Friday, October 05, 2012

Tofu-Peppercorn Ranch Dressing

I’ve been hearing a lot about M Café, a macrobiotic restaurant in Los Angeles. They do serve fish, but no meat or poultry, and no eggs or dairy or refined sugar. I’ve bookmarked some of their recipes that have popped up on the internet, but this one I found via Bon Appétit. It’s for their signature dressing, which is vegan. I liked it, but the Engineer loved it! I didn’t use the dill, because I don’t like when there’s too much of it, and I omitted the ume plum vinegar. Bon Appétit said, “Tofu is a neutral base, so feel free to go wild with your own herb and spice combinations. Just don’t skip the salt – it makes the flavors sing.” This makes about 1 cup of dressing, so we had too much of it; I’d halve the recipe next time. I served it on a very simple salad of arugula and white beans.

If you don’t have access to Vegenaise brand, Nayonaise brand or another substitute, you can also make your own.

¾ cup Vegenaise
½ cup plain unsweetened soy yogurt
4 oz. soft (silken) tofu (about ½ cup)
½ cup unsweetened rice milk
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp. minced fresh dill
1 ½ tsp. white miso
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp. ume plum vinegar (optional)
½ tsp. minced fresh tarragon
½ tsp. minced garlic
Pinch of mustard powder
Kosher salt

Purée all ingredients except salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

I served this with hard-boiled eggs, cut in half and covered with grated cheese (lactose-free sharp cheddar in my case) and breadcrumbs. I got the inspiration from The Kitchn. Did you know that the best way to make a big quantity of hard-boiled eggs is to bake them instead of boiling them? Just set your oven to 325 °F, put your eggs in a muffin tin so they don’t roll around, and bake them for 30 minutes. Apparently, baked eggs are also less sulfurous, and the texture is creamier. I’ve never had the yolk ringed with grey, either. You can put the eggs in an ice bath when they’re done, and just peel them once they’re cool enough to handle.

By the way, I’m curious as to which picture you prefer. I like the second one myself, mostly because the colors are brighter, but there are more shadows. I’m wondering what other people think.

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