Food, I mean. For quite a long time now, I’ve been relying on liquid smoke to bring out a flame-kissed flavor in my foods. I’m sure I’ll still use it in a pinch (it’s great in a tempeh bacon recipe!), but my parents got me a stovetop smoker for my birthday and I’ve since been experimenting with the real deal! This is only the beginning…I am going to smoke all of the foods.
The little recipe booklet that came with my smoker suggested smoking potatoes. Potatoes! Of course! I happened to have some new potatoes lying around and a cookout to go to, so I decided to make a smoked potato salad.
This may look like your ordinary, run of the mill potato salad, but don’t be deceived! Lurking inside of each of those little starchy cubes is an absolute wealth of smoky flavor. I kept it simple and just used diced celery, scallions, dill, and Vegenaise to round out the potatoes. The smoke flavor was so prominent! While this salad was scrumptious and happily different from other potato salads that I’ve tried (and my omnivore friends gobbled it up!), I think that the smoked potatoes would be especially good in some sort of au gratin application. I can just see thin slices of these pre-smoked taters baked to perfection with a mellow, tangy, cheesy cashew sauce, can’t you? I’ll keep experimenting!
The thing I’ve wanted to smoke the most has been tofu, of course. I’ve bought packaged smoked tofu and adored it in sandwiches, and couldn’t wait to try it on my own. The only tofu I had around today was cubed and frozen, though. While this turned out ok, next time I’ll use an unfrozen, unsliced block so that the texture is nicer. I also went with the same cooking directions as the potatoes (medium heat, 45 minutes), and that seemed a little hot and fast for the tofu. I’ll do it a little lower for a little longer with the block.
I’ve heard that your best bet when smoking tofu is to marinate it first so that there’s some flavor (and namely, salt) in there before you start cooking it. I didn’t really know what to marinate it in, so I just whipped up a quick olive oil/balsamic/soy sauce/garlic concoction. I’ll do some research on marinades for the next go – I just don’t want anything that will interfere with the flavor of the smoke. You can see that the cubes got a little blackened! Definitely lower and slower next time.
I was randomly at Aldi, and they had the most gorgeous Brussels sprouts, so I quartered and steamed those, and made some lemon-dill brown rice. The sauce is a basic, but delicious, tahini sauce from Julie Hasson’s new vegan casserole book*. It all goes very nicely together, and really didn’t take that much time to get ready. Well, admittedly I did shower while the rice and tofu were cooking. But that’s the beauty of this type of cooking – you can walk away for a little bit and get other things done! Back to the smoker for a quick second, I’m excited to also try different types of wood chips. It came with alder, but you can get loads of different flavors. Applewood smoked Brussels sprouts! Hickory smoked portobello steaks! Maple smoked tempeh! The possibilities are highly exciting.
*Oh, and yes, I did mention a new casserole cookbook. Just…you…wait.