Welcome to another day of VeganMoFo 2013, the month of vegan food. Be sure to check out some of the participating bloggers. A fun way to do that is to go to www.randomofo.com and click “next blog” in the upper right hand corner. It will randomly take you to different blogs. I have found a lot of new favorites this way.
When I was a little kid, I used to love to watch The Flintstones. Once when I was in school, a teacher said to us that when we were older, if we remembered, we should watch The Flintstones as an adult. She said that we would realize that there is no way a child could understand any of what the show is about. Well, I did remember and she was right. The Flintstones is very much about adult issues and situations – marriage, work, money, etc. Plus, I don’t think many kids are going to understand who Cary Granite or Stoney Curtis is. The current generation of teenagers probably doesn’t know who they are supposed to represent (and if you don’t know, go watch some old movies).
Anyway, Fred Flintstone really liked to eat – Brontosaurus, Pterodactyl, you name it. This also shows the disconnect that so many people have evident in the show. The Flintstones love their pet Dino but they eat other animals including other dinosaurs.
Fred’s favorite food is Brontosaurus fricassee. In many episodes, Wilma is cooking it and Fred is enjoying it immensely. In one episode, “Wilma Gets a Job,” Wilma becomes the spokesperson for “The Happy Housewife Show” sponsored by Rockenschpeel. Do you remember the song? “Make your hobby, hubby/Keep your hubby happy/When he’s a little chubby/He’s the happy pappy/With Rockenschpeel!”
On the show Wilma makes the most tantalizing meals. Since Wilma is working, Fred is going hungry and can only see Wilma’s cooking on TV. This proves too much for him to take and Wilma, who can’t take the director, quits her job. She happily resumes cooking for her husband at home.
Now when I was a kid, I had no idea what fricassee meant but I wanted it. I went to my mother and asked her if she could make fricassee. She said sure and made the most incredible stewed chicken. Every time she made it, I felt like I was having the Flintstones’ food.
One day several months ago, I had a craving for that dish but I needed to make it without the chicken..or the Brontosaurus. While researching recipes, I learned that there is a Puerto Rican version of Pollo Fricassee called Pollo Guisado or Stewed Chicken. I swapped tofu for the chicken and made the most incredible dish!!
The sauce is everything in this dish. It’s tangy and rich with tomatoes and green olives. The tofu which is cooked with a hint of brown sugar to caramelize it is then cooked in this stew until it is soft, tender and full of flavor. I serve it over brown rice that I make yellow with turmeric.
I don’t know about all that “happy housewife” stuff but my Arroz con Tofu Guisado certainly makes Tom a “happy hubby” and a “happy pappy.” YABBA DABBA DOO! Enjoy!
Arroz con Tofu Guisado
For the tofu marinade:
1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup water
For the Tofu Guisado
2-3 Tbs. canola oil, divided
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 Tbs. alcaparrado or green olives, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 tsp. dried oregano
8 oz. tomato sauce or 1 cup diced tomatoes, blended
3 Tbs. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped, reserve some for garnish
2 fresh bay leaves
2 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the tofu into cubes. In a deep bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. There should be enough liquid to completely coat all the tofu. If there isn’t, add more water. Let the tofu sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Warning: you will reserve the marinade after removing the tofu.
After the 30 minutes, heat a Dutch oven or a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of oil and let it get hot. Add the brown sugar and stir it into the oil with a spatula. Before the oil can get too hot and burn, add some of the tofu cubes to the pot. Cook the tofu in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook until the tofu is browned, about 4-5 minutes, then turn the pieces and cook until the cubes are browned on all sides. Remove the browned tofu cubes to a plate and continue to cook the remaining tofu cubes, adding more oil as needed. When all the tofu is browned and crispy, set it aside.
Add the onion to the pot and toss to coat in the browned oil. Let the onion cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the alcaparrado, garlic, and oregano and mix all the vegetables together.
Add the tomato sauce to the pot, followed by 2 Tbs. of the parsley or cilantro and the bay leaves. Add in the reserved marinade. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the yummy, caramelized bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir everything together and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the liquid reduces a bit.
Return the tofu to the pot and add the water or broth. The tofu should be covered with liquid. Add salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then partially cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is to your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning adjustments.
Serve with rice and garnish with the remaining parsley or cilantro.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.