Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 28: For Brunch, I’d Rather Be In Mendocino

I’m having a hard time right now, in life. I frequently daydream about things I’d like to be doing with time and money I don’t have. A common imaginary trip? Mendocino, California–particularly the Stanford Inn. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it a few times now, and it is my happy place. Cozy rooms. Beautiful scenery. Charming town. Relaxing amenities. And, oh, the food. Vegan everything, especially the breakfasts.

While I can’t make it up to Mendocino right now, I can try to recreate one of their signature breakfasts: Grilled polenta, braised greens, and cashew sauce. Plus a side of tempeh.

For the tempeh and greens, I made a quick marinade with lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and a splash of liquid smoke, diluted a bit with water. I used half in a pan with shredded cabbage and baby spinach (what I had on hand) and the other half in a skillet with sliced tempeh and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Cashew sauce was based on the “savory” recipe from The Kitchn. And the polenta I cooked ahead of time, then poured into a square baking pan to cool and solidify into something I could slice and pan-fry. (It was not perfect, though. Damn slices didn’t brown well and broke up when I flipped ‘em. Oh well. Next time, I’ll leave it to the professionals.)

Food Blog

Soba noodles with ginger and veggies, braised greens, and baked tofu

I had a bunch of random stuff to use up, and the only requests I got from the boyfriend were “not too kale-y” and “very unlike calzone” (because that’s what he had for lunch). So here’s what I made:

Baked tofu with a marinade/baking sauce composed of gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, and a little bit of mirin and coconut syrup. Baking tofu in a sauce–mixed right in the pan–is my lazy go-to. It’s easy to play up and try different combinations of things. I just throw the baking dish in my toaster oven for 20 minutes on 400 degrees, then flip and bake another 20 minutes. Besides my oven being presently out of order (I’ve got someone coming out Thursday to fix it, I hope), the timer function makes this very easy. I use the toaster oven even when my oven is working, unless I’m roasting a bunch of stuff.

Soba noodles with ginger and veggies was a bunch of things cooked separately–the noodles had to boil, of course, but I stir-fried in sesame oil shallots with thinly sliced red bell pepper, then pieces of asparagus, then some snow peas. I added a few spoonfuls of a quick sauce I made for the veggies – miniature ginger matchsticks in vegetable broth and a splash of soy sauce and a few good shakes of red pepper flakes. After the noodles were cooked, I tossed everything together with the rest of the ginger sauce and a couple chopped scallions.

Braised mixed greens were the last, simplest part. Happy Boy Farms sells a great braising greens mix that’s got a little bit of everything–kale, escarole, cabbage, and chard–that I chopped u[p a bit and stuck in a pan with vegetable broth and ginger. Cooked on low until everything is tender and wilted, annnnnd… that’s it.