Vegan Spanish Omelet with Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce

September 30, 2007 at 7:28 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Isa C. Moskowitz, Quick weeknight recipe, Soymilk, Starches, Tofu)

A vegan omelet? Risky. Miss Isa Chandra Moskowitz had me intrigued. This dish from Vegan with a Vengeance is actually supposed to be a Spanish “tortilla”: the thick, oven-baked omelet of eggs, potatoes, onions and olive oil. Isa replaces the eggs with a tofu puree seasoned with saffron. I’m too lazy tonight to post the whole recipe but I want to post the saffron tofu puree recipe that Isa uses instead of eggs:

  • a small pinch saffron threads
  • 3 Tbs. unsweetened soy milk
  • 1.5 pounds soft tofu, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Place the saffron threads in a small cup and gently press the threads with the back of a spoon a few times; don’t crush completely. Warm the soy milk in a small saucepan til just about boiling. Remove from heat and pour over the saffron; stir briefly and set aside for a minimum of 25 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, blend the tofu, garlic, olive oil, salt, and cayenne til smooth. When the saffron has had time to flavor and color the soymilk, add the soymilk and saffron to the processor. Blend til creamy.

Actually, Isa says to strain out the saffron, but I have no idea why so I ignored that step.

A bit hesitant, I tasted this creamy mixture. It was really good! I almost wanted to eat it just as a pudding. That little bit of saffron somehow managed to, not quite mask the soy flavor, but meld with it and transform it somehow so that you didn’t taste tofu but a creamy rich savory saffron pudding. I feel that this puree would be great in some kind of interesting vegan dessert, but I need to think about exactly how to work it in. I’m sure it would go well in other recipes as well. (Note: I only had 12 ounces of soft silken tofu so used 12 ounces regular cotton firm tofu as well.)

Okay, on to the omelet. The instructions worked very well. The potatoes were cooked when she said they would be, the omelet had a beautiful browned golden top, and the pieces held together nicely. I could taste the saffron in the finished dish, but it wasn’t as eye-opening as the plain tofu saffron pudding was. The main problem I have with this recipe is that although the tofu puree is salted, the potatoes were not, and as a result even with all the oil they are quite bland. If this was remedied by salting the potatoes before they’re put in the pan to cook, I think this would be a decent recipe. It’s not stellar, as the flavors are all a bit bland, but it’s an interesting presentation and potatoes are just yummy.

I also made the accompanying roasted red pepper almond sauce, which is pleasant and goes well with the omelet. The almonds add texture I assume, but I’d like to see what it tastes like without them. I also tried the omelet with ketchup, but didn’t like the combination of the ketchup and saffron.

Update: on subsequent attempts, I added 3/4-1 tsp. of salt to the potatoes, and 1/2-1 tsp. to the tofu mixture, and the potatoes were much more flavorful. I let Derek taste the saffron puree on its own, and he said it was at best bland, and at worst bitter, although he did have the lower-salt version . Also, in my later attempts the omelet didn’t hold together as well. The main differences from the first time were that I cut down the oil a bit (from 4 Tbs. to 3 Tbs.), and I used silken tofu rather than the firm tofu I used the first time. The amount of onions and potato might have varied as well, as “4 potatoes and 1 onion” is not very precise.

Derek says it tastes okay, but the tofu doesn’t do much for him. He’d prefer just the onions and potatoes and a tasty sauce. He also thought it was too oily. He wasn’t as fond of the red pepper sauce as I was, preferring to eat the potatoes with a Peruvian yellow pepper paste, or a Thai green curry paste.

Rating: B
Derek: C

Update March 7, 2010:  I made this recipe again because I wanted to use up some potatoes.  I used about 9-10 ounces of white onion and 1 lbs 7 ounces of potatoes.  They were the red-colored bag, I think, kind of like Yukon Golds.  I sauteed the potatoes and onions with 2 Tbs. of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt.  For the tofu mixture I used medium cotton tofu (not silken) and added 2 medium eggs to the mixture as well.  The mixture tasted a bit bland to me, even though I had added quite a bit of saffron.  (I suspect my saffron isn’t very high quality.)  So I added some chipotle powder, some paprika, quite a bit of Cholula pepper sauce, and other seasonings.  It was a little spicy.

The tortilla looked quite nice when it emerged from the oven.  The top was puffy and nicely browned, and the pieces came out of the pan in one piece when I cut it.  Once on the plate, the potato slices slid apart, but that didn’t bother me.  The potato/onion mixture was definitely less greasy than last time.  I think 2 Tbs. of oil is perfect. The tofu/egg mixture was surprisingly bland, even after I added all those spices.  I think maybe I should have added more salt (closer to the 1 tsp. the original recipe calls for).  Also, I think the addition of the egg whites makes it a little dry and fluffy, rather than rich and creamy.  Derek, as before, didn’t care much for the recipe.  He rated it a C+.  He did eat it for leftovers once, but not with much enthusiasm.  Derek liked it better with ketchup but I thought the ketchup overpowered the flavors.  I enjoyed this recipe as leftovers twice.  It’s simple but satisfying. Rating: B  Still, I’d like to get more flavor into the recipe.  Once I do, I think it would make a lovely dish to serve for company.  Maybe adding Peruvian yellow pepper paste to the potatoes would help?  Other ideas?

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Roasted golden beets and brussels sprouts with thyme

September 30, 2007 at 7:12 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Cruciferous rich, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

A friend sent me a link to this recipe for roasted golden beets and brussels sprouts with thyme, and since I found both golden beets and sprouts in the market today I decided to give it a try.

My beets were medium sized, maybe about 2 inches in diameter on average. I sprinkled salt on them and wrapped them individually in aluminum foil, then baked at 425 for an hour and a half. I checked them at that point and felt that they still weren’t done, so upped the heat to 500 and baked for another half hour. I was surprised to see that even after two hours they were still a little firmer than I would have liked, although the peels came off easily. I couldn’t taste the salt at all, so I think that was a useless step.

I followed the recipe exactly, except that I couldn’t find the shallots I was sure I had bought, so I had to use an onion instead. After tasting the dish, I was a disappointed. I found the dish too greasy, and I couldn’t taste the thyme much at all (even after a threw in a bit extra). It wasn’t bad, I mean basically it’s beets and sprouts so if your veggies are tasty this will be tasty, but I don’t think I’d make it again. If I was to make the recipe again I’d increase the vegetable amounts because I had plenty of room in my pan, and this only makes enough for about three people.

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