Monday, September 17, 2007

I've come to discover...

Vegetarianism really isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. It's quite surprising, really.

In the past week, I've eaten more tofu than I've ever eaten before. It is quite good (when combined with spices and flavorful foods.) I tried it on its own and it's quite bland. Today, I made a stew, and it is amazing. Today is chilly and I've eaten 2 bowls of this hearty, filling stuff.

I can state that I didn't think I would feel as well as I do today. In fact, I didn't realize how badly I was feeling previously. Other than the non-consumption of meat, nothing really has changed. Physically, I feel like I could swim the English Channel. I do start shaking every now and again, but my blood sugar has been fine. I'm wondering what was actually in the food I was eating if I'm possibly going through withdrawal symptoms.

Burger King has veggie burgers. I found this out because I was hungry and thirsty, and I was about to settle on drinking a Coke and not eating a darn thing, until I saw "BK Veggie Burger" on the menu. It comes with mayo on it, so if you're vegan, ask for it without. It is GOOD. I think it actually tastes better than the other menu options. Give one a shot. It doesn't taste like a hockey puck like some veggie burgers did back in the day when they first came out.

I purchased more produce than I think I can possibly get through in a week. Call it farmer's market gluttony. This is what happens when one's market bag is bigger than one's stomach. I'm going to roast a mess of veggies and do a few things with it. I did so on Saturday, and suffice it to say, I ate the whole thing. I even ate it for breakfast on Sunday. Yes, it was indeed that good.

I just ordered two cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, one of them called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is quite possibly the best title for a book to date. She has a blog as well, and has recently posted a recipe for Vegan Milano cookies; a spinoff on the Pepperidge Farm cookie of the same name, minus the vegan. I don't know about you, but vegan or not, making these cookies at home would kick butt. You can Google Vegan Milano cookies and her site will show up.

Butternut Squash Stew (loosely based on the Southwestern Stew from Vegetarian Times magazine.)

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes (or so, doesn't have to be perfect)
2 large sweet onions, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced (the whole thing if you want more of a kick)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 dried bay leaf
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, cubed, and squeezed dry with paper towels.
3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour

In a stock pot, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil until it is very hot, but not smoking. Add the onions, cooking over medium heat until the onions are browned, stirring often. Increase heat to high. Add the tofu to the pot with the spices, bay leaf, and sugar, stirring to coat the tofu/onions. Allow tofu to brown a bit, about 5 minutes. Add squash and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until the squash is cooked through and tender, about 25-30 minutes. Mix the remaining oil and the flour together in a small bowl. Add to the stew, stirring constantly. The liquid should thicken. Turn off heat and allow the stew to sit for about 20-30 minutes, reheat if necessary. Remove bay leaf. Serve stew with crusty bread. Yields about 6 servings.

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