Monday, February 16, 2015

Tofu Tacos and Quinoa Onion Rings, a la Fresh

Hello again!

As I mentioned last time, Mike and I are trying to make a habit of imitating awesome restaurant meals.  After living in the vegan food oasis of Toronto, it's hard to go back to the vegan food desert of our home province.  So at least this way, we'll be able to enjoy some of our favorites.  Now if only I was rich and could hire someone to cook them for me, we'd be set.

Tonight's meal was a hommage to Fresh, a Toronto vegetarian chain we went to all the time since it was so close to our apartment, and right by a movie theatre.  Fresh specializes in, as you might guess, fresh food - lots of juice, smoothies, bowls, wraps and veggie burgers.  They also have the best salads, so expect to see them here at some point.  

Grilled Tofu Tacos

The meal Mike usually ordered was grilled tofu tacos, described as "grilled tofu steaks with shredded kale, creamy jalapeno/lime sauce, tomato and onion".  The tacos have really clean, bright and simple flavors, which we made sure to recreate at home.

First the tofu was marinated in 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 juiced lime (with the chunks thrown in), 1/2 tablespoon worchestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon kelp powder (or other seaweed - we also used wakame), and enough veggie broth to cover.

The tacos all assembled, sans sauce.  Don't judge the homely corn torillas - they were homemade (unless you couldn't tell), and I am tortilla press-less.  They tasted good at least!  For the kale, onion and tomato mixture, we just massaged the shredded kale in a little salt, vinegar and oil and then tossed in diced tomato and onion.  At the end we added some cilantro for good measure.

Overloaded tacos are better than underloaded tacos.  For the jalepeno/lime sauce, we used some leftover Tofutti sour cream (about 1/4 cup) and mixed it with a dash of salt, one seeded and minced jalapeno, and the juice of one lime. Cashew cream would be great here!

Quinoa Onion Rings

We lived for these onion rings, they are the best in the world - SUPER crisp and thick batter with sweet and juicy onion, what could be better?  Their menu says, "hand-crafted, coated with breadcrumbs and puffed quinoa".  The puffed quinoa truly does make the difference.

Mike took the secret of these onion rings to Mexico with him, but I can tell you it involved "puffing" quinoa in a little oil like popcorn, and then mixing it with your standard breadcrumb batter.  Then, of course, deep-frying makes it complete.

The Failed Dessert

Fresh has a short and sweet dessert menu, and I usually just ended up going for something chocolate-y, like a brownie, because chocolate.  But today I decided to live on the edge and make carrot cake with a raw cream cheese frosting.  Apparently living on the edge might have been a bad idea, because the cake didn't make it out of the pan without breaking into pieces.  Still wanting to salvage dessert, I put the cake chunks in ramekins and iced them, and all was well.  It was a good tasting cake, but when a cake doesn't hold together, that's a deal-breaker.  I was too ashamed of the ramekins to photograph them, so you'll have to just use your imagination.

If any of y'all have a good carrot cake recipe, please send it my way!