26 October 2009

A Whole Lotta Dill

When I looked into my refrigerator this afternoon, I noted two things that probably needed to be used soon, lest they take a turn for the worst: fresh dill and vegan soy mayonnaise.  I honestly do not remember what compelled me to purchase the dill during a recent farmers' market venture, because I usually only have it around when making tzatziki.  It was such a lovely, hairy-looking bunch of the herb that it would have been an absolute shame to waste.  As for the soy mayo, I only purchased it because it had been on sale, and a discount price sounded much better than trying to make my own when all I wanted at the time was a basic tofu salad sandwich.  And I'm never been much of a mayonnaise fan even in my pre-vegan days, so go figure.

So here I was, wondering what to do with these two items, when I drew inspiration from an unlikely, very non-vegan source: Paula Deen.  Yes, the queen of butter got me to salvage my refrigerator leftovers in a vegan-friendly (albeit a bit fattening) way.  It just goes to show the scope of things one can recreate to fit her own dietary/lifestyle needs, and the fact that inspiration can come from anywhere (ah, the joys of cooking).  I recalled an episode of her cooking show in which she focused on potato dishes, and in it she baked these thick, breaded potato wedges using mayonnaise.  This happened to be the perfect item to try, as the yellow potatoes were also looking to hit the deep end soon.

Using Paula Deen's recipe for Oven-Fried Potato Wedges as a guide, I put the dill and vegan soy mayo to work while making other adjustments to suit my current supply of ingredients.  I incorporated fresh, chopped dill and minced garlic into the soy mayo, as well as mirin and shoyu to both thin it out and flavor it.  Rather than using cornbread dressing mix, I toasted and crumbled some of yesterday's cornbread with panko and more dill and seasoned it with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder.  Before dipping and baking, I microwaved potato wedges for a couple of minutes to ensure that they'd be fluffy and cooked through in the end, then patted the wedges dry before dipping and baking on a lightly oil-sprayed cooling rack placed over a baking sheet; I wanted to minimize sticking and additional fat while ensuring that the wedges would have a crisp coating all around.  I used the same process for leftover, drained tofu slabs.

Potato wedges.
Tofu sticks.
I loved the potato wedges.  Although the cornbread coating tended to make a crumbly mess, it was indeed crisp.  The inside of the wedges were likewise fluffy and flavorful without being overly-seasoned.  The tofu was fine, although it still retained some of the mayo taste, which would prevent me from using this method on it again.  I ate the potato wedges and tofu with a tzatziki-like soy yogurt dip, using more dill (of course), garlic, seedless cucumber, green onion, and salt and pepper--a nice, cooling contrast to the hot and slightly spicy oven-fried items.  The combination made for a good appetizer, and I can see the foundation recipe working with a myriad of spices, seasonings, etc.  Thanks, Paula!

Dill soy yogurt dip.
Everything on one platter.

3 comments:

  1. HELL YEAH!
    Those wedges and that tofu look crazy good. I absolutely love dill but mr treehugger can't stand it so I tend not to use it, he says he can't even stand the smell of it either! He's the same about coriander incidentally. Another herb I love but don't use.

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  2. Thanks, you're so kind :) My dad and my sister's bf also don't like coriander because it apparently tastes like soap to them! I disagree (love it) and it would probably be delicious for the potatoes and tofu.

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  3. HELL YEAH!
    Those wedges and that tofu look crazy good. I absolutely love dill but mr treehugger can't stand it so I tend not to use it, he says he can't even stand the smell of it either! He's the same about coriander incidentally. Another herb I love but don't use.

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)