My first experience with Crescent Dragonwagon’s wonderful recipes came when I purchased her comprehensive (and fantastic) Passionate Vegetarian in 2003. For most of my senior year of college, my cooking was limited to vegetarian chilli, pasta and recipes from Passionate Vegetarian. (My cookbook addiction developed later). Like Passionate Vegetarian, Crescent’s latest book, Bean by Bean, reads like a novel. Even without pictures, the stories and notes preceding each recipe make me anxious to get into the kitchen and start cooking.
For Mofo, I had hoped to do a full review of Bean by Bean, but I haven’t gotten around to trying enough recipes for that. I did have time to try one recipe – the appealingly named Mr. Puppovich’s Tofu Cakes. The cakes are intended to hit the same flavor notes as fish cakes, but without the fish (or fishiness). I made my cakes burger sized and served them on buns with pickles, onions and tartar sauce.
Although it’s not a vegan book, the cake recipe is vegan and Crescent recommends making the tartar sauce with vegan mayo. Since I didn’t have any silken tofu, the main ingredient in the provided mayo recipe, I whipped up a soy milk based mayo from the Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. The mayo was a snap to make. I combined the milk and seasonings in my blender and then added xantham gum and buzzed everything together. The xantham gum thickened everything instantly. (Even though the photo is dark, you can see how thick the mayo got with just a few seconds of blending).
Overall, this meal was a success. The tofu cakes had a good flavor and worked well as sandwiches. My only complaint was that the tartar sauce recipe made enough for 4 times the number of tofu cakes, which meant that 3/4 of the sauce wound up in the trash.
According to the recipe notes, Mr. Puppovich was a dog, so it seemed only fair to let Shelby give the cakes a try. She ate hers in 2 bites with no complaints.