Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MoFo Mystery Picture the Thirteenth + Sunnyside hazelnut-squash-tofu balls

Why you should always, always, wash your vegetables

Well, my friends, besides the rather gruesome mystery picture of today, I had the day off work and was inspired by the gloomy, cloudy, rainy weather of fall to create my own farewell to the sun.  I was also inspired by the flavour palette of Jeni's recently posted Mini carrot and squash roasts from Heathen Vegan.  Jeni's doing an all-orange-all-the-time Mofo theme, and this particular combination of hazelnuts, squash, and mushrooms wouldn't leave my feverish brain (your brain might be a little feverish too after looking at 25 takes of the thing at the top of this post).

So in a spirit of sane and sunny cheer, I give you:

Sunnyside hazelnut-squash-tofu balls
makes 24 balls

1/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted and ground
1/4 cup jasmine rice
1 tsp peanut or canola oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 oz/50g white mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup mashed orange squash (I used kabocha; buttercup or butternut or pumpkin would also be good)
4 oz/100g extra-firm tofu
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Start by putting the hazelnuts on to roast, in a single layer, in a 300F oven, for about 20 minutes, until the skins begin to crack:

Place them in a cloth or sturdy paper towel and rub them vigorously against one another until the skins loosen and (mostly) come off.  A few pieces of skin left is okay:

Perfection never was my middle name...

While the hazelnuts are roasting, put the rice on to cook in a scant 1/2 cup water.  You can also start the onions and mushrooms sweating in the oil:

I used white shimeji mushrooms: click for a cute closeup!

When the rice and onion-and-mushroom mix are done, remove from heat and let cool a little bit.  Put the hazelnuts into a food processor and grind to a coarse, sandlike texture.  Add the squash, tofu, tahini, lemon juice, and about 2 tablespoons of water and pulse to get a more or less pastelike consistency.  Not too pastelike--a little texture is good.

Now turn it out into a bowl, and add all the rest of the ingredients:

Mix well, and taste for salt and spices.  Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and place on a non-stick cookie sheet or a silicon mat:

Are these cheery and sweet, or what?

Brush with a little oil, and bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 20 minutes, turning them every five minutes or so so that they brown as evenly as possible.

There's probably some room for improvement--maybe to incorporate corn or cornmeal?--but I loved these!

Take a look:

Served here with long beans, the rest of the shimeji mushrooms fried up with garlic, cold beets, and some Roma tomatoes I roasted with the tofu balls.  The sauce on the beans is just tofu yogurt (see sidebar for the recipe) with dill, cayenne, and garlic.  I'm back to work tomorrow, but at least I go satisfied!

And for those of you dying to know what yesterday's mystery picture was, here's the key.  It was, as many of you suspected, tea--black tea to be exact:


  1. Looks like a beet, or rutabaga. I'm no good at this at all, but I can see that the tofu balls look delicious.

  2. Thanks for the mention Zoa - your balls look delicious (snarf snarf)
    And I actually know what todays picture's beetroot but dang it, Andrea beet me to it.

  3. Okay, I'm bombing on these lately but today that is the top of a beet (sans greens). I know I am right!!!! Beets are the best. Delicious tops, delicious bottoms.
    BTW, your food, as always, is beautiful.

  4. Jeni,
    Just beetween us, if I guessed a beet, it's probably something else.

  5. Ooh, you all are getting so good at this game!