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What DO you eat if not meat? Sugar and spice and all things nice....

(post, Trista Cornelius)

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So, what did you eat this week?  Did you try anything new?  It's week two of my veganish chronicles (click here for the background on this), and some of your comments and emails (thank you for those!!) suggested you might be trying some new things this week, like quinoa or almond butter.  You also requested last week's featured pie recipe.  It is reprinted below.  Let me know how you like it.  

Dinners and desserts are really what I have to brag about this week, but I'll start at the beginning: breakfast.  The week started with savory:  a vegan "Harvest" crepe from Village Crepery at the farmers' market--dairy and egg free crepe batter (I have no idea how they do it) with spinach, avocado, tomato, and basil folded inside.  The crepe is such a staple, I bring my own knife and fork to eat it, so I don't waste anymore plastic!  Oatmeal with fresh peaches, flaxseed meal, and raisins or vegan banana bread with almond butter and peaches made up the rest of the week's breakfast, except for today. Today! Oh, my...

Today, so hungry I could barely keep myself from chewing on my yoga mat after a drop of sweat running over my lips reminded me of potato chips--I scrambled two eggs from my cousin's hens (the yolks were huge and colored deep, vermillion orange) with rainbow chard from my garden.  While I ate that, I toasted the last two pieces of the banana bread and slathered them in almond butter and peaches. My stretched stomach aches enough that I realize I maybe ought to have stopped after the eggs and waited a bit, at least ten minutes, to digest.    

Dinner leftovers made up this week's lunches, except one salad day that included nutritional yeast and seaweed (dulse and wakame).  Dulse, a red sea weed, provides vitamin B12, the only nutrient difficult to get without animal products.  Eggs have a lot of B12, but I eat them sparingly, so I add nutritional yeast (specifically the "vegetarian support formula") and dulse seaweed to many dishes.  Nutritional yeast tastes a lot like cheese, no cheesy texture, but the same sharp, comforting flavor.  Dulse and other seaweeds provide a rich salty flavor and their own unique textures, sometimes chewy, sometimes soft like steamed spinach.  I love them all, but others, like my husband, prefer only a little sprinkled on the salad or in the soup.  

Dinners this week included a night out for Live Nachos (all raw ingredients) and BBQ tempeh; whole wheat pizza (dough made by the husband!) with pesto (made with basil from the garden) topped with roasted eggplant and tomato from the garden and zucchini from my mom's garden; quick and satiating bean and rice bowls one tired night, and a veggie Mu Shu from Cafe Flora's cookbook (a veg restaurant in Seattle) that used seitan, a chewy, "meaty" substance made from gluten.  

But Tuesday night, for my writing group, I boldly made a soup I've only eaten once (and didn't like because I didn't know it would be cold) and never made myself:  Gazpacho.  Not only that, I made up my own recipe by adapting Moosewood Cookbook's Gazpacho recipe and Ani Phyo's Raw Marinara recipe.  The bountiful tomato harvest in the garden drove me to such risky behavior.  Normally, I only make meals for others that have made it through the test kitchen that is my husband and me.  Best of all, this Gazpacho is raw.  (Is Gazpacho normally raw?  Or, are the tomatoes skinned, seeded, and stewed first?)

I put tomatoes still warm from the sun in Spike and wooshed them into tomato juice with the S-blade.  The seeds stayed intact but everything else (skin and all) transformed into a frothy, pink, ketchup-smelling juice.  To that, I added half of my finely chopped veggies:  cucumber from my cousin's garden, onion, sundried tomatoes, bell pepper, one garlic clove, oregano from the garden, as well as the juice from one lime and half a lemon, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper (should have also added a tiny drop of honey or agave syrup, too, I think).  I wooshed that into a frothy soup, then stirred in the rest of the diced veggies and put it in the fridge to chill.  

Unless they were just being nice, the writing group liked it, one of whom has been on a Gazpacho kick this summer.  The artisanal walnut bread she brought to share matched the surprisingly rich flavor of the soup.  Cool cucumber and bell pepper bits offered a good balance to the soup's density.  Bold colorful, packed with nutrition, fiber, and raw energy.  Definitely a keeper.  

Finally, dessert!  Although not as tasty as last week's pie, it's raw, and my man and I made it together--Ani Phyo's Orange Spice Bars.  My man ground whole oat groats into a fine powder, using the coffee grinder (Now that we've quit coffee, we had to find some other purpose for it!).  Spike mashed that with pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and enough syrup (pitted dates blended with a peeled orange and water) to make it stick together and form a crust.  On top of the crust, I poured a thicker date and orange mixture and the rest of the "syrup" then let it sit in the fridge to firm up.  

Not bad.  The crust is dense and chewy, and the dates make a sticky, tooth-aching sweet filling.  However, I don't like the texture--too pulpy and stringy from using the whole orange rather than juicing it.  Good enough to try again, but next time I'll forfeit the fiber in the orange and use just the juice.  

So, what do you think?  Anything sound good?  

The "Baked Lime(or Lemon) 'Cream' Pie" from last week is from Dreena Burton's first book, Everyday Vegan.  I bought a vegan, whole wheat crust, but you can make a graham cracker crust if you'd like.  For the filling:

Process 1/4 cup cashews in a food processor until very fine, almost powdery.  Add 1 1/4 cups soft tofu (patted dry) and puree until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup unrefined sugar(see note below), 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; 2 tsp vanilla extract, pinch sea salt, and blend until very smooth.  Stir in the lime or lemon zest and pour the mixture into your pie shell.  Bake for 24-25 minutes at 350F.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Meanwhile, make vanilla pudding.  (Dreena Burton recommends Mori-Nu brand, I used Mrs. something-or-other from Canada, but either way, use soy or almond or hemp or rice milk instead of cow milk.)  Generously and gently spread the pudding over the top of the pie.  Refrigerate before serving.  

Note:  cane sugar is refined using charred animal bones.  To keep it truly animal-free, use beet sugar or organic, unrefined sugar.  See here for more details.