It suddenly occurs to me that somewhere in here (probably subconsciously AND on purpose) I failed to mention that I had a MAJOR slip-up some days ago. Yes, that’s right, not only did I blow my vegan choice but I actually bought and consumed fast food, something I haven’t done in almost 2 years. Normally I try to keep some sort of snack like dried fruit, tomato strips, sandwich, etc. in my backpack to head off the temptation for anything “fast” but I was out and about unexpectedly, failed to pack a snack AND let myself get overly hungry. To be fair, I immediately confessed my sins to the other vegan, who in a fit of supportive sensitivity, gasped, fell backward, clasped her chest like she was having some sort of cardiac episode and stage-whispered my name in the same sort of way that your mother might upon discovering you’ve sold small handicapped children on the black-market. And so now I am reminding myself just exactly what I consumed… NOT a tasty treat that tickles my tastebuds and leaves my tummy singing it’s burger-iffic praises, but 720 calories (the equivalent of 2 large vegan meals), 44 g of fat (a whole days worth on a “recommended” diet but about 4 times what I have on my vegan diet) and 1240 mg of sodium (stroke anyone?). And none of that takes into account the other issues… sugar-filled buns made with white flour, thin-skinned veggies with high pesticide content and possibly contaminated with E Coli or Listeria if the farmer hasn’t been careful, pre-formed meat with high fat content from factory farmed cows fed grain, chemically altered with added “flavoring” and God only knows what else so that all whoppers everywhere taste the same, cheese that isn’t really cheese at all and condiments swimming with fat and sugar. I may as well have brewed up a hot cup of lard, sugar and salt now that I think about it. *Note: I did not pick on the pickles. I never have a bad word to say about pickles. I am, I confess, a pickle supremacist.
NOW, moving forward… having discovered a most tasty vegan tuna salad recipe (which is included in an earlier post and is even better with the addition of even more kelp powder) I am moving on to one of my other most-missed sandwich venues, egg salad. I am going to try a tofu egg salad recipe from online. This looks even simpler than the vegan tuna salad but will require that I search out and find some Turkish Sea Salt to give the salad that familiar sulphury taste that is imparted by the eggs in the egg salad. I’ve also noticed that humus often has a similar taste to the filling in a deviled egg and am wondering if there is a way to combine the 2 recipes to make a really kick ass version. Alas it will have to wait until this evening however so that I can pick up some celery. I also want to look for some no-fat nasoya as I suddenly realized I am out of no fat mayo and have packed up my food processor. Poor planning on my part . (I never did find the turkish black salt… my search continues. I tried mixing the hummus into my egg salad recipe and that didn’t cut it, I wasn’t impressed. I still far prefer the mock tuna salad, as do the non-vegans I cook for who were impressed with how tuna-y the mock tuna was.)
Last night I made a cottage pie that was pretty simple. I made a filling of frozen peas, fresh diced carrots, one leftover zucchini (diced), a can of baby limas, a can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes and TVP I soaked in vegetarian “beef” broth. Then I made a gravy using more vegetarian “beef” broth seasoned with onion, garlic, thyme and oregano and thickened with cornstarch. I mixed the filling and the gravy and dumped it into my dutch oven and then topped the whole thing with mashed yukon gold potatoes made with a bit of unsweetened almond milk and sea salt and baked it at 400 degrees for 45 mins covered and another 15 uncovered. Served with a side of halved brussel sprouts sauteed with some Pele’s Fire Hawaiian seasoning, we ended up eating the ENTIRE thing.
Okay, back to moving…
We have signed the paperwork for our new house and all that remains is to deliver the rent check and start moving in. Now, instead of trying to can during the summer in a 3rd floor condo with southern exposure and very little ventilation we have a gorgeous little wood framed house with a small but open and bright kitchen, a wood-paneled breakfast nook with built-in cookbook shelves and corner cupboards, and plenty of gardening space in the yard. Now, I have to admit that I won’t be canning knotweed there this year as the knotweed we picked is not suitable for canning now. The condo we are in is being sold by our landlord and in a frenzied attempt to straighten up before another realtor showed up we stashed the bags of knotweed and I forgot about them until it was too late. I feel terrible about the waste but I suppose the community garden is happy we thinned put the pesky “invasive” at least. On a happier note, I am already gardening at the new house (Thank you to A and pbA) and I took over some boysenberry plants, raspberry, scarlet runner beans, and garlic chives. I also did some more clearing of the blackberry brambles and clipped the neighbors overhanging trees to give the rhubarb growing along the side of the garage more sun and air. Well, that and me better access to it without the danger of slashing myself to ribbons on the blackberry thorns. Right now I look like I shaved my legs with a steak knife. I’m hoping to pick up a huckleberry plant, lilac bush, jasmine and perhaps an antique coral colored rose in memory of my nana, who loved roses. So we move in on Saturday the 28th and I can hardly wait!
Thankfully, I’ve had no slip-ups with meat or cheese since the last one I posted. It’s so much easier when I simply don’t have the meat or dairy in the house at all. We stopped by Trader Joe’s last night to pick up some staples… unsweetened vanilla almond milk for coffee, apricots, super firm tofu, veggies, vegan cookies called “Cafe Twists”, and some apricot Pyramid Ale to help me pack. One of the things I like about TJ’s is that you can click on the vegan logo on their product page and it will give you a list of every vegan product in the store listed by category. VERY helpful when making out a shopping list. Right now I’m marinating the super firm tofu in vegan chicken broth with herbs so that I can use it to make a Fresh Tofu and Apricot Tagine that I’m basing on a chicken and apricot tagine recipe I found in this month’s Clean Eating Magazine. The recipe has it being served over regular couscous but I don’t care for the tiny little couscous and am going to use either israeli couscous or quinoa. I also made another batch of my faux tuna salad. I tried making my tofu mayo with extra firm tofu instead of silken, and although the silken gives a much creamier texture (the extra firm looks, if not tastes, a little grainy) the firmer tofu made for a stiffer mayo. I found the silken mayo too runny. I also switched from brown to yellow mustard in the mayo recipe and found the flavor a bit more mild and mayo-like without that undercurrent of horseradish that you get with spicy mustards. If it turns out okay I will post the recipe and a picture tomorrow.
Now that summer is closer (I won’t say arrived yet as I don’t want to jinx anything and start the rain up again) my mouth is
starting to get ready for stone fruits, berries, fresh salads and tomatoes. I also can’t wait to start experimenting with garden produce, especially now that we have more garden space. Our purple kale,
golden beets, rapini and rainbow chard are going like gangbusters already, the miner’s lettuce, squash seeds and chinese mustard not so much. That last one can’t get a start before the bugs nibble all the
leaves off. I suspect snails. I ALWAYS suspect snails. Ok, I admit it, I have snail prejudice. They have slime and for their size, enormous poop and even bigger eggs. And they leaves them everywhere. AACCCKKKK. We also planted celery root for the first time this year and it seems to be doing well. I am waiting on mexican sour gherkins from the nursery and plan on putting in tomato starts soon. We’ve planted 2 catnip starts but I have come to the conclusion that their must be a cougar with a catnip problem roaming the community garden because every time I go to weed/water, the poor catnip is chewed on, snapped off and generally mauled.
I am signing off with a haiku in honor of today’s predicted apocalypse since I won’t be attending our local “end of the world” party:The world is ending I have weapons and canned goods Where are the zombies?
Before I barrel into what happened diet-wise today I should mention I have NOT canned the Japanese Knotweed yet. What was supposed to be a 5 minute trip to sign paperwork with our new landlord turned into a 3 hour conversation over tea followed by a frantic trip to our neighborhood teriyaki place for stir-fried tofu and veggie tempura. So one might say the “fat” ship sailed again today but really, by 8:30 we were ready to gnaw off our own arms from hunger. Even worse, *I* had a part of a cheese sandwich this afternoon. I had thought I would be able to continue having meat and dairy in the house for my catering, and as long as it’s frozen I am fine but let me defrost it, put it in the fridge or cook it and all my willpower heads to Ensenada for a beer and a vacation. So no knotweed, no willpower and the cat won’t speak to me. BUT we did run up the street to our local second-hand shop (we call it the room of requirement and if you get the reference you rock!) to look for a new living room reading chair, which we did not find but we did find 2 older but in very good shape electric space heaters for our son’s new basement room and our new bedroom, or maybe the office downstairs. AND, to make it even better it was 50% off day so we got both heaters and some extra canning jars for about $7.50. (Doing the Snoopy dance today.) I will try to can again tomorrow as the water bath canner is sitting on the stove as we speak giving me it’s most pathetic and neglected look.
Now, onward and forward… I have decided that I simply cannot BEAR another moment without tuna. Mind you, when I was eating tuna I wasn’t eating tuna that often but nonetheless, absence has made the tuna heart grow fonder apparently. So, after tasting an absolutely fantastic vegan tuna substitute at the Wayward Vegan Cafe in the University District (which is across and down the street from Pizza Pi, the site of my first OMG! vegan pizza epiphany) I decided that I had to come up with something. I would have asked the guys at the Wayward for a sort of hint on how they make it but they tend to communicate recipes in what I term an “economy of expression”… i.e. not even Julia Child could figure anything out from what they say. Not that Julia “oh she of the creamery butter” Child would WANT a vegan tuna recipe but you get my meaning. So, here it is, my first attempt at vegan tuna and according to the other vegans in the house it is pretty darn lip smackity.
SpongeBob Fishpants’ Tuna-riffic Vegan Sandwich Spread
1 cup whole brazil nuts
2 (20 oz) cans garbanzo beans
1 tbsp Sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 tbsp brown mustard
2 tbsp nonfat tofu mayonaise
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1. Soak brazil nuts in cool water overnight and then chop finely in a food processor. Don’t process until it’s nut butter though, you want texture in your “tuna”.
2. Rinse and drain garbanzo beans. Mash to desired consistency. Add brazil nuts, relish, mustard, mayo, scallions and celery to the beans and mix thoroughly. If mixture is too thick you can add more mayo or a bit of plant milk (I used plain rice milk).
3. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed for personal taste or let each person season their own sandwich/wrap. Makes aprox. 8 generous servings (You could realistically cut these servings in half and conveniently cut the calories in half as well).
Serving Size 1 serving (89.1 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.9g, 14%
Saturated Fat 0.4g, 2%
Cholesterol 0mg, 0%
Sodium 86mg, 4%
Total Carbohydrates 42.7g, 14%
Dietary Fiber 12.2g, 49%
Vitamin A 2% • Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 7% • Iron 24%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet