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Old Bay Tofu Cakes

Submitted by Hugh Anderson

Old Bay Tofu Cakes with pan-roasted summer vegetables, horseradish cream, apples and beets
       
This recipe takes some time, but when we serve it, everybody raves about it.  It calls for Cashew cream, which is not hard to make, but needs to be made beforehand.  It will produce more than you need, but can be frozen.  If you have a good natural food store nearby you should be able to buy cashew cream. 

For the Horseradish Cream:
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (or regular)
3/4 cup regular cashew cream (see below)
2 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish 
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cashew Cream
2 cups whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry) rinsed very well under cold water.
Put cashews in a bowl of cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water.  Place in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch.  
Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth.

For the Tofu Cakes:
Sea Salt
2 Tbsps. Canola oil
½ cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely diced carrots
1 sheet nori seaweed
2 pounds firm tofu
2 ½ tbsps cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning (this is a fish rub, and if you can’t buy it locally, you can find the recipe on the internet)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp. White pepper
Juice of 1 lime

For the Apples and Beets:
1 Beet, washed
2 Tbsps. balsamic vinegar
1 Fuji apple (any tart, firm apple will do)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To cook and serve:
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tbsps. Old Bay seasoning
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil, or more if needed
Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables (recipe follows)

1. Make the horseradish cream:  
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2.  Make the tofu cakes:
A.  Place a small sauté pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.  This will create a nonstick effect.  Add the onion and carrots and sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.  Set aside to cool completely.

B.  Holding the nori sheet with tongs, toast it by fanning it over a low gas flame or  electric burner, being careful not to burn it and turning it so that all of it gets toasted.  If you have a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices, break the nori into pices, place it in the grinder and pulse until powdered.  Alternatively crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.   (I haven’t checked, but I suspect you can    get powdered Nori at a natural food store.)

C.  Place the onion mixture, nori powder, 1 tsp. salt, and the remaining tofu cake ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still chunky.  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3.  Make the apples and beets:
Place the beet in a small saucepan.  Fill with water to cover and add the vinegar.  
Bring to a boil and cook until you can easily insert a toothpick into the center, about 25 minutes.  
Drain, and peel the beet.  Finely dice the beet and put it into a small bowl.  
Finely dice the apple and add it to the bowl.  Add the oil and salt and pepper to taste; toss to combine.  
Set aside.

4.  Cook the tofu cakes:
In a shallow dish, stir together the bread crumbs, Old Bay, and 1 tsp. Each of salt and pepper.  
Pour the soy milk into a separate bowl.  Using your hands, form 12 small cakes from the tofu mixture.  
Dip both sides of each tofu cake in the soy milk, then press into the bread crumbs, coating well.  
( be gentle, and don’t leave the cakes in the milk very long or they will fall apart.) 
Place the cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  
Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  
Add the oil and heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to let it smoke.

Working in batches, sauté the tofu cakes (make certain that the oil comes about halfway up the sides of the cakes) 
until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  
Remove the cakes to a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place 
in a warm oven until you finish all of the cakes.

5.  Assemble the dish:
Scoop a large spoonful of the Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables onto the center of each of 6 small serving plates.  
Place two cakes side by side on top of the vegetables.  Top the cakes with a spoonful of the apples and beets and drizzle 
with the horseradish cream.


PAN-ROASTED SUMMER VEGETABLES
Sea Salt
2 Tbsps. Olive oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, minced
3 large basil leaves cut into strips
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  
Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.  This will create a nonstick effect.

Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add the corn and peas and sauté for 3 minutes.  
Add the tomatoes and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  
Cook for about 2 minutes, until just heated through.  Serve hot.