Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This brunch involved:

* hash of sauteed peppers and onion, roasted potatoes, and tomatoes

* roasted asparagus with olive oil, smoked salt, and roasted garlic cloves

* sausage florentine with tofu steaks and hollandaise sauce

* coffee and grapefruit mimosas

I am so excited/proud about the florentine recipe. The idea came from a few different places. 1) Sage Bistro does a florentine that pairs spinach, sausage, and hollandaise (but also includes baguette and avocado). 2) The Vegan Brunch cookbook has a tofu benedict recipe with potatoes, tomato, marinated tofu, and, of course, hollandaise. This is basically a mashup of the two dishes, with a few of my own innovations.

The night before, I made the sausage (recipe at bottom). Now, a search for 'sausage' on this blog turns up many different recipes, but this one was a serious keeper, certainly the best in the 'ground meat' category (as opposed to patties or, um, sausage-shaped sausages). I always keep a jar of premixed sausage seasonings on hand, because it makes many recipes much faster. This recipe is super fast and easy, and amazing!! It would go great in pie, stew, or especially, I think, PIZZA.

With the tofu, I mostly followed the recipe in Vegan Brunch, although we did momentarily entertain fantasies of a lightly battered tofu (see account of 'French tosfu' at the end of this post). After marinating the tofu overnight, I patted the tofu dry and pan-fried it.

The hollandaise sauce from Vegan Brunch was great, but it seemed a bit too tangy (use less vinegar) and definitely too gelatinous (use less arrowroot). That said, it is a totally brilliant recipe.

Sausage Florentine with Tofu Steaks and Hollandaise Sauce

4 c baby spinach
lemon juice 
1 block tofu, pressed, cut into triangles, and marinated as in the Vegan Brunch recipe for 'tofu benny.'
1 recipe tempeh-walnut ground sausage (see below)
1/2 batch hollandaise sauce from Vegan Brunch

1. The night before, press, cut, and marinate the tofu. Also, make the ground sausage, and leave both these things in the fridge.
2. The next morning, prepare the hollandaise sauce. It's okay if it gets cool before you're ready; you can heat it up again.
3. Lightly pan-fry the tofu on both sides, then remove and set aside. Keep warm under foil if possible.
4. Steam the spinach according to your favorite method. Drain and toss with a little lemon juice.
5. Now you're ready to assemble! Scatter a layer of spinach on the bottom, then place a tofu steak on top. Carefully pretend-scatter the sausage atop the tofu, and then drizzle with hollandaise. Serve with extra sauce on the side. Serves 4.


Tempeh-Walnut Sausage

olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 block tempeh, chopped
1/2 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 TB tamari
1 c water

1. In a small saucepan or sauciere, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat. After a few minutes, add tempeh and saute until it's slightly browned (5 min).
2. While the tempeh is cooking, combine the spices, tamari, and water together and set aside.
3. Return to the pot on the stove. Stir in walnuts and cook another minute or so.
4. Now add the liquid to the pot. Simmer until the liquid is all gone. Makes about 1.5 c.


The asparagus was tossed with olive oil and smoked salt and then roasted at 450* for 15 minutes. I roasted the garlic cloves separately in the toaster oven, because I wasn't sure how long they would take.

Zippy did the art design.  :)


I par-boiled the potatoes for the hash the night before, too, but I overcooked them, and they didn't roast properly in the morning. It should have been easy to toss them, with perfectly seared outsides, into the skillet with sauteed peppers and onions, and with fresh tomatoes.


There was also a foray into battering the tofu steaks. As I'd left half a beer on the counter the night before (btw, don't hold me to the measurements in the sausage recipe...), it seemed perfect, but there's a big difference between 'beer-battered'/deep-fried and the delicate crust I was imagining, which was actually achievable with pan-frying alone. Nevertheless, we tried one (already-marinated) steak with a beer batter (flour, cornmeal, beer, salt), and it was surprisingly good, though not for the florentine. It was sort of like a savory french toast. French Toasfu?


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