Sunday, July 21, 2013

Obsessed with Brunch

I, like most other Torontonians am obsessed with brunch. I don't just mean brunch food -- I mean that act of going out or making brunch and enjoying it with people you love. We've had celebration brunch parties, cozy brunches at home with French-press coffee and goodies just purchased at the farmer's market, and we've had intimate, just-you-and-me best-friend hangouts over strong coffee, egg dishes and toast. Brunch is so much more than a meal -- it's a whole social event.

What was one of the first things I did when I got back to Toronto? Have brunch. And what was one of the first meals we had out when we started our Vancouver vacation? Yup. Brunch. We had cleverly arranged our Vancouver trip so that we'd be there at the same time as my best friend, who was there for a conference. And of course we had to have brunch. And there was no question as to where. We had both agreed when doing Vancouver brunch research, that it had to be the Wallflower, recommended by a very trusted source. And of course it was perfect. Nice, strong coffee, a friendly, chatty server, lots of good conversation and of course, awesome food.

My partner loves classic bacon-egg-hash-brown breakfasts (this one had the addition of a waffle!), and my best friend is partial to eggs Benedict (spiked with smoked salmon and cream cheese), but me, I'm usually a granola and yogurt kind of bruncher. Granola being absent from the menu, I tried their tofu hash special -- potatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach and tofu, all messed up together into the one happy plate, served with toast. It was great, and I didn't miss granola at all.

After the heat wave passed and I could safely turn my oven on here in Toronto, I set about to re-create this beautiful breakfast hash -- for dinner!  The way I made it was super simple -- roast the veggies, quickly saute the tofu and spinach with a hit of ginger, and mix it all together. Yum! I don't have mushrooms in my version because I forgot to pick them up, but they would be lovely -- just slice and saute with the spinach and tofu. I also used beautiful purple potatoes which made this meal that much more special. Oh, and you can totally skip the ginger if that's not your thing, and use garlic instead.

Super simple, delicious, and memory-invoking .. ;) You could totally make this for brunch .. TODAY!

Tofu Veggie Hash
inspired by the Wallflower

I'm not putting measurements on this recipe, because, really, it's up to you when you're making hash. The dish that I was served at Wallflower was heavy on potatoes, and while I love potatoes, I chose to balance it out more when I made it at home. But it's totally up to you. Go for it!

red, yellow and orange peppers, cut into strips
new potatoes, cut into eighths (depending on the size of your potato .. make them the same size as the peppers)
onion, sliced thinly
firm tofu (mine was flavoured with herbs)
baby spinach
mushrooms, sliced thinly
ginger, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
chopped herbs, whatever you like -- I used green and red basil and parsley from my garden

1. First -- roast the veggies. Put the peppers, potatoes and onions in a large bowl. Add a sprinkling of salt, a few good grinds of pepper and about a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Toss to coat. Lay the veggies out on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on broil. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, tossing every once in a while.

2. When the veggies are almost done, heat some olive oil in pan. Add the ginger and cook for a minute or so, until it gets really fragrant and toasty. Add the tofu and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the tofu starts to get a bit brown.

3. Add the spinach and toss to wilt. You may need a little splash of water to help it. Once the spinach is wilted, you're done!

4. Take some of your roasted veggies and mix them in a bowl with the tofu, spinach and mushrooms. Sprinkle liberally with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

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