Spring Salad with Homemade Peppercorn-Crusted Tofu Chèvre

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The other week my friend introduced me to tofu chèvre. It was delicious! The miso paste mixed in with the tofu gave it a very rich, cheesy taste, and the black pepper baked on the outside gave it a nice flavour. It was crumbly and warm and fantastic. That first picture is a beautiful presentation of the salad we used it in — aka I forgot to take a picture before we mixed it up and started eating. It’s a testimony to how delicious this meal was! 

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Spring Salad

via Vegan Family Meals (Ann Gentry)

8 oz slender green beans, trimmed
4 medium red-skinned potatoes (about 1 pound total), cut into ½-inch-thick wedges

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated and larger leaves torn in half
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges, or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 log Peppercorn-Crusted Tofu Chèvre (recipe follows), sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and submerge the green beans in a bowl of ice water just until they are cold. Drain the green beans again and pat dry. Set aside. Place the potatoes in a steamer basket set in a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water. Cover and steam until they are just tender and still hold their shape, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Vinaigrette: While the vegetables are cooling, whisk the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil to blend well.

Salad: Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or in a large shallow salad bowl. Place the green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the beans, potatoes, and tomatoes atop the lettuce. Arrange the tofu cheese slices amid the vegetables. Sprinkle the parsley over the salad. Spoon more vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

Peppercorn-Crusted Tofu Chèvre

via Vegan Family Meals (Ann Gentry)

12 oz container extra-firm tofu, drained and halved
1 large clove garlic
2 tbsp yellow miso
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn

Pat the tofu dry with paper towels. Set the tofu in a colander and set the colander over a bowl to collect all the liquid that drains from the tofu. Cover the tofu with plastic wrap, then place 3 heavy cans, each at least 14 ounces, on the tofu to weigh it down. This weight will help extract all the excess liquid from the tofu. Refrigerate the tofu for at least 4 hours or overnight (note: we didn’t drain this long and the cheese still turned out fantastic!).

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Pat the tofu halves with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture, then add the tofu to the food processor. Add the miso, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and the salt, and blend until the mixture is very smooth, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap flat on the work surface. Scrape the tofu cheese onto the center of the plastic wrap, then wrap the cheese, forming a log. Unwrap the log once to coat the outside in freshly ground pepper, and then re-wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Unwrap the cheese log and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the log lightly with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Bake just until the cheese is warmed through, but the center is still creamy, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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