Sunday, May 23, 2010

Loving Vegetarian Food...and Cake

I am not a vegetarian, but I've had some great vegetarian experiences this week, both in my kitchen and out.  I love animals, and I believe that they should be treated well.  But I am not opposed to eating meat or animal products.  I just think that we should be aware of where our food comes from and support those who provide animal products from hormone-free, well-cared for animals.

This was the last week of school, so there was very little cooking in the Whiskers' home.  There was a lot of blending.

The one night that I did cook, I made a vegetarian meal.  I was surprised at how time efficient it was.  Chopping and cooking a package of tofu is much faster than dealing with slimy chicken breasts.

I had one more CSA veggie in the fridge and decided to make an Asian dish.  Pak Choi is a Chinese green with a mustardy, spicy flavor.  It's tender spoon-shaped leaves sit atop celery-like stalks.  Chopped up, it makes for a delicious stirfry, and I was craving orange.

Asian Orange Tofu Stirfry

Stir Fry Ingredients:
1 head of pak choi
1 small head of broccoli
8 oz package of extra firm tofu
1 bell pepper
1 T grapeseed oil

Orange Sauce:
3/4 c water
1 T orange juice
2 T lemon juice
2 1/2 T gf soy sauce
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T orange zest
1 1/2 T minced ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
dash of cayanne pepper
1 T cornstarch
1 T water

1.  Make the sauce first, and then set it aside.  In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch and water.  Once the sauce boils, turn off the heat and let it sit.

2.  Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until it's smooth.  Set it aside.

3.  Heat the oil in a wok on medium-high heat.  Add tofu, fry for 5 minutes, and remove it from the pan.  Place the vegetables in the pan, fry for a minute or two, and then add the orange sauce.  Return the tofu to the veggie mix along with the cornstarch slurry.  Cook for a a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Serve over brown rice.  Who needs takeout?

This recipe definitely gets printed and filed in the over-stuffed recipe box.  Thanks, Wheat Free Meat Free for the orange sauce recipe.  It's perfect.

This week the Husband happened to be in East Nashville and remembered my post about Aunt April's Bakery as he saw The Wild Cow.  April supplies The Wild Cow, a vegan restaurant with an extensive gluten-free menu, with their gluten-free bread and assorted yummy desserts.  Because I have the best husband in the universe, he stopped in to pick up a slice of April's gluten-free Chocolate Heaven Cake for me.  Considering that this was the last week of school, coming home to chocolate cake was an incredible treat.  Kitchen happy dance moment.

This cake was beautiful.

This cake was moist and light.
This cake was...wait!!!  Now, I trust my husband implicitly, so I'm not sure why I had to ask this.  It just sort of popped out of my mouth after I recovered from the first delicious bite.  "Are you sure this is Aprils' gluten-free cake?"  There wasn't anything about this cake that said, "I'm gluten-free."  The texture was perfect.  The plate didn't weigh five pounds.  The cake itself was light and airy.  The frosting.  Oh, the frosting.  Excuse me while I take a moment here...

Yes, of course it was April's gluten-free cake.  Of course, the Husband peppered the poor Wild Cow employee with questions about the cake, gluten, and cross-contamination issues.

The cake didn't last long.  I'm lucky to have this picture.

On Saturday, I had vegetarian experience number two.  We actually went to The Wild Cow for lunch.  I loved that I got an entire laminated menu of gluten-free meals.  No little star designating the three items on the menu that could be made gluten-free if I requested modifications.  This menu was covered with options from front to back!

I highly recommend the Prince Fielder on April's gluten-free flax bread - marinated and grilled tempeh, avocado, tomato, sprouts, cucumbers, shredded carrots, onions, Vegenaise, and spicy mustard.  Even the Husband ordered his sandwich on April's bread.

And the cold quinoa salad was fantastic.  The dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and parsley made the quinoa taste like a picnic at the park.

So, am I becoming a vegetarian?  No.  But I have to say I sure felt clean and satisfied after my vegetarian experiences this week.  There's just something about eating food from the earth that makes you feel alive and healthy.  Now that school is out, maybe it's time for some vegetarian experimenting.

What are your favorite vegetarian meals?

1 comment:

  1. Will you PLEASE move to Oregon and become my personal chef? PLEASE??????