Monthly Archives: February 2012

TOUM me or not toum me…. that is the question.

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I’ve been testing some more recipes for culinary goddess Terry Romero for her upcoming international cookbook Vegan Eats World and stumbled upon Toum. I had no idea what it was, so that usually makes me want to make it even more.  Come to find out, toum is a Lebanese garlic sauce that is often served with veggies, bread, or as a dip for some type of kebob.  It’s similar in theory to the more familiar aioli and the less familiar Greek skordalia (which was coincidentally the very first recipe I tested for this cookbook months ago).

Toum is not for the meek. It is not the condiment to use before a big date. Actually, you may not want to consume toum if you have to see other people at all for the next 48-72 hours.  Since after tasting it, it will be impossible to never make it again, my suggestion would just be to feed it to everyone you know. Then you’ll all have dragon breath together.

This creamy white puree has about 18-20 cloves of fresh garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and the secret thickener *drum roll please*, a touch of potato.  Oh and it only makes about 3/4c….and you could probably eat it all in one sitting.

I can’t wait to experiment with this on more than just pita! Steamed green beans immediately come to mind, as does using it as an international helper for a roasted red pepper, arugula, basil, and grilled eggplant sangweech.  Something fun and funky with pineapple may be in it’s future as well.

So if you come across some toum, by all means eat it. On everything. When the cookbook comes out, make it. 4 lyf.  But for the love of everyone you know, please  make sure you have some gum.

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Holy !@*#! I ate pizza! :(

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Yup, I did it. I ate pizza.

It wasn’t one of my shining moments, but damn it was good.  Now that’s not me in the photo, thankfully there is no photographical record of this event, but after much internal quandary I felt it was important to share this information with well, the world or whomever may read this.

“Why?” you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you. It was 3am on a Saturday night and I found myself in the North End shuddering at the thought of only french fries in my Jameson filled belly. I was hungry, dammit! And if you’re gonna screw up and eat pizza, the North End is an admirable place to do so.

Yes, I now realize I did indeed have options that didn’t present to me at the time.  I could have ordered with no cheese.  I could have gotten some type of cheeseless calzone.  I could have gone home at 3am instead of out for pizza. Or I could have just enjoyed having a great pizza and gone back to my vegan diet the next day as if nothing had happened.

I chose the latter.

The reason I share this, despite potential jeers and heckles from the vegan police, is because I am still vegan. That was weeks ago, and it didn’t “turn me back”, so to speak.  I am so much more mindful of the food I consume now than I ever have been.  My body is healthier. My mind is clearer. My heart is more compassionate.

Pizza didn’t break me. I accepted the choice I made and carried on.

Traditionally being vegan is all or nothing.  I challenge that and say that there is a middle way. The slope is not slippery. Hell, it’s not even a slope.  So if you recklessly eat some cheese, don’t jump ship, (wo)/man. If you have to change your online dating profile to read “mostly vegan” instead of “strictly vegan,” yeah…. you might get kicked out of some clubs, but are you doing this for yourself or to be a member?

I say you’re still doing good things.  Just keep on keepin’ on.

Mangez Plus Petit Dejuener!

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or “Eat More (french) Breakfast!”

Well, that’s kind of a lie.  If I wanted you to eat more French breakfast, I’d merely be pushing black coffee and a chunk of crusty baguette with a bit of jam (which also sounds quite delightful actually).  This misnomered breakfast (which in France is actually called “pain purdu,” or “lost bread”), may not actually be french, but serving it à votre amis will make you feel like a vegan Jaques Pepin.  It’s perfect for a weekend brunch but also quick and easy enough for a weekday if you’re ambitious enough for anything more than running out the door 10 minutes late with a banana in one hand and a coke zero in the other.

So start working on your bad french accents and get your rear out of bed and into that kitchen!

*this recipe was partly inspired by a recipe I found online that seems to be from the cookbook How It All Vegan by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer.  I’m not really sure though. You should check out that cookbook anyways though. You can never have too many veg recipes!*

eggfreedom french toast

makes 2 servings, (2 slices each)- feel free to half or double as the case may be:  approx. 20 minutes

ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bread (I like to use Jessica’s Brick Oven French Toast Bread with it’s beautiful swirls of goodness, but if it’s not available in your area any bread will do though…cinnamon bread would be lovely as well!)
  • 1c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or plain with a drop of vanilla extract)
  • 4t flour
  • 2t nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2t golden flaxseed (optional)
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  • 1T or more earth balance/cooking spray combo

note:  if you want to serve the lovely salad featured, it’s simply 1/2c baby arugula topped with fresh orange segments (from 1/2 orange), 1T sliced almonds, and 1T dried cranberries.  Super easy, super tasty & healthy, and it makes the dish look like fashionweek à Paris.

method:

  1. In large measuring cup, whisk together everything but the bread until there are no clumps.  Pour it out into a shallow bowl.  (An 11″x7″ or 12″x8″ casserole dish works great. In a pinch, a pie plate will do too, but you’ll have to soak in batches)
  2. Soak the bread for at least 2-3 minutes per side- the longer you soak, the yummier it will be, but don’t let it get too soggy or it’ll be a PitA to cook.  If you’re using them, make sure you have good  flaxseed coverage on each slice.
  3. Melt half of the earth balance in a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 slices of the soaked bread and let cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes per side).  Flip over and do the same for the other side, adding more earth balance or cooking spray (depending upon your caloric needs for the day) if needed. Repeat with the other 1/2T earth balance and remaining 2 slices of bread.
  4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or warm maple syrup and earth balance.  Garnish with fruit salad.

Now eat and go back to bed, mon petit chou.  You’ve worked hard, but not really at all.

Bon Appétit!