This month’s challenge was chosen by Sketchy of Sketchy’s Kitchen. Sketchy has a real passion for molecular cuisine (MC), and July’s recipe was chosen to share this interest in MC with all of us! I think this was a wonderful initiative and a lovely introduction to MC – thank you, Sketchy!
Unfortunately, I think to successfully complete this month’s challenge owning a dehydrator was de rigeur. The challenge, “Skate, traditional flavours powdered” by Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook, uses “flavour powders” made from dehydrated ingredients such as banana chips, parsley or red onion to accent and add dimension to poached fish, or fish substitute. While Sketchy did suggest alternate methods for drying – such as using the microwave or traditional oven – I found they just didn’t work for me. I did give these alternate methods a shot, but my attempts were met with frustration and failure.
This, however, doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy this challenge, on the contrary! Thanks to some chatting on the forums, I was reminded of one of my favourite faux-fish recipes, the Tofu Fish Sticks from one of my favourite cookbooks, Vegan Lunchbox. If you haven’t a copy of Vegan Lunchbox, don’t fret! The recipe is available here at Schmooed Food, the author’s blog where she features recipes from her fabulous book. One of my favourites from her site is the recipe for Vegan Twinkies. I’ve only made it once, but oh-my, talk about a heavenly childhood flashback!
So after a few failed attempts at dehydrating onion and parsley in my microwave (oh scaldy-stinkies), I just opted to honor the spirit of the challenge and go with what worked for me! I tried to make a powder out of some nori sheets, but I didn’t get a nice, fine, powder – it was more like hunks of ugly confetti. I did just add the nori to the Tofu-fish fingers breading, so there was no waste. I also used a mixture of sea vegetables rather than just the kelp flakes called for in the original recipe. I feel it adds even more variety. In the end, I just used some dried parsley flakes to decorate our plates, and that was just fine!
We don’t eat alot of tofu – maybe 2 or 3 times a month – not because I’m afraid of the “fu” for any reason (because there is no reason to fear the fu, unless you have an allergy), but it’s a processed food, and as with all processed foods we tend to go lightly on them. Because I so rarely purchase tofu, I forget about some of our favourites, such as these tofu fingers. It’s been nearly a year since I last made these, which is too long if you ask me! If you’re ever in a pinch and need to make something quick, easy and healthy for kids (and adults, ahem), this is a great option.
I’d like to once again thank Sketchy of Sketchy’s Kitchen for hosting our challenge, and I enthusiastically recommend Vegan Lunchbox, weather or not you eat a boxed lunch! Lunchbox has many innovative, mostly healthy options that are adult and kid friendly, and it’s a sound addition to any cookbook library. Do you like to play with your food? Visit The Daring Kitchen for wonderful food articles, sexy food p*rn and lovely portraits of the Daring Cooks and Bakers.