catch a few of the episodes and in one, Julia did a recipe that was so simple and sounded like something we'd enjoy, so I found it in my book and gave it a go. Be warned - this is full of cream & cheese. But then, what else would we expect from Julia?

This, casserole I guess it would be, was surprisingly easy. Here it is right out of the oven all golden brown. Yum! 

I used Tofurky Kielbassa sausages and turned this dish into a lacto-ovo vegetarian one. It was very, very delicious but very rich - not something I would be able to eat often. I filled the rest of our plate with vegetables so as not to "over-indulge" :o) A glass of wine on the side and we were feeling very French indeed. Bon Appétit! 

Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Saucisson 
(Gratin of Potatoes, Onions & Sausages)

2/3 cup minced onions
2 tbsp. butter
½ lb. potatoes, sliced 
2 Tofurky kielbassa sausages, sliced ¼-½-inch thick
3 eggs
1½ cups whipping cream
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese (I chose Gruyère)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook the onions slowly in butter for 5 minutes or so, until tender but not browned. 
Drop the potatoes into boiling salted water and cook for 6-8 minutes or until barely done. Drain thoroughly. 
Butter a 3-4 cup baking dish (1½-2 inches deep). Spread half of the potatoes in the bottom, then half of the cooked onions. Over them, lay the sliced sausage, then the rest of the onions and finally the remaining potatoes. 
Beat eggs with whipping cream, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and shake dish to send liquid to bottom. 
Spread on the cheese and dot with butter. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes in upper third of oven until top is nicely browned. 

Serves 4