Monday, July 2, 2012

Liquid smoke, tofu bacon, smoky roast almonds - and a thank you

Sometimes, things happen that make life (and people) seem really, truly, genuinely nice. Things that restore my faith in the world and which make the days seem brighter.

I was fortunate enough to have this experience a couple of weeks ago, when Mel from Veganise This! emailed and offered to send me some liquid smoke. As you may recall, I omitted liquid smoke when I made her tofu bacon last month, as it seems to Just Not Exist in Perth.

I had figured that liquid smoke may cross my path one day, somewhere in the future, and had resigned myself to not experiencing it until that time. Thus, I was really touched by, and grateful for, Mel's offer.

When her package arrived, I got to experience that gratitude all over again. You see, not only did Mel send liquid smoke, she also enclosed smoked paprika, chile chipotle powder, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. 



It felt like Christmas, only better, by virtue of it being a surprise.

The first thing I wanted to do was make tofu bacon again, this time with liquid smoke. I followed Mel's recipe exactly, with the exception of marinating the tofu for only 2 hours, as I put this together after work. Johanna has noted that shorter marinating times work for her and it does help if you decide you want tofu bacon on short notice.


I also grilled the tofu this time, in contrast to the pan-based stir frying I did previously. Some pieces were a bit chunkier than they might have been, and I found they were crisper if cut thinner (as Mel notes and recommends in her original post), so I will pay more attention to my slicing in future!

I wanted to really taste the tofu, so I used the slices to make wraps, along with grilled red pepper (coated in the leftover tofu bacon marinade) and baby spinach leaves.




The flavours really were smoky. There is no other way to describe them! Deliciously, amazingly smoky. I kept taking extra bites of the tofu with a sort of wonderment. It truly is a wonderful way to prepare tofu.

The grilling method worked well for this meal, but I am looking forward to trying the stir fry approach again too. I felt like that gave slightly crisper results (although that may also reflect the difference in the size of the tofu pieces) and I think I will have fun adding this to all manner of meals.

First, though, I want to talk about another way to use liquid smoke.


Smoky roast almonds.

These were made with a serious nod to the tofu bacon marinade ingredients, with the coating including maple syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast.

I rarely eat roast nuts of any form, and have never made my own. However, on the basis of this one batch, I am now a convert.

The flavours are intricate, deep, and with plenty of smokiness. This is offset with a little sweetness and a little saltiness, giving an amazing umami  experience. They made my taste buds glow with happiness. 


I recommend them. Wholeheartedly.

Smoky roast almonds
Inspired by Mel's tofu bacon
Makes 1 cup
Easy, delicious, and guarranteed to leave your kitchen smelling smoky - in a good way


Ingredients
1 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp nutritional yeast

Method
Preheat your oven to 175'C and line an oven tray with baking paper.

Combine the marinade ingredients (maple syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast) in a medium bowl, and whisk with a fork to combine.

Add the almonds to the bowl and toss to coat. Then pour the almonds and extra marinade on to the baking tray. Use a spoon to spread the almonds out.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, checking at the 10 minute and 20 minute marks. The nuts will be golden when done, and the marinade will have set.


Mel, thank you again for lifting my day (and week, and month) with your generosity, and for allowing me to experience the wonder of liquid smoke!


What has made your kitchen sing recently? 
And have you tried liquid smoke - any other suggestions for how I should try it out?

38 comments:

  1. That was very kind of Mel - and I am so pleased to hear how much you enjoy the smoky flavours! They were a revelation to me when I discovered them.

    I love your smoked almonds - I love buying smoked almonds - though they are dangerously moreish - which have a dusty coating. These would be a lovely alternative.

    I did a bowl of veg with chickpeas a few months back that seemed quite similar to the tofu bacon flavours - http://gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/beetroot-chickpea-tomato-and-kale-bowl.html - might be a good inspiration for thinking about meals with liquid smoke. I use liquid smoke and smoked paprika interchangably sometimes - there is not much I wouldn't add them to - soups, vegan cheese sauce, dips, baked beans, burgers.

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    1. I remember that bowl fondly - and on looking back at it now I have even more appreciation for the ingredient list. The marinade sounds beautiful and I can see liquid smoke being a good match for the mustard flavours too. As you note, perhaps it would be a good match for almost anything!

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  2. Liquid smoke can definitely work wonders. I add it to my crock pot pulled pork to give it that extra oomph.

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    1. Oomph is the right word :) It just lifts things!

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  3. You know I have never used liquid smoke. After reading this post, I definitely want to pick it up. That tofu looks fabulous..as do those almonds! :)

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    1. Thanks Kristen - and I definitely to recommend picking some liquid smoke up if you see it!

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  4. wow, i'm so lame i never even heard of liquid smoke!! but have to say i'm glad it made u sing and it looks like u put it to some AWESOME tasty use!! :)

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    1. Thank you Cait :) And I wouldn't worry, I hadn't heard of it last year either!

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  5. It really was my pleasure. :D When I read about how much you enjoyed the tofu bacon without liquid smoke and were having trouble tracking it down, I just had to send some over! And as I was already sending a package I thought of a few other goodies along those lines that may be difficult to locate in Perth and fun for you to experiment with.

    I'm so happy that you tried another batch of tofu bacon and that you extended this flavour combination onto almonds. What a fantastic idea, I'll definitely be giving this a try! Ever since Johanna posted about tofu bacon, I have hijacked her tip and have been adding the leftover marinade to soups, refried beans, etc. Marinade leftovers would be perfect for your almonds too.

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    1. You are very kind :) And using the leftover marinade is a wonderful idea - I imagine just tossing that onto almonds would give very similar results and save on ingredients! I'll be adding it to everything I can think of before long.

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  6. I'm so intrigued by this liquid smoke!!! I'm going to have to look out for it.

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    1. Definitely do Brydie, it is a wonderful thing :-)

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  7. Ihave NOT used liquid smoke but your recipes are making me have second thoughts! ;) What a great package to find in the mail,it IS the little things isn't it?

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    1. It really is Teri, they make a world of difference.

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  8. How lovely! It's a nice surprise when someone sends you a present like that. I love the sound of the almonds - I am sure they'd be scrumptious.

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    1. The fact I have eaten them all already may attest to how good I found them!

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  9. I have never used liquid smoke! I love getting packages in the mail, especially from friends. :) Tofu looks amazing!

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  10. I'm not really sure how I've lived this long without liquid smoke! It sounds like something I'd adore. How sweet that Mel sent you all those goodies. :)

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    1. It really was! And I hope you enjoy liquid smoke if / when you find it. It's one of those ingredients that makes cooking really fun!

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  11. I haven't seen liquid smoke but I'm really intrigued so I must look out for it. I also haven't tried tofu bacon so that's something else on my 'must try' list. And I love the look of these almonds. I read through the ingredients - they must have great flavour xx

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    1. Thank you Charlie, I was amazed at how deep the flavours were for the almonds. I hope you have fun experimenting with liquid smoke when it reaches your kitchen, it and the tofu bacon are wonderful indeed.

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  12. I have never used liquid smoke before, but those almonds look good. Maybe I need to track some down!

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  13. Mr. A loves Liquid Smoke! He raves about it to me all the time.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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    1. Mr. A knows a good thing when he sees it! :D

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  14. what a fun package to receive! those almonds look great!

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    1. Thank you - and it was a very fun package indeed.

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  15. Oh lucky lucky girl! I can't find liquid smoke round my parts either, boo. I bet it gives those almonds an incredible depth of flavour - I LOVE anything smoky.... smoked tofu is a fav :)

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    1. It really does do amazing things to the almonds. Smoked tofu is pretty amazing too, and in fact I'm starting to think smoked anything is!

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  16. Hey, that's the same brand of liquid smoke we brought home from the US last year. Just a different flavour of smoke, I think. Really handy pantry item to have!

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    1. Ah, how funny! And now nice to think I have some liquid smoke from Melbourne that hails to the US :)

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  17. I can't even imagine how they make such a thing but I'm intrigued. It will be on my keep an eye out list!

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    1. Definitely keep an eye out Lisa!

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  18. I haven't been able to find liquid smoke either! I use smoked paprika instead. Very keen to try it out though!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only WA person to struggle. I'd feel a bit badly if it's in a supermarket I just haven't visited yet! Surely one day it will make it here...

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