My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

BBQ Pomegranate Tofu & Disaster Muffins

I hope everyone had a great long weekend as I know we did. My 3-year old nephew slept over for the first time and it was a success. We made individual pizzas and fruit pancakes and I think he had more fun eating all the toppings than he did eating the final products. Kids! Ryan also let him play his guitar (it's one of my nephew's favorite activities at our house) and he actually got a blister on his little finger from playing so much!

Monday night we went to the Jurassic 5 concert at First Ave. and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to! We even got to get autographs afterwards and the group members were so friendly and down to earth. It was great!

On to the food…I pulled out Vegan with a Vengeance for some tofu ideas as I was on my own for dinner. I settled with BBQ Pomegranate Tofu. It was so easy to make and I had almost all the ingredients. I didn’t have pomegranate molasses, but added splash of pomegranate-cherry juice to regular molasses.

Here’s the tofu after baking:

I only made half the recipe thinking I would have it for dinner and then lunch the next day and make something else with the rest of the tofu. Well, my lunch went to Ryan, so I made this all over again the next day. Luckily, I had extra BBQ sauce so I didn’t have to do that one again.

Here’s the final product with a side salad with homemade French dressing and steamed beans:

Did you notice the purple beans from our crop share in the picture? They are purple when raw and green when cooked. I dropped them in boiling water for about 15 seconds and they stayed purple for a little while, but eventually turned green. How neat!

I also attempted to make a carrot cake with the abundance of carrots we have. I don’t usually get excited by cakes, so I was going to make it into cupcakes. After a lot of hard work, and an hour of baking, I ended up with this:

Almost burnt on the outside and icky gooey on the inside and they didn't rise at all! I was so bummed because I made a TON of cupcakes and now the whole house smelled gross. I am not sure what happened, but it was a disaster. Boo! I'm sure I'll have better luck next time.

Oh yeah...almost forgot! We were tagged by Carrie and Jeff and on the way to the concert, we came up with our top 5 foods folks must try. Although there's a lot that I want to put on this list, we narrowed it down to 5. Here's our list:

1.) Crepes in Paris
-We were lucky enough to spend some time in Paris and enjoy many, many crepes. We love them.

2.) Cannoli from Mike's Pastry in Boston
-Over the past few years, I've made quite a few trips to Boston and I always have to make the trek to the North End for ricotta cannoli from Mike's. There's always a line, but well worth the wait. The hardest part is not eating them while flying home to Minneapolis! *Ok, I just checked their website and found they ship anywhere in the U.S. (dangerous for me!)

3.) Ice Wine
-The first time we had ice wine was in the Canadian Niagra Falls wine region a few years ago and it was fantastic! It truly is a treat and we order from Magnotta winery in Canada from time to time. However, lucky us, our favorite winery, Wollersheim has started making ice wine and we get first dibs each time it's offered! They are getting a lot of attention for this effort and have been successful.

4.) Hemp Sprouted Bread from French Meadow Bakery
-French Meadow is a vegetarian friendly restaurant and bakery in Minneapolis and a frequent lunch spot for myself and friends. They make a Hemp Bread that is awesome. It's chock full of all kinds of seeds and is great with peanut butter (or other nut butters)

5.) Bubble Tea
-Bubble Tea with pearls or jellies is a must! We first tried this in Toronto at 368 Cafe (I think that's the name) and we were hooked! When we got back home, we found Bobalicious and made frequent trips there only for it to close down. Now we frequent The Tea Garden which has locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Although we like all flavors, our all time favorites would be Lychee and Taro.

There you go - our top 5. I'm not going to tag anyone else, but if you weren't tagged, feel free to share your top 5 in the comments. I always love hearing about new things :)


  1. What do ya put on your crepes?? Bubble tea is incredible...'specially when you are done with the tea and driving home tagging cars blowgun style with the tappioca balls ;)

  2. That tofu looks wonderful! VwaV has yet to let me down with the tofu recipes, I’ll have to give this one a try. Sorry about the baking disaster, I’ve been having falfel disaters in my kitchen lately. It’s frustrating, not to mention I hate wasting food.

    I’ve never heard of ice wine. How is it different from other wines? Boba tea, ew! I think the stuff is vile but apparently a lot of people like it. You’d be in heaven here in Koratown, there’s boba on every corner.

    Any veg friendly recommendations for the Cottage Grove area? I’ll be back home for my sister’s wedding next month and it would be great to have someplace to go sooth my champagne hangover the morning after the reception.

  3. Jeff - I like mine with honey. Ryan likes his with Nutella and banana. You are so bad with spitting the pearls at others :( shame, shame!

    Shannon - I just read about your falafel disaster - bummer, that looks just icky.

    Looks like I have some more sucessful tofu ventures in front of me as your pics looked great!

    As far as somewhere in Cottage Grove...can't say I've ever been there. But, you should really make the trip up to French Meadow (LynLake area of Minneapolis near Uptown) to cure your hangover. They do tofu scrambles and vegan corn pancakes (blueberry, I think).
    It's tough out here in the burbs!

    Ice wine - it's a very sweet white wine and made from frozen pressed grapes. It's sweeter, smoother, and richer than other white or dessert wines. More of a sipper (plus, it's so dang expensive, you best sip it!)


  4. Hmmm, never heard of ice wine but it sounds interesting. If I ever see it I'll definitely give it a try. I can't agree with you on the bubble tea. The tapioca pearls/jellies is just the wrong texture for me. I've tried it a couple of times and just can't get into it.

    I'm sad to hear about your cupcakes. It's such a bummer when food doesn't turn out. I hate wasting it too. I hope you have better success next time.


  5. aw sounds like your oven was on a little too hot maybe? or not enough baking powder? that stinks. but the concert looks great and cool top 5


  6. I have had that hemp bread... I agree. Delish!
    Bakehouse Dori

  7. Back in 1999 I went to a Fiona Apple Concert in Rochester, NY, and Jurassic 5 opened for her...they were great!

    Thanks for the comments about the chickpea dish. It was pretty good. I love your pictures here, Crystal! I posted about ROCKSTAR and Polenta today! :)

  8. An open tube? Not sure...I know I had it cooked and in the frig waiting to be eaten for 4 days to reheat and it was fine...hummm...not sure. I had an unopened tube that had a sell by date of Aug 3th on there and it was fine...but always refrigerated, too. Not sure. Dreena or Dori might be more help in that department. If you find out let me know. Which kind do you buy? I buy Frida's. The Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato is what I used and it's my fave of their line.


  9. I wish we won the lottery!! In response to your questions on my blog, we had really high paying jobs (although not enjoyable) in California and some real estate that we sold and made a lot of money on. In order to "retire" we had to move somewhere cheaper (which is how we wound up in Nahsville). We've reinvested the money we made in CA and live off income from rental properties here in TN and other investment income. Eventually I'll probably get a little part time job to keep me busy and help me meet new people and give me a little extra cash that we can use to play with. Once we finish the addition on our house, Marty is going to operate a little business from our home that will also give him a little extra cash. We are very careful with our spending and live a frugal and simple life.

    Our food processor is a cheap model I picked up at Target. I think it's made by GE and costs under $40. It was my first food processor and before I spent a lot of money on one I wanted to make sure this was an appliance I'd use all the time (unfortunately I have other appliances I bought and never use - like a bread maker). But I use this at least 3-4 times a week. I don't especially like the model I have because it's bulky and hard to clean, but it'll get me through until I'm ready to splurge on something better. It has an arm on it whereby the attachment that slices/grates can shoot out the arm and into a salad bowl or something like that. I never use it. The next time I buy one I'll buy one that doesn't have the arm.


  10. Oh, hey, so what about the seitan? You used Isa's recipe? I really wasn't impressed with the flavor but the Sesame Orange Seitan made it much more enjoyable.

    Check out my other post on seitan.

    I think the Hillbilly Housewife's version turned out really well (much better than Isa's) and the ingredients are a lot cheaper too. If you're looking for something "beefier" instead of using Hillbilly's spices, I used part of a packet of meatloaf seasoning.


  11. I've been trying to leave comments here.. and even the anons time out..

    Your nephew sounds like a music genius.. he sounds very dedicated...
    Love your top 5!

    and your tofu looks awesome..

    re: Honey mustard was on salad... and the Kal Stevia is powder.

  12. oh.. and now that I can leave a comment.. that was me, Melody

  13. Ok, it's almost like I'm stalking you now.

    Try this for your beets.


  14. Could your oven temperature have been off? I've had trouble with banana bread recently. The outside is cooking, but the inside is NOT cooking. It's not liquid, but definitely NOT cooked...SO I feel your pain!

  15. Crystal - you are too funny! I leave for a couple hours and I have quite a few comments from you. I do love comments though :) And helpful suggestions!

    Melody - I hear you on the blogger frustration, but I don't think I'll be switching to beta just yet. Sorry!! Thanks for the info on the KAL Stevia. Now I know.

    Claire - maybe my oven was off too, but I think I pinpointed the problem - no baking powder in the recipe, therefore, none in the cupcakes. Never fear, I have a success to post about today :)


  16. Mike's Cannoli is SO good! If there is one thing I miss after going vegan, it's anything cheese/pastry related. I live in the area and used to go there on a regular basis to feed my addiction and keep those folks who manufacture spandex in business.

    Great list! :)

  17. Still have to have tofu with you sometime. Lucky me . . . I've gotten to experience some of your top five. I won't be getting any crepes from Paris any time soon, but I could get down to French Meadow and try their Hemp Bread!!

  18. Hi Crystal and Ryan!

    I just found your blog and I love it. Your photos and food look amazing. I also am drawn to the fact that you live in MN. I grew up in MN and moved to AZ when I was 26. I still visit 2-3 times a year because all my family is there. I am still a die hard Vikings fan as well.

    Can I get the recipe for the pomegranate tofu? I think we would love it, and I have lots of pomegranate molasses to use up. Thanks!


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