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Marinated Breakfast Tempeh

Mornings, and breakfast, is always hurried. What to do? We’ve pretty much settled on a daily staple of this marinated tempeh recipe and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts (coming up).

A couple of times a week, I chop up a couple of Trader Joe’s Tempeh packages, and when morning comes, I just heat up a frying pan, dump them in, and start getting the coffee ready 🙂

Makes 4-6 portions.


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Zatar & pomegranite seitan


Peet’s coffee, yay!


Peet’s coffee has vegan cookies. Excellent!

Reveiw forthcoming.

[EDIT: Very good. And thanks for pointing out the widthenization. I’m going to have to speak to my droid about that.]

Rainbow Chard, Green Beans and Onion


Our friend Joannie didn’t know what to feed ‘the vegans’, so she threw these in a little olive oil, and added a dash of Soy sauce.

Alladin’s Market, San Mateo. Food platters of perfection.

DSC05446I had the reception for my wedding last week.

When we chose the food, we had three requirements: it had to be vegan, it had to be delicous, and it had to be cheap. I fed 60 people for under $200. (Desert was extra, and will be forthcoming in another post)


Ethnic food, and ethnic markets are usually very good places to be vegan. Why? Because western cuisine has been built on meat, eggs, and milk for a very long time, in part due to the West’s greater prosperity, in part due to the opportunities that geography has provided, and in part because if you don’t know how to cook, making a palatable meal is easier if you just use animal products.

So, hie thee to your nearest Arabic food store. We will be providing recipes for our favourites, shortly. Or, if you can’t be arsed, just pick up a platter like we did: they are delicous.

Good things come in 50 lb packages

Fields of wheatWith a name like ‘for the love of seitan’, one would expect that a focus on this amazing ingredient would be at least part of our offering. Well, wait no more! Last week, we took delivery of a 50lb sack of Wheat Gluten, and have been going to town with the seitan recipes.

Kate has hit several home runs on the first attempt, that we will be documenting here. They will be delicous.

And, there will be more forthcoming. 50lbs of it.

Trader Joe’s pulled chicken sandwich.

Chik'n n BeerMmm. Trader Joes.

This place, all told, is not a bad place to be vegan. Especially if you have no patience with cooking. Or rather, especially if you have no patience with cooking. So many good prepared foods, you’ll never cook again. Unless you count microwaving and making toast as ‘cooking’.

Now, by all rights, I should be starting this series of posts regarding TJ’s fine selection of vegan delights with Tofutti’s “Better than Cream Cheese” spread, because 1)It’s been available for donkey’s years, and 2)It’s better than cream cheese, which is quite a feat.

However, in front of me is the remnants of a “Chickenless Pulled Chicken” Sandwich, along with the remnants of a can of 50 cent of “Simpler Times” lager – which I’m almost more excited about than the sandwich. Calling it the Charles Shaw of beers is almost an understatement. But no matter – go grab some of both (fake chicken and the beer) – the sell out a lot around here.

I won’t insult you with a ‘recipe’ for something that spent 5 minutes in the microwave and toaster. I will, however, remind you to slather your toasty bread with earth balance fake butter (also from TJs) for maximum flavoury goodness.

If you insist on a recipe, I’m sure there are plenty among the thousands of others all espousing the jerky chickeny goodness. Suffice to say: it takes five minutes to make, it microwaves well, and it goes well with beer. (Please note, the lager’s in cans: the bottles of Pilsner, not quite the same level of deliciousness).

Aslam’s Rasoi

Aslam\'s Rasoi Went there for dinner a few nights ago. Good stuff! They have put a little sharpie mark next to all the Vegan options on the menu. We asked for spicy, we got spicy (though keep in mind, we don’t eat much cards these days – that’s worth a post of it’s own.) It’s good to see that SF restaurants are coming round to proper spice levels these days.
Blurry shot of dinner The pricing is ok, about $10 a plate-ish for the non-meat stuff. They gave us a take home menu (which, as I look at now, is certainly out of date – one of the dishes we had isn’t on this), which had the chef’s resume on the back with picture of the chef looking all jolly and wearing cooking medals (he’s the former head chef of the Indian Oven) Kind of funny, but made sense, considering the how many awards he seems to have won. This is now my favourite mission indian place.

It’s on the next block over from the Herbivore and Dosa, and I’d recomend it over either these days, not that either are a poor choice, but Dosa’s portions seem to shrink every time we go there, and our last forays to Herbivore have left us underwhelmed.

Aslam Rasoi’s yelp page.

Aslam Rasoi’s home page.

Cooking veggies made us smarter

Apparently, cooking vegetables may have been the impetus for human civilization.

Robin Nixon at Live Science reports:

For a long time, we were pretty dumb. Humans did little but make “the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years,” he said. Then, only about 150,000 years ago, a different type of spurt happened — our big brains suddenly got smart. We started innovating. We tried different materials, such as bone, and invented many new tools, including needles for beadwork. Responding to, presumably, our first abstract thoughts, we started creating art and maybe even religion.

To understand what caused the cognitive spurt, [Researcher Philipp Khaitovich of the Partner Institute for Computational Biology] and colleagues examined chemical brain processes known to have changed in the past 200,000 years. Comparing apes and humans, they found the most robust differences were for processes involved in energy metabolism.

In most animals, the gut needs a lot of energy to grind out nourishment from food sources. But cooking, by breaking down fibers and making nutrients more readily available, is a way of processing food outside the body. Eating (mostly) cooked meals would have lessened the energy needs of our digestion systems, Khaitovich explained, thereby freeing up calories for our brains.

But what about meat? Perhaps it was roast beef, not lentil soup, that led to higher powers of cognition? Possibly, but less likely, in my opinon. Animal cells have membranes, which are easy for the body to break down. Plants have walls, made of cellulose which are much more difficult: cooking greatly facilitates their digestion.

Cooking meat can very slightly increases the caloric density, but only by driving water off, making it denser. However, the total calories from available from the meat decreases during cooking: fat is driven off and proteins are broken down. Cooking plants boils the water inside the cells, rupturing the cellulose cell wall. This makes the calories and other nutrients vastly more bioavailable.

It also lets you eat a more diverse variety of plants; many wild plants are toxic in their uncooked form, and heat denatures the toxins. In many more, heat won’t denature the toxins, but repeated boils in changes of water can get rid of them, like the tannins in tea. And, apart from a few hunter gatherer societies that living in incredibly barren environments, such as the Innuit, most hunter-gatherer groups get about 80% of their calories from plants.

Beef, Greens and Hot Cock Sauce

Beef Sriracha

A Simple one for you: Trader Joe’s Fake Beef, Greens, Onions Broccoli and Sriracha “Hot Cock” sauce (or your preferred hot sauce). Yes, yes. Everyone I know calls it hot cock sauce. It’s got a big cock on the bottle. [BTW, if you click on any of the pictures, you can see a bigger version.]

hot cock sauce

hot cock sauce

BS - Beef

1. Throw the fake beef strips into your frying pan or wok (If you are into stir fry at all, I do recommend getting a wok. The one I have here is non-stick :< but it was only $10 from Target. In retrospect, an non-stick one would have been a better investment. )

BS - onions

2. While the beef is starting to fry up, chop up an smallish onion, and toss that in too. Not many people know this, but the teat inducing part of the onion is located in the base. If you cut that bit out, onions become much more pleasant to deal with.

BS - hot cock sauce II
3. Now it’s time to add the hot sauce.  I’ve found that it Sriracha, unlike other hot sauces, doesn’t get mellower with cooking, so don’t use too much.


4. Ok, time to chop up and toss in the broccoli. They can go in pretty much right after the onions and hot sauce.

With every new item added, I add a bit more olive oil. That way, no ingredient soaks up all the olive oil, and I can use less.

The broccoli will start to green up as it cooks.

BS - greens

5. When everything in the pan is just about cooked for your satisfaction, it’s time for the greens. I’ve been eating spinach till it came out of my ears lately, so I picked up mustard greens as an experiment.

And it’s turned out well. Definitely adding this ingredient into regular rotation. (If you try picking some up at your local super, make sure you get the ‘flat’ leaves – he curly mustard is bitter if not boiled first.)

BS - greensAgain, adding a bit of olive oil. It might look like a lot of greens but leafy things shrink a lot as you cook them and the water is broken out. Since there’s a lot of them, the stiring has to pick up a bit, so that they all get cooked. At this point, dinner’s almost ready.

Get a bowl and you’re done.