Scramble at Sea

Friday, July 17th, 2015

2015-07-13 - Sea Shep Scramble & Hash - 0006 [flickr]

I’ve been so lax with the cookbook reviews, you guys! I haven’t been cooking much these days, and when I do it’s so flipping hot that I just wanna make (and eat, and rub my naked body all over) ice cream. (Sorry for the visuals.) Luckily I only have a few more recipes I’d like to try before reviewing Laura Dakin’s Cookin’ Up a Storm – so the finish line (the land?) is at least in sight.

Of the eighty recipes in Cookin’ Up a Storm, I was most curious to try the Southern Ocean Scramble. Mostly I wanted to see how silken tofu would perform in a tofu scramble. Depending on the add-ins (mushrooms and tomatoes can really get you into trouble), I sometimes have an issue with excess moisture in my scrambles. No one likes soggy faux eggs, okay! Silken tofu seemed like it would present a special challenge on this front.

2015-07-13 - Sea Shep Scramble & Hash - 0002 [flickr]

While this scramble is a little wetter than I’m used to, overall I was pleasantly surprised with the results. It’s kind of like a cross between an egg salad and a scrambled egg – perfect for spreading on toast. On the downside, it does use a lot of oil (1/3 cup for two pounds tofu), which may be a deal breaker for some people.

I still prefer regular tofu, but this recipe’s a great alternative for when you run out. Silken tofu usually comes in shelf-stable packaging, so it’s much easier to keep some on hand for ye ole rainy days.

2015-07-13 - Sea Shep Scramble & Hash - 0004 [flickr]

The Hot and Hearty Hash Browns were a little less of a success, I’m afraid. I’m almost never able to fry diced potatoes in a skillet; they always end up dry and mushy and not at all browned or crispy. I know it can be done; I watched my mom do it ~once a week FOR YEARS. I just seem incapable of mastering the skill. Or maybe it’s time to update my cookware? idk. Until then, I’ll stick to the oven (toss with olive oil and bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for 30-40 minutes).

Anyway, I followed the recipe as written even though I knew it was a fool’s errand. The result wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

Also, the recipe calls for five potatoes; I reduced it to two and still had trouble fitting everything in my largest non-stick skillet. I don’t know how anyone without an industrial-sized stove could fry that many potatoes at once.

Next time I’ll probably bake the potatoes and fry the other goodies (red onions and spices) on the stovetop and combine before serving. More dishes but fewer tears.

My Current Favorite Fast Food

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

2015-03-12 - Potatoes & Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

I go through cycles where I absolutely cannot stuff enough of a particular food into my face, and right now that food is tofu scramble. Bonus points if it’s served with a side of semi-greasy baked potato pieces slathered in ketchup.

A friend on FB asked for tips on eating healthier, which got me thinking. One of my favorites is this: make up a giant batch of a well-loved (but healthy) food so that I can live on the leftovers, if not for a week, then at least a couple of nights. That way I won’t be tempted to eat a quick junkie meal (pizza, you know I love you but…) on those nights when I don’t have the time or desire to cook something from scratch. For those who live in places where vegan takeout is an option (I don’t; it’s both a blessing and a curse), having healthy leftovers in the fridge may discourage you from choosing this path of least (but most delicious) resistance.

I especially love tofu scrambles for this, because they’re so versatile and easy. Just reheat leftovers on the stovetop for five or ten minutes (it doesn’t require a ton of adult supervision, which is all the better!) and dinner is served. Don’t have enough leftovers for a proper meal? Bake a potato, steam some carrots, toss in a cup or two of extra frozen veggies. Anything goes in a scramble; it’s the perfect cleaning out your fridge/freezer meal.

Or use the scramble as a filling in a sammie, loose “meat” style. The bread makes an excellent filler, and the mode of delivery magically transforms it into brand new meal.

2015-03-14 - Tofu Scramble Sammie - 0001 [flickr]

Tofu scrambles be banging on sourdough bread slathered in Vegenaise and garnished with spinach and a few tomato slices.

Lately I’ve been making a double-batch of tofu scramble at a time. Sure, it takes about a half hour extra, but I have enough scramble left over for three or more additional meals. Plus I can press both bricks at the same time, and I end up with fewer dishes to wash overall. Win.

Under the jump is my from-memory recipe for this particular scramble – we’ll call it the Vegetable Spectacular – but I’ve made it so often that I’m pretty confident of the formula.

For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 425F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (one large cookie sheet per potato). Clean the potato and then dice it into bite-sized pieces; uniformity is more important than size here. Place the pieced in a large bowl and add two tablespoons (give or take; again, per potato) of olive oil and some salt and pepper; mix well. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (or until crispy), rotating the sheet(s) and flipping the potatoes halfway through.

(More below the fold…)

Sweet Potato Latke Fail!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

2014-11-08 - VHC Sweet Potato Latkes - 0002 [flickr]

After a pretty respectable streak in the kitchen, I encountered an epic fail with the most unlikely of suspects: latkes, which don’t usually prove much of a challenge at all. The Sweet Potato Latkes from Vegan Holiday Cooking – a 50/50 blend of shredded sweet and russet potatoes that looks so amazing in the gourmet food photo from the cookbook – came out more like hash browns. These guys could not hold a patty shape to save their lives. Like, not even close. I put a ball of batter in my palm to flatten it out, and it just crumbled everywhere. Not to mention, they didn’t even rival the neon orange color of the latkes pictured in the book.

Not wishing to waste four potatoes (or all the effort spent grating them), I did the obvious thing: made them into baked hash browns! Basically I followed the alt. baking instructions, adding about 15 minutes to the recommended bake time. Since I needed two cookie sheets to hold all the potatoes, I tried a little experiment: the first cookie sheet I lined with parchment paper, while I lightly sprayed the other with Pam. The results? Nearly identical. Go figure.

You’re supposed to top the mini latkes with a dab o’ almond creme fraiche – but, seeing as the recipe is so similar to the one featured in the Roasted Squash Soup – i.e., the one that already didn’t work for me once – I skipped it altogether. Good thing, since there were no latkes in need of garnishing after all!

2014-11-10 - Latke Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

For what it’s worth, the leftover potatoes made a wonderful add-in for a tofu scramble. Pictured above is a scramble with mushrooms, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and about a cup of hash browns (fried separately for maximum crispiness). So good, I’m not even 100% sure I can call this a fail.

Deluxe Tofu Scramble

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

2014-11-05 - SRJ Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

Okay, so, confession time: I did not follow this recipe – found in Simple Recipes for Joy – to the letter. I tried, I really did, but I just could not bring myself to mix the spices in the 4 to 5 recommended tablespoons of water before adding them to the tofu scramble. The tofu of which? IS NOT PRESSED! Madness, right?

I don’t know about you guys, but I usually have a problem with too much moisture in my scrambles – especially if I add veggies with a high water content, like mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Granted, this recipe calls for none of these things (though I did add a little of each, in the interest of cleaning out my fridge), but still. Four tablespoons? That’s a lot of water, yo! I would say try one tops, since the recipe is absent the one tablespoon of soy sauce I usually use. But no more!

Otherwise I really liked this Deluxe Tofu Scramble. The spices are a mix of cumin, nutritional yeast, tumeric, thyme, paprika, chili powder, salt, parsley, and coriander – which is a new one for me. The taste is a little fresh and different from what I’m used to. Definitely gonna remember coriander for my next impromptu scramble!

Carbs & Rec: ALL the Bacon & Eggs I Have!

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Update: Ron & I won a MoFie!

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Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I’m worried what you just heard was, “Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.” What I said was, “Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.” Do you understand?
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Ron Swanson is a simple man. He likes pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food, and frequents strip clubs strictly for the all-you-can-eat buffets. When in doubt, serve him bacon and eggs. Preferably all the bacon and eggs in the house.

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So when Shane and I were brainstorming how to do this quote justice, we came up with two ideas: a) Photoshop a weird collage of all the bacon and eggs I’ve ever made, with a disembodied Swanson head superimposed on top (Shane) or b) actually cook up an oversized platter of bacon and eggs (me).

I was torn, so I did the next best thing: them both!

Exhibit A: The Vegan Bacon & Eggs Poster.

all the bacon and eggs collage (with quote)

(More below the fold…)

Carbs & Rec: Epic Breakfast Bowl

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

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When it comes to Ron Swanson, there’s only one way to do breakfast: epically. Preferably with ALL THE BACON AND EGGS you have. (Don’t worry, WE ARE SO DOING THIS! Just not today.)

Waffle Wednesdays may be dedicated to Leslie Knope and her BFF J.J. (don’t cry, Ann; waffles may own Leslie’s stomach, but you will always have her ovaries!), but Sundays are all about Ron and his undying love of meaty, cheesy, eggy breakfast foods. Just don’t call it brunch, else he might pop you one in your smart, fancy, foreign mouth.

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In this vein, this morning I present to you the Hearty Breakfast Bowl from Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food – with a few extras, that is. What’s in the ginormous cast iron skillet (Ron Swanson speak for “bowl), you ask?

Carbs & Rec - Epic Breakfast Bowl (0015)

(More below the fold…)

Mayim’s Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

(…for dinner. Always for dinner!)

2014-04-17 - MVT Breakfast Burrito - 0003 [flickr]

So if you already own Mayim’s Vegan Table, you’ll immediately notice that I made a few changes to this recipe. Instead of unpressed, diced tofu – which I’m not really keen on – I used pressed, crumbled tofu to make a scramble. Also, I didn’t have any black beans (SHANE!), so I used navy beans instead. And, as per usual, I shredded my spinach, since cooked spinach gives me the willies. (It’s all slimy and wilty, much like spoiled spinach. Ew!)

Hmmmm. Maybe I should start a tag for fussy eaters. You think? “Fussy eater problems,” or something like that.

Anyway, it’s a solid recipe that’s easy enough to modify based on what ingredients you have on hand. Not quite a scramble, but easily made into one. I’ll admit that the mix of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar made me a little nervous, but you don’t really taste either in the finished product.

Plus you just can’t go wrong with Daiya cheese or burritos. Not. Possible.