What to Feed a Vegetarian During a Fried Chicken Feast: Fried Tofu!

Kitchen Tour

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Who cooks and eats here: Patrick Melroy and Courtney Jane Miller
See their kitchen: Patrick and Courtney's Tiny, Sunny Kitchen
Where: Santa Barbara, CA
Rent or Own? Rent

When invited to a fried chicken fete with friends, you know it's going to be fun because of the performance aspect, and because everyone goes crazy over the crispy stuff. As a vegetarian, I go for the atmosphere, the sides, and the general fried fervor that takes hold amongst the lucky diners.

What I didn't expect at this particular fried chicken party was a deliciously fried tofu "drumstick" doused with plenty of hot sauce. This was the good life!

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We showed you Patrick's kitchen earlier this week, and explained how he is an amazing host, feeding friends and family on weekends and cooking for his lady Courtney almost every weeknight. It doesn't matter that the kitchen is small; they've got everything they need to pull out all the stops.

But most importantly, Patrick's got hospitality to spare. He cannot have any guests lacking, so while he conducted his chicken symphony — cooking multiple batches, refreshing drinks, tossing together deviled eggs mid-stream— he also concocted a tofu drumstick for me, the only non-chicken eater present.

The tofu drumstick is a thing of beauty. To make it, Patrick skewered 3-inch pieces of tofu, cut down to resemble a drumstick, then dressed them in egg wash and seasoned panko crumbs, and fried them in their own hot and bubbly skillet of Crisco. They get the same hot sauce treatment as the wings and are delicious as is, just out of the fryer.

I certainly would try this at home for a special summer meal with plenty of salad and cold beer to wash it all down. Plus, I felt like a princess.

And for all you meat-lovers out there, let it be known, if you make one effort for your veg friend, it is a thoughtful gesture that won't go unnoticed.

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Patrick & Courtney's Sunny Santa Barbara Kitchen

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)