(first broadcast in March, 2011)
AR: Hello, and welcome to this first broadcast of Lenten Cooking with Father Vasiliy, starring everybody’s favorite Australian-Russian Orthodox priest and five-time winner of the Mr. Australian Lenten Chef contest, Father Vasiliy Vasileivich.
VV: Spacebo. Is good to being here.
AR: I’m your host, Reader Alexiy (“Alexiy the Tsarevich and martyr or passion-bearer, depending on whom you ask”) Riggle. Father, what will be cooking today?
VV: Today we are cooking this tofu-oatmeal loaf.
AR: Sounds delicious.
VV: You are out of mind. Listen, foolish reader. Lenten cooking is not about the delicious. Is about the self-denial. We give up what is good to pursue what is better. We prepare for Great and Holy Pascha. We are not seeking to please taste buds, but to please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
AR: Very true. So, why don’t we get started? We have preheated the oven to 350º Fahrenheit, that’s 175º Celsius, and Father Vasiliy has gotten out his food processor and is tossing things into it. What are you putting in there, Father?
VV: First we put in one chopped medium onion, one clove of this garlic (two cloves if you don’t have to work tomorrow), and 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the tamari soy sauce, and blend until is minced of the fineness. Then we add one tablespoon (15 ml) of the Dijon mustard. Is okay to use this, even though is French, because blessed Mother Maria of Paris lived in France.
AR: Of course.
VV: Next we are putting in 1/2 cup (125 ml) of this ketchup. Or brown sauce or barbecue sauce or whatever it is one is liking here. Also big grind of black pepper or two or three, to taste, and one and one half pounds the silken tofu, or 750 grams, whichever comes first. Add this in the chunks or it will to choke food processor.
AR: With you so far.
VV: I noticed you had not gone anywhere.
AR: Was it tofu in nineteenth century Russia?
VV: No. Please to be quiet, I am trying to have cooking show.
AR: On we go.
VV: Yes. Once this is blended together, we pour into large bowl, and fold in handful of fresh chopped parsley, or these other herbs.
AR: Which other herbs?
VV: Whatever you are to like. How am I to know what herbs you are liking?
AR: Pray continue.
VV: Yes. And also one cup, this is 250 ml, of the rolled oats.
AR: Instant oats?
VV: Instant? Is outrage! What in Orthodoxy is instant? Always this instant, instant, instant. Silly foolish westerner. Is slow-cooking oats. Better to take 1000 years to cook oats than instant.
AR: Of course, Father. Forgive me.
VV: Yes, yes. Now I see it is time for commercial for Monastery Tofu Gardens. You are reading commercial today, Reader Alexiy.
AR: Okay here goes. “Are you wondering what to fix for your family that is not only nutritious but also supports hard-working Orthodox monks in the wilds of coastal Southern California? Why not fix a far-from-delicious tofu-oatmeal loaf using Monastery Tofu Gardens tofu? Made with only the finest soybeans, filtered mountain water, and all the other ingredients that go into tofu, this tofu will be nutritious and properly unpleasant for Lent. Every block of tofu comes embossed with a three-bar cross, and has appropriate prayers printed on the package. Monastery Tofu Gardens. Always nutritious, always bland, always a little bitter.”
VV: Is beautiful. Now we are taking of the loaf pan, and spraying with the cooking spray, and putting goop into pan. Press with the wooden spoon to make flat on top. Then baking in oven for one hour or until is golden like top of church dome.
AR: Like an Onion Dome!
VV: You are harshing my groove.
VV: Cool in pan for 15 minutes then turn out or cut from pan. Is not matter.
AR: And how does it taste?
VV: I do not know. I have never made it before. We will soon find out.
AR: The show isn’t an hour long.
VV: We will eventually find out.
AR: Wait. If you have never made it before, where did you get the recipe?
VV: Stole from website.
VV: Am not saying.
AR: Okay. Well, would you be willing to take some questions from our studio audience?
VV: What studio audience? We are in your kitchen, foolish Reader Alexiy. Only studio audience is large white dog waiting for me to drop something.
AR: Work with me here.
AR: Okay, fine. How about some calls from our radio audience?
VV: You are ever optimist.
AR: Why don’t you give the phone number, Father?
VV: So our number here is 888-555-LENTENCOOKINGWITHFATHERVASILIY.
AR: That’s an awfully long number.
VV: Always “too long, too long” with you. Perhaps chrismation did not take? Let me see baptismal cross.
SFX: Phone ringing.
AR: Oh, listen! Here’s our first caller.
SFX: Phone picking up.
Caller: Oooh, am I on the air with Father Vasiliy?
AR: Yes. The tofu monks aren’t paying us enough to hire a screener. What is your question, please?
Caller: Father, we all know that trans-fats are bad for us, and hydrogenated oils are—
VV: Wait! I know what you are going to be saying! It is question about margarine, is not? Always the margarine! Is okay? Is lenten? Is pravoslavye? I am saying, No! Do not to eat the margarine! It will fool the guardian angels, and they will not stump for you at the tollbooth number 27, concerning eating of butter during Lent. Avoid all appearance of evil! Flee all earthly temptations! Do not eat of the margarine!
Caller: Actually I was going to ask about seasoning my cast-iron skillet. Can I use just plain cooking oil if I don’t want to use shortening?
VV: Oh. Yes, this is okay. Heat pan in oven until warm. Smear all over with oil and bake in low oven for at least 1 hour. Put cookie sheet on rack underneath to catch any of drips. Rinse with water. If necessary, repeat.
Caller: Thank you, Father Vasiliy! You’re the best!
VV: Thank you caller. You are very kind.
AR: Well, that’s all the time we have today! Tune in next week when we have another exciting recipe on Lenten Cooking with Father Vasiliy. Goodbye, Father Vasiliy.
VV: Goodbye, Reader Alexiy.
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