Keep Your Sunny Side Up

I thought I'd share one of my favourite breakfasts with you. As far as egg alternatives go, I like this even more than scrambled tofu, and it's really easy! For want of a better name, I call it Tofu Sunny Side Up, and here are the steps...

Tofu Sunny Side Up, with sauteed asparagus, on grainy toast.

STEP ONE:
Cut three slices of firm tofu (slices about 1 cm thick). Put them in a bowl, pour about a teaspoon of tamari over them, then cover with freshly boiled water (if you don't have tamari, a pinch of salt will do). Steeping tofu in boiling water just before sauteeing makes it go nice and crispy in the pan.

STEP TWO:
Make a batch of Yolky Sauce either on the stove top or in the microwave (makes enough sauce for about 2-3 serves). I made up this sauce recipe for the yolk of my poached "egg", but it's useful in so many ways where you want a rich, eggy-saucy element (I also used it for my Salade Nicoise Royale). I've started to make Yolky Sauce with dijon rather than English mustard, for a milder flavour, but that's up to you. By the way, the sauce keeps in the fridge for a few days, so you can definitely make it ahead of time and zap it in the microwave to warm through.

STEP THREE:
While the sauce is gently cooking, saute 6-8 stalks of asparagus in a little vegan margarine or butter, adding ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Set the asparagus aside once it's done - we now need the pan for the tofu. PS. Wilted spinach is a nice alternative to asparagus.

STEP FOUR:
Take the tofu slices out of the water (no need to pat them dry), add a little more margarine to the pan then add the tofu. To get it nice and crispy, you can turn the heat up a little, but not too high or it can get a tough crust. While the tofu is sizzling, season the "up" sides by sprinkling with nutritional yeast,  sea salt and ground black pepper. Check the bottoms at intervals to make sure the tofu isn't burning, then when they're crispy and golden, gently flip onto the seasoned side, just for one minute.

STEP FIVE:
Meanwhile, make the toast (two slices - and perhaps a pot of tea too!). Top your toast with the tofu slices (I cut one in half lengthwise so there are 1.5 slices of tofu per piece of toast). Arrange the asparagus on top, then spoon over a generous amount of yummy Yolky Sauce.

STEP SIX:
Tuck into the very best eggs-on-toast alternative in the whole world (in my opinion, that is)!

Serves 1-2 people.

Vegan Breakfast Scramble

I've been a vegetarian since the 80s, but have recently started to focus more on vegan food, pretty much all the time at home now, whilst still indulging in a little cheese, etc, when I go out. I am really enjoying the challenge of cooking vegan meals & have bought a few new vegan cookbooks, found some great recipes online, as well as tinkering with some kitchen experiments of my own (some more successful than others - I have a rock-hard lump of revolting vanilla tofu icecream in my freezer destined for the rubbish bin). One of my all-time favourites is that old classic, scrambled eggs on toast & I have been looking for a tasty vegan alternative. There are some wonderful recipes for scrambled tofu to be found, but mostly they seem to be quite spicy & loaded with vegetables, such as onion & peppers - I guess to counteract the mildness of the tofu - but personally, I don't like anything too savoury or spicy for breakfast. Also, as any scrambled egg aficionado knows, the perfect scrambled egg should be soft & creamy, not crumbly or dry.

I have tried to emulate the scrambled egg experience as closely as possible with my Vegan Breakfast Scramble. It sure does look like scrambled eggs, is loaded with protein, & I think it tastes pretty darned good too! I haven't tried using black salt in vegan "egg" dishes yet - something about adding a sulphurous eggy flavour sort of puts me off - has anyone tried it? - I'm curious, so maybe I'll have to buy some & give it a go next time.

VEGAN BREAKFAST SCRAMBLE

90g (3oz) firm tofu (I used quarter of a 350g block of Nutrisoy organic tofu)
2 spring onions (also known as green onions, shallots or scallions), finely sliced, including some of the green tops
2 teasp margarine or oil (I used Nuttelex)
1 dessertspoon nutritional yeast flakes (Lotus Savoury Yeast Flakes here in Australia)
1 heaped desertspoon chickpea (besan) flour
1/4 cup soy milk (or your non-dairy milk of choice, plain & unsweetened)
pinch of ground turmeric for colour
pinch of dried dill or 1/2 teasp fresh dill, chopped
pinch of powdered garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Drain the tofu & crumble it, but not too much because you want some texture. Sauté the spring onions & crumbled tofu in the margarine or oil  on a medium heat in a non-stick pan until it's just starting to become golden (don't let it brown).

While the tofu is cooking, whisk together the other ingredients to make a smooth batter -it should be the consistency of thin cream. Turn the heat down low & add the soy milk mixture to the pan with the tofu & stir gently until it thickens & becomes creamy. If you think it's getting a little too thick, add a dash more soymilk  & combine.

Pile it on to toast & enjoy!

Makes 1-2 serves (equivalent to 2-3 scrambled eggs).

Of course there are lots of ways you could modify this recipe. I think it would be great with chopped chives, or chili flakes, or vegan pesto - or add onions, mushrooms, capsicum, etc if you're looking for more of a brunchy-lunchy meal. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm thinking if you had any left over, you could let it cool & stir in some vegan mayo, perhaps some curry powder or finely chopped celery, & use it as a sandwich spread for an "egg" sandwich.

If you happen to make my Breakfast Scramble, I'd love to know what you think - it would be great to see pics too - just leave me a comment!