Monday, April 11, 2011

Tofu Scramble and Baked Hashbrown Cups

I love breakfast.  I really love brunch.  I try to make it for the Hubby and I at least once a month on our day off together.  Since the Hubby was not here for this brunch, I decided to make it smaller and eat earlier, which I never have time to do.  I love spicy foods - I don't think it should be a surprise by now.  So, I made the tofu scramble spicy by adding chipotle pepper powder, but you definitely don't have to add it. I also am a big fan of making my tofu scramble with lots of veggies and lots of flavor.  If you like a simple, you don't have to add all the spices I did.  This is just how I prefer to make it after having made this since I was 16. 

I remember even making this with my niece when I was a teenager.  She must have been about 3 years old at the time and had a blast, using a butter knife to cut things and squishing the tofu with her hands.  I babysat her a lot of the time and although her parents didn't raise her vegetarian by any means, since she was exposed to it at a young age by yours truly, she learned to love it.  Whenever I made it, she was excited and ate it all.  I would make vegetarian soups, entrees and breakfast items and she sure loved it!  That's how I would like to raise my future kids, the same way I was raised - with an appreciation for where your food comes from, how to prepare it and have fun doing it.  I am very thankful for my mum for allowing me to help her in the kitchen in her baking and cooking explorations.  Here are the recipes that have surprisingly brought back so many fond memories!

Tofu Scramble and Baked Hashbrown Cups:

Baked Hashbrowns with Tofu Scramble

Serves 4

Tofu Scramble:
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and water squeezed out
3/4 cup green peppers, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, small diced
1 cup onion, small diced, about 1 small onion
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup roma tomato, small diced

6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder

Baked Hashbrown Cups:
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder

1.  Begin by preparing the hashbrowns first because they take the longest amount of time.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Begin by squeezing out as much of the water in the shredded potatoes as possible - this will be a nice workout for your hands.  Place the dried potato shreds in a large bowl and add the oil, arrowroot, sea salt, black pepper and chipotle pepper powder.  Toss with hands to coat - take a few minutes of tossing to be sure that all of the ingredients are well mixed. 
3.  Generously oil a standard size 12 count muffin tray.  Evenly portion out the potato mixture amongst the muffin cups.  Press the filling down so that it all fits within the cups.  Place in the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until the sides are browned and the middle is a pale golden color.
4.  Make the tofu scramble.  Place a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and allow it to get hot. Once it's hot, add the onion, green and orange peppers and shredded carrot.  Cook for several minutes or until the vegetables are mostly cooked through, stirring often.  Crumble the tofu into a bowl, squeezing out as much water as possible.  Add the tofu to the vegetables in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until a lot of the water has cooked out.  (If you like your scramble more liquidy, you don't have to cook it as long, but I personally like it a little drier.)
5.  Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir to incorporate.  In a small bowl, add all the spices and the nutritional yeast.  Stir with a fork to mix.  Add the water and mix with the fork until a thick mixture forms. 
6.  Pour the spice mixture into the tofu scramble and stir to coat - this may take a couple minutes.  I have found using this method is by far the best way to incorporate the spices into the tofu.  When you add them dry, it is very difficult to ensure they have been properly mixed in.  Continue to stir the tofu and cook until most of the water has cooked out.  Add the sliced olives and stir in. 
7.  When the hashbrowns are finished, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes - they are much easier to take out.  After 10 minutes, use a spoon to loosen them from the sides of the pans and scoop them out from the bottom - they should come out in one piece. 
8.  Serve a few of the hashbrowns with the scramble with some ketchup or other condiment on the side or eat them plain as I did.  This was so satisfying and nicely spicy!



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