Monday, March 19, 2007

I can't believe it's vegan! "Eggs" Benedict

It's no secret that brunch is my favorite meal of the day next to dessert. I take my brunch foods very seriously, especially eggs Benedict. In fact, I spent the better part of last summer and fall searching for the best eggs Benedict in Boston. As of this post, I haven't found it yet. To date the best eggs Benny I ever had was in Seattle at the Green Lake Bar and Grill. There was salmon on it. It was heaven on an English muffin.

In the 3 1/2 weeks I've been practicing veganism, I've been dreaming of eggs Benny. I close my eyes and picture the moment I slice into the egg on top and the yoke comes gushing down the side of the muffin.

To combat this craving I started searching for a vegan version of it. None of my vegan cookbooks touched the topic but I found a few recipes online that looked worthy of trying.

I found this on vegcooking.com.

'Eggs' Benedict
"Baked tofu, egg less hollandaise sauce, veggie bacon, and fresh tomatoes top a toasted English muffin for a delicious vegan version of a French classic."

Makes 8 servings

1 lb. extra firm tofu
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. nondairy margarine
8 oz. nondairy sour cream (Tofutti has a pretty good one)
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 vegan English muffins, toasted (or 8 slices of toast) (note: I found vegan/raw English muffins at Whole Foods. They're called Ezekiel spouted muffins)
8 slices of faux Canadian bacon (I couldn't find any, so I used fake bacon)
8 slices of tomato

1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Drain the tofu, cut it into 8 slices, and arrange it in a single layer in an oiled 9”x13” baking dish.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, and olive oil and pour the mixture over the tofu. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes, basting it occasionally and turning it over after 10 minutes. Pour off any excess liquid and bake the tofu for a few more minutes—until it is brown and crispy. (Chef's note, I baked my tofu for about 25 minutes.)
3. To make the hollandaise sauce, melt the nondairy margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the nondairy sour cream, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne, and lemon juice. Make sure that the mixture is heated through but don’t allow it to boil.
4. Top each English muffin half or slice of toast with a slice of tofu, Canadian “bacon,” and tomato, and a generous spoonful of hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.

Now this was not a quick breakfast. It took me about 40 minutes from start to finish. Also, since I wasn't feeding a small vegan army, I halved the recipe so that I could have leftovers for the next day.

I won't lie, it didn't really taste like eggs Benny. The hollandaise sauce tasted a little weird, maybe because I added too much Cayenne. Or maybe because there was the lack of egg factor.

But the tofu came out perfect. I'd never baked tofu before, so I was worried I'd ruin it. I think the baked tofu was the best part.

Will I make this again? Not on my life. There are some foods that should not be veganized and eggs Benny is one of them. Seriously. You can bet it'll be the first thing I eat as soon as Lent is up (even if I keep on being a veganite).

And I did eat the leftovers the next day, even though this wasn't my favorite.


Coming soon: vegan lemon poppy seed muffins!

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