Follow-Up Recipes for Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival (Both Vegan)

So, although my blog is but nascent, someone (hey, there!) has requested my recipes for the Jamaican post from yesterday. All I really need to be talked into posting a recipe is a simple comment asking for it.  Because let’s be real, I’m a wee blogger that’s happy to share.  You can still offer up [false] flattery if you’d like.

Remember the Jamaican post?  Or are you too distracted by beautiful purple tubers?  Here’s a photo to jog the memory.


Jamaican Jerk Tofu Serves 4, (Vegan)


  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 T Earth Balance (butter if you’re not worried about dairy)
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t salt

I know, it’s a long list, but almost all is a simple spice mixture to add to the marinade.  No need to be intimidated.


  1. Press tofu.  Either use tofu press (if you’re lucky enough to have one…anyone with an extra can send to me!) or the dishcloths and pan method to squeeze excess water from tofu.
  2. While pressing the tofu, prepare the marinade.  Mix oil, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and all spice ingredients together in bowl or directly in large zip lock bag.
  3. Once pressed, cut into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Place tofu slices and marinade in zip lock bag.  Marinade for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  5. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in a heated skillet.
  6. Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add jalapenos.  Keep cooking until onions are slightly browned.
  7. Add tofu slices directly onto pan.  Cook 8 minutes on each side. Pour extra marinade into pan to form glaze.

And for the carbs…

Baked Jamaican Festival, Makes 12 fritters (Vegan)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance + more for pan-frying step
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 T cane sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla extract
  • Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling (if desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour cornmeal, b. powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Either using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix in the butter to form a coarse meal.
  4. Add extracts and milk to the flour mix to form the dough.
  5. Knead enough to combine dough thoroughly (about 30 seconds).  Divide into 12 sections.
  6. Form into slightly flattened oval shapes.  Sometimes described as cigars but not quite that cylindrical.
  7. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in frying pan.  Add festivals to pan as they fit.
  8. Cook festivals on each side until a nice crust forms.
  9. When crust is formed, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until no longer doughy in the middle.  (Ours took a while, but feel free to experiment with upping the temp and less time).
  10. Serve while still warm.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.

These are a little sweet/dessertish.  But this morning, I came across a fun foodie article related to Caribbean dining in Montreal. It explains that the slight sweetness of the festival is meant to balance out the spice from your jerk chicken tofu.

Note the misspelling in the title when you get to the article.  With the amount of typos on my blog, I certainly am in no place to call another blogger out on typos, but newspaper… Anyhow, it made me feel pleased to have gone with making the festival.


Categories: Baking, Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival {Jamaica}

Jamaican me eat too much!

{As I type this, a group of probably tipsy young ladies are loudly singing “Tubthumping” in the apartment building’s hallway}.  {BTW, I pre-posted; they are not drunk at 8:30 AM.}

If I were a pescatarian, Jamaican cuisine would have been amazing.  As it stands, though, it was still a decent meal.  When you think Jamaican food, you must be thinking jerk, right?  Me too.  I marinated slices of tofu in soy sauce, oil, Jamaican seasoning, and lime juice (oh, ginger).  I sauteed an onion, some garlic, and a jalapeno in the pan before dumping the slices and marinade into the pan.  Got a little smoky in here again 🙂

I did attempt to healthify the festival.  I’m not sure if was a good idea or came close to replicating it authentically, but it was a good faith effort.  Instead of deep frying, I pan fried slightly and baked (guess I was going for the arepa method).  I also used whole wheat flour in them, along with the cornmeal required by typical recipes.  One thing that I found to be very interesting about the little breads was that sugar is used like it used to be before the Sugar Revolution–as a spice.  Sugar is added in to the dough mix along with salt and other seasonings.  It’s not the star of the dish, as in dessert.

As for sides, I was thrilled to learn that a standard baked sweet potato is common in Jamaica.  Since starting the Pearl Project, we’ve been trying so many new foods that we rarely get our old favorites, such as baked sweet potatoes and kale chips.

Cue the calypso!

Categories: Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Simple Potato Stew, Rye Soda Bread, and Chocolate Stout Cake: A Calm St. Paddy’s Day {Ireland}



Once, I spent a St. Patrick’s Day in France. I saw the Mona Lisa.  I ate a my first ever crepe (Nutella was an excellent choice) and shared a Powerade with my significant other.  (Wow, I look a bit different now!)

No one in Paris cared or mentioned St. Patrick’s Day except our hostel-mates.  Two days later, we flew back to Manchester, UK.  The streets around the U of M and MMU campuses were still a wreck for the St. Paddy’s Day destruction.    I think I prefer the calm,-eat-some-good-food-and-wear-a-wee-bit-of-green methods.

That’s right.  Do some yoga, run a little, blog a little, and avoid the pub-crawlers at all costs.

Our meal last night consisted of a very, very easy stew, a standard soda bread and a bit of dessert.

Cassie’s Simple Potato Stew (Serves 6)


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel mine if they are organic–just scrub well)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T Earth Balance
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup stout (we did use Guinness–so if you have no gray areas with your vegetarianism, find a fish-bladder free stout)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)


  1. Melt Earth Balance (or use oil or butter if you prefer) in dutch oven or large sauce pan
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Give a stir.  Toss in parsley and bay leaves.
  5. Add stout and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This was really delicious for being so easy and not having oodles of seasonings.  You need to serve this with soda bread.  I love soda bread.  It’s so easy to make and adapt.  We had rye bread with caraway seeds.

You can make soda bread without a special soda bread dish, but I’ve got one.  So I use it every time.  (Thanks for that, Bev–you probably didn’t realize how much use I’d get out of it).

The cake we had for dessert was a recipe of my own.  And I made it hours before I noticed that 101 Cookbooks happened to post a Chocolate Stout Cake.  I swear it.  The recipes are somewhat similar, but I cut out the dairy and eggs, and used sugar for my sweetener.  Odd, I know, considering I still used Guinness (which again is not even considered vegetarian by many).  Oh, well. I still tried.  Pre-powdered shot below:

Almost Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake (Makes too many servings for a 2-person household)


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup stout beer (find a vegan one if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 flax “egg”: 1 T ground flax mixed into 3 T water
  • 3/4 cup cashew “sour cream”: soak 3/4 cup raw cashews in water until soft, blend with 1 T lemon juice until smooth.
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt Earth Balance into stout beer in medium sauce pan on stovetop.
  3. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder
  4. Add in flax egg, cashew cream, and apple sauce.  Remove mixture from heat.
  5. Add the flour to a separate, large bowl.  Create a well for the liquid.
  6. Add the liquid and stir until all flour is moistened.
  7. Pour the cake batter into a well-oiled or silicone dish.  You can use a 9×9 pan, a bundt pan, or cupcakes–whatever you prefer.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, or until fork comes out clean.

I added a glaze made of almond milk, vanilla extract, chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar.  There was no recipe or measuring for me in this step, so you can make to your own liking!

Because this cake is eggless, it is more fudge-like than many cakes.  It’s dense and moist.  Which I prefer.

Yes, I did have a piece for breakfast this morning.  But hey, it’s whole wheat and has apple sauce.  It’s got to be healthier than a number of doughnuts and muffins on the market, right?


Now that I’ve been thinking over my St. Patrick’s Days, I remembered another traveling one!  During grad school, I was able to take a spring break trip with Jordan and his sister, Emilee, to Peru.  Though mudslides kept us from Machu Picchu, we managed to have an excellent time.

Maybe there is something to be said for venturing out on St. Paddy’s….


Categories: Baking, Breads/Starches, Desserts, European Food, Food, Holidays, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Curried Tofu and Roti {Trinidad and Tobago}

So if you’re a dedicated follower (then I love you, but that is beside the point), you might remember how I left you with a roti cliffhanger after the Surinamese meal.  I really thought I’d be making roti again the next night, but it ended up being almost a week before I attempted again.  Rest assured, you questions about attempt number two will be answered in this post.

Cue the calypso music!  You might pretend I listened to calypso music while preparing this dish…

Trinidad and Tobago is a country composed of islands–two large ones in particular.  (I’ll let you guess on the names of the two large islands).  The country is found just of the northern coast of South America. Much like Surinamese cuisine, the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is heavily influenced by the cuisine of many other cultures: Indian, Chinese, Amerindian, etc.  Chicken curry and roti is arguably the most well-known dish of the country.  I love it–I get to take a stab at Indian food (and the tofu I use in it) without actually having to cross India off of my country list.

I’ve made some Indian foods before (Saag Aloo, Veg. Biryani,  and Chana Masala), but never actually a curry.  I went with a very simple chicken curry recipe, subtracted the chicken, added some tofu.  I honestly cannot find the link to the exact recipe I used/adapted, but my base was crushed tomatoes and yogurt with coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, ginger, onions, garlic, and of course curry powder.  Jordan rating: definitely in the top 5 dishes so far.

And would you look at that roti.  It actually rolled this time, was soft, and had a bit of flavor.  A vast, vast improvement from the last go round.  At lunch, Jordan compared his roti with roti that one of his Indian co-workers brings in.  He said it was looking quite similar.  Whew!  I admit, I feel some pressure is on when I cook Indian food and he takes the leftovers.  🙂

Categories: Asian Food, Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Leftovers, South Asian Cuisine, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Moksi Meti Recipe {Suriname}

Hey, hey, people!  I have returned from the land-of-cooking-a-lot-but-posting-a-little.  I must get back into the swing of things with posting.  Be prepared (in the words of Uncle Scar).

Last night proved to be an interesting night.  The country challenge–Suriname.  Suriname is on the northern coast of South America.  Much like the U.S. is a country of many immigrants, Suriname is composed of people from the land-of-somewhere-else.  Their food culture stems from the food cultures of India, Indonesia, and Africa among others.

(You guys are missing Jordan’s maps right now, huh?)

One of Suriname’s most popular dishes is Moksi Meti.  Loosely translated, it means mixed meats.  Sounds like the best vegetarian to choose to make, right?  Yeah….you’ll see.  Moksi Meti is typically served with either noodles or rice.

What you see below—all plants believe it or not.  Yep, vegan Moksi Meti.

I’m going to once again not provide you a recipe; not because I don’t want you to make it, but because I’m skeptical that it should actually be called a recipe.  But I will still tell you my method and ingredients.

My version is less mixed meat and more mixed protein.  I used three different types of plant-based proteins: gardein breasts (soy based), seitan (wheat-based), and tofu cubes.  They were sauteed in some oil, before a pepper/soy sauce was added to the pan.  This created a beautiful glaze for all the proteins.

My base for the Moksi Meti was soba noodles with sauteed carrots, bean sprouts, and bok choy.  Had to find a way to sneak more vegetables into the dish.  If a made this dish again, I would probably leave the bok choy out and use regular soba noodles instead of the buckwheat.  I just was not a fan of it last night.

That’s okay.  I was a big fan of the glazed mixed proteins.  Just another photo to post of them…

We tried our hand at making our own roti last night (I say we because Jordan helped out with the meal).  I would call it a learning experience.  I think I need to add a bit more flavor to my dough and make it a little bit thinner.  Don’t you worry, we’ll be trying again tonight for Trinidad and Tobago!

Because last night was Fat Tuesday, we had to celebrate a bit too.  But I wimped out and went for some easy, non-Surinamese goodness.

Catholics, come here to find you meatless Friday meals during Lent!

Categories: Breads/Starches, Food, Latin American Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela with Mini-Sweet Potato Biscuits {Malawi}

The camera’s back!

Is this stretching anyone’s geographic knowledge?   Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa.

Though Malawi was a British colony until 1964, there are relatively few outside influences on Malawian cuisine.  Staple, such as potatoes, yucca, and millet are very important.  Beans, tomatoes, cabbage, and green vegetables also play a big role in Malawian cuisine, as do onions and peanuts.  The techniques remain quite simple.

Nsima, a type of cornmeal porridge, is the single most popular dish, I skipped over it when I saw that sweet potato biscuits were popular in the country.  Any chance I get, I will incorporate sweet potatoes into my meal.

Usually, the above pictured Mbatata are served as sweet snacks.  I used mine as bread to serve with the soup, but I can see how some drizzled frosting could be excellent with them.  What soup, you ask?  (Okay, no one asked…)

We ate Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela.

Kutendela is peanut sauce/powder, which is common in Malawi, and many other African cuisines.  The recipe is simple and fast, and eventually I learned to really enjoy the taste.

Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela (Serves 4)


  • 1 T oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 head of medium cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup water+more water for thinning the peanut butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Heat oil in pan on medium heat.  Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add tomato and cabbage.  Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add one cup of water.  Cover and let cook down under cabbage is tender.
  4. Thin peanut butter with warm water until it reaches gravy-like consistency.  Mix salt and peanut butter mixture into pan.
  5. Add spinach and stir in until wilted.

Not half bad.  But not as addicting as those little Mbatata Sweet Potato biscuits!

Categories: African Food, Breads/Starches, East African Food, Food, Soups, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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