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Tofu Alfredo, and Le Grenier de Notre Dame

May 30, 2010

Never underestimate how wonderful tofu can be.

The other night I made tofu alfredo, with mushrooms cooked in red wine, alongside some seared zucchini.

To make something like tofu alfredo, I highly recommend a hand blender. But if you don’t have one, a regular blender or food processor (or perhaps even a fork and a strong wrist) will work. Fortunately, we have a hand blender–no measuring spoons or cups, no real whisk, no real knives, but a hand blender. To make something like this, you’ll need

-a package of soft tofu (mine was about 12 oz.)

-nutritional yeast

-vegetable broth

-salt, or garlic salt

-a 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

-black pepper

-oil, or margarine

(If I were at home, I might add some cashew butter, or tahini, and a little miso–but I didn’t have any of that this time.)

Blend the tofu with the hand blender. Add about 1/2 C of vegetable broth, 1/2 C of nutritional yeast, the chopped garlic, and about 2 Tbsp. of oil or margarine. Blend all of that together, adding more vegetable broth if you think the sauce needs to be thinner. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

After I had done all my blending and cooked some whole wheat pasta, I chopped up a package of mushrooms and an onion and browned them in some coconut oil. Once they were a little brown, I added about 1/3 C of red wine, and allowed that to cook off. I then took the mushrooms off the heat, put them in a bowl (though I do this only because I have two burners–if I had more, I would just as soon leave it on the stove), and splashed them with balsamic vinegar.

Then I started the zucchini. I sliced 2 large zucchinis, and put them in a pan with a little oil, about 1/2 C vegetable broth, and a little salt and pepper. I stirred them occasionally, until the broth had mostly evaporated. I then made sure to distribute the slices evenly across the pan, and worked on browning them in the bit of oil that was left–I probably did this for about ten minutes. When they were nice and brown, I adjusted the salt and pepper, and added some dill.

To serve everything, I mixed in the alfredo sauce with the cooked pasta (and quickly reheated it), reheated the mushrooms, and then served the pasta with the mushrooms on top and the zucchini on the side. The mushrooms with red wine and balsamic vinegar were really great with the alfredo, and I also liked the zucchini with dill. So, I’d say this was a success.

This is a good basic alfredo recipe–you can add in different herbs, use different kinds of vegetable broth, or add red pepper flakes, depending on your tastes. It’s extremely easy (if you have a blender of some sort), and it’s much, much better for you than traditional alfredo. And it tastes great–I think Graham ate about 5 cups of alfredo-covered pasta on the night I made this.

In other news, Graham and I had the privilege of visiting Le Grenier de Notre Dame last Friday night, a vegetarian restaurant on Isle St. Louis (the Eastern-most Island in the center of Paris). This was a really cozy little place–very peaceful, very comfortable, and (I think) a good place to go for a slightly more upscale dinner (keeping in mind that “upscale,” for me, involves *not* eating on a curb on the Rue de Rosier, or, alternatively, involves something that’s a little more fancy than Thai-Cambodian in South Bend). 

We ordered one of their appetizers, a kind of avocado mango tart.

And no, I didn’t realize that the tart was smiling at me until after I had taken the picture. I doubt that the little face was intentional.

I then had a seitan steak, with lots of raw and roasted vegetables, and rosemary-baked potatoes.

This was great. The roasted vegetables were wonderful, the potatoes were super tasty, and the seitan cutlet tasted a lot like schnitzel.

Graham got the couscous bowl, with a fried seitan and onion kebab.

This was also really good–the couscous came with lots of vegetables, and a mild  home-made tomato sauce. The seitan-onion kebab was also really good–it reminded me a little bit of tempura.

We each got a scoop of sorbet for dessert. Graham got lime,

and I got chocolate. 

I have to admit that I think I liked the chocolate sorbet a little better than the lime–the lime was really lime-y and tart, and more like a traditional, light and fluffy sorbet. The chocolate was very, very much like Italian gelato. In fact, I couldn’t tell you how this was different from gelato.

So, I think Le Grenier de Notre Dame is great. It’s a very pleasant place to be, and the food is wonderful. You should keep in mind that they have a very small menu–but what they make, they make well.

A couple of days ago, as I was walking to Kioko, I saw some amazing cooking-ware, which seems to be made out of hammered copper.

I’m not usually one to fawn over beautiful pots, but these really are spectacular–and I’m starting to notice them all over the place.

I also saw a few more fantastic pastries that I thought I should share:

Just beautiful. As I write this, I’m working on pastry project number one, which will (I hope) turn out to be little layer cakes. We will see.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Caroline Brooks permalink
    May 30, 2010 3:30 pm

    Oh, Le Grenier looks and sounds wonderful! Also, your zucchini at the top looks so good, I may have to try cooking it with vegetable broth like you do (we frequently use some dill like you did-yummy!). We make zucchini a lot and I’m always looking for new preparations – thanks for the tip! Sorry, but I will probably not be trying the tofu alfredo anytime soon, although I admit if you’re going to eat tofu it does look pretty good. 😉

  2. May 30, 2010 4:42 pm

    Hi Caroline!

    I think a little broth is nice if you want the zucchini to be a little soft before browning it. I get the feeling that I, too, will be eating quite a bit of zucchini, since it seems to be everywhere. If you have other good zucchini ideas, let me know!

    Oh, I also have often made the following zucchini soup, and *love* it. It’s great if you’re overrun with zucchini and basil. (And you can definitely do it without the stranger ingredients, like nutritional yeast. I’ve also used cashew butter instead of raw cashews, but again, I think you could do without that altogether.)

    http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/09/creamy-zucchini-and-basil-soup.html

  3. patricia leach permalink
    May 30, 2010 6:50 pm

    As usuual, I loved sharing cuisine with you..no accident, I guess, that cuisine is a French word! xoMOM too…

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