Thursday, April 10, 2008

Warm Cinnamon Bananas Over Soy Ice Cream

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Adding healthy ingredients to almost any dessert somehow makes it feel slightly less sinful and indulgent. I'm not saying it's OK to eat an entire vegan cheesecake if the crust contains a few flaxseeds thrown into the mix, but I would feel slightly less guilty about having a piece—or two.

With this recipe for Warm Cinnamon Bananas Over Soy Ice Cream, I feel like a regular health nut because it calls for five whole bananas—never mind the sugar and the margarine and the ice cream and the sherry.

The combination of the cold ice cream covered with warm glazed bananas leaves you with a simple yet yummy dessert. It was just a little on the sweet side for me, so consider reducing the amount of brown sugar if you also suspect that the bananas and ice cream might be enough to please your sweet tooth. Enjoy.

Warm Cinnamon Bananas Over Soy Ice Cream

1/4 cup vegan margarine
5 large bananas, sliced into diagonal rounds just prior to cooking
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Dry Sack sherry (optional)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Soy ice cream in vanilla or another mild flavor

•Heat the margarine in a large, flat-bottomed pan.

•Add the sliced bananas and the sugar and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to heat through.

•Quickly add the lemon juice, sherry (if using), and cinnamon.

•Serve immediately over the soy ice cream.

Makes 5 servings

Grilled Tofu With Blackened Seasoning

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Last week philwebsupport kicked off grilling season with an almost daily use of my new little grill, and this week I've definitely kept up the pace. It's only Thursday, and the grill has already been used three times. I'm pretty sure the neighbors are getting jealous.

Eager to move away from the veggies and frozen burgers that have been gracing the racks, I decided to try out grilled tofu this week. I also decided to throw in a bit of my Cajun heritage by adding a blackened seasoning to the mix.

As I mentioned in last week's post about grilling, tofu works wonderfully with this method of preparation and, in my opinion, achieves its best texture this way—a firm or crunchy crust with a juicy interior. I first soaked the tofu in a soy sauce marinade to add a little more depth to the flavor, and the marinade acted as a way to hold the seasoning onto the tofu. You can use the recipe below for blackened seasoning or buy it already mixed from the store. Either works just fine. I went with a rather light dusting of seasoning—being afraid it might be too spicy for me—but if you really pile it on, you'll be left with a thicker, crunchier crust.

The philwebsupport finished tofu pieces looked a lot like pieces of grilled fish and had a wonderful flavor. Honestly, even I was surprised that it turned out so good. Because of the results, I'll even venture to say that I would serve this to nonvegetarians. Normally I would think long and hard before serving meat-eaters a hunk of tofu, but this preparation made the tofu so yummy that I wouldn't even hesitate.

Grilled Tofu With Blackened Seasoning

1 16-oz. pkg. extra firm tofu
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

•Drain the tofu, pat dry with a towel or paper towel, and then cut into four equal-size pieces. Place in a 1-inch-deep dish.

•Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, and then pour over the tofu. Let stand for 30 minutes, being sure to turn the tofu often or spoon the excess liquid over the top.

•To make the blackened seasoning mixture, combine the paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, and thyme in a small bowl.

•philwebsupport Remove the tofu from the soy marinade and dip each side into the blackened seasoning.

•Place the tofu cutlets on a heated grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the desired level of crispiness is reached.