Friday, February 9, 2007

Tonight's Dinner: Pizza and Wings, Vegan Style

(The pizza looks so dry and sparse in the picture! It looked better in person.)

First, the pizza:

For the dough I used this recipe, although a store-bought dough or pre-baked crust would do fine too.

Once the dough was risen, I shaped it on a pizza stone and baked it at 425F for just a few minutes to firm it up a bit. Then, I spread a coulple teaspoons of this awesome white pizza sauce (we use the oregano kind) on the dough and topped it with baby spinach (pre-cooked with a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan), sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, brown mushrooms, and olives. Back in the oven for about ten minutes, done.

For the wings (all measurements are approximate):

• 1 block extra-firm tofu
• 1 cup bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
• dash salt
• 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk or water
• 2 tsp corn starch
• vegetable oil for frying

If you can, prep the tofu ahead of time by 'rinsing' it: drain it and press out the liquid and soak it in water for an hour or so, changing the water when it gets cloudy. This will help get rid of that kind of plastic-y taste tofu sometimes has. When that's done, cut the tofu into finger-sized strips.

Heat enough oil in a small, deep-sided skillet or saucepan (not non-stick, it will ruin your pan) to cover the tofu strips. Unfortunately I don't know what temperature it is (maybe 350F?); I just set it on medium and let it heat for about ten minutes. It shouldn't be bubbling or smoking.

While that's heating, prepare the coating: in a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, flour, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the soy milk or water and corn starch. Dip the tofu strips first in the soy milk/water, then in the bread crumbs and repeat once or twice til they've got a good coating on them. Fry in the heated oil until golden; drain on a wire rack with some paper towels under it.

Now, for the sauce:

• 3 tbsp melted margarine
• 3 tbsp Frank's Red Hot

Just for the heck of it I poked around on the internet for some wing sauce recipes and I cannot believe how many misguided folks there are out there. Stuff calling for paprika and white wine vinegar and black pepper -- no. These things are wayyy too upscale for authentic Buffalo cuisine. It's just a 1:1 mix of Frank's Red Hot and melted margarine. That's it. Maybe a little more Frank's if you like 'em spicy.

Anyway, just before you serve the wings, mix up the sauce and pour it over them -- if you do it too soon, they'll get soggy. The wings turned out even better than I had expected, although in retrospect it makes sense. Chicken wings aren't exactly prime cuts of meat, and the point of frying them and coating them in sauce is mostly to make up for their lack of flavour. Since tofu is pretty flavourless itself, as long as you get a good crispy breading on them and mix up the sauce right they taste surprisingly close to the real thing -- without the gross bones, too.

My husband declared this his favourite meal tonight, so I'd say it went over well. The wings were surprisingly filling (I barely finished mine) and there's enough pizza left over for lunch tomorrow.

No comments: