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Baklava Palmiers

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When the earthquake shook my house last week I was in my second floor office sitting at my desk.  As the house swayed for several long seconds, my first thought was that it was me doing the swaying and not the ground and the house.  So, from a certain perspective, finding out it was actually an earthquake was kind of a relief.

Still, I was kind of shaken (no pun intended) by the experience, and a nice soothing cup of tea, served with something sweet (but quick and easy to make), seemed in order.
I’d been wanting to make sweet palmiers after making some savory palmiers as an appetizer a few weeks ago.  Since I developed a recipe for Shortcut Baklava in my soon-to-be-released new book, Quick-Fix Vegan, I though the idea of baklava palmiers might just work.  And they sure did!
Here’s the recipe:
Baklava Palmiers
The flavor of baklava in an easy and elegant cookie that required only 5 ingredients.  Recipe by Robin Robertson © 2011.
1 cup ground pistachios or walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
Ground cinnamon, to taste
1 sheet frozen vegan puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons agave nectar, or more
In a bowl, combing the ground nuts, sugar, and as much cinnamon as you like in your baklava (from a pinch to 1/2 teaspoon). Mix to combine and set aside.
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface (you can roll it out between sheets of parchment paper if you like) into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle, trimming the edges if needed so you have straight sides.
Spread the nut mixture evenly on top of the pastry surface to cover, spreading it out to the edges, then drizzle with a thin drizzle of agave, 1 to 2 tablespoons. (Do not allow the agave to “pool” anywhere — it should be drizzled in a super-fine stream.)
Cut the pastry rectangle in half width-wise to create two long narrow rectangles (10 x 7-inches).  Use your fingers to carefully roll one short end of a pastry rectangle towards the center and then roll the opposite end towards the center so that they meet in the center and look like two scrolls.  Press gently to make sure the rolls stick together. Repeat with the second strip of pastry, then wrap the pastry rolls separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours. 
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a sharp knife to slice one of the pastry rolls crosswise into 12 pieces and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. (I only bake one roll at a time so they’re baked fresh each time — but you can bake them both, if you prefer.)
Bake until the pastry is nicely browned, about 12 minutes.  If they start to brown too much on the bottom after about 10 minutes, flip them for the last 2 minutes or longer, if needed.  When the palmiers come out of the oven, you can drizzle them with more agave, if desired.  Transfer the palmiers to a plate and serve warm.
Other News:
THANK YOU!! Many thanks to all who “Liked” for my Walnut Crusted Artichokes on One Green Planet.  Your votes have catapulted this recipe to the top 10 most popular vegan recipes on One Green Planet.  As such, the artichoke recipe is now posted on the Huffington Post — and you all made it happen.  I really appreciate your support! You can see my recipe here on Huffington Post.
BOGO SALE:  Over at Vegan Heritage Press, there is a great sale going on.  You can now buy two copies of Vegan Unplugged for the price of one, at an already great price of $11.95 plus s/h.  That’s like paying only $6.50 per book!  If you or anyone you know lost power during hurricane Irene, then you need Vegan Unplugged.  And with this great sale, you can buy one for yourself and give the other copy to someone you care about.

“More, Please” Spicy Tofu

When my omni sister and brother-in-law visited us recently, the talk turned to food, as it invariably does when anyone visits!  My sister mentioned her favorite shrimp dish that she enjoys at a restaurant, and when she told me what was in the simple but delicious sauce, I knew I had to veganize it.

The traditional version of the sauce calls for mayo, Thai chili sauce, and a few drops of Sriracha.  My adaptation uses Vegenaise (although I’ve also tried it with vegan sour cream and it’s good that way too.  I use the same amount of Thai chili sauce as the original, but instead of just a few drops of Sriracha (what’s the point in that?), I use an entire tablespoon, sometimes more. (Of course, if you’re not a spice-hound like me, you’ll want to use less.) I’ve also tried it with a small amount of rice vinegar to add an extra dimension of flavor.
In my version, extra-firm tofu replaces the shrimp.  I also prepared some roasted broccoli in the same way and it was fabulous, too.  The original is served as an appetizer but I serve mine as the main course over brown rice.
We found the flavor so addictively good, it made us want some more, hence the name: “More, Please” Spicy Tofu.

“More, Please” Spicy Tofu

1/2 cup Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar (optional)
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1 x 2-inch pieces
1/3 cup cornstarch
Neutral vegetable oil, for frying
Chopped scallions and or fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the Vegenaise, chili sauce, sriracha, and vinegar, if using. Set aside.
Dredge the tofu in the cornstarch. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet. Add the tofu and cook until lightly golden brown, turning once.
Transfer the tofu to the bowl with the sauce and toss gently to coat. Top with chopped scallions or cilantro. Serve hot.

In other news:  The Blooming Platter Cookbook is now available!!  Congratulations to Betsy DiJulio and Vegan Heritage Press on this fabulous new cookbook that is “A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.”  I heard a rumor that Vegan Heritage Press will be hosting another cookbook giveaway soon, with this terrific new cookbook as the prize!  Be sure to “Like” Vegan Heritage Press on Facebook and follow the VHP blog so you don’t miss out!