Evie’s family was due to arrive in 20 minutes and she was still frantically frying the hoecakes for the fancy Tofu Florentine Benedictus concoction she created to combine all her favorite ingredients. Luckily she’d gotten the kale, tofu, and Hollandaise sauce done the night before and everything just needed to go into the warming tray for brunch. If all went as planned, the buffet table would also be stuffed with fruit salad, muffins, mom’s casserole, and a mixture of innocuous beverages.

The first Sunday of every month was the only time they all got together anymore. She missed her little brother, dad, and uncle Sal. But mom, not so much. Mom was the typical picky mom, always finding the one dust buffalo that Evie didn’t round up. Always complaining that the hoecakes weren’t crisp enough or the coffee too strong.

Listening to the sizzle of the last hoecake, Evie’s mind was a clutter of Mitch, work, family, who was ahead in the World Series, and well, more Mitch. It’s funny how he crept into every thought no matter how mundane.

Five minutes until show time and the door bell rang. They were never early, in fact, they were usually 15 minutes late.

Evie hustled to the door, opening it to find the most shocking vision she’d seen since that girls’ night out last year when the Bettys went to the Three Penny to see that old John Holmes movie.

“Hey babe,” said Mitch, standing in plain view wearing nothing but a fuzzy purple thong and carrying a pink riding crop. “What’s cookin’?”

Hoecakes Florentine

There are 4 components of this hybrid version of vegan eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine:

  1. Hollandaise sauce (can be made ahead and refrigerated)
  2. Kale Florentine (can be made ahead and refrigerated)
  3. Baked tofu (can be made ahead and refrigerated)
  4. Hoecakes

Hollandaise Sauce

There seem to be a zillion vegan Hollandaise sauce recipes on the Internet and none of them were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something that was as authentic as possible but without the cruelty and cholesterol. It had to smell eggy and taste lemony. And I didn’t want to fall back on adding lemon juice to store-bought vegan mayo.

I started with a tried and true creme sauce with zip that Allison from Allison’s Gourmet created for her baked ziti and I started playing with ingredients. It didn’t take much to get something that smelled like deviled eggs, was gooey enough, etc. In fact, it was downright creepy how close it was to eggy goo. Below is my version, for Allison’s original cashew creme, check out her blog.

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black salt (what makes it eggy)
  • 1/8 teaspoon bright yellow dijon mustard
  • pinch cayenne (as much as you want)
  • pinch or two of tumeric, to get the yellow color you want but don’t go overboard, tumeric can be bitter
  • 2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine
  1. If using a high-speed blender like a Blendtec, use the small Twister jar if you have it and blend all ingredients together until very smooth and creamy. If using a normal blender, process the cashews first into as fine a powder as you can get before adding the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add more or less water as needed to get the consistency you want. It should not be stiff enough to form peaks but should not be so thin that it would soak into a slice of bread quickly.

Also, if you’re making this ahead of time and refrigerating it, you’ll likely need to stir in a tad of water to thin it after refrigeration. It does seem to thicken upon chilling.

Kale Florentine

  • 1 HUGE bunch of kale, I measured about 8 very stuffed cups raw chopped, without stems
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • Salt to taste but broth may be plenty
  1. Heat broth and optional garlic over medium high heat until garlic is translucent.
  2. Add kale, stir constantly so that the broth touches all the kale bits. Braise until kale is very soft but still bright green.
  3. If you’re making this ahead to refrigerate, stop cooking right before you think you should. I drained and flash cooled my kale in a shallow open container in the freezer to stop it from cooking, then covered it and moved it to the fridge. It stores for several days and you can add it to almost any dish including soups, sandwiches, beans, etc.

Baked Tofu

I made the recipe below but I didn’t like it. However, The Husband loved it and you know how he is. He hates everything except peanut butter, popcorn, and ice cream. So I’ll share this anyway but realize that I ended up using Trader Joe’s Marinated Savory tofu slices in the photo above. There are also a zillion recipes for baked tofu online and they are all pretty much some variation of the soy sauce thingie. I don’t care for overly salty things but The Husband does. He’s actually asked for this tofu on a salad for his birthday. Can you imagine? I would have asked for more batteries.

  • 1 package tofu, drained, pressed, and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons tamari, low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  1. While the tofu is draining, mix the remaining ingredients well for the marinade.
  2. Lay the tofu slices in a single layer in a shallow covered container and pour the marinade over them.
  3. Lift and separate, get a little marinade on all sides of the tofu. Leave sit for at lease 30 minutes.
  4. Heat oven to 350F. Bake tofu on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  5. Serve immediately or cool and store.

Hoecakes, grandma style

My grandma never made cornbread the way most folks I know make it. She made it the Southern way: no sugar, used grease in the pan, fried it pancake style in a cast iron skillet. Then my grandpa would crumble it into his buttermilk and eat it with a spoon. Grossest thing ever, I thought at the time. When I had sweet cornbread for the first time, it was quite a shock and I still don’t like it. So this recipe is for grandma and it’s a veganized version of a classic style corn cake from the Bob’s Red Mill corn meal package.

  1. In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the corn meal and stir to blend, removing lumps.
  2. Mix soy milk and vinegar together before adding to the corn meal mixture.
  3. Add the flax eggs to the cornmeal. Stir well.
  4. Separately, in a large bowl, use a wire mesh strainer to sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir lightly. Add oil and stir to incorporate. Don’t over stir.
  6. Pour batter onto a hot griddle just as you would make regular pancakes. Flip to brown on both sides and serve.

Assemble the four components while warm, although they do taste great cold.