Friday, February 4

Cook Book Challenge Week #4

Vegan with a Vengeance
Wednesday's Breakfast: Tofu Scramble and Tempeh Bacon
Thursday's Dinner: Falafel and Tahini Dressing

On Wednesday, we couldn't leave the house due to all of the snow!  We managed to shovel out the driveway and patio, but beyond that.. things weren't looking too promising.  We even had to help a neighbor who was stuck on our street.  Since Chad spent most of his morning shoveling the driveway, I made a delicious, hot breakfast.

sunshiny yellow
We used the Tofu Scramble recipe and added tomatoes and spinach.  I think I added a little too much turmeric, because the tofu was a super bright, sunny yellow!  Chad was excited to use some extra nutritional yeast, too.  I also decided to try making Tempeh Bacon.  We buy Fakin' Bacon once in a while, but it's so much more expensive than plain tempeh.  I was missing a bunch of ingredients (and since I couldn't just make a quick trip to the grocery store) I had to make a few substitutions.  I was surprised with the homemade version, and it will definitely save us some money!  If you're curious about tempeh bacon, it doesn't really taste like or replace bacon, but it's really good on sandwiches (like BLT) or as a side (for breakfast), plus it's packed with protein and is extra healthy because it's a fermented food. 

We also planned to make Falafel on Wednesday.  We had everything we needed (chickpeas, pita, etc.), but didn't have any of the fresh produce (cucumber, tomatoes, parsley) to accompany it.  AND since our street still wasn't plowed by dinner time, we waited until Thursday.  I was looking forward to making the falafel, because Chad and I both really like it.  The only time I actually made it, I cheating by using a mix and wrote about it here.  We've had it several times, including from Doener stands in Germany, at  Reza's in Chicago and from the buffet at Holy Land Diner.  I read some suggestions from others over at PPK, so I decided beforehand that I would bake, instead of fry the falafel.  I followed the recipe almost word for word, only omitting the onions.  I thought it looked pretty dry and crumbly, so I was unsure how it would stick together.  After some time in the refrigerator, it was surprisingly easy to mold.   Also, while that was "chilling," I whipped up the Tahini Dressing, which was not only easy and tasty, but was also a good way to use up some more of the parsley.  

pitas, loaded and ready to go
We baked the falafel using a little leftover garlic oil from the dressing for 20 minutes at 375.  Then, to make them a little crispier, I pan fried each for about two minutes on each side.  We stuffed them into the pitas with red onion (on mine), cucumbers, tomatoes, romaine, baby greens and a generous slather of the dressing.  They were scrumptious... even better than I expected after baking them.  They didn't have quite the crunch they normally have from frying, but they definitely had a great taste from the parsley and seasonings.  They really weren't as much work as I thought, and besides refrigeration, were fairly quick to make.  I can add this to the "make again soon" list at our house!

Thoughts after week four of the challenge?  I think that "Vegan with a Vengeance" is still my favorite vegan cookbook.  There is such a variety of recipes, and they're all pretty quick and simple... even, as I learned this week, ones that I thought would were daunting or difficult.  We have a Post-in stuck inside the front cover scribbled full of things we still want to make, so this cookbook will be well-loved well into the future!

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