Things I learned this week:
-Daiya mozzarella mixed with liquid smoke is
the cat’s ass, the bomb, freakin’ good!
-I have no idea what broccoli rapini is.
-Marsala wine is not as gross as I once thought it was.
-Trying to get a whole lot of stuffing in a tiny piece of tofu is a battle I’m not meant to win.
So today is round 2 of Food Network Friday hosted by Tami of Vegan Appetite and today’s recipe is one of my choosing! I’ve watched many an episode of Dinner: Impossible and I was always impressed by the creative ideas Robert Irvine came up with and how quickly he was able to execute these ideas (hence the name of the show), so I thought I’d track down one of his recipes to attempt. I really wanted to challenge myself with this one and as I’ve never stuffed anything before (hee hee), I thought trying to veganize a stuffed chicken recipe would be a good choice; but the second I submitted the recipe to Tami I started to worry a bit.
You see I’ve only had marsala once and although I wanted to try it in a recipe again, the thought of it brought back some pretty nasty memories. The one and only time I had it was back in my carnivorous days. One New Years Eve, me and P went to a fancy Italian restaurant and I ordered a dish that to this day I still can’t believe I put in my mouth…veal marsala, I know, I know, this was long before I had any idea what veal was, let alone how it was produced but either way, I ate it and not too long after, I definitely got what was coming to me. The remainder of the night was spent with me hugging the toilet and suffering from some of the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had, Happy freakin’ New Year. Now that those days are long gone, I decided to take Marsala on for round two, win or lose I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. I made the reduction and nervously brought the spoon up to my mouth, I started wondering, was it going to be sickly sweet? Was it going to make me throw up in my mouth? Did I just waste 15 bucks on a bottle of booze? To my surprise, it was actually, well, good! Really good! It was still somewhat sweet but the addition of shallots, garlic and vegetable broth really mellowed out the sweetness.
The original recipe calls for Broccoli Rapini, I searched high and low for this stuff and thought I hit the jackpot when I came across packages of broccolini at the grocery store by my house, which for those of you who are familiar, is nothing like broccoli rapini. But I figured, hey, it’s green, it has broccoli in the name, it’ll get the job done. From what I’ve heard, broccoli rapini is pretty bitter, so I think the broccolini was a good choice after all. If you can’t find either then just substitute regular broccoli, I don’t think using the regular stuff will make the dish any less tasty, especially when there’s smoked Daiya involved! Oh my, oh my my my, I know a lot of people out there have a love/hate relationship with Daiya cheese and I’m one of those people that fall somewhere in the middle, I like it from time to time but I don’t think it’s the greatest product ever invented. Even so, when mixed with a little liquid smoke, it definitely gets extra points; it really goes perfect with the dish. If you put a little in the tofu before the stuffing then what you get is creamy, gooey, smokey bites of tofu, yum. Oh, and a word of advice, all that stuffing is not going to fit in those little pieces of tofu, so don’t even bother to try; otherwise you may end up with a fist full of smushed tofu as you stand in the kitchen yelling “serenity now!”.
TOFU STUFFED WITH SMOKED MOZZA, ROASTED TOMATOES & BROCCOLINI OVER POTATOES WITH MARSALA SAUCE
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 pkg (350g) extra firm tofu, pressed
- 4 roma plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 1 pkg (6 ounces) broccolini
- 6 cremini or button mushrooms
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil, for coating vegetables
- 12 to 15 baby yellow potatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup (1 to 2) shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 (750-ml) bottle Marsala (about 1 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter
- 4 ounces mozzarella style vegan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped
- Cut the tofu in half through the middle, then cut each half into into triangles by cutting down diagonally. Turn the triangles cut-side down, and cut in half to form eight equal triangles. Using a knife, carefully cut around the edges of the long side of triangle. Make the incision slightly more than half way through the tofu. Make sure you don’t cut through. Use a teaspoon to remove the tofu from the middle of each triangle. Be very careful to keep the pouch intact. Set aside the tofu that is removed from the middle.
- In an 8×8-inch pan, mix the first 4 ingredients. Place the tofu pouches in the pan and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, flip pieces over and let marinate for an additional 30 minutes or more.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tomatoes, broccolini, mushrooms on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and with olive oil.
- Roast vegetables for 20 minutes, flip vegetables and add additional oil if needed. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, chop vegetables and mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and coat with olive oil. Place in the oven and roast the potatoes until fork tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Make the Marsala sauce by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the shallots, cook for a few minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking until translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the stock and thyme. Let simmer until reduced by 2/3.
- Strain Marsala sauce (unless you like chunks of onion) and whisk in non-dairy butter to finish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small bowl, mix together the vegan cheese and liquid smoke. Use your fingers and really rub it in.
- For the stuffed tofu, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take one of the tofu pouches and fill with a small amount of the smoked cheese followed by the tomato/broccolini mixture, place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining tofu pieces, save remaining stuffing. Brush or spray tofu with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, flip tofu, bake for 10 minutes, add remaining smoked mozza and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- To serve, place a portion of roasted potatoes and stuffing on a serving plate, top with stuffed tofu. Spoon Marsala sauce around tofu and over potatoes. Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy your fancy pants creation!