My friends Lynn and Steve came to visit for the 4th of July. We had a blast—went to the Fiddle Festival, watched the fireworks from the beach, and drank champagne at the local monthly art gallery event.
But I have to admit that cooking for them made me feel a little stressed. They are not just omnivores; they are foodie omnivores. I’m not always sympathetic to foodie-ism, but they were my guests and my beloved friends and I wanted us all to be happy, and comfortable and well-fed.
For the 4th, I decided on a down-home picnic on the front porch. (Foodie or not, everyone loves potato salad, right?) I made homemade potato salad with wonderful little waxy new potatoes, and coleslaw with shredded green and red cabbage. (I used Vegenaise mayo for both which is one of the best vegan products I’ve found.) We had corn on the cob and vegetarian baked beans with lots of sautéed onions, and really good red wine and microbrewery beer.
But I wanted to anchor the meal with something more entree-like, and I knew that Lynn and Steve would not especially enjoy any of the “fake” soy products like veggie hotdogs (which, admittedly, are pretty awful) or burgers or sausage.
So with a little bit of trepidation, I settled on Tofu Corn Puffs, an old Seventh-day Adventist recipe that has never failed me yet. And much to my delight (and great relief), my guests loved them and asked for the recipe!
These super tasty croquettes are easy to make. They are, unfortunately, too delicate for the grill, but they taste better when they are fried anyway. And you can make the mix ahead of time and cook them up at the last minute. The cashews and nutritional yeast give them their unique flavor. Here is the recipe:
½ cup cashews
½ cup water
8 ounces (1/2 pound) soft tofu (don’t use firm or regular)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (not brewers’ yeast!)
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cups frozen corn (defrosted) or slightly cooked fresh corn
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
2 cups fresh bread crumbs**
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil for frying
In a food processor or blender, blend the cashews and water for about one minute, until completely pureed. Add the tofu and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Form tofu mixture into balls about the size of golf balls and then flatten slightly with your palm. Fry until browned on each side. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels.
This makes about 24 puffs and should feed about 7 to 8 people. But they are so good that the four of us ate them all!
** You can substitute 1 cup dry bread crumbs for the 2 cups of fresh, but it makes these much heavier and less puff-like. And since you already have the food processor or blender out, it’s pretty easy to make fresh bread crumbs. Process about 3 slices of bread for 30 seconds or so to make 2 cups of bread crumbs.