Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living with a Picky Omni

My boyfriend leans mostly vegetarian and has no problem with most vegan meals. He likes cheese and he likes pizza and if we go out to eat at a restaurant he will sometimes get fish or chicken but he was also a fan of tofu before I even knew what it was. He has no problem with meatless meatballs in spaghetti, bean and rice burritos (with cheese), tvp chili, chickenless nuggets and veggie burgers. He just has one request; that there be no onions, greens or chunks of tomatoes or peppers in anything he has to eat. This seemingly simple request, coupled with the fact that those happen to be some of my favorite parts of cooking, creates quite a situation. In the beginning I tried to cater to him so that he would eat more healthily. This worked well but after a while I felt bummed I had to miss out on some of my favorite foods just to get him to eat my cooking. This led to a completely opposite approach wherein I cooked what I wanted to eat, the way I wanted to cook it, and if he didn't like it then he could have a boca burger or make some spaghetti (did I mention he hates cooking?). This worked well for a while except that it had us eating different meals almost every night for dinner and I never wanted to make anything complicated because is it really worth it to spend 2 hours in the kitchen making every last thing from scratch just to be the only one to enjoy it? The answer is no. So I ate a lot of roasted vegetables, salads and sandwiches and grew to miss creating masterpieces of dinner in the kitchen. I have finally come to a middle ground and I have to say that while it is mostly satisfying, it also sometimes means 1.5 to 2 times the work. Let me give you an example.

Sunday morning I was going to make a big breakfast when I got home from the markets and my boyfriend woke up. I ended up getting home at almost noon and he had already eaten and I was so hungry I almost gnawed my own arm off in the car on the way home (not vegan). The whole day I was craving some breakfast so I decided to do breakfast for dinner. I made tofu scramble and breakfast potatoes and here is how I compromised. (I forgot to take pictures of his food so you'll have to use your imagination).

I used to make tofu scramble by first sauteing onions, garlic and greens in oil and then adding in the tofu. Now I just heat up some oil and add in the tofu and some spices. This time I added in a little chopped seitan sausage that I had made last weekend to give it an extra breakfast feel. Once the tofu is cooked to my liking, I dump half (ok, more like 2/3s. He definitely eats more tofu than I do) onto a plate and put it aside. I then add to the pan some chopped chard and cook until it is soft. 

I love my breakfast potatoes with tons of onions and bell peppers. Yum. I experimented with leaving the peppers and onions in and just having my boyfriend pick them out, but that lead to a good deal of wasted food. The solution I have come to is cooking up a pan of potatoes in oil with a sprinkling of salt until they are done, and then onto a plate they go. I then cook up my own potatoes, with as many onions and bell peppers as I please. 

The only problem I can find with this solution (apart from it taking extra time and effort) is that his food is always done before mine. Luckily there is a simple solution, he doesn't mind microwaving his food back to temperature.

The result of this compromise is that I get to eat exactly what I want:

He gets to eat exactly what he wants, I get praised as a great cook and it only takes minimal extra effort. Now if only I could get him to help in the kitchen...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tonight's Dinner

I have a number of pictures that I need to write up posts to go with but I had to share my dinner from tonight. I spent a good chunk of yesterday and today going to three of the 4 grocery stores I frequent and tomorrow I will hit up the fourth along with the farmer's market. I have (possibly unrealistic) intentions of not having to stop at a store to get more than one or two things for the next couple of months. One of the stores I shop at is the People's Co-Op in Ocean Beach. I love going to this store and wish it was closer to my house because, if it was, it would be the only store I needed in addition to the farmer's market. Se la vie I guess. So once every couple of months I make the trek out to OB with my tupperware, glass jars and canvas bags and go to town in their bulk section and their wide selection of vegan friendly items.

Last time I went to People's (at least I think it was the last time) I ate lunch there in their deli. See this post for more detail. This time I thought I might pop up to the deli and see if I couldn't get some of that mock tuna salad to take home and try to recreate a tuna melt. Sadly they did not have the mock tuna but I did take home some mock chicken salad. I settled on a chicken salad melt and I'm so glad I did.

I started by grilling two pieces of bread spread with Earth Balance. I then topped one piece of bread with slices of an heirloom tomato I bought today while I left the other piece of bread in the pan with a Tofutti cheese slice on it to melt.

I then topped this with some lettuce.

Then topped that with the mock chicken salad.

Finally I stuck the two together and cut in half.

Can you tell me that doesn't look delicious? While I definitely don't think it is something to be enjoyed every day, it was a nice to eat something that reminded me of my pre vegan days but in at least a slightly healthier manner.
In addition, I was going to eat this with some spicy thai kettle chips but I had so much tomato left over and it was so delicious I left it at that.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Don't You Hate It When....

You make a dinner that turns out to be ridiculously yummy but neglect to take a picture of it? Tonight I baked some fries and browned some sliced tofurkey sausages.  That was going to be dinner until I looked in the fridge and saw avocado and salsa.  Then the thought of breakfast burritos hit me and that was that.  I filled up a tortilla with some of the fries, the sausage and some mashed avocado mixed with a little lemon and garlic salt and ate the thing with some salsa on the side.  Holy hell it was delicious. Now I'm thinking about how I could make some scrambled egg tofu to put in there as well. Perhaps this weekend.

On an unrelated note (but one that comes to my attention as I type this), I have recently learned that when typing you are only supposed to put one space after the period. This is something I had never heard of until about two weeks ago. I was always taught to space twice after a period. Let me tell you, after 15ish years of typing, this is a hard habit to break. How many spaces were you taught to put after a period? Sorry for the tangent but this sort of thing fascinates me.

But onto the food!

I have recently fallen in love with tofurkey slices.  I try not to eat too much fake meat and instead stick to less processed foods, but lately I have had a hankerin for a good sandwich. My office orders sandwiches every Thursday but as my only option would be veggies with mustard, avocado and oil and vinegar for $6, I don't participate.  This lead to the first purchase of the tofurkey slices. Yup, you read that right, first. Of two.  I also bought some veganaise back before Comic Con to make this broccoli salad and had been contemplating in which manner to use the remainder of it.  This was the perfect excuse.  There is something really comforting about a "turkey" sandwich with "mayo" and tons of veggies.

Oh, and did I mention I bought prepackaged onion rings too?  I hate it when I do that.  Oh well, at least my failure tasted good even if it did cost an arm and a leg.

Lately I have been feeling a little iron deficient.  Granted I am self diagnosing with no real nutritional background, but I had been feeling really tired and had a recurring headache.  That coupled with four unexplained bruises made me go on an iron deficiency cure diet.

I started with spinach.  Added some lentils.  And threw in some broccoli for good measure.

There is also carrots, onions and wild rice mixed with dried cranberries and pepitas (didn't turn out as god as I'd hoped).  I call this plate the Iron Deficiency Cure.

After this I tried to take the leftover lentils and rice and make them into a loaf.  Notice the use of the word tried.

I am making it my personal mission to make a vegan loaf that does not fall apart.  You are all my witnesses.  I will have success!  Oh, and that's one of my homemade refrigerator pickles in the back there. 

I also used spinach to make a crazy concoction that worked out unbelievably well.

This beauty consists of:
Juice of half a grapefruit
Juice of one lemon
Chopped ginger
A tiny bit of honey
And some water.

I was going to make a strawberry lemonade but ended up deciding to put some spinach in and leaving out the strawberries. Then I just kept adding things and I was really afraid when it came out all foamy, but it was soooooo unbelievably delicious.

And while we are on the subject of beverages...
I talked a couple of weeks ago about the margarita I was drinking while blogging and I wanted to show it to you.

It was all Trader Joe's fault.  I don't even remember what I went in there for, but on a super hot day they had displayed right in front tequila and margarita mix. Sometimes I am a sucker for advertising and the thought of an ice cold margarita on the hot summer day sounded so appetizing.  I did a quick google search on my phone to find out the ingredients in a home made margarita since the mix they had had high fructose corn syrup in it and I found that all I needed was tequila, triple sec and limes.  I believe the recipe was 1 part lime juice, 2 parts triple sec and 3 or 4 parts tequila.  This was a darn yummy margarita.

Until next time, thanks for joining me!