Mondragon's Southern-fried Tofu.

As I'm sure a heap of you folks know, Winnipeg's very own Mondragon had shut their doors for good just a few days ago.

I have some solid memories of our only 100% vegan cafe. From both eons back and brand spankin' recently. I remember heading there after class back in High School and not doing homework. Or ever, anywhere, for that matter. Heading down for eats before a show at the Hemp Rock Cafe (RIP) was the cat's ass. When War on Music came around, I'd head into the Exchange extra lots and continue along my usual strip -- Hoopers, Ragpickers, Into the Music, Goodwill, Vintage Glory... and later on, Rhymes with Orange, Tiny Feast, and whatever pop up shops came 'round. Fast forward to these days, and I was still quite the frequent flyer. Just last month, I went to see Johnny Sizzle perform an acoustic set where Southern Fried Tofu was scarfed down.  Mondragon's the reason I may have more rooibos in my system than blood, guts and brains combined.

I picked up this recipe from a few sources, which were Good For the Earth Good for Me and this Facebook post. So, this recipe certainly isn't mine in the least bit. Here I am retyping it, and sizing the recipe down a load. With a few photos of my own, for those of you interested, here's the recipe.

Ingredients I
1 cup milk alternative - I used almond
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Ingredients II
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tsp salt
--Spices, I used:
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp rubbed tarragon
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp basil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard powder

Extra firm/pressed tofu, cut into 16 slabs - then further cut into triangles if that's your bag

Preheat your oven to 350F.

For Ingredients I, mix together some dairy free milk and flour together, to create a loose paste. Add in the remainder of the milk, then add in the ACV. This'll thicken and smell like gym class (pre-deoderant years) and that's just fine.

Combine Ingredients II in a large Ziplock bag, shake around some, and pour into a large shallow dish.

Using one hand, dunk tofu into your wet mix, and transfer to your dry mix. With your other hand, roll it around the mix and place on your oiled baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, give them a flip, and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Serve as is with a dip, or in a wrap/sandwich. I always dug the curry mayo - which is vegan mayo, curry powder and a wee shot of mustard.

Vegan sandwich buns.

I've been baking buns with my grandma for close to 2 decades. The earlier years were more-so fucking about with extra dough that likely broke the 5-second rule. My grandma uses eggs in her recipe, whereas I used vegetable shortening, which is just dandy in this case.

Bread-making seems intimidating. Because it is. It scared the piss out of me each time I made these on my own. Practice makes perfect, though, and I'm now confident in these. Well, maybe not "I'll make a YouTube tutorial" confident.

These are stellar with Tofu Bacon, or butter and jam, or anything your hallow muscular organ desires.

Ingredients I
1 packet Fleischman's Yeast ("Traditional", not instant)
1 cup very warm water
1 tsp white sugar

Ingredients II
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2 cup almond milk
3 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
Seasonings -- garlic powder, cumin, etc.

Preheat your oven to 200F. Once ready, keep on for ten minutes, then turn off. By doing this, you're creating warm digs for your soon-to-be dough to rise the first time.

In a bowl, combine Ingredients I. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Insert your dough hook in your mixer. Combine Ingredients II, and mix for about 5 minutes, or until a slightly sticky dough has formed. Remove from mixing bowl, and form into a flatter ball. Oil up a large bowl (or your mixer bowl) and throw your dough in, covering entirely with Saran Wrap. Put this in the oven and let rise, until doubled in size, which will take about 1 hour.

Next, heat your oven to 375F. Pam up a baking sheet. Remove your dough mixture from the oven and begin slicing off a small handful of dough -- it'll be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter or divide your dough into twelve.

Shape your dough tightly. If you're unfamiliar with this technique, YouTube is your pal. (this link is a solid example, though I rolled mine in the palm of my hand and not on a massive flat surface.)

Once all twelve doughballs are prepared, cover with a tea towel for about 15 minutes. 

If you're wanting a topping on these such as sesame seeds, sunlflower seeds, etc, be sure to brush some almond milk on top first.

Bake at 375F for 8 minutes, turn the pan, then bake for another 7 minutes.

Kale chips with nutritional yeast flakes.

Remember when kale chips were all the rage last year on blogs infinitely purdier than mine? So, this post feels about 1 year too late. I didn't get into kale chips for eons, due to my worry that kale chips = dog shit, or something like it. Well, it turns out they're pretty stellar. Crispy, easy to make, easily adaptable, not bad at all. It wasn't until my best friend and I started getting together to cook at least once a week, that she mentioned we should try making some. I won't get into the details about how many batches we made that day. Don't worry about it.

Kale chips are high in fibre, iron, and Vitamin A, C, and K. Don't be a knuckledragger and pass on these, because antioxidants are the cat's ass.

1 bunch kale, washed and patted dry
1-2 tbsp mild oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp pink salt
Seasoning (curry powder, coriander, chili powder, etc)

Preheat your oven to 250F.

Rip your kale into bite size pieces - about 1x1" or slightly larger. Remove the ribs, because they're bitter as hell. Throw in a bowl and add in your oil, mixing with your hands. Next, throw in your nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and any other seasoning.

Lay your kale out on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip each piece about, and bake for another 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool a wee bit. 

Big fuckin' mall pretzels.

Happy New Year.

I'm the asshole at the movie theatre that runs to get a massive plain pretzel while everyone else is chowing down harder than ever on butter with some popcorn. Might I add, I received a giant Cuisinart mixer for the holiday season, which beats the hell out of Christmas '06s gently used computer chair. Onto the recipe.

Ingredients I
1 packet Fleishmann's traditional yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 tsp white sugar

Ingredients II
5 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil

Ingredients III
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
Seeds, seasonings, herbs, etc -- to top pretzels

Empty the contents of your yeast packet into a cereal bowl with the water and sugar. The "Traditional" style yeast will take about 10 minutes to get all creamy-looking.

In a bowl (OR YOUR MIXER), mix together Ingredients II together, minus the oil. Once your yeast is ready to go, make a well, and add in your oil and yeast mix.

Mix together well/knead until a dough forms. It will be fairly light, and a little sticky -- just like a pizza dough. Depending on your humidity, you may need to add more water to this.

Lightly grease a big bowl and put your dough-ball inside. Cover with Saran Wrap and let sit in warm digs, until it doubles in size (60-75 minutes, again, depending on humidity)

Heat your oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets.

Divide dough into 12 pieces, roll into little balls, and begin rolling out that dough. Forming a pretzel ain't hard, but the music featured in this quick tutorial is too punk rock not to share.

Get your hot water and baking soda from Ingredients III in a big bowl. Give each pretzel a quick dunk and place on your baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt/seasonings/herbs. 

Any awkward bits of dough left? Tired as fuck from all that kneading and rolling? Turn the remaining dough into square little bites. Good enough.

Bake for 8 minutes on the dot.