My darling Em was just up at the cabin for a few days with her friends, Eunice and Tina. We had a lovely time cooking for the girls, and, though the weather wasn’t great, they seemed to have a lovely time playing with Eunice’s dog, Stout, in the garden, walking to the lake and the beach, playing pool, watching Harry Potter movies, and, of course, eating and drinking. Poor old Eunice is pregnant and couldn’t imbibe, but Em and Tina made a good dent in the downstairs bar fridge full of bubbly.
One evening, I asked them to try some of my homemade tofu, which I’d cubed, marinated, and baked. As they bit into the little cubes, Tina said, “It tastes like…cheese.”
“It tastes like halloumi!” Em said. She always was a very, ahem, specific child: she would invariably correct me when I failed to call soda crackers, “Premium Plus Crackers,” or I made the cardinal error of not calling digestive cookies, “Hobnob Biscuits.”
It wasn’t exactly the taste, but the saltiness and the texture that reminded her of the hard Greek cheese known as halloumi.
In case you’ve never had this delicious grilled cheese, halloumi “is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled.”
I found Em’s statement intriguing since I’ve been dying to try this recipe for vegan halloumi, and I’ve also been at a bit of a loss about how to take advantage of the particular texture of my homemade tofu, which is completely unlike that of commercially made tofu.
After the girls left, I whipped up a couple of little half-pound batches of tofu, pressed it, set it, pressed it again, and marinated it in the rather forgiving mixture outlined in the onearabvegan.com recipe, which is basically a thick mixture of lemon juice (one lemon), salt (2 tsps), nutritional yeast (1/4 cup), dried mint (two teabagsful), a bit of olive oil (two dashes), and freshly ground pepper (a few turns).
Since Nada gives approximate measurements, I eyeballed the handful of ingredients, rather than measuring them. She calls for both dried mint and fresh mint.
Fresh mint? I have lots!
Dried mint? I had to break open a couple of teabags.
Grilled halloumi should be cooked on a grill and when it’s done, the pieces should have nice deep grill marks, but my homemade tofu is too delicate for that, so I baked it instead. I know, I know…BUT if you recall, it was my baked tofu that Em originally said reminded her of halloumi.
I baked it at 450 for thirty minutes, turned it and baked it for fifteen more.
Sooooo…our dinner this evening is vegan-halloumi-stuffed pitas with a drizzle of cashew-dill dressing, and some chopped grape tomatoes and cucumbers. I also sprinkled the halloumi with fresh mint leaves as recommended by onearabvegan.com. I’m serving the wraps with a side of vegan potato salad.
And check out this cute little baby card I made for Eunice. I had to knit that little sweater on toothpicks–haha!!
And the song of the day is “I’ll Follow You into the Dark”–one of my favourite Deathcab songs: