Tag Archives: quick and easy vegan comfort food

Good Morning, Southern Fried Tofu with Biscuits and Gravy

So, if the concept of Meatless Mondays are to cut down on overall meat-consumption by dedicating one day to meatlessness, then I am right there with it. Much of my week is dedicated to meatlessness, in fact. But if the concept of Meatless Mondays are to invent and prepare meals that are meatless and healthier than we may normally eat… well, I may have missed the mark.

Vegan soul food exists. Anyone who tells you differently has never been down to the freaky little college towns of the South, like Athens, GA, where soul food and vegan cuisine commingle in ecstatic proportions. Then there are terrific vegan cookbooks like Alicia Simpson’s Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food, a book that while not strictly soul food-oriented, has more than a majority’s share of veganized Southern dishes. I have tried many of them (including a take on her pasta salad recipe) and they have all satisfied that soul food craving while being delightfully animal-free.

Today’s recipe does not come from Simpson’s cookbook. It’s a blending of a variation of recipes from different sources, VegWeb, a biscuit recipe in La Dolce Vegan, and some of my own kitchen noodling. It’s not heart-healthy, really, but it’s damn tasty. I make when I need a soul food fix, when I need something special, or when I want to make my partner smile.

Southern Fried Tofu with Biscuits and Gravy

Tofu and Gravy Ingredients
– 1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into eight equal sized slices
– 1 cup all purpose flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended)
– 2 tsp poultry seasoning
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
– Pinch black pepper
– 1/2 tsp onion powder
– 8 ounces soft silken tofu
– 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
– Oil
– 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (for gravy)

– Mix together the flour, baking powder, and seasonings and set aside. Mix together the silken tofu and 1/2 cup “milk” in large, shallow bowl.

– To prepare the tofu slices: Dip each slice first in the flour mixture, then coat in the silken tofu mixture, then coat in the flour once more. Fry each slice until both sides are golden brown.

– To prepare the gravy: Save at least two tablespoons of the cooking oil. Add two to three tablespoons of the leftover flour/seasoning mixture and stir in up to 2 cups “milk” (more if you like it thinner, less if you want thicker). Keep stirring until gravy is thickened.

Biscuit Ingredients
– 2 cups flour
– 3 tsp baking powder
– 3/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup vegan margarine
– 3/4 cup “milk”
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

– Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt. Stir in the vegan margarine, “milk,” and vinegar until well blended. Knead dough for about a minute, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, and cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or do what I do: Lightly flour the edge of a glass and use that to cut out the biscuits.

– Bake the biscuits on a lightly greased sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.

(Recipes adapted from this recipe on VegWeb and “Basic Baking Powder Biscuits” from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer)

Good Morning, Peanut Butter Cookies!

It’s a busy morning in a busy season. Who doesn’t need a cookie?

The peanut butter cookie is a wonderful double agent of the cookie world. One one side of craving, you have the need for saltiness, for crunch, for savory. On the other side, you have a craving for sweetness, sugar, morsels melting on the tip of your tongue. The peanut butter cookie plays both sides. It’s the perfect combination of cravings, all delivered in one handheld little edible package.

The above pictured – and I’m just now realizing that the picture is blurry – is a batch of peanut butter cookies made from the recipe in Alicia Simpson’s terrific Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. In my experience, nearly every peanut butter cookie recipe has a secret ingredient. Alicia’s is unsweetened applesauce, and it works really well for the texture.

My minor complaint is that these cookies aren’t super peanut buttery, but it could also be the unsweetened organic peanut butter that I used in the recipe. Although it’s not high cuisine by any means, the standard Jiff or Skippy work better in peanut butter cookies, at least if you want a good heavy dose of peanutty flavor. Alicia’s are pretty healthy, all things considered (yes, even with the refined sugar).  

The other problem with this cookie is strictly my own fault: NO. GRID. Why grid your peanut butter cookies? Several theories abound, most of them false. (No, grid-ing your PB cookie isn’t going to make it any better tasting, nor does it keep the cookie from spreading or being as greasy or whatever.) The only genuinely plausible reason I can come up with is that by now, the grid on the cookie universally means “This is a peanut butter cookie” thereby forewarning any possible snackers with nut allergies.

Still, it just doesn’t feel right when the cookies aren’t properly grid-ed. What do you all think?