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Quick Bites: Don’t Use That Pan!
Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, fruitarian, macrobiotic, pollo-vegetarian, … the list for describing your meat-eating habits (or lack thereof) goes on and on. It’s two degrees of separation, but with dietary restriction, as everyone in the Moonshine Ink office of eight employees has some sort of connection to the meat-free lifestyle. More specifically, Abby and Lauren are pescatarian, Julie’s partner has been a vegan for 25 years, and she eats meat, but no beef — what are we calling that these days?
Needless to say, there is a lot of office chatter about everything from meat substitutes to veggie recipes to how to cook for your new flame when a prime rib and lobster tail simply won’t cut it. Below we feature Julie’s compromises for living with a vegan, and highlight two recipes for classic meaty dishes — bacon and tacos. ~ Ally Gravina/Moonshine Ink
Julie’s Respectful Compromises and Rules
• Establish Ground Rules for Keeping Meat in the House: I keep meat and dairy in my personal drawer in the fridge.
• Make Hard and Fast Rules for Cooking Meat in the House: We do not cook meat in the house ever, but I will bring in lunch meats or precooked meats.
• Find What Works for You: When I met Brian, I thought trying a vegan diet was not that big of a deal. I was totally into it and I thought I would even lose weight. Boy, was I wrong. He may be a vegan, but he can also put down some carbs, and so did I. He is always hungry and snacking.
• Plan Ahead When Going Out to Eat: Check menus beforehand — I find that we can both find things to eat at sushi and Thai restaurants. Sidenote: The funny thing about restaurants is that there is a stereotype that the woman is the vegan. We sit down, order our food, and when it gets delivered they always put the plate with the meat on it in front of Brian. We laugh, switch the plates, and eat.
• Be Considerate About Why Your Partner Makes These Changes: Brian has some family history of clogged arteries and health problems causing death at a young age, leading him to the decision to make these changes in hopes that he could outlive the common challenges of his family genes. Additionally, Brian takes the environment seriously for future generations.
• Use Vegan Cooking as the Base for All Meals: Say I am making a pasta dish at home and cook it entirely vegan. I will then add an ingredient like parmesan after the fact because you can always put non-vegan ingredients on the side.
• Learn from Each Other: I have given up eating beef, as I’m concerned about the damage cattle farming is doing to our mother earth. I’ve read that it takes 518 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat!
• Most Importantly, Have Mutual Respect: He is not allowed to give me a hard time and I don’t give him a hard time. He also respects that my diet is gluten free. It also blows me away to know how much land it takes to raise cattle.
Crispy Eggplant “Bacon”
Yields about 14 slices
1 medium eggplant (you’ll only use half)
2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 pinch sea salt
1 inch garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit — turn to “convection bake” if available to speed up cooking time. Line one large or two small baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Slice an eggplant in half lengthwise and set one half aside for other uses. Then cut the remaining eggplant in half lengthwise once more so you have two long, skinny pieces. Use a sharp knife or mandoline to slice into very thin strips (resembling the size/shape of bacon). They shouldn’t be quite paper thin — roughly 1/8 inch thick. Set aside. Make sauce by adding avocado oil, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Use a brush to coat both sides of the eggplant slices with sauce. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet(s) and sprinkle with more black pepper. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the eggplant is deep red in color, appears dry, and is slightly crispy. If needed, increase heat to 250 toward the end if it’s not crisping up. Remove from oven and let cool. It will continue crisping up as it cools. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month. To serve, warm the pieces on both sides in aa skillet over medium heat with a little oil of your choice (be careful not to burn). ~ Recipe courtesy minimalistbaker.com
Julie’s Vegan Tacos
1 can black beans
1/2 package tofu
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
Crushed Red Pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 medium tomatoes
1 ear of corn
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup lime juice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Veganaise
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
Chop up garlic and onion and put in frying pan with olive oil on medium heat. Drain and rinse the black beans and mush the tofu with your hands. Add to the garlic and onions. Add spices and cook until most of the watery moisture from the tofu is gone. For veggie filling, chop and mix all ingredients together and add lime juice and salt. Serve in corn or flour tortilla, sprinkle with special sauce, and enjoy.
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Soul Kitchen dishes out one-of-a-kind recipes from Tahoe locals. Read about Tahoe Truckee’s local food culture, get a roundup review of local venues, catch a new recipe, and find out what's in season.
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