Something I grew up eating, being from Savannah and only a stone's throw from the Atlantic Ocean, was seafood. And I have to admit, when going veg, fish was the hardest thing for me to give up. In fact, when I went vegetarian I still ate fish for months (so not entirely vegetarian, I guess), and only gave it up upon going vegan. I feel good about not eating fish, even fish that my dad caught himself on his little 17-foot fishing boat--why kill for food when there are so many delicious, peaceful alternatives? And I don't really even miss the taste of it that much, especially since I have learned to cook so many wonderful, healthful plant-based dishes that I would never have even dreamed of before.
When I found Jennifershmoo's freebie recipe for tofu fish sticks, I decided to give it a try. The recipe was very easy; I modified it in only two ways. First, I used sunflower seeds in place of almonds, since almonds are expensive and therefore kind of a treat around our place. Second, I used water in place of soy milk to dip the tofu in for breading. I cut the tofu into eight cutlets, so I guess I truly didn't make tofu fish sticks. Anyway, it only took me about ten minutes to throw everything together, and then baking time was 30 minutes. They came out golden and beautiful--and delicious! Not entirely fishy, of course, but the kelp granules added that hint of flavor, and the lemon juice added at the end really helped bring it out. I will make this recipe again, for sure!
While it was in the oven, I thought about how to complete the meal. A typical meal I remember from growing up was "fish-and-grits." It's probably a southern thing! Anyway, I don't really keep grits on hand, but what I did have was millet. Hmm, cooked millet is not entirely unlike cooked grits in texture. So I went for it. I toasted the millet in the saucepan before adding the water, to bring out the depth of its nutty flavor. I seasoned it with salt, black pepper, and paprika; additionally, I added a 4-ounce can of chopped green chilies. It was done the same time as the tofu--great planning!
The millet was delicious cooked this way--I'll definitely do it again. Millet is quite a bit more nutrient-packed than grits too, being rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Just as I had hoped, it complemented the tofu quite well. For a vegetable, I made a good helping of fresh kai-lan, stir-fried with chopped garlic and ginger.
This was a fun meal to prepare! Here's one more shot, of the whole deal:
I had never used kelp granules before, and I really enjoyed the flavor they added.
I have tentative plans to make cupcakes this weekend with a friend. Yes--I may be breaking in my new cookbook! So stay tuned... And peace to you all!