Welcome to Monday, ya’ll! For today I had planned to pen a blog post regarding some thoughts on whiteness and privilege exhibited in food blogging (I even took notes on scholarly articles and everything!)…but other responsibilities got the best of me. I know I’ve promised that particular post for a while now but, rest assured, that post will indeed be coming in late January/early February.
To keep you sated until then (or, at least, until this Friday’s # NewsandChews post), why not cook up this little gem of a sandwich – all hot and gooey and spicy and creamy and chewy and crunchy at the same time? Inspired by a recipe in Carla Kelly’s new Vegan al Fresco, this sandwich utilizes a fun kitchen gadget, a vegan convenience food that recently entered the ranks of my faves alongside vegan mayo, and a surefire method of ensuring optimally textured tofu:
Gadget=cast-iron grill pan.
Vegan convenience food=non-dairy cream cheese.
Tofu method=simmering tofu in marinade then sauteeing, grilling, or baking (works better than pressing!)
Though I’m only highlighting food in this post, I know that all ya’ll radical activist readers out there will understand that vegan consumption practices merely constitute a logical extension of anti-speciesist politics, rather than a full-scale movement for the collective liberation of all beings. So enjoy this panini – and I mean like for serious enjoy this panini in all its messy glory – but remember that just because it doesn’t contain the bodies of other animals, it’s really not doing much to challenge the larger social structures and embedded ideologies that turn all beings into profit-making automatons.
That’s why we organize! We get out in the streets! We look deep inside ourselves and ask how we’re perpetuating oppression in our daily mode of being! We develop a praxis of radical humility!
And, of course, to fuel all of this exhausting, necessary, and fulfilling work, we eat sandwiches (and maybe even take really terrible photos of them).
Strawberry-Chipotle Glazed Tofu Panini
Makes 2 sandwiches.
1 dried chipotle pepper
14 oz (1 package) firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp cumin
1/3 cup strawberry preserves (preferably one without added sugars)
1 tbsp lime juice
4 slices bread (I like Ezekiel’s sprouted whole-grain breads)
1 tsp coconut oil
4 tbsp vegan cream cheese
About 10 slices of pickled jalapeno
Place the dried pepper in a heat-safe bowl. Pour enough boiling water to cover over the pepper. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, or until reconstituted. Drain and dice the pepper.
Meanwhile, lay the block of tofu on its widest side and slice it vertically to produce 8 uniform slices.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the reconstituted pepper, maple syrup, lime juice, tamari, and cumin. Lay the tofu slices in a single layer on top of the marinade. Turn the heat up to high and allow the marinade to come to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow the tofu to simmer in the marinade until it has absorbed all of the liquid, flipping the tofu once when the marinade has been about half absorbed.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the strawberry preserves and lime juice. This is your glaze.
Brush a grill pan with oil and preheat it over high heat. Once the pan is hot, coat each tofu slice in the glaze, then place them into the pan. Grill the tofu for about 5 minutes on each side, or until grill marks have appeared on the tofu. Remove from the heat.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a grill pan, you can use a regular skillet, or bake it in a 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking.
Once the tofu is done cooking, wipe out your grill pan (or regular skillet). Preheat it again.
Coat one side of each piece of bread with 1/4 tsp coconut oil. Spread 1 tbsp of cream cheese on the other side of each piece of bread. Lay two slices of tofu on each slice of bread, add a layer of pickled jalapenos to two of the four tofu-covered slices, and sandwich both pairs of two slices together.
Place one sandwich in the preheated grill pan or skillet, place another heavy-ish skillet on top, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the bottom slice of bread is golden brown. Remove the top skillet and, with a spatula, flip the whole sandwich over. Return the top skillet to the top of the sandwich and cook for another 3-5 on the other side, so that the second slice of bread is golden brown. Remove the top skillet and carefully transfer the sandwich to a plate. Repeat with the second sandwich.
In solidarity, Ali.