Just for fun and to keep myself interested in something other than my kid all day, I've been working on my first volume of my very first cook zine titled Down Yonder. While I know there are plenty of vegan southern themed zines around, I feel like my southern roots are a little different than just biscuits and gravy. Not that I have anything against biscuits and gravy, cuz I'll go to town on that shit. What I mean is, I was raised in the south on prepackaged convenience foods by low income southern parents. So my food memories have nothing to do with mint juleps. But as a vegan adult, I do try to care about what I put in my mouth, at least more so than I did as a kid.
My goal with Down Yonder is to not just to veganize my old favorites, but to put a more mature spin on them. In most cases, anyway. Volume 1 is titled Marlene, because that's my mom's name and all of the recipes are in some way inspired by her. If all goes well, I hope to have this thing finished by July. We will see how that goes. And hey! Here's a sample recipe for you! One of my favorites in Marlene so far.
Well, I call it a tart, but it kind of is a pie. I made mine in a tart pan so it's not as thick as a pie should probably be. If you make this in an 8" pan, you can call it a pie. Or a tart. Just don't call me late to supper.
Summer Tomato Tart
One of my all time favorite comfort foods is a tomato sandwich- toasted bread, a little Vegenaise, a couple tomato slices and a sprinkle of salt. I definitely got this simple sandwich habit (with Hellman's, not Vegenaise) from my mom. I went up yonder to visit mom recently, and she asked me if I wanted a tomato sandwich, just as she had asked me a hundred times in my childhood. I put together this tart recipe to mimic the summer flavors of a good tomato sandwich, but with a little extra bit of fancy for a potluck side dish. This tart is best served cold within 24 hours of making it.
For the crust
- 2 cups breadcrumbs from day old bread (Italian bread, sandwich bread, sourdough, stale hot dog buns...whatever you have is fine)
-4 Tbsp melted vegan margarine
For the filling
-5 small or 3 large red slicing tomatoes, ripe and ready to eat
- sprinkle of salt
-7-10 leaves of fresh basil
-1/2 small Vidalia onion, sliced thin
-1 package Mori Nu Silken Tofu, Extra Firm or Firm (must be silken, not the fridge tofu)
-1 Tbsp oil
-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp mustard powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil an 8” round pie plate or pan. Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and pour the melted margarine over the crumbs. Toss well with a fork until the margarine is evenly distributed. Firmly press the crumbs into the prepared pan. It’s okay if the crumbs go up the sides a bit. Bake the crust in the middle rack of oven for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool while you prepare the filling and move the oven temp up to 375F.
Slice tomatoes to about ¼” thickness and lay them in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle the slices evenly with salt. Set tomatoes aside to drain on the paper towels.
In a blender or food processor add tofu, oil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and mustard powder. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Pour this mixture onto the cooled crust and spread out evenly using the back of a large spoon.
Place the tomato slices in a single layer on top of the tofu mixture. Add the basil leaves on top of the tomatoes, then add the onion slices over that. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes, until tart looks lightly browned and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool in pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then chill tart for at least four hours before serving.