25 August 2012

French-Canadian Cheeze


Post III and final in the Cheeze Series

As I walked to the Metro one day this week, I realized why I like short pants.  In a past life, I was a nineteenth-century boy who wore breeches.  Capris, cropped pants, pedal-pushers, Bermuda shorts, whatever you want to call them, I wear those and long socks.  Yep, though I haven’t yet undergone a past-life regression, I’m fairly certain I must’ve been a breeches-wearing boy in another lifetime; how else can I explain this affinity for capris?


I had three years of American history in high school.  The only time period in which Canada figures in the discussion in my experience of U.S. history curriculum is the French and Indian War (maybe sometimes when covering the War of 1812).  Every man wore breeches then.

Poutine is a Canadian dish.  It was, according to Wikipedia, invented sometime in the mid-twentieth century (don’t you just love how that article is so detailed?).  This article in McClean’s and my affinity for vegan cheeze inspired me to make this dish.

FYI, the traditional version is a love/hate affair: fries, gravy, and cheese curds.  The vegan, gluten-free version falls into the category of “food only Q would make and eat.”




Poutine

Cheeze Sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
8 ounces silken tofu, drained
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon tahini
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
juice of 1 small lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

Cheeze Curds:
16 ounces firm tofu, cut into small rectangles

Fries:
2 medium summer squash, cut into 3-inch rectangles
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Gravy:
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
Remaining marinade for Fries


For the cheeze sauce, blitz all the ingredients in the food processor.  Chill until ready to use.

For the fries, preheat the grill (indoor or outdoor) to high.  Mix the squash pieces, vinegar, tamari, and oil in a large bowl.  Grill until char lines appear on the each side of the squash piece, about 5-7 minutes per side.  Transfer to serving dish when done.

For the gravy, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk the flour and olive oil together and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Stream in the vegetable broth and the rest of the squash marinade and whisk constantly to avoid lumps.  Cook over high heat until thick and bubbling.

To serve: pile squash in plate.  Pour gravy on squash.  Arrange tofu rectangles on squash, and dollop cheeze sauce on top of the whole assemblage.  Bon appetit!


I served it on top of raw collard ribbons.

A closer look: the key to its deliciousness lies in the interface of the gravy and the cheeze sauce, which I know is nontraditional, but hey, tofu doesn't melt.


Nota bene, not when my family lived in Canada, nor on subsequent visits to the country, have I consumed traditional poutine.

Like the chickpea jack raisin biscuits I made later in the week, this recipe walks up to the line between tasty and nasty and stomps all over it.

Matrix time.

Q
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