May project: The Veganing

Introduction

As our closest friends and family know already, Justin & I made the transition to full-on veganism at the first of the year. Over the past four months, we’ve tried all kinds of different products, recipes, and vegetables; some were excellent, but many either fell flat, or just weren’t very good.

I think we both agree that while there are a number of really great vegan products on the market, they’re either too expensive, too elusive, or too packaged to make it worth our time to procure them.  Many products try too hard to be something that they simply are not. I have not yet found a commercially produced cheese that is worth my time. I have, however, found some artisinal, hand-crafted, fermented nut-based “cheeses” that are DEFINITELY worth my time. But these “cheeses” are not found in the supermarkets; they are found in the kitchens of friends and occasionally on the shelves of independent or farmers’ markets.

What this basically means for us is that we are reasonably purist in our food. We’re not looking to eat things-that-look-like-things-Americans-eat (e.g. hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, etc.); instead, we might make our “smoky tofu strips” which have a flavor and texture similar to bacon (but is definitely not bacon). If we actually wanted any of these “American” foods, we’d simply have them.

We intend to document our adjusted vegan experience for the month of May to show that vegan food is actually just food, and it is not at all necessary to “productify” with products aiming to mimic a diet we don’t support. While on occasion, it might be fun to try something new on the market, mostly it is not at all a requirement of good home-cooking. You can be the judge of it on your own by trying and adapting our recipes to your own… You’ll see!

May 1:

Breakfast:

Breakfast beans, seasoned tofu, & buckwheat groat burrito with black coffee.

breakfast burrtio 1breakfast burrito 2Our breakfast beans are slow cooked with molasses, brown sugar, poblano & Jalapeno peppers. We make a batch about once a week and eat them almost every day for breakfast.  Justin has been seasoning our tofu with an “egg season” that he makes with black salt and onion powder. The groats are left unsalted; all is wrapped in a warmed tortilla, and often topped with cayenne pepper sauce.

Full recipes will be at the bottom of each post, today and forward.

vegantreatsLunch:

Today also happened to be Worcester’s annual VegFest, so we made the trek with our friends Esther & Lorna up north. Justin & I shared a Vietnamese “pork” and “liver pate” sandwich with jalapenos, cilantro, and cucumbers. I thought the pate was pretty good, but I wished they wouldn’t have named it with meat names because that made me not want it. I could have done without the “pork,” and would have very much enjoyed more cilantro and vegetables. Still: very good.

We didn’t get any pictures of our lunch in general, but we did snap a shot of the Vegan Treats table which was clearly the star of the show, evidenced by its impressive 2-hour line.  I didn’t take my good camera, so you’ll have to just suffer through a rushed composition, but hey: it is a photo nonetheless. We bought a Whoopie Pie, a coconut-topped, custard-filled doughnut, a Swiss chocolate and almond doughnut pretzel, and a nutty sticky bun.  We ate the doughnut immediately: I thought the dough was overbeaten (tough), but the custard filling was amazing. We had the pretzel after supper in the car. it was very good. We also had a taste of Esther’s crazy chocolate brownie topped with some kind of heavy chocolate cream and pretzel bits: very, very good, especially if you like chocolate a lot, which I don’t, but could see how people would stand two hours in line for it if they did.

whoopieWe shared the Whoopie Pie with tea later this evening: also pretty good. The cake was dense, the creme was light; I could probably recreate it at home if I wanted.

We’re saving the sticky bun for tomorrow.

Super Supper:

We stopped in at the Loving Hut for supper, and I had the Kung Pao dish. I was expecting some kind of tofu, but it came with some other kind of textured “meat-like” business that was pretty good. It could have been seitan, or maybe even tempeh.. I have actually no idea what it was. It was fair, but I definitely would have made it with fried tofu at home.  Justin, though, had this amazing nori-wrapped, very-compressed tofu in this extremely delicious sauce that tasted like it was primarily hoisen and brown sugar. Even after he was all finished, I was scraping his bowl for remnants of that delicious brown sauce.

Prep for the Week:

salsaHere it is, now: Sunday night. We have to prep stuff up for the week, and as I write this blog post, Justin is slaving like a dog in the room next to me. Earlier, we made this avocado-mango salad which I like to eat on Wasa crackers or tortilla chips.

While writing this post, I heard Justin chopping, mixing, blending like a madman: lettuce, carrots, apples, peppers, and our favorite salad dressing: Dr. McDougall’s Asian Dijon.  We’ve got a number of delicious things on order for the week, by the sounds of it. There was talk of making another Banh Mi sandwich, too… so stay tuned!

 

Avocado-Mango Salad:
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 mango
  • 1 jalapeno (optional, but definitely recommended)
  • cilantro to taste
  • red onion to taste
  • salt to taste
  • fresh lime or lemon juice to taste
Breakfast Beans

Originally from this recipe, I have modified to the following to reduce on sugar and fat.

  • 1 pound dried small white beans or navy beans, cooked for at least one hour on the stove, or soaked overnight.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon broth powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon “pepper surprise”  or ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Put all ingredients in a crockpot at bedtime, and cook on “high” overnight. Yields probably 12 servings, but I’m not really sure. It lasts us about 6 days.

Egg Seasoning for Tofu
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Blend all ingredients in blender until it is a fine powder. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons or so of this mix on about 1/3 of a block of tofu and lightly fry.  1/3 block tofu is 2 servings. Justin always makes the “eggs,” and he says that this seasoning lasts him about a month, and we eat tofu “eggs” 3-4 times a week.

Okay, that’s it for tonight.  We’ll check in tomorrow!

k&j


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