Somehow I’ve managed to be vegan for eight years (this month!) without learning the fine art of using silken tofu to make things “creamy.” I am a terrible person and also Vegenaise.
But this! Toni made a cilantro “cream” sauce when I was home in February which is a serious game-changer, and I say this as a devoted Condimentarian.
However, I don’t have cilantro growing on my window sill — but I DO have basil, and behold. A sauce is born.
- 1 package of silken tofu
- 1-2 pinches of salt
- 1 small squish of agave (though I’ve made it without, and it’s fine.)
- 1-2 lemons worth of juice
- 1-2 dabs of minced garlic
- 1-2 glugs of olive oil
- As much basil as you can cram in there.
Things I Have Used it On:
- Loaf of ciabatta, torn into hunks and dipped
- As dressing for a shredded carrot salad
- As sauce to make rice and beans and greens “faux curry.”
- And I can totally see it as dressing for a veggie pasta salad.
It’s not my recipe concept — and it’s not even a recipe, because measuring is for people who like to do dishes and really, you know how much garlic etc. you like in a thing — but daggone.
It’s good. Make lots. Keep it in the fridge for as long as your willpower allows.
Recipes that call for 3/4 cup of an ingredient? You’re wildly overestimating my desire for accuracy versus the “not happening” of dirtying TWO measuring cups for ONE ingredient.
Guess and go. And add orange zest, nutmeg, and craisins. Because, please. There is no substitute for cookies.
What I forgot to mention, was that the recipe is also toddler vetted and approved.
Aaand that I had the cake for breakfast.
(But boy, my effort is nothing compared to the rest of the amazing submissions they got. GOBBLE.)
From the DELIGHTFUL Zoe:
It’s mostly semi-homemade, standard bird-free fare, with one very notable exception. The roasted carrots with sweet tahini dressing — OMC[arrots.]
I had seconds (thirds) of them INSTEAD of the pumpkin cran-cherry layer cake I made for dessert.
What happens when you select online, and confirm via phone that you’ll have a vegan meal on an almost nine-hour flight, and then you get on board and they’re all, “I’m sorry, what now?”
"Oh, shoot. Well the fruit salad has chicken on it — you could just pick it off?"
"How about the salmon?"
"I’ve got pasta, it only has cheese on it."
"Oh! We have some cream of asparagus soup!"
No exaggerations were harmed in the making of this post. Oh, dear. They tried. They even brought back a plate of macaroni and cheese from First Class. On a real plate.
"Now is it diet, or convictions?" I’m not sure what you’re alluding to asking ma’am, but I’m convicted that that salmon was at one time alive and dreaming of its final resting place of a divided plastic tray.
I’m not going to name airlines, the crew did everything they could to fix a message that didn’t make it to the manifest. As one of them brought me the seventh apple of the flight, she added helpfully, “Well, I’m just not sure how many people do this vegan thing. You should probably just plan on bringing your own food.”
Next time I get asked if it’s “convictions,” I’m going to say, “Yes ma’am. I just really hate plants that much.”
Let us not start with the interesting shift from “Don’t Drown Your Food" to 30 years later when the reverse becomes appealing menu copy — no wait, DO let us start there.
"Chicken nuggets, drowning in two kinds of cheese with ranch and bacon. Rescue them."
This is a Jack in the Box “Munchie Meal” (TM, obviously. You’ll want to OWN this madness) that is not served until 9 p.m., and comes with two kinds of fries, and TWO WHOLE TACOS as a side. Helpfully, the beverage calories are not included in the nutrition info, which takes the calorie count to 1,832 and 102 grams of fat. That you are apparently ingesting AFTER 9 p.m.
I must have missed the part where we all have grave-yard shift strenuous construction jobs. No?
Just fast track to the grave yard part then.
It’s funny that “reasonable facsimile” seems like a meaningful phrase until you’re actually trying to send a fax. And then it’s all, “First, WHY and second, tell 1993 to come get its sorcery.”
I suppose the same thought can be applied to knock-off food stuffs — Fat Free Cream Cheese, and the like. Though there are two schools of consumption: eating the designer imposter because you really want the real deal; and eating the cheater because you really don’t.
Which is to say, long form, think piece, tl;dr — there exists vegan pâté, and it’s not too bad. Does eating it mean that I’m really hankering for some squidged up chicken endocrine system? No. All allusions to the inspiration are unfortunate at best.
There also exists vegan haggis. Yep. Tried that too. I’ve never had the original, so like its spreadable cousin up there, it’s a savory foodstuff unto itself. It’s also quite nice in a stuffed mushroom, though never, ever, Google Image Search the inspiration, never. Ever.
As a whole, however, I tend to stay away from vegan replacements that too closely mimic; if I wanted meat, I’d eat it. But in seven years, I’ve found you can veg-substitute just about anything — except cottage cheese and tuna fish*.
I recently saw a “tuna salad” recipe that was compelling until I saw it was based on soaked almonds run through a food processor. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m also intrigued by the food science that is crafting vegan artisan “cheeses,” but again, I refer to Sweet Brown’s theory of time management.
The nut of debate about the Replacements is whether you’re a “cheating in your heart” veg*n if you eat faux. Eh. Probably not, though the more it replicates, the more processed (the same is true for the Fat Free Frankensteins of the world.) Plus, the more it apes, the more you have to think about the original.
That doesn’t happen with a hill of beans.
*Right. I suppose and steak. You know what I mean.
Herbivosaurus Yes, a recipe:
Slivered kale and diced zucchini and chopped tomatoes and shredded basil and tossed almonds;
With rosemary oil and lemon juice and salt and pepper. Rawr.
It’s perishable, they said.
It’s refrigerate only, they said.
What about some nice Nasoya*, they said.
You have to accept all risks of shipment, they said.
In the name of science, I needed to consume a significant enough sample to ensure quality of the rest of the jar. Science says like a quarter of a cup. If this is my last blog post, you’ll know where to start the investigation.
*No. Nosoya. Grossoya.
I found a pusher. A source. An answer to my pleas.
Thanks to a steady stream of runners, this is the first time in Frankie’s whole life that we haven’t had Vegenaise in the fridge. I don’t want to count, but I think it’s like a jar a month. Nevertheless! I’m out. And the supply wagon don’t show up again until July.
Somebody who will ship! I assumed all risks of course, because anything worth having is worth the risk — and talk about customer service? They answered all my emails with actual answers typed by an actual human. I felt so close to them I almost made a “But Nasoya tastes like tears and hand lotion” joke.
I didn’t. I try to keep my condiment-ordering professional.
It’s my Vegisevenersary! What started as a 30-day challenge in 2006, is long enough ago to have an itch. It’s also long enough ago that it’s worth updating those facts and figures that answer the big question:
WHY ARE YOU VEGAN?
- “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million,” — Ecologist David Pimentel, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- The amount of fossil fuel energy required to make ONE quarter-pound hamburger could power a microwave for 18 minutes.
- Not just vegetarian — vegan. Egg yolks cause the same heart-attack-causing intestinal bacteria as red meat.
- Up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States go to healthy food animals. There is “a definitive link between the routine, non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics in food animal production and the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans.” — USDA, FDA, CDC.
- Eliminating the consumption of meat is the best dietary method of reducing your water consumption footprint. Not to mention, “Red meat such as beef and lamb is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as common vegetables and grains.”
- Factory farms employ fewer people than similarly-sized conventional livestock production facilities, buy feed and supplies from outside the local area, and tank property values.
- It reduces national healthcare costs. Cancer. Cholesterol. Obesity. Diabetes. “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” — ADA
Feeding more people, keeping them healthier, allowing antibiotics to work when we actually need them, saving jobs, air, water, money…
That’s better than berry good. That’s terrific.