Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

July 14, 2008

 

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“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

After the HH and I had been dating for about four months and he’d already passed the “willing to tolerate my multiple quirks and neuroses” test, I decided it would be acceptable for him to finally meet my family and old friends in Montreal.  I cajoled coerced begged invited him to join me one weekend as I headed east.  We arranged to stay at the CFO’s place, to visit with the rest of the family, to attend a dinner party at my friend Babe’s, and to spend the remainder of our time sight-seeing; the plans were all set.

And then, during the drive across the highway, the HH contracted some bizarre, sci-fi worthy flu virus and ended up spending the entire visit in bed–febrile, congested, inflamed and sullying tissue after tissue with unsavory bodily fluids.  My relatives encountered a slightly dazed, highly medicated, Rudolph-nosed guy who didn’t make the greatest impression (he’s made up for it since). 

Ever since that sniffling début, it’s become somewhat of a running gag in our house:  whenever the HH and I travel to Montreal, one of us is inevitably sick (most recently, it was my turn; I suffered a wicked sinus headache for the first day, but recuperated by the second).  The only time we both felt fine, turned out the CFO was the one with a terrible cold, which she unwittingly passed on as a parting gift to me. Two days after returning to Toronto, I was felled once again. 

It may be a cliché to say that men are babies when it comes to having colds, that they whine and complain and moan, even as a woman suffering the same symptoms would simply drag herself from bed and get on with it. Well, not my HH.  As in most things, he and I are total opposites when it comes to illness:  if the HH gets sick, he retreats to bed, lies inert for about 48 hours, then emerges, like Ripley out of a stasis chamber, exactly as he was before.  (The first time this occurred, I was truly alarmed: I was certain the guy had croaked on me, as he literally slept for two days without even getting up to eat or drink).  I, on the other hand, am more likely stricken with a chronic, pervasive, low-grade, not-quite-debilitating-but-definitely-quite-annoying set of symptoms that lasts anywhere from four days to two months. I can function, but I’m miserable while I’m doing it.

One weekend a few weeks ago, Chaser had her first encounter with the HH’s unique form of healing.  After he crawled into bed, I closed the door, as usual, so Dad could sleep it off. The Girls were entirely thrown off their regular routine. They moped about outside the bedroom, looking rather–well, hang-dog.

Finally, around 5:00 PM, the door swung open and there he was–and vertical!  The Girls were ecstatic (“Does this mean we get to go to the trail now??”). Even as hope faded when the HH plunked himself in front of the TV, a dull patina of illness still coating his visage and a network of sheet-wrinkles, like tributaries on a map, spread across his face, those Girls still stuck by their Dad. 

I headed to the kitchen to whip up something hearty for the HH’s first meal back in civilization. Before I could even grab a spatula, however, there were The Girls at my feet, staring patiently.  Ah, yes, I’d forgotten that 5:00 PM is dog dinnertime. (“Right, Mum.  Food trumps sick owner. Sorry Dad, but you’re on your own.”)

As to the humans’ dinner, I decided on tempeh, a food I love but don’t eat often enough. Pairing a vague notion of BBQ season with a half-consumed jar of apple butter, I had my starting point. I realize there’s a plethora of BBQ recipes out there around this time of year, from the archetypal Wingz at Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk to these recent lovelies at Happy Herbivore and another fairly recent version at Vegan Dad.  But I was determined to use that apple butter, so I just grabbed a few other items from the fridge and began to mix.  

The results were, after all, very pleasing.  The tempeh’s meaty texture works well with the slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavors of the sauce. If you like BBQ sauce with a kick, you’ll enjoy this dish.  Unfortunately for the HH, he missed out on that particular gustatory pleasure, as his nose was still too congested for him to really appreciate the taste.  Still, the high protein content of the tempeh worked well to help rebuild his stamina, and he was back to work the following day. 

But I think we’ll hold off on any more trips to Montreal–for a little while, at least.

Because of tempeh provides such a healthy source of protein, I’m submitting this to Sangeeth at Art of Cooking Indian Food for her Eat Healthy–Protein Rich event.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Tempeh

These are slightly sweet, slightly gooey with a spicy kick.  I assume they’d be even better if actually cooked on a grill, but this baked version was equally tasty.

TO VIEW THE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

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If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

 

opencrepe.jpg 

I really hate making mistakes.  Not only because they sometimes wreak havoc (“What?  The model of Stonehenge on stage was supposed to be 18 FEET high, not 18 inches???” or, “What?  But I thought the BLUE was the ‘panic button,’ Mr. President!!!”), but also because they make me feel really knuckle-brained sometimes (“Um, HH, can you come pick me up?  I’m kind of stranded out here in the woods with The Girls. I’ve locked my keys in the car. . . and it’s running.*”).

Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t have my share of doozies lurking around in my past (though at least mine aren’t as egregious as the  Y2K fiasco, or 8-track tapes, or Julia Roberts in Mary Ryan, Steel Magnolias The Pelican Brief Stepmom anything except Pretty Woman).  True, there were those three months I dated philandering Rocker Guy (he of the black leather pants); but for the most part, my mistakes tend to the be the innocuous kind, such as dialing my friend Babe’s number when I meant to call the CFO instead (I may be great at remembering phone numbers, but I don’t always note to whom they are attached); or buying decaf instead of regular; or wearing stripes with paisley (which, as we all know, couldn’t possibly go together). 

And then there’s the entire gamut of food mistakes.

Salt instead of sugar?  Done it.  Chocolate seized while melting? Been there. Pie crust with soggy bottom?  Don’t ask. Noodles so al dente they could double as a gardening implement?  You betcha.  Usually, these mishaps don’t bother me too much.  Especially when it comes to baking, I realize that the process is so mercurial that what works perfectly one day may turn out completely different the next, so I compensate by adding extra sweetener, reducing the amount of flour, substituting a different kind of nut, or doing whatever is required to appease the petulant confection.   

When it comes to cooking, I’m less inclined to experiment.  Yet that’s exactly what I did this past weekend, purely as a result of my own gastronomical gaffes. 

You know how some women will work an entire outfit around a single accesory? For instance, they might spy a cute little fuschia-and-orange flowered scarf and then go out and purchase matching pumps, belt, handbag and turtleneck, just so they can wear that scarf to a dinner party on Saturday night.  In the end, that little rectangular scrap of rayon costs $872.48.  Well, I must confess, I am that woman when it comes to ingredients.  Which brings me to. . . . The Mistake of the Miso.

Mistake Number One:  On Sunday, I decided to construct a brunch menu based on some extra miso gravy in the fridge. Originally, I’d planned to serve the gravy with sweet potato fries for dinner on Saturday, only to discover that I’d grated the last potato as part of The Girls’ dinner the previous night.  (“And we really did appreciate that, Mum.  But don’t worry about the extra gravy–we’d be happy to help you out with that.”)

Having gravy but nothing to slather it on, my imagination went to work. Mashed potatoes and gravy at brunch?  Excellent. But what to accompany it?  I pulled out a recipe I’d been eyeing for Tempeh-White Bean sausage patties from Vegan with a Vengeance .  I planned to finish off the plate with simple pancakes sans the typical fanfare (my usual recipe contains fruit and other extras, not necessary here).  Everything, it appeared, was in order.  

Mistake Number Two: Since the sausages were somewhat time-intensive, I started with those. Isa does caution that these are softer than typical processed sausages, but mine fell completely apart on the plate, looking something like shards of clay from an old planter that had fallen off the windowsill.  Would the HH eat broken patties? They did smell heavenly, however, so I set any worries aside and kept them warm while I moved on to the pancakes.

Mistake Number Three: Ah, yes, bad things always come in threes, don’t they? Perhaps it was something in the air.  Perhaps it’s finally time to fill that new eyeglass prescription.  Whatever the reason, the pancakes were a disaster as well.  As thin as the line between sexy and hooker; as flat as the line before you call a Code Blue; and altogether too chewy, though not quite enough to cross the line from springy over to rubbery. I knew these would not pass HH muster, as my Honey favors airy, light, cake-like pancakes.  (“Mum, seriously, we can help you out with that! Just toss a couple our way. . . “).

These griddle cakes were, it occurred to me, much more akin to crepes than true pancakes (though, according to Epicurious, a crepe is “the French word for ‘pancake,'” which would suggest the only difference between the two is the language in which you mumble,  “Please pass the syrup”).  For many of us, however, crepes evoke a thinner, more flexible cake, suitable for enveloping a sweet or savory filling.  It’s sort of like the distinction between a scone and a biscuit, I think; but to get the scoop on that one, you’ll have to read Johanna’s blog.)

 So.  I found myself with crepes.  And decided to just go along with that. 

Rectifying all the Mistakes in a Single Delectable Brunch: In the end, I decided to re-assign the basic elements of the meal, crepefilling.jpg crumbling the sausages as if they were ground meat, and mixing in a few chopped veggies. I stuffed this mixture into the crepes, then smothered the whole shebang with miso gravy.  The dish was accompanied by a tried-and-true dandelion salad.

The resultant meal was a bit more elaborate than I’d anticipated, perhaps, but truly memorable. The HH appeared to relish every mouthful, peppering the meal with an occasional interjection of “Very nice,” or “Very tasty,” somewhat like Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road.  When he’d polished off the first crepe, he requested another, and thoroughly enjoyed that one, too. 

I once read that “there are no mistakes in cooking, only new recipes.”  I can only agree. And this new recipe is definitely a keeper–make no mistake about it.  

Because it worked out so well, I’m submitting this dish as my entry to Weekend Breakfast Blogging, the event started by Nandita and this month hosted by Suganya at Tasty Palettes.

Savory Filled Crepes

crepeswmiso.jpg

This dish makes a satisfying, filling brunch or light dinner.  Vary the filling ingredients according to your own tastes–we didn’t have any mushrooms when I made this, but I think they’d be excellent in the filling, too.

TO VIEW THE COMPELTE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

 

Reubenesque Sandwich

February 7, 2008

DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS HAS MOVED!

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]

Sometimes I wish I’d lived in the 1600s.  No, not for the lack of modern excesses like cell phones or Doritos or Survivor. Not for what was, in those days, the nonchalant expectation of personal chefs, cleaners, and maids (and all for no pay!). Not for the lack of indoor plumbing, heating, electricity or even daily bathing  (as I recently learned from the way-cool book I’m reading, The Dirt on Clean). Not even because back then, people already had dogs as pets, though of course they weren’t treated as well as our canine friends are today. (“Yes, Mum, you do treat us very well.  This is a nice story, yadda yadda yadda, but when are you going to get to the part about food?”)

Allow me to clarify: when I say I would have liked living back then, I’m talking about cultural attitudes towards female pulchritude.  If today’s society held the same culturally-influenced ideals as to what is considered “beautiful” as they did in the 1600s, I’d be one fine-lookin’ piece of chattel. (Well, for the first 15 or so years of my life, anyway, after which I’d be forcibly betrothed to an old coot and made to bear six or eight children before shrivelling up like a dried dishrag and croaking from some 17th-Century pestilence).

Yes, I’ve always believed that, if only the zaftig female bodytype were still in style today, I’d have it made.  No more dieting! No more worrying about the little number printed on that tag sewn in the seam of my shirts! No more debating whether to get the elastic waist or the buttons! After all, those groups of 1600’s Rubenesque damsels in all those famous paintings could certainly have stood to get to the gym a little more often, and yet they were considered the paragon of beauty, right? 

However, since I live in the 21st century, I’m less inclined to flaunt my excess poundage.  With my recently-renewed vow to eat healthfully and also openly embrace the “now,” I’ve decided I may as well make peace with my plumpness, if not celebrate it.  Pondering all things Rubenesque, my mind naturally meandered toward the the concept of Reuben sandwiches.  Not only are they, too, pleasingly plump, but eating them may just ensure that I stay that way, as well (Bonus!).

reubenclosed2.jpg In my long-ago meat-eating days (though not as long-ago as the 1600s, mind you), I used to relish Reubens (the sandwiches, not the painter–though I suppose I’d have to concede that his work is okay).

There’s just something tantalizing about the mix of all those towering slices of pink, pickled meat, their softly shredded edges peeking out from beneath a buttered, crisply toasted piece of rye; the sour, briny haystack of sauerkraut, all smothered in creamy, sweet and tangy dressing (your choice of either Russian or Thousand Island), then capped off with a languid, softly spreading cloud of melted swiss cheese–well, the synergy of that particular combination of elements has always made my mouth water. 

I’ve encountered many recipes for vegan Reubens over the years, but nothing seemed to tickle my fancy (and my fancy is usually pretty ticklish, I can tell you*).  Then, the other evening, I finally decided to finish unpacking those fourteen boxes of cookbooks that have been waiting, patiently, in our basement since our recent move (who am I kidding?  November 12th is no longer “recent,” by any stretch of the imagination!). In the process, I happened upon my copy of Vegan with a Vengeance, and found–ta da!–a fabulous recipe for a vegan Tempeh Reuben Sandwich.

Well, since I am no longer fond of meat in any case, and since I have also determined to live in the moment, I decided, tempeh fugit! and went about preparing that sandwich. (Oooh.  I can hear the groans through the computer screen. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

With my mouth already watering in anticipation, I assembled the sandwich even though we were short a few key ingredients.  I was too impatient to properly marinate my tempeh,  so just steamed it in a little Braggs and water, as I normally do (which accounts for its pale countenance in the photos–sort of like a 17th Century Courtesan, come to think of it).  However, I did do up the rest of the recipe pretty much as described, except using a spelt bagel for the rye bread in the original.

The result was spectacular.  That Isa sure can whip up some great recipes! I devoured the thing in minutes, smacking my lips and licking my fingers as I imagine the denizens of King Charles’s court might have done as they sat round their enormous oak tables, imbibing and feasting. 

Not only are these sandwiches delectable, they are so chock full of filling that I daresay they themselves appear rather amply endowed. Like sandwich, like maker; eating that Reuben really did make me feel as if I inhabited a scene from a Rubens after all. Now, if only I could get that “servants at my beck and call” thing happening.

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich (adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)

reubeninside.jpg

Rather than reprint the recipe here, I’ll tell you what I did differently from the original:

  • 1 spelt bagel, cut in half and toasted instead of pumpernickel bread
  • instead of marinating the tempeh (which I would definitely do next time), I steamed it in about 1/4 cup water and 2 Tbsp. Braggs, then brushed with olive oil and browned lightly in a skillet
  • I omitted the avocado from the sandwich, because (a) I didn’t think it would work as a substitute for cheese, and (b) we didn’t have any.

*No, I wasn’t being suggestive, just silly.  Goodness me, you people have a depraved sense of humor! 

A Joy: Pot Luck Club

December 28, 2007

emptytable.jpg I’m still quite new to blogging, and I certainly proved it last evening.  At my house was a group of six amazing women–three whom I met at my nutrition school, one from a long-ago volunteer gig, and the last as a participant in one of my (now defunct) cooking classes–and each brought at least one fantastic, high-saliva inciting food to the table.  And I?  Yes, I, too contributed to the culinary canvas.  In fact, I added not two, not three, but four delectable dishes to the cornucopia.  But did I remember to take a photo of said table, overflowing with the bounty of our kitchens?  Uh, no.  I was so engrossed in the captivating conversation, so distracted by the eye-catching textures and colours, interesting ingredient combinations and seductively wafting aromas that I, like everyone else, simply dug in and enjoyed. 

By the time I remembered this blog and the fact that I was supposed to chronicle the evening in photos (and post it to Holidailies), it was too late.  By then, only a few solitary dregs of each food lay wilted and soggy in the bottoms of platters, bowls, and casserole dishes, far too sparse and too exhausted to submit to a photo op.  And for that, I hang my blogging head in shame.

As an attempt to make amends for my lack of forethought when it came to the buffet table, I will here recreate the menu for you, and even supply recipes!  I did, thankfully, take a couple of photos of my own contributions before the crowd arrived, so you can have a glimpse of those.

First, the menu.  What a great bunch of gals–this is the Vegan assortment they (and I) co-created:

Appetizers:

walnutpate.jpg

  • * Garlicky Black Bean Dip
  • * Chickpea-mint Spread
  • * Mushroom and Walnut Pate (from Veganomicon), photo left
  • * Assortment of wheat-free crackers
  • * Homemade Veggie Spring Rolls with Asian Cranberry Dipping sauce (to die for–will definitely see if I can cadge the recipe)

Salads/Sides:

  • Caesar Salad (from Veganomicon, with a twist–see below)
  • Edamame-Cabbage and Sesame Slaw
  • Stir-fried Mixed Veggies

Mains:

  • Smoked Tofu and Veggie-Lentil Stir-Fry with Zucchini “Pasta”
  • Mushroom, Potato and Tempeh Stew (a twist on recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)

Desserts:

tiramisu3.jpg

  • * Vegan Tiramisu (recipe follows!)
  • * Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaves
  • * Chocolate-Cashew Bark (homemade and easy–see below)

Doesn’t everything sound amazing?  And with people just coming off all that holiday excess, this healthy yet delicious meal seemed almost ascetic.  Well, except the tiramisu, of course.

After the initial squeals of joy at seeing each other again, and the introductions (the nutrition crowd wasn’t yet familiar with the other two), we settled in to some wine or mineral water and the appetizers.  Since I’d promised at least one main and one dessert, I hadn’t planned to contribute to this particular course. But I had a surfeit of mushrooms after preparing the stew, so decided to browse my new copy of Veganomicon and came up with the Walnut Mushroom Pate.  I followed the recipe verbatim and was thrilled with the result–smooth, savory, and very rich tasting.  I seem to recall a similar reicpe from my childhood, when my mother experimented with “Mock Chopped Liver” (see, I told you she was an unwitting vegetarian). 

The other dip and spread, a chunky, minty chickpea mash and a smooth, slightly sweet black bean spread, were both delicious, but I think all the other appetizers were trumped by the absolutely mouth watering veggie spring rolls with Asian cranberry dipping sauce.  A succulent mix of veggies in a filo crust, baked to flaky perfection, then dipped in a slightly spicy, tart sauce brimming with cranberries–it was divine. 

By the time we’d cleared the buffet table of appetizers and moved to the main course,  we were all anticipating the treasures this group had brought to the table.  We began with a zingy vegan Caesar, also from Veganomicon (getting a lot of press in this post!).  I made just one adjustment to the already more or less perfect dressing recipe, mostly to accommodate my own peccadilloes and because I felt it would taste more authentically Italian this way:  I substituted roasted pine nuts for the almonds in the recipe.  Like the almonds, the pine nuts offered a slight graininess to the otherwise perfectly creamy dressing, approximating the texture of grated parmesan.  I loved, loved, loved the garlicky creaminess of the dressing, though I must admit it was a bit too pungent for most of the crowd, and that was with only 3 of the 4 recommended cloves! 

Guests also provided some sensational stir-fried veggies and Smoked Tofu mixture with veggies, lentils, and zucchini “pasta.”  The raw “pasta” is actually zucchini that’s been cut into long thin spaghetti-like threads using a Spiral Slicer.  You can approximate this idea by repeatedly grating the zucchini along its length with a carrot peeler (as if you were peeling the zucchini–but keep going even once the peel is gone).

My own addition to the menu was the savory Tempeh Stew, a variation on Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Tofu, Mushroom and Potato stew from her first cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance.  mushiesinpan.jpg I won’t repeat the entire recipe here, but I will tell you the changes I made:  first, instead of using exclusively cremini mushrooms (which looked a little drab and tired at my local grocer’s), I used half portobello mushrooms, for their meaty flavor and texture, and half regular button mushrooms.  This is a quick pic of the mushies after they’d been sauteed.

The combination seemed to work pretty well, allowing for a substantial chewiness along with an earthy flavor.  I also substituted tempeh for the tofu, as we were having quite a lot of tofu in other dishes and tempeh is my preference in any case.  I steamed the tempeh first in a mixture of vegetable broth and a splash of Bragg’s aminos (like soy sauce) before adding it, chunked, to the pot. 

The resulting mixture, right before it was covered for the final simmer, looked like this:

stew2.jpg

Simmering for an additional 30 or so minutes allowed the tempeh to absorb much of the flavor, and the potatoes to soften and soak up much of the sauce.  The final product was a thickly sauced, rich tasting and lip-smacking stew that I served with some whole spelt biscuits I whipped up at the last minute–great for sloshing in the gravy.

[Later insert:  This is what it looked like, reheated the following day for lunch–mmmnn!]:

tempehcooked.jpg

We reveled in both the feast and the confabulation for about an hour before venturing to dessert–itself enough to fill the table with platters and bowls! 

Absolute bedlam ensued at one point while Barb recounted a visit to an alternative energy worker, the methods of whom were new to most of us (Barb included).  While treating us to her vocal imitation of the healing chant she’d heard (somewhat like the scene in When Harry Met Sally, now that I think of it), she became so animated that The Girls, who’d been sleeping peacefully in opposite corners of the living room, immediately leapt to their feet, hackles up and tails erect,  snapping and growling as they dashed to the front door to see who was there.  Much like the prophet Elijah at Passover, the poltergeist evaded their detection, and they circled the room, roused and disoriented, until we gave them each a treat to calm down, poor things.  (“It was pretty startling, you know, Mum.  She did sound rather distressed.  And we just wanted to protect you all in case someone was trying to steal the food, that’s all.”)

My friend Michelle graciously brought two treats, a container of the Mocha Hazelnut cookies I previously posted on this site, as well as some delicious Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip loaves, another recipe of mine that I will post here anon. 

I provided a variety of the Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles from an earlier post as well as a dish I’d created for a customer’s Christmas party last year–Vegan Tiramisu.  I got the idea from an old recipe in Dreena Burton’s Vive le Vegan, and adapted it with my own cake and filling.  I’ll explain what I did differently from Dreena’s recipe, so you can recreate it yourself if you wish.

Dessert brought more sharing of stories and howls of laughter before everyone dispersed around 11:30 (on a school night!).  It was the most fun I’ve had in ages.  Thanks, ladies, for a great evening, filled with your talented culinary creations, thoroughly delightful conversation, and generous spirits. 

Vegan Tiramisu

This is a dish I created for a customer last Christmas, and I’ve used it many times since.  It may be vegan, but it is definitely not virtuous.  A very rich, very luscious and velvety cream filling oozes between layers of light vanilla cake drizzled with spiked coffee. The entire affair is topped off with a light whipped “cream” and then sprinkled with chocolate curls.  My HH practically swooned over this one (and let me tell you, the last time he swooned over anything I did probably dates back to the Paleozoic era, just to give you a yardstick on that).

tiramisuclose.jpg

Ingredients:

  • one baked and cooled 9 x9 inch single-layer vanilla cake (I used my own recipe for a spelt and agave-based cake, but I think the agave cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World would work well if baked in a square pan as well).
  • Filling (recipe follows)
  • Whipped “cream” (I use a double recipe of the soymilk-based whipped “cream” from How It All Vegan, with the following changes:  I use 1 Tbsp. Sucanat instead of dry sweetener, and add 1 Tbsp. light agave nectar.  The texture is very light and quite irresistible.)
  • Chocolate curls (made by melting dairy-free chocolate chips, spreading on a plate lined with plastic wrap, and allowing to cool; then use a carrot peeler to grate along the side and the chocolate will form little curls, as you see in the photo).
  • about 1/2 to 2/3 cup cold, very strong coffee or coffee substitute, mixed with an equal amount liqueur (either coffee liquer, creme de cacao, or, as we did last evening, hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico).

Filling: I altered Dreena’s original filling recipe in the following way.  My version is really a combination of a cooked “pudding” blended with silken tofu. 

2 packages extra-firm silken tofu (aseptically packaged, such as Mori-Nu)

1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup Sucanat

1/4 cup soymilk (either vanilla or plain)

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup organic cornstarch

In the bowl of a food processor, whir together the tofu and vanilla until perfectly smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

In a medium pot, combine the maple syrup, Sucanat, soymilk, salt and cornstarch, and whisk to blend.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil softly.  Continue to stir or whisk constantly, cooking for one minute. 

Pour the hot mixture into the food processor along with the tofu and blend again until perfectly mixed and smooth.  Pour into a large bowl and place in refrigerator until cool, at least two hours. 

 To Assemble the Tiramisu:

In a large decorative bowl, spoon some of the filling and swirl to coat the bottom of the bowl.  Cut or tear the cake into thin strips or squares and lay down in a single layer over the filling.  Drizzle with about 1/3 of the coffee/booze mixture.  Cover with about 1/3 of the filling, and repeat with more cake, drizzle, filling, cake, drizzle and filling again, until all the filling, liquid, and cake are used up (you should have about 3 layers of each, and end with a layer of filling). 

Top the last layer with a thin coating of the whipped “cream,” ensuring no filling peeks through.  Sprinkle with chocolate curls.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours to allow cake to absorb the liquid and for flavors to meld. 

To serve, spoon into individual serving bowls, or– just to use them and because they look pretty–pull out that old set of martini glasses and use those for a decorative presentation.  Makes at least 10 servings, more if your crowd is able to exercise restraint.