Sicilian Panelle

DSC01470-001Panelle, also known as Panella di Ceci, are Sicilian fritters made from chickpea flour and seasonings and are similar to fried polenta. They are a popular street food in Palermo and are often eaten between slices of bread or on a roll, like a sandwich. Panelle are believed to be of Arabic origin. The panelle can be cut into various shapes and sizes before frying.

Ingredients for the Panelle

• 1 cup chickpea flour
• 2 T dried parsley flakes
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp dried basil
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 2 cups water
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• high-temp cooking oil for frying

Ingredients for the Relish (optional)

Mix together in a bowl:
• 3 campari tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 3 T finely diced onion
• 3 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preparation
Oil and 8”x8” baking dish or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine the chickpea flour, parsley, onion powder, basil and garlic powder in a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, oil and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and sprinkle in a small portion of the flour mixture while whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Continue to incorporate the flour mixture in increments. Cook the mixture until it begins to pull away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. It will be very thick.

Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly. Let cool a bit and then cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or until completely chilled and firm set.

Cut the panelle into any desired shape and fry until golden brown in hot cooking oil. They take a little time to brown, so be patient. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to blot excess oil. Serve warm.

Greek Potato Salad

DSC01454Potato salads tossed with red wine vinaigrette are popular in Greece. The potatoes soak up the dressing and the salad is served warm or at room temperature. The addition of capers and lemon zest impart a citrusy, salty flavor.

Ingredients
• 1 and ½ lbs small red potatoes
• sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 T red wine vinegar
• 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
• ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper, or more to taste
• ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 T finely minced shallot or red onion
• 1 T capers, drained and chopped (salt-packed capers should be rinsed and drained)
• 1 T chopped fresh dill
• caperberries for garnish (optional)

Preparation
Cut the smallest red potatoes in half and cut any larger potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Place the cut potatoes into a large cooking pot and add plenty of water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a soft boil and cook the potatoes just until fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid overcooking. Drain thoroughly and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, coriander, lemon zest, black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt until emulsified. Pour over the potatoes in the mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the chopped parsley, shallot or onion, capers and dill. Toss thoroughly and set aside for 20 minutes for the potatoes to absorb the dressing; season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature and garnish with caperberries if desired.

Lentil Hummus

DSC01430-002Hummus is a classic Middle Eastern dish and is excellent served as a dip or sandwich spread. This variation is made with cooked red or yellow lentils instead of the traditional chickpeas. It’s smooth, creamy and delicious! Sweating the garlic prior to blending mellows the garlic flavor. Serve with warm or toasted pita or other flatbread, and/or crunchy fresh vegetables. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• 1 cup dry red or yellow lentils
• 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
• 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
• ¼ cup sesame tahini
• 1 T fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• ¼ tsp ground white pepper
• water sufficient for processing
• 1 T chopped fresh parsley for garnish
• other garnish(es) of your choice*

*Other garnishes might include but are not limited to: Non-dairy feta (from the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook); sweet or smoked paprika; powdered sumac; roasted or sautéed minced garlic; chopped roasted red peppers; dairy-free pesto; toasted pine nuts; chopped cilantro or basil.

Preparation
Sort through the dry lentils and remove any foreign matter. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a sieve, drain and add to a medium cooking pot. Add 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt and bring to a boil. Stir the lentils, partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the cooked lentils thoroughly in the sieve.

While the cooked lentils are draining, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a small skillet and place over medium-low to low heat. Sweat the garlic about 10 minutes to mellow and sweeten the flavor and remove the raw pungency. If you hear an audible “sizzle” from the oil, the heat is too high; turn it down slightly.

Place the drained lentils into a blender or food processor and add the sautéed garlic and remaining ingredients except for the parsley and other optional garnishes. Process until very smooth. Add water as needed to assist processing. The hummus should be creamy and smooth, not thick and pasty.

Taste and add salt or more lemon juice as desired (lemon juice plays a supporting role in flavor development but the hummus should not have an obvious lemon flavor). Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes to thicken and blend the flavors before serving, or for up to 1 week. The hummus will thicken a little bit upon refrigeration; if it becomes too thick after chilling, simply incorporate a little water.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish as desired before serving.

Mediterranean Herbed Feta (From the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook)

73This tofu-based cheese is simple to make and is reminiscent of dairy feta cheese in both taste and texture. It has a very tangy, salty flavor and is wonderful for topping Mediterranean salads, pizza or for using in recipes such as Greek Spanakopita.

A food processor is recommended for efficient processing. You will also need a silicone, glass, ceramic, metal or BPA-free plastic container that will hold a minimum of 2 cups liquid to act as a form to shape the cheese. Line the form with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of excess hanging over the sides. This will help lift the cheese from the form after firming. This recipe yields about 8 ounces.

Ingredients
• ½ block (about 7 oz before pressing) extra-firm tofu (not silken tofu)
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil (not virgin)
• 1 tsp lactic acid powder (recommended and available from ModernistPantry.com) or 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 T white wine vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 and ¼ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 tsp dried marjoram
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp onion powder

Note: The basil, marjoram and oregano are optional; omit if plain feta is desired.

Preparation
Line the form with plastic wrap or a double-layer of cheesecloth, allowing some excess to hang over the sides. This will help lift the cheese from the container after firming.

Press the tofu until it is not releasing any more liquid. It is important that the tofu be as dry as possible. To do this easily and efficiently, wrap the tofu in a lint-free kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels and place on a flat work surface. Press down firmly with your hands while using your upper body weight. Crumble the tofu into a food processor and set aside.

Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure ¼ cup and add to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process the contents until very smooth.

Transfer the cheese mixture to the lined form. Pack the mixture with the back of a spoon and smooth the surface as best you can. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours. This will ensure that the coconut oil has completely solidified. Once firmed, lift the cheese from the container and crumble as needed.

When using as a topping for salads, toss the salad first with the dressing and then add the crumbles. Cubed feta is wonderful drizzled with olive oil and served with falafel and other Mediterranean favorites. Store in a zip-lock bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Greek-Style Cultured Soy Yogurt

This recipe produces a thick, creamy, tangy, plain Greek-style yogurt that requires no additional thickening agents such as food starches, gums, gels or pectin.

So why make your own yogurt? Because most commercial non-dairy yogurts have too much sugar and/or fruit added, too many thickening agents added and yet are still too runny to be useful for preparing yogurt-based cheeses or for condiments such as Greek Tzatziki and Indian Raita (which require a thick, unsweetened yogurt base). Of course, when not being used to make cheese or savory condiments, this yogurt can also be sweetened to your liking with organic sugar, natural syrups, fresh fruit or fruit preserves.

This yogurt is made with pure soymilk (soybeans and water with no additives). It may seem odd for a plain yogurt to include brown rice syrup in its preparation but there is a sound reason for this: Brown rice syrup is rich in dextrose, a natural sugar similar to glucose. It’s not used to sweeten the yogurt but rather to provide a food source for the yogurt culture (beneficial lacto-bacteria). Soymilk is too low in natural sugar to sufficiently provide this food source (some will argue that they make soy yogurt without adding a natural sugar food source but the results will not compare to yogurt prepared with this method).

As the soymilk cultures, the lactic bacteria consume the dextrose in the brown rice syrup and convert it to lactic acid. This gives the yogurt its familiar tanginess. Rest assured, you will not detect any sweetness in the finished yogurt. Brown rice syrup can be found in natural and health food stores and sometimes in the natural foods section of major supermarkets. If you cannot source it locally, it can be purchased through the internet.

You will need a commercial vegan yogurt starter to prepare your first batch (the yogurt can also be started using commercial plain soy yogurt with active cultures). Despite what the package directions may state, you will not need new sachets of starter to culture another batch of yogurt. As long as ¼ cup of yogurt is reserved from a previous batch, a new batch can be made successfully. I purchase my vegan yogurt starter from CulturesforHealth.com. It is very affordable and they ship quickly. Vegan yogurt starter is also available from BelleandBella.com. You may also be able to locate vegan yogurt starter elsewhere by doing a little internet searching.

For consistent results, I recommend using a commercial yogurt maker. Yogurt makers maintain the yogurt at a specific temperature for an extended period of time and are convenient and reasonably affordable. If your yogurt maker uses individual glass jars, set them aside. In this case, the yogurt needs to be cultured in a glass bowl that will fit inside the yogurt maker with the unit lid in place.

A commercial Greek-style yogurt strainer is a handy tool for straining yogurt but it is not required. The yogurt can easily be strained in a large sieve lined with fine muslin or a double layer of high-quality cheesecloth which has been placed over a large, deep bowl.

It is important to make sure all your containers and working tools are very clean before you begin so as not to contaminate the yogurt with undesirable bacteria or molds. This recipe yields about 3 cups or six ½-cup servings of plain Greek-style yogurt (be sure to reserve ¼ cup for starting your next batch!)

Ingredients
• 4 cups (1 qt) pure soymilk (soybeans and water with no additives)
• 2 T brown rice syrup
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 sachets (about ½ tsp each) vegan yogurt starter* – or ¼ cup soy milk yogurt (from a previous batch) – or ¼ cup commercial plain soy yogurt (with active cultures)

*Vegan yogurt culture starter is available by mail order from CulturesforHealth.com or BelleandBella.com.

Preparation
Pour the soymilk into a large saucepan and place over medium heat.

Add the salt and stir in the brown rice syrup. Cook the milk until steaming hot while stirring frequently. Simmering or boiling is unnecessary. Do not leave the saucepan unattended as the milk can boil over easily.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow cooling for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally while cooling to help the milk cool evenly and discourage a skin (yuba) from forming on the surface.

After 30 minutes of cooling, feel the bottom of the saucepan. If it is comfortably warm to the touch proceed to the next step; otherwise, let cool an additional 5 to 10 minutes and then test again. If desired, test the temperature of the mixture with an instant-read thermometer. It should not exceed 110°F/43°C (if the mixture is too hot, it will destroy the culture).

Whisk in the yogurt starter or yogurt until thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into the yogurt maker. Put the unit lid in place and culture for 12 hours. No more; no less.

After culturing, refrigerate the yogurt in a covered container for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. This will further develop the flavor and assist thickening.

Have a commercial Greek Yogurt strainer ready or line a large sieve with the muslin or double-layered cheesecloth and place over a large, deep bowl.

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Pour the chilled yogurt into the strainer or sieve and allow draining for 2 hours at room temperature. Transfer it back to its storage container and refrigerate.

Consume or use the yogurt within 3 weeks (because yogurt is a cultured food, it may stay fresh longer, but 3 weeks is a rough guideline). Be sure to reserve ¼ cup for starting your next batch.

Chef’s note: Reserve the whey and chill in a sealed container if desired. I have discovered that the whey is a superb gluten-free alternative to rejuvelac for preparing the cultured cashew-based cheeses in my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook. The whey will stay fresh and active for about 5 days. Over time it will turn to vinegar and is no longer useable.

Mock Prosciutto Crudo

DSC01238Prosciutto crudo is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked. My vegan version is made from rice paper (a blend of tapioca starch and rice flour). While this may seem odd, the rice paper offers the translucency and sheen of thinly sliced pork-based prosciutto. For this recipe, use square rice paper sheets if you can find them. Round sheets will work too but the square sheets will yield more uniform slices. My original recipe yields three 3”x9” strips of mock prosciutto crudo.

Ingredients
• 3 sheets rice paper (preferably square sheets)
• ¼ cup white shoyu (Japanese white soy sauce)
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ tsp beet powder
• olive oil

Preparation
Combine the white shoyu, water, Worcestershire sauce and beet powder in a cup and then pour into a large, shallow baking dish.

Stack the three sheets of rice paper together and then immerse in the marinade. Allow to soak until most of the marinade has been absorbed and the rice paper is moist and supple and nicely colored, about 10 minutes. The sheets will stick together – this is desirable. The three sheets of rice paper will yield one sheet of prosciutto.

Carefully transfer the mock prosciutto to a baker’s cooling rack to drain briefly. Transfer again to a work surface and slice into 3 strips. Rub the strips generously with olive oil to keep them moist and supple. The oil is essential and is not optional; without it the texture will be quite rubbery.

For the best texture experience, use the mock prosciutto immediately if possible. The strips can be stored in a food storage bag in the refrigerator if necessary but will acquire a chewier texture during storage. Use in your favorite recipe as desired. Mock prosciutto works well for baked appetizers too.

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Vegan Irish Colcannon

colcannon-001 Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and tender cooked kale seasoned with green onions, salt, pepper and parsley.

Ingredients
• 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large)
• ½ cup non-dairy butter or margarine,
plus 1 to 2 T additional melted butter or margarine for garnish
• 1 cup hot non-dairy milk
• 1 T olive oil
• 6 oz baby kale; or mature kale with tough ribs removed and then chopped
• 3 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
• sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
• coarse ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 T chopped parsley for garnish

Preparation
Peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Immediately immerse the cut potatoes in 4 quarts of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, flash sauté the kale and green onions with the olive oil in a large skillet until the kale is wilted and tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and then transfer to a large mixing bowl or back to the cooking pot. Mash the potatoes with the butter and hot milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sautéed kale and green onions.

Transfer the colcannon to a serving dish and garnish with the parsley. Make a well in the center of the colcannon and garnish with a tablespoon or two of melted butter or margarine. Serve immediately.

Roast Mock Lamb (Seitan) with English Mint Sauce

DSC01146Succulent and tender mock lamb is pan-glazed with white wine, rosemary and lemon zest and then sliced and served ‘au jus’ and with a garnish of tangy mint sauce. This recipe yields about 1 and ½ lb. Please note: Mock Lamb requires chilling for a minimum of 8 hours after simmering to firm and enhance its texture before pan-glazing, so plan accordingly.

Dry Ingredients for the Roast
• 1 and ½ cup (225 g) vital wheat gluten
• 2 T portabella mushroom powder
• 4 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Liquid Ingredients for the Roast
• 1 and ¼ cup (300 ml) water
• 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 and ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

Simmering Broth Ingredients
• 3 quarts water (12 cups)
• 3 large onions, peeled and quartered
• 3 ribs celery, chopped
• 3 large carrots, unpeeled and chopped
• small handful parsley stems
• 6 large cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 T portabella mushroom powder
• 4 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
• 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
• 1 bay leaf

Jus Ingredients
• 1 cup reserved simmering broth
• optional: ½ tsp beet powder
(crush the powder to eliminate hard lumps if necessary before mixing with the broth)

English Mint Sauce Ingredients
• ¼ packed cup fresh chopped mint leaves
• 3 T white wine vinegar
• 1 T hot water
• 1 tsp organic sugar
• 2 pinches sea salt or kosher salt

Pan-Glaze Ingredients
• 2 T non-dairy butter or margarine
• 2 T dry white wine or fresh lemon juice
• 1 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
• a few pinches coarse ground black pepper

Additional Items Needed
• baking sheet
• stainless steel cooling rack (not required but recommended)
• parchment paper or silicone baking mat

Preparation
Prepare the simmering broth and bring to a simmer in a large covered cooking pot at least 30 minutes before preparing and prebaking the dough. This will allow sufficient time to simmer the ingredients before adding the roast.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Place a stainless steel cooling rack on a baking sheet and line the rack with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The cooling rack is not required, but it is recommended, as it will prevent excessive browning which would occur from direct contact with the hot baking sheet.

Combine the dry ingredients for the roast in a large mixing bowl. Stir together the liquid ingredients for the roast in a separate bowl or measuring cup.

Pour the liquid mixture (not the simmering broth) into the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly with a sturdy silicone spatula to form the dough and begin developing the gluten.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead vigorously until very elastic. Test the dough by stretching. If it tears easily, knead a little longer and test again. The dough should be able to stretch considerably without tearing.

Now, form the dough into a thick, compact roast shape. Don’t worry about smoothing the surface too much, as some bumps and irregularities will yield a more natural finished appearance. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper or baking mat.
Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes and then remove from the oven. The roast will form a dry crust while baking. This is normal and will disappear when the roast is simmered.

Bring the broth to a boil. It’s not necessary to strain the vegetable solids; this can be done later after the broth has cooled.

Lower the roast into the boiling broth and immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Leave the pot uncovered and set a timer for 45 minutes. Monitor the pot frequently to make sure the broth is maintained at a simmer. Do not boil the roast but don’t let it merely poach in hot broth either. Turn the roast occasionally in the broth as it simmers to ensure even cooking. After simmering, remove the cooking pot from the heat, cover and let the roast cool in the broth for a few hours or until lukewarm.

Transfer the roast to a work surface and pierce repeatedly on all sides with a fork. Place into a food storage bag and add the jus. The jus is intended to mimic the juices of medium-cooked roast lamb (the beet powder is optional and if you choose not to use it, simply add ¼ cup of the simmering broth to the storage bag to keep the roast moist).

Seal the bag and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, or for up to 1 week, to firm and enhance the mock lamb texture before finishing. Chilling is very important so do not omit this step. The roast can be frozen without the jus for up to 3 months and then thawed and finished at your convenience.

Strain the cooled simmering broth into a sealable container and refrigerate. During this time, any seasoning sediment will settle on the bottom of the container. The broth can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for future use at your convenience. Decant the clear portion for preparing jus, gravy or sauce that can be served with the sliced roast; or use for other recipes as desired. Discard the sediment.

Finishing the Roast
Bring the roast (sealed in the storage bag) to room temperature for about 1 hour before finishing. Set the roast on a plate and set aside. Pour the jus into a small saucepan and warm over low heat.

Add the mint sauce ingredients to a blender and process as smooth as possible. The sauce will be thin. Set aside until ready to serve the roast.

Create the pan-glaze by combining the wine or lemon juice with the tamari in a small dish; set aside.

In a large, deep non-stick skillet, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the roast and turn it to coat with the butter or margarine. Lightly brown the roast, turning frequently. Add the pan-glaze mixture. The mixture will sizzle and begin to caramelize, turning the roast a beautiful deep brown color. Add the rosemary, lemon zest and pepper and continue to turn in the mixture to form a crust. Transfer to a serving platter and slice. Drizzle the slices with the warmed jus and the mint sauce just before serving.

Note: If pan-glazing has not sufficiently reheated the roast, place it in a shallow baking dish, cover securely with foil and reheat in a 350°F/180°C oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The roast can also be briefly heated in the microwave before slicing and serving.

Pasta e Fagioli

DSC01036Pasta e Fagioli (pronounced fa-jo-lee) literally means “pasta and beans” in Italian. My version of this classic soup contains meaty butter beans (large limas) and ditalini pasta in a savory tomato and vegetable-based broth. Garnish with grated non-dairy parmesan and chopped parsley. Fresh oregano leaves or julienned basil leaves are optional garnishes.

Ingredients
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• sea salt or kosher salt
• 4 large cloves garlic, minced
• 5 cups vegan no-chicken broth or vegetable broth
• 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with liquid or 3 cups peeled and crushed fresh tomatoes
• 1 tsp dried basil leaves
• 1 bay leaf
• coarse ground black pepper to taste
• 2 cans (15 oz each) butter beans, drained
• 3 oz/⅔ cup dry ditalini pasta
• grated non-dairy parmesan (from my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook or a commercial vegan equivalent)
• 2 T chopped parsley
• optional garnishes: fresh oregano leaves or julienned basil leaves

Preparation
Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and sauté and additional minute.

Add the broth, crushed tomatoes with liquid, dried basil and bay leaf and season with black pepper to taste. Bring to a brief boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

While the soup base is cooking, place the butter beans in large bowl in the sink and fill with cool water. Immerse your hand in the water and swirl the beans to loosen the skins. Work gently so as not to mash or break the beans. Let the beans settle and pour off the water which will carry away any loosened skins. Repeat a few times until most of the skins have been removed. Drain well.

After 20 minutes of cooking, add the beans and the dry pasta. Cover and simmer an additional 20 minutes; season with salt to taste.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with the parmesan, parsley and the optional oregano or basil leaves. Serve with crusty Italian bread.

Sweet and Smoky Tofu Bacun

DSC00988-003Tofu bacun is so easy to prepare and yields excellent results. It just requires a little time for pressing the tofu (8 to 12 hours), marinating the tofu with the seasoning liquid (a minimum of 12 hours), and low-oven baking or drying in a food dehydrator (about 2 hours). For this recipe I recommend using a tofu press, such as the TofuXpress®, that will hold the shape of the tofu while compressing the texture and removing the water prior to marinating. This recipe yields about 8 oz./½ lb. of bacun.

Ingredients
• 1 block (about 14 oz before pressing) extra-firm tofu
• high-temp cooking oil for frying

Marinade Ingredients
• ⅔ cup water
• ⅓ cup tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• ¼ cup dark brown sugar or real maple syrup
• 1 T vegan Worcestershire Sauce
• 1 T liquid hickory smoke

Preparation
Press the tofu to remove as much water as possible. Blot the surface dry and then cut ⅛-inch thick slices lengthwise.

Combine the marinade ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. If you prefer a less salty bacun, opt for low-sodium tamari or soy sauce. Pour a small amount of the marinade into a small food storage container and begin layering the tofu strips into the container, overlapping the slices as you layer. Handle the slices carefully as they will be rather delicate.

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Pour the remaining marinade over the slices and seal the container. There should be sufficient marinade to just about cover the slices completely. Seal the container and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 48 hours, with 24 hours being ideal.

Preheat the oven to 225°F/110°C. Place a non-stick baker’s cooling rack on a baking sheet. If you don’t have a cooling rack, line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

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Place the slices in a single layer on the rack. Again, handle the slices carefully as they will be rather delicate. Place the sheet on the middle oven rack and low-bake for 2 hours.

Alternately, a food dehydrator can be used at the highest setting. Dry for 2 hours or until the slices are dry to the touch but not completely dehydrated.

Place the slices in a food storage container and refrigerate until ready to finish and serve.

Finishing the Bacun
Tofu bacun benefits from frying in oil to create the crispy texture. Pour enough high-temp cooking into a skillet to cover the bottom completely and place over medium-high heat. Add the strips to the skillet without overcrowding and fry until nicely browned, turning occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Try laying the bacun on the towel with an undulation to mimic a cooked bacon appearance. If desired, season with some coarse ground black pepper while still hot. The bacun will crisp further as it cools and will hold the undulated shape.

Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use in recipes. Pre-fried bacun can be reheated in a low oven.