tofu en croûte

Longtime readers of this blog might remember my fast and easy puff pastry recipe. I have a confession: I've only made it a couple times since I published that recipe. It's faster and easier than most puff pastry, but it's still not that fast. Instead, if I find a recipe that calls for puff pastry, I often cheat and buy vegan crescent roll dough, then pinch the seams together. It doesn't have quite the rise of puff pastry, but it's a lot easier than making it myself... and the two companies whose crescent rolls I use are Annie's and Immaculate Baking Company, both of which have much better ingredients than the vegan puff pastry I could otherwise find.

I don't actually like crescent rolls, is the funny thing. But the dough is so versatile as cheater puff pastry! Just last week I used a tube to make this Tofu en croûte, inspired by a French salmon dish but much kinder to animals. This dish looks really fancy and complicated, but is very simple and comes together quickly. It's also filling! I'm still breastfeeding so I eat a lot, and a 1-inch slice was a big enough serving.
If you're looking for sides, this dish works well with a side of roasted squash, potatoes, or sweet potatoes in my case. I could also see this being great with asparagus or green beans. The Dill and Lemon Sauce (which follows the recipe) is optional but tasty.

Tofu en croûte
serves 4-6, depending on how filling your sides are

1 block of tofu (pressed or at least squished a few times over the sink to get extra water out)
2-3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups cooking greens, chopped roughly (spinach, kale, collards, etc)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional, but recommended)
1 9x9 sheet puff pastry, or 1 package crescent rolls
1 Tbsp soy milk or aquafaba (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425.

Cut the tofu through the middle horizontally to make two layers. Coat all sides of the tofu with mustard, and let it sit for a bit to absorb some of the flavor.

In the meantime, put a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the greens, stir to coat, then sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar, if using. Cook until fully wilted (but not brown), 5-10 minutes depending on the green. The vinegar should have evaporated; if it hasn't, drain the greens as much as you can; we don't want extra liquid in this recipe!

Lay out your puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you are using crescent dough, pinch the seams together so that you have a large square, or as close to a square as you can get.

Place the first layer of mustard-coated tofu in the middle of the dough, then the wilted greens as a middle layer, and finally the top tofu layer.

Seal the puff pastry up over the top, pinching the edges together in a cute little seam if you can manage. You want the tofu wrapped tightly but not tight enough to rip the pastry. I did the ends up a little like wrapping a present, but however you can close it will be great, I know it. Brush the whole thing with the Tbsp of soy milk or aquafaba to help it turn a golden brown. (If you skip this step it will be pale but taste the same.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a deep golden brown. The bottom should also be browned; if the bottom is too pale, give it another 5-10 minutes to finish cooking. (This will vary based on how much water you were able to get out of your tofu; the wetter the tofu, the more likely you are to have a soggy bottom!)

Cut into slices and serve! Leftovers will only keep for a day or two in the fridge before the pastry starts to get waterlogged.

Dill and Lemon Sauce:
1/2 Cup vegan mayo
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp fresh dill or 1-2 tsp dried
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Stir all the ingredients together; taste to see if you want to add more lemon juice or dill to taste. (I used like a whole cup of fresh dill for the sauce above and it was delicious.) Let it sit for a little while to really let the dill flavor seep in. This is also really good on potatoes and/or as a salad dressing!

Okay, so now that the recipes are over... want to see two other times I've used crescent roll dough in place of puff pastry? This first one is a vegan version of baked brie--it's the Kite Hill Soft Ripened (almond cheese) wrapped in dough, sprinkled with herbs. Kevin hates fruit in his entrees so I didn't spread jam on the inside like I wanted to, but I served it with cranberry sauce. We each ate half (and a light salad) for a decadent dinner. Not picturesque but SO GOOD.
Then this one is a little embarrassing but it was also delicious: a CHEESEBURGER RING. This is a real thing, you guys! But veganized. I cooked a bunch of Gimme Lean grounds with onions, parsley, Daiya cheese, and finely chopped pickles, wrapped it in dough, and topped with sesame seeds like a sesame-seed bun. This was really good warm but kind of gross cold out of the fridge the next day--the grounds and the cheese are both better warm than cold!


Chilled zucchini soup

I signed in to maybe write a new blog post and discovered a partial draft from AUGUST, oops. So while it's totally off season to post about a chilled soup, it's also cold and snowy here right now and I like remembering that it was once too hot rather than too wintery.

It was above 90 degrees several days in a row this summer and we don't have air conditioning, so the baby and I mostly sat in front of fans on those days, and when it came time for dinner I wanted something cool. This Chilled Zucchini Soup from Food and Wine was perfect on those days.
We had it with pita bread and these sesame yuba noodles (so much protein!). It does require heat, but that part is short and totally worth it for the flavor it adds, even on a disgustingly hot day. And if you don't have purslane or arugula, don't fret--the greens are just a garnish. I did have purslane (it grows as a weed around here and overtook two of my pots of dill in the garden), but next time I make this soup I'm just going to have it (or a different green) on the side.

Side note: the baby LOVED this soup!