patricium's Profile

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Vegan Soy Shreds, etc

Hmm. I have no experience with these, as Butler soy curls are my shred-of-choice. Maybe if you reconstitute, then drain/squeeze/resoak in a change of water a couple times it might take the bitterness away? I like the soy curls sauteed in some oil after soaking, and before adding to a sauce or baking - it helps the texture not be squishy. Maybe you could use them in small doses in soups or stews?

about 1 hour ago
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Last night was corn on the cob, and grilled tofu marinated in lime juice, mint, and garlic. The leftover tofu was awesome this morning in a sandwich with avocado slices and some cashew/nutritional yeast sauce I had it the fridge.

Jul 26, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Hot again today, so back to salads. Tonight was a very quick one: a can of cannellini beans and a diced avocado, dressed with some storebought tomatillo salsa and the juice of half a lime. I mixed in some croutons because there was quite a bit of liquid at the bottom of the bowl, then served it over lettuce with some chopped green onion.

Jul 21, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

I looked for them a few times at our local asian market, but didn't find them there. (Although this market has no discernable organizational scheme, so I could have missed them. ;-) I ordered 3 packages through Amazon. The texture was firm and chewy, with a little squeakiness. They were a little boring before the broiling, because they didn't soak up as much flavor as I thought they would. I think that's my fault for adding too much water to the simmering liquid. I should have reduced the sauce to glaze them more. But the broiling added a nice caramelization and crunch.

I have two packages left to play with, so next I'm going to try the recipe for barbeque un-ribs that's floating around the web in various forms. Those are simmered then baked.

Jul 21, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Last night I tried yuba aka dried tofu sticks, simmered in a soy sauce based broth, then broiled to crispify. This is the first time I've had these. I put them on top of sweet potatoes and corn dressed with seasoned rice vinegar.

Jul 18, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Hmm. I have some citric acid for the occasions I make quick mozzarella. I'll have to try that next time.

Jul 15, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Yes, that's basically it. My recipe didn't call for salt, but I felt like it needed some ooomph, so will definitely try that next time. I think it's tricky to get just the right amount of sour cream-like tang from vinegar without going too far and making it taste like salad dressing, but I'll keep trying. But it was still nice in the tacos.

Jul 14, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Tonight is cornmeal-crusted tofu tacos. And because I just got a high-speed blender, I'll be trying cashew sour cream.

Jul 11, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

The slightly smoky rice really worked out well with the mango fruitiness. And there are leftovers for lunch today, yay!
Local cherry season is just on the horizon here in western New York, and I'm so excited. Washington cherries are nice, but by the time they travel all the way across the country, they can be a little worse for wear. ;-)

Jul 08, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Corn theme continues this week, with corn, mango, and jicama salad, dressed with lime juice and aleppo pepper. I served this over some smoked basmati rice I found today at the market.

Jul 07, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
1

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

When it's hot, we eat 80% salads for dinner. It's a little distressing that corn season coincides with "too hot to eat corn on the cob" season. But I'd eat corn 3-4 days a week if the weather was cool. ;-)
The closest we came to hot dinner this week was a barely-cooked fresh tomato sauce with basil on pasta. Yesterday was tomato/avocado/cucumber over cooked-and-chilled barley with leftover chimichurri dressing. This was really good. Another day was a composed salad plate of cold soy/sesame noodles, with corn cut off the cob, broccoli, and cucumber. Tonight is shredded cabbage and carrots with tofu bits and peanuts and a lime juice dressing.

Jul 03, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Fresh corn season has begun, so we had a lentil, carrot, and corn salad on lettuce beds. A large portion of the corn disappeared into my mouth while I was cutting it off the cob. ;-)
Tonight will be shredded zucchini fritters with chimichurri.

Jun 27, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

Grilling ideas needed

Not an entree, but I've discovered baby bok choy is really good grilled. It could be nice over rice, drizzled with soy and/or sesame oil.

Jun 27, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Hot and humid here in WNY too, so lately dinners have been cold and light:
Pasta salad with a vegan mayo based dressing, celery, and furikake (a Japanese rice garnish of sesame seeds and seaweed bits), and some rice-vinegar soaked cucumbers.
Corn, bean, and avocado salad with salse verde dressing.
Lettuce, tomato, olives, local cheese curds, toasty bread.

Jun 18, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
2

V & V what's for dinner?

Ooh, that sounds good. I will save this idea for when I can get nice (ripe) local tomatoes.

Jun 04, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

The marinade is 3/4 cup beer, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 Tbsp each oil, soy sauce, and lime juice, plus some chile powder and cumin. I press the tofu, then cut it into bars about 1/2" thick, and marinate overnight. Dredge them in cornmeal, then fry in a bit of oil. They turn out not tasting like beer, exactly, but with a definite but subtle flavor. I don't really like the taste of beer either. ;-) I like these a lot, and they are a good protein element for tacos, sandwiches, etc. I put them on rice once with some chimichurri, and that was pretty good too. (This last time I discovered you can freeze the marinade when you're done, and reuse it next time. Probably don't want to do that more than once though.)

Jun 02, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Last night was a saute of onion, zucchini, and plum tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, served over rice.
Tonight - beer marinated cornmeal crusted tofu in tacos, probably with some quick-pickled shredded nappa cabbage.

May 29, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Tonight was a stracotto-like stew - basically the same recipe I used before veganization, with double the vegetables and without the meat. Onion, celery, and carrot chunks, simmered in red wine and diced tomatoes for a few hours with rosemary and thyme. I added some vegan sausage nuggets at the end, and we had it on rice.

May 18, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Our local asparagus is coming in now, so last night was asparagus-fest. I had steamed stalks dipped in a mustardy cashew cream, accompanied by onion fritters. And today's lunch will be a raw asparagus and mushroom salad.

May 14, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Spring is just starting to arrive in our neck of the woods, so we are still somewhat in winter veggie mode. Last night we had beets in soy vinaigrette and cauliflower in a mustardy breadcrumb coating, over rice.

May 07, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V what's for dinner?

Last night, we had an awesome improvised smoky lentil stew with vegan cornbread to soak up the sauce. I browned a chopped onion, deglazed the pan with a splash of red wine. I also added a half can of beer I had left from a different recipe. Had some sundried-tomato spread that needed to be used up, so put that in too. Some ground ancho and smoked paprika, and a few grilled red bell pepper strips. Add water as needed, simmered til the lentils are done. Considering I didn't really have a plan, this turned out very tasty.

May 04, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
1

Menu Planning

Long lost computer-geek cousin here - mine is a 3 column 7 row table in a Google Doc. That way I can look at it from anywhere (at work, when I'm wondering what's for dinner, while shopping in case of last minute changes, etc). Partner can look if he decides to care about what's for dinner. ;-)
The extra row is for notes like "saute extra onions for tomorrow", or "getting home late - make something easy".

Apr 01, 2014
patricium in Home Cooking
1

Cashew cream - to freeze or not to freeze

Good to know it can be made with an immersion blender. I don't have a high-speed blender, and have trouble getting it smooth in my regular 10-year old blender. I'll try small batches with the immersion next time.

Mar 17, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

Weekly meal planning for the indecisive

I have been doing a weekly menu plan for a few years now. I mostly stick to it, except when I unexpectedly get home late, or something else comes up. And in those cases, I often just shuffle the planned menu items to a later day. My first step is to look at my calendar and decide if there's anything that might affect dinner - home-arrival time early or late, or a dentist appointment so we'll want something soft and comforting. ;-) Weather too - very hot days call for a salad dinner. I mostly just stick to the plan - I know what we like, and don't feel cramped that I don't change it up at the last minute. It does make it easier to try out those recipes you've saved. If something's not already in your rotation, you probably won't think to try it when you get home and are hungry.
During the 20 minutes or so it takes to come up with a plan, I hate spending the time. But the rest of the week, I'm grateful for it, so I don't have to think about it on the drive home, or improvise while hungry.

Feb 14, 2014
patricium in General Topics
4

Going vegan

Yes, I agree about stocks too. I tend to cheat and use Better-than-Bouillon concentrates when a recipe calls for stock. I was totally creeped out the first time I tried their not-chicken stock, because it tastes exactly like the with-chicken version.

Feb 13, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
1

Going vegan

I am vegetarian and getting close to vegan. My partner is mostly vegetarian. (Cheese is our most difficult thing to give up, though we have drastically reduced our consumption.) We changed over to vegetarianism gradually, and if your conscience allows, that's a much easier way to transition. When you first start out, it can be an overwhelming task to re-think your approach to meals. You may be used to planning "protein, carb, veg", and feel lost without that structure. I started with Meatless Mondays, and found more and more recipes that we liked, so expanded to 3, then 5, then all meatless meals. Over time, you find out that nothing bad happens if you don't have a protein centerpiece (meat or otherwise), and you get more comfortable serving two vegetable dishes side by side. I discovered that if you make a long-simmered sauce without the meat, it tastes pretty much the same. And the appeal of a lot of meat dishes is more about the sauce than the chunk of meat.

It also helps to have some no-brainer meals on file for those nights when you are mentally exhausted. I do a weekly meal plan that really helps out - no trying to put together dinner ideas on the drive home. This is also useful so you can balance nutritional needs across the week - maybe a quick pasta one night, then a more protein-rich legume the next. Make a list of basic dinner ideas, and vegetables you like, so you have a menu to choose from. And if you have a bread machine, remember that everything's better with a slice of fresh bread next to it.

I went lacto-vegetarian because I got some backyard chickens. Once I spent time with them, it was obvious that they seek love and attention just as much as a dog or cat. And once the compassion meme gets turned on in your brain, there's no reason it should exclude any other animals. (Which can be inconvenient if you raise bees, and thus object to the way bees are treated by the commercial pollination process.) It absolutely makes me feel better as a participant in the world, and has become a major influence in my life. I don't necessarily feel healthier, but I have lost a few pounds. We rarely eat in restaurants anymore, due to a number of factors not all related to diet choice. But this does mean I can follow our somewhat quirky food rules in the meals I make at home, and avoid the angst of ordering in a restaurant.

One thing I've learned to avoid - don't label something as a substitute if you can avoid it. (Cashew cheese sauce, I'm talking to you.) If you're thinking of it as a nice smooth cashew sauce, it's just fine. But if you attach a label like cheese to it, it changes your expectations, and you are likely to be disappointed. This is especially true if you are serving it to non-vegans.

Feb 12, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
1

Serious question about vegans and bees.

Yes, commercial beekeeping is the equivalent of a factory farm. And the big money these days is in pollination not honey, which leads people further down the road of treating them like little machines not animals. What's interesting about bee genetics is because of their short lifespans, their characteristics can change fairly rapidly. We have some who have hybridized with local feral bees, and now produce lots and lots of propolis, for example. I think I'm going to have to come up with a different name than beekeeping - for us, swarming is a good thing, since it means the hive is healthy and reproducing.

Jan 11, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

Serious question about vegans and bees.

Small ("hobbyist") beekeepers generally don't do the migratory pollination. Most hives do make an excess of honey over the course of a season, and there's no reason honey harvesting has to harm individual bees. Some people leave all the honey in the hive until after winter, then take what's left as the harvest. The amount of honey in the hive is not directly related to swarming behavior, but that's a subject for a beekeeping forum. ;-)

There are other things you could ask about if you are concerned about compassionate treatment of bees. It's hard to know where the beekeeper draws the line, and where you want to draw the line for yourself. For example, many beekeepers don't take care not to squash bees while working on the hives. Others don't check on their hives during the winter, and sometimes the bees starve because they run out of food even if they started out with a lot of honey. I'd like to think there are other beekeepers like me who go out on cold days and warm up individual bees who have gotten too cold to move.

Jan 11, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan

Serious question about vegans and bees.

I am a vegan-ish beekeeper. We harbor our bees not for honey, but because of the declining bee populations. And we treat our bees with a great deal of respect, not like many commercial beekeepers who seem like the equivalent of meat factory farms. Every life matters.

The hives that are transported in for pollination spend many days closed up on bumping along on trucks, and sit in the desert eating sugar syrup, waiting for the bloom time. I try to avoid almonds and the like because of that - I take bee exploitation closer to heart than other vegans might.

It's a complicated issue with no easy answers - you quickly run out of things to eat if you go too far down that road. But like other commenters have said, you do what you can.

Jan 10, 2014
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan
1

tofu shelf life once opened?

Probably a little late for this particular package of tofu, but I've kept opened tofu for about a week in the fridge, in various stages of pressed, or unpressed and submerged in water. They tell you to change the water every day if you store it, but I usually forget.

Dec 26, 2013
patricium in Vegetarian & Vegan