Monday, September 1, 2014

MoFo Scramble! w/Wilted Arugula & Tempeh Bacon

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It's Vegan MoFo, Day 1!

And now, let's start this off right with a little tofu scramble.

My favorite tofu scramble recipe has always been the one in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's time-honored Vegan with a Vengeance, and probably always will be.

The version I created today was inspired in part by Isa's classic recipe, and also by chooseveg.org's 10 Meatless Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes, my own laziness, it's-too-hot-to-cook, I-can't-wait-an-hour-to-eat, these-are-the-ingredients-I-have, and sometimes-I-can't-bare-to-measure-things. Sometimes, I can't help myself but add a few things here and there, so I won't call this recipe very quick and easy, but it is fairly so.

One little note: The fennel seed is really the magic in this recipe, so if you're going to skip a spice, don't skip that one!



M o F o  S c r a m b l e  
w /  W i l t e d  A r u g u l a   &  T e m p e h  B a c o n

Ingredients
onion, 1/2, diced
garlic, 1 clove, minced
firm tofu, 1 block
tempeh bacon, 3 strips (I used Tofurkey's Smokey Maple Bacon Strips)
nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup or less
1 lemon
fresh arugula, 2 generous handfuls
curry powder
tumeric
cumin
fennel seeds
sea salt & pepper
  1. Saute garlic and onions in vegetable oil (or whatever oil you have).
  2. Prepare the spice mixture in a small bowl. Use equal parts curry powder and tumeric, and only a little cumin. Use maybe a teaspoon of fennel seeds, first crushing them in between your fingers. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add spice mix to pan. Saute for another minute or two. 
  4. Crumble tofu into pan. You can kind of squeeze it through your fists, which is a nice little trick for two reasons: it's the next best thing to pressing the tofu beforehand (which I didn't feel like doing) and it serves to add water to the pan, which you need to do anyway to deglaze it. 
  5. Squeeze half of the lemon over the pan. 
  6. Add the nutritional yeast, then the tempeh bacon (I broke the strips into small squares). 
  7. Continue to saute until mix is clumpy, deglazing pan with splashes of water as needed. 
  8. Squeeze other half of lemon over the pan.
  9. Stir in the arugula and let it wilt before serving. 
I like my tofu scramble with a cup (or three) of strong, French-pressed coffee. Enjoy!

P.S. I missed the deadline to sign up for the Vegan MoFo RSS feed / blogroll, so if you enjoy my posts, please add me to your feed

Here's my feed url:

 http://chooseyourownfoodchain.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

You can also find me on Instagram (http://instagram.com/megvegmeg). 

Vegan MoFo Is in September This Year!!?? | Well, I'm Doin' It Anyway!

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I'm disappointed to have missed the sign-up deadline for Vegan MoFo. This is the second year in a row that I didn't find out until it was too late! The first year that I did it, which was November 2010, I found out by pure luck. Anyone know how to get on their email list or have tips on how to find out in advance?

That said, I'm going to MoFo this year anyway! You won't find me on the official blogroll, because of said missed deadline, so please add me to your feed, follow me, and stop back often! Leave comments! Share the love! I'll come visit you, too!

Happy MoFo'ing,

foodchain

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vegan Chicken Salad, Recipe #2

Here's another take on tempeh-based vegan "chicken" salad. It requires a little more shopping/ingredients, and a little more effort, compared to my Vegan Chicken Salad For Really Lazy People recipe ...but it's totally worth it!

~

V e g a n  C h i c k e n  S a l a d , 

R e c i p e # 2


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Ingredients:

To Saute:
1/2 package tempeh, crumbled
approx. 2 TB peanut oil

To Chop
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
approx. 1/3 cup pickles, finely diced (I used 3 kosher dill spears)
optional: chop up some of the leaves from the celery stalks

To Mix
4 TB Vegenaise
1 TB (scant) yellow mustard
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (heaping) tsp dried dill
1 to 2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
turmeric powder, enough to give it color
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black or tricolor pepper, to taste (I used tricolor)

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Method:
Whisk together the "to mix" ingredients in a large bowl. Add the "to chop" ingredients to the mixture. Stir thoroughly to coat all pieces. 

Heat a small portion of the peanut oil and saute mustard seeds until they go "pop." Be careful not to burn! Drain excess oil and set seeds aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the now-empty pan and heat. Slowly crumble tempeh into pan. Aim to crumble into small bits. Saute until all bits are a light, golden-brown.

Combine the sauteed tempeh and mustard seeds with the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Serving Ideas and Tips:
If you let this mixture sit in your fridge for a while before eating, the flavors will really combine nicely. I found that the lemon juice was slightly overpowering immediately after I'd made this, but once I let it sit for a day or so in the fridge, the flavors had melded together beautifully, and the amount of lemon was perfect. If you plan on eating this right away, perhaps experiment with the amount of lemon you use. 

Use for a sandwich with red onion, tomato, and lettuce; as a spread for toast points or baked pita; as a dip for crunchy vegetables (large leaves of romaine are excellent for scooping and rolling); in a flour wrap; or anything else you can think of! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lemon Miso Salad Dressing

What I love about this salad dressing is its simplicity and that it's mega-lemon-y. And, so long as you already have these ingredients, it's SO EASY to make. You know how I love cooking endeavors that start with minimal effort and end with astronomical flavor (aka, lazy cooking!). 

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L e m o n  M i s o  S a l a d  D r e s s i n g 



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Ingredients
3 tsp yellow miso
juice of half a large lemon
2 TB tahini
1 TB mild-flavored oil, such as sunflower seed oil
1 TB rice vinegar (or less)
1 TB agave (or more)
1 TB Bragg's Amino Liquids (or use tamari)
ground ginger, a pinch
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk. I also threw in some of the pulp from my lemon, for extra flavor bursts and added texture.

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Serving Ideas
Serve by tossing with your favorite green salad. I enjoyed mine tossed with a simple mix of romaine and grape tomatoes, topped with black beans.




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vegan Chicken Salad For Really Lazy People

The dog days of summer are starting here in LA. Honestly, I couldn't be more ready for them. Hot weather, DO. YOUR. THING. Why am I so excited about the insane heat, you ask? Well, I tend to run cold; I despise wearing long-sleeved shirts; and I weirdly like the challenge that comes with the heat - it's sort of like taking a Bikram yoga class...all the time.

(Actually, I've taken two Bikram yoga classes in my life, and, well, I'm not really sure those are for me. ;) I will say, though, that I would give Bikram another chance.)



Anyway, I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooo lazy with cooking lately. I want to chop, like, nothing. Ingredient list longer than 5 items? No, thanks. Prep time is longer than...wait, there's PREP time? Pass. 

There has been a benefit to my laziness of late, however. That is, I'm so averse to even getting in my car to drive to the grocery store that I'm not spending extra cash on ingredients! So, I'm thrifty, too. Win-win.

And by the way, rather than "lazy," I prefer the phrase "energetically economical."

Okay no I don't.

Right, so without further ado...here is the recipe:

V e g a n  C h i c k e n  S a l a d  

F o r   

R e a l l y  L a z y  P e o p l e ! 


Alright, look, here's a forewarning: Given that this recipe was inspired by my laziness, it relies heavily on dried spices, which I just happen to collect in my kitchen cupboard. You can never go wrong with buying whatever dried spice is on sale, I say, but, I digress. Anyway, if you don't have all the dried spices, it's really okay. Don't knock yourself (and your wallet) out over it - just skip! I wrote viable substitutions where possible.

Ingredients:
Stuff you have to saute
1/2 a package (4 oz) of tempeh (I use Trader Joe's, which comes in an 8 oz pack)
2 TB peanut oil (or any oil that doesn't burn when you saute with it)

Stuff you have to chop
1/3 cup pickles, diced (use whatever kind you feel like - I used 3 Kosher sandwich slices)
1/3 cup onion, diced (use any kind - I used white because it was already in my fridge)

Stuff you have to mix
3 TB vegan mayo (I love the Follow Your Heart brand, called "Vegenaise" and I used the original)
1 TB (or less) mustard (I used the standard yellow mustard)
dried tumeric (enough to give it color)
dried dill (maybe like 1 tsp)
sea salt, to taste 
black pepper, to taste (I used the tricolor peppercorn from Trader Joe's)
fresh lemon juice (squeeze maybe 1 or 2 tsps' worth)
optional: some mustard seed (use more mustard if you don't have mustard seeds)
optional: a lot of celery seed (see, there was mold on my *real* celery, so I doubled up on celery seed - if you don't have celery seed, you can substitute 1/3 cup celery, diced)
totally optional: black sesame seeds, a couple sprinkles' worth (I only used this to see what it'd look like...totally skippable)

What To Do:
Heat the peanut oil slightly. Slowly crumble the tempeh into the pan and saute until most sides are golden-ish.

Mix all other ingredients together, adding the pickles and onion last. Add the tempeh. Stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve so that flavors combine.

Serving idea: This tastes great in a sandwich! Pictured is mine: vegan chicken salad on toasted sourdough bread, with big leafy romaine, chopped grape tomatoes, and sliced avocado. Mmmm-MMM!!!

Serving idea #2: Double the recipe if you want to make it for your family/roommates/etc. or if you want it to last a couple of days. I specifically made the recipe small because I am only cooking for moi!

Monday, April 21, 2014

10 of Your Favorite Splurge Foods Are Totally Vegan

Check it out, folks! Ten of our favorites are already vegan! 

Can you believe it? 

1. Spaghetti.  This beloved household staple is typically vegan. Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

- say it with me -

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pas -

taaaaa...aaand just like that, you have dinner. Boil water, add pasta, drain, add sauce, heat more...DONE.

Ninety-five percent of the time, the pasta you have to boil in water contains no eggs (unlike the already-cooked stuff you buy in the refrigerator section), and the vast majority of jarred red sauces contain no milk or cheese ingredients (unless, of course, you buy the one that says "cheese" in the title!).

2. French bread. Buy a whole baton of it. Yep, totally vegan. Want something familiar and delicious in which to dip said bread? Try the totally-incidentally-vegan combo of olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Potato chips.

4. Frozen French fries. They're are almost always vegan (potatoes, oil, and salt tend to be the main ingredients). Many times (really, most of the time), too, you can get French fries at a restaurant that just happen to be vegan. What would make them not vegan? If they're fried in animal lard, which is the case at SOME but definitely NOT ALL restaurants. Ask next time if you're curious!

5. Tortilla chips and salsa. There are some exceptions, such as, if you're eating at a very authentic Mexican restaurant, sometimes the tortilla chips are cooked in lard. Kind of same things as the French fries. You buy the bagged kind from the grocery store - almost always vegan (ingredients: corn, oil, salt). You get 'em out at a restaurant? Depends, so ask questions. Politely. Please.

6. Soft pretzels. The plain kind. Once in a while, they randomly throw milk in there, which is odd to me. I'm a native Philadelphian, and the REAL soft pretzels are akin to fresh French baguette (see above - ingredients: wheat, salt, maybe oil - simple). You buy them at a little street cart, which only enhances their effect. They're chewy, moist, decadent, and perfect for dipping into mustard, which leads me to...

7. Mustard. Okay, okay, I know it's not a super fancy or splurgy treat, but it goes with a lot of things that are treats, and...if we're talkin' your standard American yellow mustard, or your standard spicy Mustard (German or otherwise), it's almost always just a combo of mustard seed, vinegar, and salt. Now, honey mustard is a different story, as honey comes from bees, and technically what comes from an animal = not vegan. A lot of people just learning about veganism forget about the bees, but it's true, veganism accounts for the bees, too.

8. Water ice, aka Italian ice. Another Philadelphia favorite. Note: I'm only talking about the water/Italian ice, and not the water/Italian ice mixed with frozen custard. The latter = not vegan.

9. Chocolate nonpareils. I know. I was once just as amazed when I first found this out. And apparently "nonpareil," as I just learned, means "having no equal." Imagine that. Makes total sense, right?

10. Pickled pretty much anything. Pickled cucumbers (aka anything referred to as "pickles" in America, including Kosher Dill, Butter Pickles, Sandwich Pickles, etc. - although careful with the fried pickles, which although I agree are LOVE in a cripsy shell, you really do have to check on those to see if they're vegan), pickled carrots, Sour Kraut, Kombucha (just seein' if you were paying attention, lolz), peppers, relish (you still with me??), olives, tapenade, radishes, plums... the list goes on. And on. Especially if you live in a pickle-friendly country, such as Japan, where a major component of every traditional meal involves something pickled.


What about you? Discover some of your favorites that just happen to already be vegan? Share your example(s) in the comments!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On Dogs, Psychology, & Dog Psychology: foodchain on the Radio!

Adelaide sits on the therapy couch, recalling the events of her puppyhood.
"And how does that make you feel, Adelaide?"
"Hungry."

What does love mean in canine?

Last Wednesday, I was the special guest on Tanya Yarbrough's radio show, That Dog Training Show.

Don't worry if you missed it live! It's archived, so it's available for download any time! 

If you'd like to listen to this 30 minute show in which I discuss with Tanya my experience with human psychology; my experience with being a human companion to a dog (i.e., a "dog owner"); and my discovery of the similarities and differences between human psychology and dog psychology, then you should definitely check it out. If that link doesn't work, then go to the list of episodes and clink on the link for "Episode 06: 03/12/2014."

I speak from my personal experience, as well as my experience as a clinical psychologist (that's not licensed yet, but that's besides the point). 

Tanya is a Los Angeles-based, "mixed methods" dog trainer who's not only very well-informed (she's got a background in animal science plus tons of experience) but also SUPER hilarious. I highly recommend you listen to some of her other episodes while you're at it!