But last night's meal was something that no restaurant in Philadelphia currently offers. As far as finding a vegan sundae with the works (vegan cookie crumbles, rice whip, carob sauce), that's near impossible, too.
We made something odd, for us - Tofu Benedict with Vegan Bearnaise - from the Horizons cookbook. It's not often that I think about a Benedict or consider having one for dinner. I've never attempted to veganize the dish before and I have never had a real Benedict (gasp?). By the time I would have eaten at a restaurant that served one, I had already turned vegetarian.
In the morning, as we were pondering what to make for our dinner guests, I saw the gorgeous photo of the Tofu Benedict during our usual flip through the Horizons book and that became what I wanted.
Then I set about my day and completely forgot what we were making until I called Josh later that afternoon in a frenzy, about to enter Whole Foods, and asked him to remind me again.
It all started out like this.
The recipe calls for a Vegan Bearnaise, instead of Hollandaise. If you're perplexed about the difference between the two, here is the answer. Luckily, Josh is very schooled in his french sauces and in his past had been accepted to study at Le Cordon Bleu. While he chose not to attend, he did not abandon his passion for the kitchen:
Bearnaise with a back view of the Ben Franklin Bridge from my office window. It was Benny time.
We used wheat english muffins and added some sauteed spinach. For vegan bacon, we chose Lightlife's Smoky Tempeh Strips. I seared the wonderfully spice-crusted tofu rounds in one pan and flipped tempeh in another and felt a little bit like a short order cook at a vegan diner. Josh manned the the Bearnaise and the english muffins, and assembled each glorious stack.
Tofu and tempeh together? It's like a forbidden tryst of proteins that snuck away for one night only.
While I never imagined I'd ever care about adding a Vegan Benedict to my repertoire, I'm very glad that we did.
For dessert, I had crumbled up some vegan gingersnaps that I had baked the other day for Not Guilty Pleasure Vegan Sundaes. I scooped out some Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream in the Cherry Amaretto flavor, melted some carob chips for a smooth chocolate sauce, and drizzled it over the Rice Whip crown (that may have been a guilty pleasure). Cherry and ginger are glad to have met in this way.