Why You Should Try Vegetarianism...at Least for One Day

So my month of Vegetarianism is winding down, and on the eve of eating a REALLY juicy steak for lunch tomorrow, I wanted to throw a few thoughts out there.

1. I challenge everyone to try this. Maybe it's not a month, but a week or a day or even just a meal--however long you choose, know that there are some delicious options out there without meat, without dairy, or without both!

2. Eat more produce! I learned how to cook eggplant, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh this month. I think moving forward I'm going to continue pushing myself to expand what I cook for myself.

3. Vegetarianism is EXPENSIVE! I really tried to push myself at the beginning of the month, but after about 10 days I realized selecting these amazing recipes with 15 ingredients each was just not going to work. Produce is expensive, especially if you buy a lot of it. By the last week or so I started to figure out how to push what I've bought into two or three meals, but it's hard when you're also trying to experiment with new meals.

So am I going to stay a vegetarian? No. But it didn't kill me when I was, and I might try it again soon.


Finally...a proper Stiry Fry

So I think I'm finally getting the hang of this tofu thing. First off, I pressed it on Sunday, sliced it into cubes, and froze back the pieces until today. The idea was to throw the cubes on the skillet and watch them sizzle...but alas, my cast iron does not get hot enough (plus I think I was using the wrong oils) so all I got instead was browned tofu that didn't break up into pieces. But it tasted good!

I set the tofu aside and then flash fried squash, zucchini (finally used the last of it!) onions, and peas. A.k.a. the leftover veggie plate from Friday night's party. Toward the end, I tossed in soy sauce, ground ginger, a little turmeric (although i don't think that did much) and a few slices of pickled ginger with some of its sauce. (Thinking back to David and Megan's comments earlier). Refraining from adding tomato sauce of any kind, the meal was simple and still quite tasty. I served it with more quinoa, although rice would have been more traditional.

Can you believe I have ONE day left?!


Tempeh Tacos

So I tried tempeh once already, and thought I'd see how it works without falling on the Asian crutch of soy sauce and stir fry. This time, I sliced the tempeh length-wise and sauteed in some oil, lime juice, and chili powder. Adding some avocado, onions, and tomatoes to this and it was a really, really good taco.

How does it compare to actual meat? It stands up pretty well, and took about a fourth of time! The chili powder changed the taste, so it didn't seem Asian at all, instead I thought I was eating ground beef that had been packed together into sausage-like rolls...pretty intriguing.

The Vegan BBQ

So my house had a going-away BBQ for my roommate Becky...and it was surprisingly easy to abstain for the meat. Dairy (damn you Veggie Plate with Ranch Dressing!) was another story, but I survived with the help of a few well-made vegan dips, and a great portobello mushroom..recipes below!


Castillo Family Salsa Recipe
by Jim Holmes (he has perfect David's grandmother's recipe!)
  • 1 large fresh tomato
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 1 hot red chili pepper
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • 1cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 28oz can whole tomatoes undrained (Jim uses stewed--I think that makes the salsa sweeter)
  • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
  • Salt to taste
This recipe is pretty simple--I think a food processor will give you a slightly chunkier salsa than a blender, but either works well. One Rule:  Don't be afraid of the jalapenos---I've never had a problem with the salsa being spicy---and that is with ALL the seeds from the jalapenos. This time i added in the hot chili, and still, relatively little spice. If you are concerned about it getting too spicy, you can reserve some of the seeds and add them in gradually at the end, testing for spice.

Guacamole Dip
A Teresa Original
  • 3 Avocados (you can easily expand this if you have a larger shindig)
  • 2 T. cilantro
  • 1/4 c. White Onion
  • Juice from One Line
  • 2 spoonfuls of Salsa recipe above (or substitute 1/2 cup. chopped tomatoes and 1 clove of garlic)
Fresh ingredients are key, and make all the difference between the store-bought dip and this deliciousness. This one is easy, mix all the ingredients together and watch it be devoured by your guests! It's a great compliment with the salsa recipe above!

Grilled Portobellos with Garlic and Rosemary
By Megan
A Super easy recipe! We scooped out the underside of the mushroom, thinly sliced some garlic and placed that on top with some fresh rosemary. Right before I added it to the grill, we drizzled olive oil on top and then threw it on for about 5 minutes until the mushroom was starting to get soft.


The Morning After...

So there was a party last night at my place, and yet I have to post this now. I have pretty much gotten behind this vegan thing. Last night Megan showed me how to make a portobello cap burger, and it was tasty (photos to come later). But this morning is the first time all month I have truely faced my biggest test:

The oh-so-delicious dairy-laiden pancake breakfast. Not all of us can live next to great vegan-friendly brunch locales like Asylum (Voted the best Vegan Brunch in DC). I might have to move...


Guerrilla Cooking: Vegan

So in case you haven't caught on, this week I have NOT wanted to cook. It's a cycle--usually at the end of the month my creative mind ceases producing anything when it comes to cooking and all I want to do is eat out. Sadly, that does not fit in with this whole 'try to be vegan' thing. I mean i COULD spend the week eating nothing but couscous and pasta, but where's the fun in that?

Tonight I'm also installing my first in what will be a series of Guerrilla recipes. Which is when I don't feel like following a recipe, or  (like tonight) when I don't have all the ingredients I need and just kind of wing it. Prol not the best way to try TEMPEH and QUINOA for the first time, but what can I say? I live dangerously off the books.

And now for the live blogging....

6:57. Quinoa is on the stove. I mixed part of Libby's recipe for a Quinoa salad with the instructions on the back of the box---finely dicing one clove garlic, with a quarter of a scallion (hey, I needed to use it up!), sauteing both in olive oil, and then adding two cups water with one cup quinoa. Bring to a boil, down to a simmer, then cover for 15.

7. I have tempeh, zucchini, and squash. I feel I should saute them, but I'm not sure if I need to prep the tempeh in anyway. I really should have learned how to cook the stuff before heating the skillet, but what can you do?

7:06. Success! Found this great blog post to help out. Must start chopping the tempeh...

7:09. And I know what I'm doing! Chop tempeh into small cubes, slice the squash and zucchini, and saute all in oil at a high heat. (Tempeh first, veggies second) Still not sure what I'll do about the sauce yet....

7:20. Oops! Nearly forgot to flip the tempeh...looks tasty...

7:26. K. Tempeh is nice a browned on the outsides, so I've removed it from the skillet and set it on top of the quinoa. Squash and Zucchini are  now sauteing with some soy sauce, a little salt, and a little miren (why the hell not?)

7:29. It certainly smells Asian-y in my kitchen right now. Wine break.

7:38. So in the time-honored Teresa Tradition, I threw everything into one pot:
Time to taste test...

7:41. COMPLETE. ...and edible!

Time: 43 minutes
Ingredients: 4 main (plus garlic/scallions/water/oil)
Outcome: This is actually quite tasty! Quinoa is like rice or couscous, but more delicate and airier. The squash and zucchini are really good at adding substance to an otherwise plain dish. The tempeh is nice and crunchy--I can totally see using this again as a random chicken substitute for anytime you are just 'hey I need to add something chunky that tastes filling.' I'll definitely try this again, adding it to more curry or sauce-type dishes. I bet it would taste great as a substitute for pasta with meat sauce! My at-the-last-moment sauce of soy and miren is decent, but I think I could have done a lot more with flavor.
Grade: B, edging toward a B+ because this was the first time cooking two MAJOR ingredients.

Vegan: Day 1

Things That Are Vegan:
  • Cherrios (no milk)
  • Creamy Corn and Roasted Poblano Soup (yeah I know! I thought the Creamy would give it away, but who knew, veggies can be delicious without all the fat that's in cream)
  • Trail Mix
  • Couscous
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • New Pornographers Concert (you can watch an amazing band AND not eat dairy!)
Things That Are Not Vegan:


A Vegan Shopping List

Thank you to everyone who send in recipes! It's Tuesday, which means I'm officially Vegan tomorrow for seven days. Going into my last week, I think I've finally found the will power to not care about the lack of meat. I've solved my protein problem with more beans and trail mix in my diet, and found some great recipes with eggplant.

One of my main goals for this month was to cook with more fresh produce, and so I'm really looking forward to this last week. No more relying on the Nacho recipe of my youth for a quick dinner. (Although I'm pretty sure I'm finishing off my mozzarella tonight with one last batch!) Because I'm not really in a cooking mood right now, recipe planning is tough, but I gave it a go below.

Shopping List for the week:
-Avocado--for lunchtime, with garlic salt on toast.
-Bananas--for breakfast
-Kale--Because the Crispy Kale recipe just looks so tasty!

Recipes to Make This Week:

From Christina:
  • Dips: Hummus/ salsa/guacamole/bean dip served with pita/tortilla chips. For the bean dip: Mix variety of beans (kidney, black, pinto) with minced garlic and onions, and add spices like chili powder, paprika, whatever)
  • Crispy kale Roast stemmed kale with your choice of oil--I love toasted sesame--and a little salt and garlic, or whatever you like. It gets crispy and amazing. Also great if you roast with coconut flakes and tofu cubes and then add to brown rice for an amazing meal.
  • Tostadas: bake corn tortillas for about 6-8 minutes in oven until getting crispy and then top with mushed beans, salsa, avocado, tomatoes, onions, whatever, and then top with shredded cabbage and carrots
  • Snack: The combination of banana chips with almonds is amazing. Awesome snack.
  • Sweet potato fries=cut into fry size, lightly cover in olive oil and then lightly cover in garlic and cayenne pepper (or chili powder if you're a wus) and then bake at 400 for like 45 minutes, turning over every so often. And then broil for the last 5 minutes or so if you like them kinda burnt and crispy. Mmm!
  • And lastly, salsa makes everything awesome. Pineapple chipotle salsa, mango lime salsa, spicy salsas, etc.
  • Christina also sent me a few more recipes via Word Documents, including a delicious-sounding African Sweet Potato Soup. I'm going to make that in the future, for sure. 

Chickpea Bajane—VEGAN from Libby
A quinoa recipe! Yet another ingredient (and protein!) I want to try
Lentil Loaf—VEGAN
from Summer
This one looks tasty..
Crispy Tofu
from Quin P.
This was a great summary of how to stir-fry tofu

Vegitable Tian
from Carrie
Carrie sent me this, via another food blog, Anne Strawberry

Mediterranean Garbanzo Salad—VEGAN
from Heather


A Vegetarian on a Road Trip

I went to a wedding on Saturday, which meant I had a three-hour drive down Saturday morning, and a five hour drive back on Sunday afternoon. Both times I experienced typical lunch-time hunger, and then realized with growing dread (and growing stomach growlings) that there was nothing on the side of the road for me to eat.

I was actually really sad about this because my coworker Cindy had told me about this great deli in Virginia Beach, The Jewish Mother, that I was planning to eat lunch at until I realized if I walked into a deli and ordered....bread? Potato salad? I thought I would be completely out of luck in a beach town as far as meatless meals goes, until I saw my hotel was located in the Chain Restaurant Captial. P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen...tons of city-friendly chains with several vegetarian options. I ended up grabbing a Veggie Curry at P.F. Changs—tasty, and with tofu!

Coming home was a little harder. I left around 11, and had eaten a bagel before getting on the road, so I didn't want to grab anything immediately. Once on the highway, I realized the typical highway fast food places just wouldn't cut it. I kept driving past each exit, hoping for something that would have some proper vegetarian dishes, but without luck. Burgers. Burgers. Chicken. Burgers.

Nearly five hours later, I was home, and starving. Next time I'm bringing trail mix.


I've found my Protein!

So all week, I've been munching on this tasty trail mix my mom sent up in a care package, and today I realized my fears of not enough protein are moot. Nuts have protein! A lot of protein! Add some wasabi peas to the mix, and you've got yourself a snack.

That is all.


Pot Roasted Eggplant

So this is my second try at Eggplant. This time I tried something a little heartier, and it turned out great. The mushy eggplant works great in a curry, and I served it with rice with a vino verde. Fresh parsley is key. There was a little spice to the dish, and I think I could have gone hotter. I did add in chickpeas because I had some extras, but they worked great in the dish.

Calling all Vegan Recipes!

Believe it or not, I'm nearly to my final week, a.k.a. POWER VEGAN WEEK! It's going to start on the 23rd and end on the 30th---so I need as many dairy free recipes I can get my hands on to fill the void that is veganism.

Please comment with any meals you really like, or other suggestions on how to forget how delicious mozzarella cheese. OR words of encouragement to get me through this.


Side Steps

So, as I reported earlier this week, I've been pretty hungry lately. At first I thought it was a vitamin deficiency, maybe not enough protein, but the other solution could be that I just wasn't eating enough. In that, normally, I make myself some giant, one-pot of deliciousness that I have no problem eating seconds, thirds, or the entire thing in one sitting.

Now, because I'm pushing myself to try new recipes, I am having trouble distinguishing between a one-pot meal, and something that requires more substance, or sides. The Eggplant Salad I made last week was delicious, but I should have added a grain or something to add to it. The same with the White Gazpacho. It's tricky teaching myself that not all recipes I make are a one-and-done type meal, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Tonight I made the shaved asparagus pizza (mozzarella is delicious, and I will SEVERELY hate life next week when I'm Vegan...) and then followed that with a Curried Cauliflower and Green Bean Salad with Lemon Yogurt. Both were FANTASTIC. First time all month I'd give myself an A for execution.

Some tips:
  • I bought a single serving cup of Greek Yogurt, it was the perfect amount for the yogurt sauce.
  • My Pizza Dough recipe is my usual: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1 cup warm water, 2 t. yeast, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. oil. Rise for 30 minutes. I like it because the whole wheat and corn meal gives it a heartier texture, and isn't as bready as other doughs.


Week 2 Recap

Hunger Issues 
This past week worked out okay, but more than before I felt hungry ALL the time. At first I thought it was because I wasn't eating enough, but then I had a theory I might not be getting enough protein, and the hunger was just there because of that. I've planned to make sure I'm getting more protein this week—poached eggs in the morning and more beans in my meals—so we'll see how I feel next week. If I continue to have this constant hunger, I might try a whey protein shake Liz recommended.

Menu Planning:
Shaved Asparagus Pizza, tonight
Curried Cauliflower, tomorrow
Moroccan Eggplant and Cumin-Spiced Tomatoes, Tuesday
--plus I still have some tofu to use up at some point....

Random Meals from the Week
Morning Star Farm's Black Bean Burger. Even the meat eaters thought these were tasty!

Trader Joe's Paneer Tikka Marsala with Spinach Basmanti Rice. This was a staple long before this month. The meal is only $2.19 at Trader Joes, and if you cook it in the oven it doesn't even feel like a frozen dinner.

Here are a few recipes people sent me I haven't had a chance to try:
Portabello Mushrooms with Mediterranean Stuffing
From Libby

Cold Pasta Salad with Baby Artichokes
From the Parents 


South American Potato Salad

Papas Huancaina
(pronounced Papa's Juan Cayenne-a)

This dish was something I've grown up eating, first when my grandmother made it, and then when my mother took it over. It's traditionally Peruvian, and has the consistency of a spicy potato salad, which you get from the aji peppers.

Aji chili peppers are impossible to find here, usually, they are yellow and a good substitute is Cayenne, but you want to watch how much you put in, because Ajis don't have nearly as much kick: the spice hits you after this slight delay that makes you THINK you're safe, and then wham--it's hot. I found some recently in a Brazilian food store--actually I found Aji Salsa, but it works just the same. Instead of dishes tinting pink from the cayenne, they tint yellow.

There was a slight panic this morning making the recipe my mom gave me, because it called for three raw egg yolks. Not correct. As a family we did some digging, and my father found this one that is still easy, and nearly identical to what my grandmother had written down, except without the threat of illness from raw eggs.

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  •  2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 t. ají amarillo salsa/paste
  • 4 saltine crackers (we used two slices white bread)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 White Potatoes, peeled
  • Olives, sliced
  • 3-4 Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
  • Lettuce or Cilantro to garnish

    1. Boil or steam the potatoes until firm, but not too soft. Cool, and slice into discs.
    2. Hard boil eggs, cool, and slice into discs. 
    3. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile peppers in olive oil until onion is softened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
    4. Place onion/chile mixture in a food processor or blender. Add evaporated milk and blend.
    5. Add cheese and crackers and blend until smooth. Sauce should be fairly thick. Thicken sauce with more saltines or thin sauce with milk if necessary. 
    6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
    7. Arrange lettuce in serving bowl, place sliced potatoes on top and cover with sauce. Top with hard-boiled eggs and olives. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


    RIP Dear, Dear Friend

    Brand : Reales Almazareas de alcaniz Olive Oil, Spain
    Bought: New York City
    Lasted: 10 months
    Flavor: Rich, natural flavor, great for popcorn, too good to use for sauteing


    Day 9: Garlic Much?

    Food & Wine; Pioneer Woman
    So I've had my eye on this recipe, mostly because I've never liked how regular gazpacho tastes like I'm eating tomato chunks. I wanted to try a tomato-less soup and see if I liked the chilled soups any better.

    First of all, this recipe was super easy. All you need to do is blanch a cauliflower and dice up a few other veggies, then pulverize the entire mess and wait for it to chill. I did NOT have almonds, mostly because my budget prevents me from buying them, so I used pecans instead because I have a TON of those. I liked the pecan taste, but the soup did end up a little less-white and more beige because of it.

    Second, be warned. Everything that makes regular gazpacho have a bite and kick to it is in here. Not only is there suppose to be ONE ENTIRE SHALLOT (I used half) and TWO CLOVES of garlic, my tongue is still ringing with this soup. This should definitely be served in appetizer sizes, or you should cut down on the shallot/garlic mix. Or sleep in separate bedrooms for a week or so, that should just about get rid of the garlic taste in my mouth...

    You can see I added some color to my soup. I wanted to convert the shaved asparagus pizza recipe Megan found for me earlier this week, but after reading over the recipe, decided it looked way to delicious not to make another day. So instead I blanched a few stalks and made this quick shaved salad I found online. Tasty...and super easy!

    Beer is Definitely Vegan

    So last night I got to go to the National's baseball game...which wouldn't be exciting except it was Stephen Strasberg's first game and the stadium was sold out (it looks so different with people there!) and it was my friend Robin's birthday. We had great seats thanks to Stuart, and were sitting really close to Ken Burns. (Give me a week, and I'll adjust that story to having me spill beer on him instead of the poor man that actually happened to.)

    A few veggie tips for baseball fans:
    -Hard Times DOES have their Veggie Chili on hand, although it's WEIRD seeing mushrooms in your chili...
    -A Shandy is a lemonade AND a beer....beware. (Okay, that's just a general tip about drinking).
    -Beer is definitely Vegetarian.


    Eggplant Expertise

    My first eggplant dish turned out much better than my first tofu dish. Turns out, all you have to do is cube the eggplant, salt it, and let it sit for about an hour. It's great, all this brown liquid comes out of it, and presto--it's delicious. This is a great dish for pot lucks.

    I roasted the eggplant cubes for about 30 minutes, and I must admit, it was too soft and squishy. I would have thought cooking it longer would make it firmer, but it's actually the other way around. If you don't like super soft eggplant, bake it for less time. Kinda makes sense I suppose, but I also might try broiling or grilling it next time as well...

    Eggplant and Chickpea Salad:
    from Heather
    - 1/2 cup chickpeas
    - 2 small or 1 large eggplant, trimmed, peeled, and cut into cubes (for future recipes I'll just use one, 2 made it a little too heavy on the eggplant.)
    - 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    - 1 teaspoon lemon
    - 1/4 c. black olives
    - 1/2 red onion onion, minced
    - 1-3 clove garlic, minced
    - 8 sprigs fresh coriander (i.e. cilantro)
    - 2 leaves fresh mint,
    - 1 tablespoon parsley
    - 1/4 c Feta cheese

    1. Cube eggplant and place in a colander in the sink, or set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet; set aside. Using paper towels, pat eggplant dry, and arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside.
    4. In a serving bowl, whisk to combine oil and vinegar. Add olives, onion, garlic, chickpeas, eggplant, coriander, and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.


    Expensive or Not Expensive?

    My Shopping List Today:

    First of all, I'm super impressed by the amount of fresh produce on the list. Eating more fresh veggies was a major reason for starting this project, so I'm glad to see it's working. The list includes items for my eggplant salad experiment, a white gazpacho soup, shaved asparagus salad, and hummus ingredients---all things I hope to make this week.

    The price tag was less impressive:

    I'm trying to figure out if eating Vegetarian is definitely more expensive, or works out over the long run. I've got dinner planned our for a few weeks, so it might even out if I eat out less. I'm going to start a sidebar keeping track of the price tag to see how this plays out over the course of the month.

    One point I've figured out is a lot of my food so far is stocking up on vinegars and other long-lasting items I can reuse more. It's an expensive start-up price tag, but I should be able to keep the Miren, Miso Paste, etc. for a few months.

    Recipe Recap

    Thank Goodness for Southern Grits..
    It's nearly been one week—and I survived a Southern BBQ fest! Taste of the South was last night, and a pretty good time despite not eating any meat. The Cheese Grits at Kentucky's station were my favorite, and actually one of the favorites of my friends who had all those nice ribs and pulled pork to choose from. There was NO a/c in the Armory building, so we didn't stay long. The Georgia Peach Ice Cream was also tasty.

    I'm sure you're wanting to know if I cheated, and while I can't say the baked beans from Tennessee or the BBQ sauce from Alabama wasn't marinated in meat or animal fat, I wasn't going to stress about it. If there were bacon bits on top of the grits, I steered clear, though. I did have one Louisiana oyster (I'm cited Slate here as to why it was okay to eat), but only because 1. there might not be that many Louisiana oysters left in a month, and 2. It was super tasty. Thanks to everyone who voted, even if the majority of you wanted me to succumb to my delicious, delicious weakness...

    Veggie Photo Gallery:
    Here are a few photos of my Veggie exploits while on the town this week:

    Veggie Chili Cheese Fries at Ben's Chili Bowl: Not as tasty as the meat chili, but still great after Jazz in the Garden.

    Veggie Personal Pizza from Pizza Hut stand at Mt. Vernon: Still not sure why the Veggie pizza was $4 and the Cheese pizza was $4.50.

    Recipes from This Week:
    Thanks to everyone who has been sending me recipes this week--please keep them coming! Below are links to the ones I've received so far:

    Argentine Chimichurri Sauce
    From Dad

     Portobello Mushrooms with Mediterranean Stuffing
    From Libby
    Shaved Asparagus Pizza
    From Megan

    What's Next:
    Heather sent Libby an Eggplant and Chickpea salad that I want to try--I'll post the recipe and photos tomorrow after I make it tonight! Also up: Creating my own Hummus :)


    The Hardest Test Yet

    So I will be the first to admit I did not think this through. June? why would I be a Vegetarian in June? My friend Johnny pointed out it was a mistake, up I didn't listen. And now I'm five days in, and attending this black tie event tonight:

    That's right. I signed up to go to a black-tie, all you can eat BBQ Charity event (that comes with a $100 price tag no less!) during my month of Vegetarianism. Feel free to laugh at me now.


    Day 3: Margaritas are Vegan, you know...

    MARGARITA THURSDAY! Today I took a break and went to La Sandia in Tysons. They had TWO vegetarian options for happy hour: a mini-cheese quesadilla or nachos. I went with the nachos, which were delicious. Popcorn later for dinner. yum.

    Day 2: Bok Choy, Shitaki Mushroom & Tofu

    in a white miso paste

    So I've never prepared tofu, and after a few internet searches, found this one the most informative. Tuesday night I pressed the tofu for about an hour, while I used this recipe from Alicia for the marinate:

    1 Tbl white miso paste (can find at whole foods refrigerated near the tofu)
    1 tsp mirin
    1 tsp soy sauce
    1 1/2 tsp honey (possibly more if it's a little too salty)
    a few spritzes of seasame oil, like 1/2 tsp worth

    I marinated the tofu for 24 hours in this sauce, and then came home and threw everything into my pan. Bok Choy first, for 10 minutes, then I added the Shitaki mushrooms, and then finally the tofu (my mistake, i feel...). I prepared rice to go along with the veggies, but ended up throwing everything into the pot together to create more of a rice dish with tofu sticks.

    The photos make it look awesome, but sadly, I was less impressed with the meal. First of all: I need a wok. That pan was not cutting it, and definitely didn't sear the tofu enough for it to not taste like scrambled eggs (sadly, when i eat tofu, that's the taste I usually get in my mouth..) Second, I apparently should try to freeze the tofu--because that makes it taste more like meat. Finally, cooking it alone instead of dumping it into a pan should help.

    So I'm not giving up, but I can't do my general "throw everything in a pan and let it turn to awesomeness' method of cooking. Looks like I'll actually need to follow step-by-step recipes for the second half of the tofu block I saved....any suggestions?

    A Vegetarian at a BBQ

    Apparently my fixation with meat is more intense than I thought. Celebrating the end of bocce, my team had a BBQ tonight, with juicy steak, perfectly charred hot dogs, delicious smelling chicken....and swiss cheese. So here I am with my Grilled Swiss Cheese Sandwich. I added some potato chips to the mix to give it a little crunch, but it was less than inspiring.

    Although later I DID get to try delicious corn again. Grilled corn on the cob might be the ticket to surviving this month.

    Also, I've added a listing on the side where I can post my current cravings. Today it was Popeye's Biscuits. At first I thought it would be okay because it's vegetarian, but then (depressingly) realized they prol cook those in some sort of animal fat. I knew they tasted so delicious for a reason...it's going on the list!

    Also, Tofu Attempt No. 1 was earlier tonight. I was less than impressed--but will post about that tomorrow once I see how the leftovers taste. I'm not giving up, but will need to work harder to perfect cooking this soy beast.


    The Danger of "The Usual"

    It's only day one, and I already had a near-fatal run in with my usual lunch at Chipotle. Without even thinking, I asked for steak on my burrito...then had to awkwardly ask the server to throw that one out and start again. I had paused, thinking 'there is a reason I can't eat meat...' but it hadn't registered yet why and I completely ignored my instincts. At least I was able to salvage the situation before I ruined this experiment on the first day!

    Tonight's dinner is totally left over burrito, mostly so I have more time to look up how to prep tofu for delicious meals. Thanks David and Alicia for sending recipes my way!