December 05, 2016

Tofu short ribs and other inspirational blog finds

Back (way back) in the old days — probably before you were born — before I was a vegan or even a vegetarian, back when I lived in upstate New York, I had a good friend who introduced me to barbecued short ribs. I'm not going to lie about eating and enjoying the ribs, though the thought grosses me out now, but we shared many a barbecued dinner in those short-lived, short-ribbed days. When I became a vegetarian, the short ribs did cross my mind, as I traded them in for a kinder lifestyle. Just recently, the very same friend made a comment about the ribs from our barbecue days, on facebook, in regard to my current dietary preferences. I'll never go back to my pre-vegan diet, but you know, when I saw a recipe for tofu short ribs on Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new blog, well, I had to make them.

The ribs before cooking.

They are preferably made from super firm tofu, but regular tofu can be pressed, and used instead. I had so much regular tofu in the fridge I couldn't justify buying more, so I got out my press and went to work. I don't have a tofu press, but I have a Japanese salad press. It works great but it's so old I worry about what might be in the plastic. I use it so infrequently these days though, that I hope whatever toxic chemicals are in there won't have too much of an impact. The ribs turned out great but I think the extra chewiness that comes with extra firm tofu would be even better.

I didn't follow the sauce recipe exactly, but it was extremely delicious anyway. I made half the sauce recipe but, as you can see, there was still plenty of sauce. I also left out the hoisin sauce because I didn't have any. What I did instead was look up recipes for hoisin sauce, and incorporate the main flavors into the recipe. The sauce was fabulous, in spite of all my changes, though I'm sure the original was even better. The other great part of the recipe was the gingery mashed root veggies. I used parsnips, turnips, carrots, yukon gold potatoes, and a chunk of leftover butternut squash, which is not a root, I know, but I hate to waste food, and it was in the fridge. I left out the coconut oil but it was still fantastic. I didn't realize how delicious root vegetables could be, and they were easy to cook in my Instant Pot. As a bonus, I steamed the turnip greens and served them on the side for a little touch of green. I highly recommend you try Isa's recipe! Now.

Another recipe I was inspired to try was one for baked, oil-free-gluten-free hushpuppies. Coincidentally, the same friend who had introduced me to short ribs, also introduced me to old-fashioned, deep-fried hushpuppies. I never deep fry anything, so was delighted to find a recipe for baked hushpuppies. I followed the recipe pretty exactly but my hushpuppies didn't turn out quite as beautifully as the ones on the vegan 8 blog. Nor did my photo come anywhere close to Brandi's wonderful images. My husband and I really enjoyed eating the hushpuppies, even if they weren't as pretty as the originals, but next time I may not roll them in quite as much coating, since the extra coating was a little gritty. I do want to make them again, though.

I needed a quick, easy dessert recently, and my inspiration came from right here on this blog. My granddaughter, who is very picky, has always been a fan of the walnut date confections I posted about back in 2010. The original recipe came from Chow Vegan. When I made them this time, I didn't look back at the recipe so I didn't remember it was supposed to have coconut, and be made with almonds. Ironically, I didn't have walnuts OR almonds, so I used 1/2 cup almond flour to 1/2 cup packed medjool dates, and one teaspoon vanilla. I also added a teaspoon of water to give the food processor a hand. I rolled half the balls in cocoa powder and half in coconut, then refrigerated the caramel-tasting treats for a couple of hours to firm them up.  I especially liked the bitter taste of the cocoa powder next to the sweetness of the dates. For a little extra burst of flavor, mix a bit of flaked sea salt with the coconut before rolling the balls in it.

I had another food item to post but I'm tired of writing so it will have to wait for another day. Enjoy your week!


  1. I have many happy childhood memories of eating meat with family and friends. But they're just that, memories. I wouldn't think of eating the same foods now but I have no problem creating vegan versions. The tofu short ribs looks awesome!

    I remember those dessert balls, I haven't made them in awhile though. Time to pull out the food processor, good to know almond flour works too. :-)

    1. It was the memories of food and friendship that hit me hard when I saw the original post, but it's the taste that will have me making the recipes again! So delicious.

      I tried to find the original recipe on your blog so I could link to it, but couldn't find it. The search refused to search!

  2. Wow, those "ribs" sound really good, and I'm not usually one for BBQ sauce or any similar flavors. I actually have an open package of super firm tofu right now, so I think it's destined to become a small batch trial of that recipe.

    1. The sauce is very adaptable, I think, so adjust to your preferences. A great recipe allows for variation, don't you think? My 'ribs' were binge-inducing, and I took a couple of liberties, though the flavor profile was pretty much the same, I believe. In any case, the gingery mashed root veggies were excellent!


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