Bedeviled Eggless Eggs

19Bedeviled eggless eggs are remarkably similar to deviled eggs in appearance, taste and texture. They make the perfect bite-size finger food for BBQs, picnics and parties. Kala namak, or Himalayan black salt, is essential to impart that familiar egg-like taste to these savory bites.

A blender is required for preparing the “egg whites” and a food processor is recommended for the “yolk filling”. You will also need an 8” square baking pan and 1 block (about 14 oz. before pressing) extra-firm water-packed tofu (not silken tofu). If you have egg molds, or a heat-proof container that specifically holds deviled eggs, the “egg white” mixture can be poured directly into the molds to create perfect, halved hard-boiled egg shapes. This recipe yields 16 to 24 bedeviled eggless eggs or more depending upon the mold(s) used for the “egg whites”.

Ingredients for the “Egg Whites”
• ⅓ block (about 5 oz before pressing) extra-firm tofu (not silken tofu)
• ¾ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt)
• 2 cups water
• 2 and ¼ tsp agar powder

Ingredients for the “Yolk” Filling
• ⅔ block (about 9 oz before pressing) extra-firm tofu (not silken tofu)
• ¼ cup eggless mayonnaise
• 1 T nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 T dill pickle brine
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard or spicy golden mustard
• ½ tsp onion powder
• ¼ tsp kala namak* (Himalayan black salt), or more to taste
• ¼ tsp sweet paprika (for extra “bedeviling” add a pinch of cayenne pepper too)
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric

Garnishes

• sweet paprika
• optional: coarse ground black pepper, sliced black olives; fresh snipped chives or “spears”; capers; minced celery; minced onion; chopped cornichons; chopped dill or dill “fronds”

Preparation
Drain and press the tofu until it is not releasing any more liquid. Slice ⅓ of the tofu to use for the “egg whites”. The remaining ⅔ will be used for the “yolk” filling.

To prepare the “egg whites”, place the “egg white” ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching the tofu mixture. Avoid boiling as this will cause the soy protein to re-coagulate (a minimal degree of re-coagulation may occur as the mixture is brought to a simmer but will not affect the final appearance or texture). Pour the mixture into the 8” baking pan and set aside to cool. If you have egg molds, or a heat-proof container that specifically holds deviled eggs, pour the tofu mixture directly into the molds and set aside to cool. After cooling a bit, refrigerate until completely set, about 1 hour.

Next, crumble the ⅔ block of pressed tofu into the food processor and add the remaining “yolk” filling ingredients. Process the contents until completely smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Alternately, the mixture can be mashed using a fork or a potato masher/ricer, but the mixture will not be as smooth. Taste the mixture and add additional kala namak (or sea salt) as desired.

Transfer the “yolk” mixture to a bowl or food storage container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now, run a table knife around the perimeter of the baking pan to loosen the “egg white” (or simply pop them out of the egg molds). Invert the baking pan onto a clean work surface. At this point, the “egg white” can be cut into rectangles or cut into rounds or ovals.

For rectangles, cut the “egg whites” into 6 even strips. Turn your cutting surface and make 4 even slices. This will create 24 rectangles. For rounds or ovals, use a 1 and ½-inch to 1 and ¾-inch cookie cutter or ring mold. Any “egg white” remnants can be finely diced and mixed with any of the leftover “yolk” filling for a quick eggless egg salad sandwich.

Spoon a generous teaspoonful of the “yolk” mixture onto the top of each “egg white”. Alternately, the mixture can be decoratively piped onto the “egg whites” using a pastry bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag, try placing the mixture into a zip-lock bag, seal and then snip off a tiny piece from the bottom corner of the bag with scissors. Squeeze the bag to pipe the mixture onto the “egg whites”.

Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with optional ingredients as desired. Cover gently with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly before serving.

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“Hard-Cooked” Eggless Eggs

28Important! This recipe should only be used if you wish to prepare solid “hard-cooked” eggless eggs. If you wish to prepare vegan deviled “eggs” or eggless “egg” salad, please see the appropriate recipe in this blog or in my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook, as these recipes are much less involved and easier to prepare.

This is my own recipe and technique for producing “hard-cooked” eggless eggs that are remarkably similar to their egg counterparts in appearance, flavor and texture. For this recipe, you will need 2 six-count egg molds which will yield one dozen “hard-cooked” eggless eggs. If you only have one mold set, any remaining “yolk” and “egg white” mixture” can be used for crumbled “hard-cooked” eggless egg (superb for topping cold salads) or for eggless egg salad sandwiches.

Please note: The “eggs” cannot be used for heated applications, such as “Scotch eggs”, because the agar will melt and the eggs will turn to mush. They must remain chilled or at room temperature for serving.

About the egg molds: The internet source I was recommending for the egg molds is no longer offering that product, so you will have to do some internet searching for the molds. Many of my readers have found luck locating them on Ebay.com (search for “Jell-O jiggler egg molds”).

eggmolds

Food Processor Ingredients for the “Egg Yolks”
• 5 oz pressed extra-firm block tofu (about one-half of a standard block; do not use silken tofu)
• 2 T refined coconut oil, melted
• 2 T nutritional yeast flakes
• ¼ tsp sodium alginate, guar gum or xanthan gum

Saucepan Ingredients for the “Egg Yolks”
• ½ cup water
• 1 and ½ tsp agar powder
• ½ tsp sweet paprika
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ¼ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt)

Blender Ingredients for the “Egg Whites”
• 5 oz pressed extra-firm block tofu (about one-half of a standard block; do not use silken tofu)
• 3 cups water
• ½ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
• 4 tsp agar powder
• 1 and ¼ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt)

Additional Items Needed
• 2 six-count egg molds
• food processor
• blender
• small saucepan
• a melon baller or ½ T measuring spoon
• small food storage container that will hold about 2 cups
• 2 cup measuring cup with pouring lip
• wax paper or parchment paper

Preparing the “Yolks”
Set the “egg molds” aside. Be sure they are completely snapped together.
Place the food processor ingredients for the “yolks” into a food processor; process into a coarse paste.

Combine the saucepan ingredients for the “yolks” in the saucepan and heat until bubbly over medium heat. Swirl the contents occasionally as the mixture heats.
With the food processor running, pour the molten saucepan mixture into the food chute. Process the entire contents until smooth. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula.

Transfer the “yolk” mixture to the food storage container and chill uncovered for a minimum of 1 hour to firm.

Line a plate with wax or parchment paper. Using a melon baller, rounded measuring spoon or similar object, scoop some of the “yolk” mixture into a rough ball shape, about the size of a hardened egg yolk. Roll the mixture between your palms to round the ball and smooth the surface a bit. It doesn’t have to be totally smooth. Set it on the lined plate. Repeat the procedure until you have 12 “yolks”. Make sure the “yolks” are not touching each other on the plate or they will stick together when frozen. This procedure is a bit messy and some of the mixture will stick to your hands, so keep a moist towel nearby. Place the uncovered plate into the freezer for about 1 hour. Avoid freezing for more than 2 hours or ice crystals will form on the “yolks”.

Preparing the “Egg Whites”
When ready to proceed, add the blender ingredients for the “egg whites” to a blender and process until completely liquefied. Add half of the mixture to the saucepan and heat to a soft boil, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Transfer the hot mixture to the measuring cup with the lip. The mixture may begin to curdle a bit in the measuring cup – this is normal and will not affect the finished flavor or texture. Pour the mixture into the molds, filling them no more than halfway. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes to help set the “white” mixture just a bit (this will help keep the yolk suspended, rather than sinking).

Carefully open the molds and place the frozen “yolks” in the center of each “white”. Close the molds and securely snap shut. Make sure they are completely snapped shut or the molten “white” mixture will leak out when topping off.

Pour the remaining “egg white” mixture into the saucepan and bring to a soft boil, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to the measuring cup and then fill each egg mold with the mixture to the top of the stems. The mixture may begin to curdle a bit in the measuring cup – this is normal and will not affect the finished flavor or texture. Let settle momentarily and then top off each mold with the mixture (the excess “whites” in the stems can be trimmed away later).

Transfer the molds to the refrigerator and chill for a few hours until completely set. Be careful handling the molds when transferring to the refrigerator so they do not pop open accidentally (for assurance, place the molds on a tray and then transfer to the refrigerator).

Finishing the “Hard-Boiled Eggs”
Open the molds and pop out the “eggs”. There will be a seam on the “eggs” where the molds joined together. Use a dry paper towel to gently rub the “egg” and remove the seam. Trim off the stem ends as needed with a paring knife. Chill the “eggs” in an airtight container until ready to use. The “eggs” should be consumed within 1 week. I’ve never frozen them for storage, so I cannot advise if this can be done successfully without damaging the texture.

DSC00323

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Escabeche (Mexican Spicy Pickled Vegetables)

DSC09705“Escabeche” is the Spanish word for “pickle”. This simple but zesty combination of crunchy pickled vegetables is a favorite for serving with Mexican cuisine.

Ingredients
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
• 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
• florets from 1 small cauliflower
• 12 whole cloves garlic
• 3 large jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded, membrane removed and sliced lengthwise into slivers
• 3 T coarse sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 and ½ cups water
• 1 cup champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
• 1 T organic sugar
• 2 bay leaves
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp dried marjoram
• ½ tsp dried thyme

Technique
Add the olive oil to a large cooking pot and place over medium-low heat. Add the vegetables and salt and sweat the mixture for about 10 minutes until softened. Keep the heat on the low side to avoid browning the vegetables.

Add the water, vinegar, sugar and herbs and bring to a rapid boil. Cover the pot and remove from the heat to cool. When cooled, divide the mixture between 2 one-quart jars (be sure to include a bay leaf into each jar), seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 days before serving (the longer the better). The refrigerated escabeche will last for a few months stored in this manner.

To seal the jars and preserve the escabeche for pantry storage, removing the pot from the heat. Carefully divide the hot mixture between 2 one-quart mason jars (be sure to include a bay leaf in each jar). Put the lids in place and tighten the lid rings. Invert the jars for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, upright the jars and slightly loosen the lid rings. Let the jars rest and cool until the lids “pop” and seal shut. Retighten the lid rings and store the jars in your pantry until ready to use.

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Escabeche (Mexican Spicy Pickled Vegetables)
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Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam

DSC09681Although many people consider tomatoes to be a vegetable, they’re actually a fruit; so why not make them into jam? Actually, tomato jam is more like a relish than a true jam. My partner Chef Mike and I created this blend one Sunday afternoon and we were thrilled with the lovely balance of sweet, tangy and smoky flavors. This jam is wonderful when used as an alternative to ketchup on veggie burgers and hot dogs. It’s also excellent when served with cheese, such as non-dairy chèvre, on crostini or crusty bread. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled plum tomatoes or 1 and ½ lb fresh plum tomatoes
• 1 T olive oil
• ½ cup diced sweet yellow onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ cup organic sugar
• ¼ cup sherry vinegar
• 2 T tomato paste
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Technique
Drain the excess liquid from the can of tomatoes and place the tomatoes into a food processor; do not process yet. If using fresh tomatoes, bring a large volume of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and place them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately plunge them into an ice water bath. Once cooled, the skins should slip off easily. Place the tomatoes into the food processor; do not process yet.

In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The goal is to soften and draw out the flavor of the onion and garlic without browning. When the onion becomes translucent, transfer the mixture to the food processor with the tomatoes and pulse a few times into a “salsa-like” consistency.

Transfer the tomato mixture back to the saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the jam cool and transfer to a sealable container. Refrigerate until well-chilled before serving. Keep in mind that this is a fresh jam, not a preserved jam, but the acidity and sugar will keep it fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

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Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam
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Hari Chutney (Cilantro Mint)

DSC09368-002This bright green, tangy and refreshing Indian chutney is my absolute favorite condiment. Enjoy it with all Indian cuisine and as a spread or dip for samosa (deep-fried or baked pastry with savory filling), pakoras (Indian vegetable fritters) naan, papadum, roti and any and all other flatbreads and crackers. If you have a timid palate, start with ½ of the green chile and increase according to taste. Try mixing the chutney with plain non-dairy yogurt for a uniquely different salad dressing. It also adds wonderful flavor to non-dairy Crème Fraîche, sour cream and even eggless mayonnaise. The chutney will last about 1 week stored in the refrigerator; simply freeze any unused portion (try freezing in silicone molds or ice cube trays for easy use). This recipe yields about 1 and ¾ cup.

Ingredients
• 2 large bunches of cilantro (excess stems at bottom removed)
• 1 large handful of mint leaves (stems removed)
• 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 small green chile, seeded and chopped (or a large chile if you can take the heat)
• 1 clove garlic, peeled
• 2 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• ¾ tsp sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste

Technique
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with additional salt to taste as desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Hari Chutney (Cilantro Mint)
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Quick Non-Dairy Sour Cream

Tofu-based sour cream has never appealed to me because I cannot tolerate the chalky undertaste; and uncultured cashew-based sour cream doesn’t work for me either because the natural sweetness of the cashews yields a product that is much too sweet for my liking (although it works in dessert applications). Cultured cashew-based sour cream, on the other hand, has a very accurate dairy sour cream flavor because the lacto-bacterial culture converts the natural sugar in the cashews into lactic acid, thus providing the authentic tanginess and eliminating the excessively sweet taste. However, preparing rejuvelac and culturing the cream takes several days and sometimes a quick alternative is appreciated.

It took some experimentation to achieve a texture and flavor that satisfied my taste, but I think this quick version makes an excellent alternative to its cultured counterpart. While this recipe still uses cashews to add body to the cream, the ratio of cashews is significantly reduced. Please note that there is no alternative to using soymilk in this recipe. Thickening is dependent upon the curdling action of soymilk when lactic acid is introduced. Other plant milks will not react to the acid in the same manner.

Vegan lactic acid powder can be purchased online from ModernistPantry.com. Citric acid powder can be used as an alternative to lactic acid powder but will not provide the same lactic dairy flavor. I don’t recommend lemon juice as an alternative acid for this recipe, since the water content in lemon juice will thin the texture too much. This recipe yields about 1 and ¾ cup sour cream.

Ingredients
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil
• ½ cup (2.5 oz.) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking is not necessary)
• 1 and ¼ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk (sorry, no substitutes)
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 and ½ tsp lactic acid

Preparation
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 the coconut oil and set aside.

Measure the lactic acid and set aside in a small dish.

Add the cashews, soymilk and salt to a high-powered blender, cover and process for 2 full minutes.

Remove the lid plug and with the blender running on high speed, add the coconut oil.
Reduce the speed to low and add the lactic acid powder. The cream will thicken instantly – turn the blender off. Do not continue to process once thickened.

Transfer the sour cream to an airtight container, seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours until well-chilled and further thickened. Consume within 10 days of preparation.

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Quick Non-Dairy Sour Cream
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