All posts tagged recipes

The Finished Bread Pudding

Okay Carissa, you asked for it…

Egg Nog Bread Pudding with Tequilla/Orange Sauce

So the other night on Twitter, I got to talking with the abovementioned Carissa about egg nog bread pudding, which I promised I would write up the recipe for. True to form, it took me a few days to get around to it, but late is better than never, right?

I love this recipe. When I created it, I took a basic bread pudding recipe and decided to see how much I could gild the lily (to steal a term from Mario Batali). With egg nog only being available around Christmas time, I figured why not? This is obviously a holiday dish and why eat low cal for the holidays? Right?

So beyond using the egg nog, there’s bananas and raisins because they taste awesome in bread pudding and lots of cinnamon. However, the version in the picture above uses povotica, which is a Polish Christmas bread loaded with sugar and butter and all the things that make life worth living. (Unless your one of my vegan readers when I would highly suggest vegan banana bread, but that’s another recipe…)

No Rum Sauce? Why Tequilla/Orange Sauce?

Good question. Part of it goes back to the whole guilding the lily thing. I thought tequilla/orange sauce for bread pudding sounded really good. Plus, I was out of rum. However, rum can easily be substituted in the recipe below. (Hopefully that’s okay…)

Anyway, now to the recipe.

Egg Nog Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding Out of the OvenYou will need:

3 eggs
2 cups of egg nog
1 cup of skim milk
3 cups of diced bread
1/2 cup of sugar*
1/2 orange, zested (optional)
2 bananas, diced
1/4 cup of raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Handful of pecans (optional)

* The amount of sugar is almost totally dependent on the sweetness of the bread you use. For my povotica version, I used 4 tablespoons of sugar because the bread and egg nog are so sweet. Also, no matter what type of bread you choose, remember the egg nog has sugar, too.

This one is real easy, I promise.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until the are combined. Add the egg nog, milk, sugar and orange zest. Beat together until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  4. Pour into a buttered 9 by 9 glass baking dish. Top with pecans.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Tequilla/Orange Sauce

Bread pudding is always better if it has a little sauce on top. Here’s the one I use. However, there is a caution flag on this one.

I really, really liked this sauce, but I like sipping tequilla. If that’s not you, cut down the tequilla or use a different alcohol.

You will need:

4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/2 cup egg nog
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 cup water
Juice of one orange
1/8 cup tequilla (or more ;))*

*If you are serving this to minors, you can use 2 tablespoons of rum extract for an alcohol flavor.

  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the egg nog, milk, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  2. Mix the corn starch and water together and then add to the milk mixture. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low.
  4. Add the orange juice and the tequilla and stir for 3-4 minutes.

Pour on top of the bread puding and enjoy!

This is my holiday endulgence…now, what’s yours?

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding Notes

  1. If you want your bread pudding to turn out EXACTLY like mine, start off using a bowl with a crack in it until you get to the step about adding the bread…
  2. If you still want to do it like I did, set the oven to broil and don’t realize it until after you start to smell burning and realize your pecans are a loss…
  3. If you’re still with me, one thing I noticed was that the top of my bread pudding still looked wet.  It was not.  In fact, it had set first and just looked kind of glazed.

Okay, here is big entry number three in  Cate and Sarah’s $7 Dinner Challenge.  If you have not heard of the $7 Dinner Challenge, these two amazingly talented food bloggers have challenged the rest of us still pretty talented food bloggers to create a  two-course meal for four including a full serving of vegetables for just $7 total.

Today, I decided to do something because last time I checked, it’s November.  And it should be cold or at least cool or something.  Hrmm…

Anyway, when it does get cold, here’s a $7 Dinner for you:

Tomato Vegetable Soup with Garlic Bread

Every Christmas, my mother makes tomato vegetable soup, so for my family this meal has come to mean cold winter nights and family togetherness.

The good thing about the soup is that it is packed full of vegetables, it is hearty, and it comes with garlic bread.  Everyone loves garlic bread.

It is also the one dish that I have made for the $7 Dinner Challenge so far where I have not had to reforumulate a recipe because of the dollar limitation.  Still, had this been the $8 Dinner Challenge, there would be some fresh celery and maybe some garlic thrown in the soup, but as it stands I like this soup just fine.

Recipe: Tomato Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound, onions 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 bottle low sodium V8
  • 2 bags frozen mixed vegetables, thawed to room temperature

This one is really easy.

In a soup pot over high heat, add the vegetable oil and let it get hot.  Add the onions and a teaspoon of black peper and saute until the onions begin to brown around the edges, maybe 4 minutes.

Add the V8, the mixed vegetables, and a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil.

The soup can be served anytime after the vegetables have gotten warm, though I like to let it thicken so I boil it on medium for about 20 minutes.

Recipe: Garlic Bread

  • Half a loaf of Italian Bread (I like day old for garlic bread), sliced into eight pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon, garlic salt*

Preheat the broiler.

This one can be easy, if you are up to the challenge.

Arrange the bread on cookie sheet and brush or drizzle the butter on the slices.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.

When the broiler is hot, put the bread on the shelf nearest the coil and broil for about 90 seconds.

Now, here’s where things get difficult. It may take a little longer than 90 seconds, but while you are broiling bread, you do not want to make any plans.  Don’t look at the TV.  Don’t answer your phone.  Ignore your children, your dog, and your friends because the minute you forget about that bread, the quantum mechanics that rule the universe will char the bread to a crisp.  Something about Schrodinger’s Cat or something.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent but Rachel Ray and I have lost enough good loaves to the broiler pan, I don’t want it happening to you, too.  And really, since you already melted the butter, all you are doing is crisping the bread a bit.  It doesn’t need to stay in too long.  In fact, sometimes I’ve skipped the broiler step all together.

And that is dinner.  Okay, everyone, go eat!!

Yes, Halloween is upon us and what better dish to serve than deviled eggs?  Everyone loves deviled eggs,  they are great at parties and they are easy to make.

OK, I must admit the idea of serving deviled eggs actually came my friend Skyle who told me she makes them into scary Halloween ghosts and serves them on top of a plate of black beens (using black peppercorns for the eyes, rice for maggots, and carrot strips for feet.  She’s obviously far more creative than me.)

Instead of ghosts, why not pumpkins?  Try adding in a little red food coloring to egg yolk mixture and a dollop of wasabi or a chive for the for the stem.

My personal favorite is to use a lot of red food coloring and a little sriracha hot sauce.  Bloody Halloween hearts with a fiery twist.

Recipe: Deviled Eggs

If you don’t have a family favorite, here’s a recipe I like for deviled eggs.  This one has a lot of greenery in it, so you might omit the celery and green onions to make the recipe a little prettier.  Or you can leave it in because it tastes awful good.

  • 24 eggs
  • 1 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons mustard
  • 3 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 inch piece of celery, finely minced
  • 1 green onion, green top only, finely minced
  • Paprika for garnish

Put the eggs into a pot and cover the eggs with water.  Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and turn off the heat.  Let the eggs sit for 14 minutes.

Peel the eggs and halve.  Remove the yolks and put into a mixing bowl.  If you are making Skyle’s eggs, cut the bottom off of the egg and pull the egg from the bottom.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Once the ingredients are well mixed, put them in a piping bag or into a plastic bag with a corner snipped.

Fill each white with the egg mixture and sprinkle with paprika for color.


(Photo courtesy of Skyle.)

So at some urging from Judy, here is my recipe for fried artichokes, which  was heavily inspired by the same dish at La Bodega in Kansas City, MO.  It is the perfect combination of salt from the “ham” and sweet from the garlic vegannaise.

Fried Artichokes

  • 8 large artichokes
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 slices of tofurkey lunch meat (if you’re not veg, you can substitute ham), halved
  • 6 tablespoons of egg replacer
  • 2 tablespoons of soy milk
  • 1 cup of All Purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for frying

To make the dipping sauce:

  • 8 tablespoons of vegannaise
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (or roasted garlic)
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of sriracha hot sauce

Process the artichokes.  I’m going to defer to eHow until I can get some pictures up.  (I know, I know.)

Dredge the artichokes in corn starch and shake off the excess.  Then wrap the artichoke in half of a slice of the lunch “meat”.  Trim any extra meat so that it wraps around perfectly.   Stick a toothpick through the artichoke so that the lunch meat stays closed.  Let the artichokes sit for 10 minutes to let the cornstarch set.

While the artichokes are resting, mix the egg replacer and soy milk (or eggs and regular milk if you are not vegan) together in one bowl and the flour, garlic, and salt and pepper in another bowl.

After ten minutes, dip the artichokes into the egg mixture and then the flour.  Shake off the excess flour and put on a plate to set.

Bring the frier to temperature while the crust is forming on the artichokes.  Fry the artichokes until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

And so it comes to an end…

In Part 0 of How to Make Tofu That Doesn’t Suck, we looked at all the things you can do to prep your tofu before cooking.  Part 1 covered baking it, Part 2 deep frying it.  Part 3 examined how to stir fry tofu.  Part 4 was a list of sauces that go well with toful.

And now we are ready for the conclusion.  The grand finale…it’s Ma Po Tofu.

Ma po tofu (which is Chinese for so good you smack your mother POW! Okay, not really, it’s probably named after a Chinese street vendor named Ma who was probably fictious) is a traditional Sichuan dish that is made with tofu, ground pork, and a lot of chilis, including the infamous Sichuan peppercorns.

However, for me, this dish will always be special because it was the first Chinese meal I ate after becoming vegetarian.  It was so good and yet it didn’t have any meat…

So, I pretty much decided I had to learn how to cook it.  Instead of pork, I decided to go with seitan which has lead to this…

Ma Po Tofu

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 4 Sichuan chilies
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
  • 4 spring onions, whites sliced and the greens cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 package of seitan, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of broth
  • 1 tablespoon of Sichuan hot bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch

Okay, let’s start with a couple of notes.  First, yes the recipe is correct.  Use extra firm tofu.  Traditionally it is made with soft tofu, but I think by now you know what I think of soft tofu.

Secondly, substitutions.  If you do not have Sichuan peppercorns (available at Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods, but not at my local Asian market (?!)), omit.  Regular peppercorns are not the same.  Secondly, if you do not have Sichuan bean paste…go to the Asian market.  It is pretty much the key to this dish tasting right.

Okay, back to the recipe:

Press the tofu, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, and prepare using your favorite method.  If you are in a hurry, you do not even need to press it, but of course, it makes the tofu taste better.

In a wok, roast the peppercorns until they become fragrant (about 1 minute) and remove from the wok.  Grind.  Dry roast the chilies until they turn brown and remove.  Smash in a food processor.

Add the peanut oil to the wok and let it get very hot.  Add the sliced spring onion whites, garlic and ginger to the wok.  Stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the seitan and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, broth, Sichuan hot bean paste, androasted chilies, and bring to a boil.  Add the tofu into the wok and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with the corn starch to create a slurry.   Add that to the wok and stir until the sauce becomes thick.

Garnish with spring onion greens and Sichuan peppercorns.


And this concludes my five (really six part series) on how to make tofu not suck.  I am going to be taking these posts, adding some pictures, and adding a few more recipes.   Who knows, I might even proofread.  Then I’ll turn all that into a PDF and put on the site for print and download.  More on that later!  Until then, start making tofu that doesn’t suck!

Phew!  It’s been a bit of a ride, but I am finally back on track.

In Part 0 of How to Make Tofu That Doesn’t Suck, we looked at all the things you can do to prep your tofu before cooking.  Part 1 covered baking it, Part 2 deep frying it.  Today we’re going to be looking at how to stir fry tofu.  Next, we’ll look at it sauces that go well with tofu and then finish up with my recipe for ma po tofu made with nice, firm tofu.

Also, very shortly, I’ll have all of this information packed up into one, nice, easy-to-digest PDF for you to download.  But more on that as we go.

For now…stir frying your tofu.

As a cooking technique, stir frying offers you a number of distinct advantages, most notably that if you are short on time, you can stir fry your tofu without pressing it.  The results will always be better if you can press your tofu first, but in a pinch, this is the way to go.

Cutting Your Tofu For Stir Frying

The trick to perfect stir fried tofu is all in how you cut it.  Stir frying is the ultimate application of a lot of heat, a little fat, and a whole lot of stuff moving around.  This means you are going to have to cut you tofu into small blocks.

If you have no time for prep, when I mean small, I am talking about one-eighth inch thick slices.  Take the entire block of tofu, cut it in half lengthwise, and then make cuts every eighth of an inch.

If you have time for prepping the tofu, I would still not cut it any thicker than one-quarter of an inch.

The Stir Fry

A lot of stir fry recipes have you cook the meat first, then remove it, then cook some veggies, and remove them and so on.  When you are stir frying tofu, what I recommend doing is getting the oil nice and hot and then throwing the tofu into the wok.  Let it stir fry by itself for 3-4 minutes or until it is starting to go from golden brown to just brown brown.

Then remove it if you must.  Better yet, start adding in the other ingredients and let the tofu continue to cook.  The longer that tofu cooks without burning, the better it is going to taste in the end.

Stir Frying as Secondary Cooking

If you have the inclination, what a lot of restaurants like to do is deep fry their tofu first.  What I would recommend doing is cutting the tofu into one inch by two inch by one-half inch pieces, coating them in cornstarch and deep frying then until golden brown.  Once they have drained, they can be added towards the end of the stir fry process (give them at least 2 minutes to cook) and make sure they get coated in whatever sauce you make as they should soak up of that liquid and taste that much better.

Okay, what are you waiting for?  Next time we are talking tofu sauces.

Before my descent into veganism, I used to love to make short ribs and pork and roast in the slow cooker.  As someone does not eat meat, I can still savor the memory of pork so tender it had to be scooped up because it would fall apart when pricked by a fork or delicious beef ribs done low and slow.

But alas…I am vegan.  Which means Time to Get Creative.

So I’ve been thinking about how to make vegan slow cooker recipes for a while now.  Up until now, my go-to veg ingredient for slow cooking has always been potatoes.  Really waxy potatoes I can slowly break down over a couple of hours.  Still, that’s largely just applying a technique, it is not really doing any good to the potatoes which eventually break down and become a mush and I just wanted more.  Which led me to my old standby: seitan.

I figured I would start with one of my favorites: “beef” short ribs.  This is a dish that does really well slow cooked, not so much because the protein needs the flavor, but the sauce needs time to meld together.  Oh, and don’t be afraid.  There are a lot of ingredients, but it’s really an easy recipe.

Braised Chinese “Beef” Ribs

For the seitan:

  • 1 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

For the flavorful cooking liquid:

  • 1 cup of low sodium tamari
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sambal olek (sriracha hot sauce can be substituted)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 green onion whites, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced lemon grass
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger


  • Green onion tops sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut oil

To make the seitan, preheat the oven to 300.  Add the dry ingredients into a Kitchenaid mixer.  Stir with a fork.  Then add the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate the tomato paste.  Mix for 5 minutes.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand for another 60 seconds.

Cut into strips and put onto a buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Yes, they will be dry and yes they will be hard, but that is the point.

All of this can be done the day before.  If doing so, let the seitan cool befoe putting into a container so that it does not steam up the bag.  Store in the refrigerator several days.

When ready to make the braising liquid, all the ingredients except the garnish go into the slow cooker with the seitan.  Cook for 4 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with greens and drizzle a bit of peanut oil over the “ribs.”

See, I told you it was easy!

It was a chance encounter that first led me to Masalas, an authentic Indian restaurant near my local Whole Foods. I had no idea that a simple grocery run would, in the end, leave me literally so full I could not have had another bite.

The building that Masalas currently occupies used to be a Baja Fresh, but it had closed down. The old Baja Fresh’s signage was quickly replaced with “Masalas Authentic Indian Cuisine…Coming Soon.” I thought it was a clever name, but I did not really give it a second thought until months after the sign change.

It was pure dumb luck I was running to the grocery store with my son the night Masalas decided to give its kitchen a dry run. Noticing that people were walking into the restaurant and sitting down, I let curiosity get the better of me and drug my son into the place, which was still not-so-stylishly decorated in the black-and-white checked flooring and stark white counters of Baja Fresh and asked if they were open.

Chandra, the project manager in charge of launching the restaurant told me they were testing the kitchen and insisted I try some of the food. He sat me down and started off with a carrot pudding flavored with coconut that was almost too sweet to eat, but too good not to finish. I was surprised that it did not have raisins or other dried fruit.

The first entree he gave me was called Cauliflower Manchurian, a dish that came to India in the 1960s when Chinese immigrants moved to the country. Those immigrants began cooking the dish and it quickly became highly popular, even as Indian cooks began adding their own spices and making it their own. The end result was a dish had a taste in between kung po cauliflower and aloo gobi (an Indian dish with cauliflower in a yellow curry.) The dish is a little sweet, a little hot, a little salty, and has flavors more reminiscent of China due to the use of soy sauce.

I was blown away. They gave me five other dishes and they were good, but nothing came even close to Cauliflower Manchurian. I wanted more. I had to stop myself from licking the plate. In the end, I was given a score card. Nothing got below a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10, though nothing came close to the cauliflower’s high score of 21. At the end of the night, I thanked Chandra and left his restaurant, but I was already hungry for more of that fantastic Cauliflower Manchurian.

That was in May. For some reason, I thought that Masalas was a few weeks, maybe a month away from opening for business. One month passed. Then another and then another. Every now and then I would see Chandra at Whole Foods and I would ask when Masalas was going to be open. The need for more Cauliflower Manchurian was turning from a desire into an obsession and I needed to know. I was told “Soon.”

For four months I waited until again, out of sheer happenstance, I was going to get groceries when the signage at Masalas changed. This time it read: “Now Open.”

I canceled my dinner plans, walked in and ordered the buffet. I had a fantastic meal. I tried everything, but when I went back for seconds, my plate contained only one dish. It was made with cauliflower.

I left the restaurant stuffed, but I still have not gotten enough Cauliflower Manchurian.

If you want to try Cauliflower Manchurian for yourself, Chandra was nice enough to share his recipe.

For the cauliflower dumplings:

  • 10 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sriracha or sambal olek
  • 1 teaspoon of MSG (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • ½ tablespoon of pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into cubes

For the sauce:

  • 1 small onion per head of cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon of MSG (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of ketchup

First, make the dumplings by combining all the ingredients except for the cauliflower in a mixing bowl and add water until it forms a smooth, pancake-like batter. Taste the batter at this stage, it should taste delicious. If not, adjust the seasons accordingly.

Add the cauliflower and toss to evenly coat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Deep fry the cauliflower in a neutral oil and drain.

To make the sauce, cook the onions, ginger, garlic, and spring onions in the olive oil until the onions are soft. Add the cauliflower dumplings and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

As an alternative, you can leave out the dumplings and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and thicken the sauce first. Then add the cauliflower and cook long enough for the dumplings to get coated and warm.

To go along with the omnivore’s 100 and the vegan 100, I’ve decided to write out the top 100 foods that I want to cook and as I fix them, I will scratch them off and perhaps replace them with something new.  Some of these ideas are pretty mundane, some not so.  Some are vegan, some involve real meat.

If you like the idea, please create your own and leave me a comment so I can steal ideas see what you’re cooking.

  1. Mango/chili powder sorbet
  2. Cayenne Hot Sauce
  3. Faux Short Ribs with Hard Bamboo Bones and Seitan
  4. Fajita Skirt Steak (the real stuff, it’s a long story)
  5. Mexican Flank Steak (Again, don’t ask)
  6. Seitan in an Asian Plum Sauce
  7. Silken Tofu Chocolate Cafe
  8. Noodles like I get at Shogun
  9. Miso Eggplant “eel” sushi
  10. Vegan spicy tuna roll
  11. Crab cakes with Match
  12. Chiapas-style Seitan
  13. Homemade rice pancakes (moo shu style)
  14. Vegan gnocchi
  15. Vegan nan (need a tandoori oven)
  16. Aloo Gobi
  17. Rucci Fry (my favorite vegetarian Indian dish, have no idea what’s in it except that it’s veggies, it’s red, and it’s FLAMING hot.)  Mmm…
  18. Berry banana silken tofu shake
  19. Vanilla/sugar sauted lobster
  20. Dozen oysters with horseradish finished with citrus and a hint of watermelon
  21. Seitan pepperoni
  22. Seitan salami
  23. Smoked tempeh
  24. Tiger cry seitan
  25. Vegan haggis (yes, I, too am puzzled by this…)
  26. Vegan shrimp substitute
  27. Vegan parmesan
  28. Sweet mash (sweet potatoes and bananas)
  29. Vegan hot dogs
  30. Turducken
  31. Cassoulet
  32. A vegan version of Cassoulet
  33. Vegan french toast
  34. Cashew cheese
  35. Cashew milk
  36. Homemade soy milk
  37. Lemon poppy seed cake
  38. Mini carrot cakes
  39. Kalamata olive bread
  40. Vegan sun-dried tomato spread
  41. Olive tapenade
  42. Vegan ham
  43. Barley risotto
  44. Sweet potato risotto
  45. Sweet potato ice cream
  46. Vegan cookies and cream ice cream
  47. Champagne risotto
  48. Salad with nicoise olives
  49. Pear puree soup
  50. Strawberry/tomato bruschetta (thanks forfeng)
  51. Jack Daniels glaze
  52. Bourbon sauce
  53. Margarita seitan
  54. Chiliaquelles
  55. Vegan alfredo sauce
  56. Sugar grilled asparagus
  57. Yu shiang asparagus
  58. Sa cha eggplant
  59. Dan dan noodles that don’t completely suck
  60. Blazing noodles from Pei Wei (I’m close)
  61. Seitan in a slow cooker
  62. Tea marinated seitan
  63. Tea smoked something
  64. Green tea ice cream
  65. Chipotle paste
  66. Serrano ginger paste
  67. Hard candy
  68. Carmel scallops
  69. Chinese pork bun
  70. Chili paste
  71. Mole
  72. Good Brazillian polenta
  73. Brazillian cheese bread
  74. Seitan scampi
  75. Collard greens
  76. Profiteroles
  77. Profiteroles stuffed with seitan
  78. Vegan cheesy mashed potatoes
  79. Vegan creamed spinach
  80. Garlicky sauted spinach
  81. Sweet Potatoe Souffle
  82. Vegan coconut drop cookies
  83. Vegan egg replacer
  84. Frittata with tofu eggs
  85. French-style omelet
  86. Vegan feta
  87. Flour tortillas from scratch
  88. Chimichanga
  89. Asian 5 Spice Seitan
  90. Peking Duck
  91. Stuffed portobellos
  92. Mango relish that doesn’t taste like crap
  93. Grilled stuffed peaches
  94. Deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  95. Fried cookie dough
  96. Mochahete
  97. Vegan sausage
  98. Peach cobbler
  99. Macadamia-nut encrusted cheese cake
  100. Jamaican jerk sauce

So…what’s on your 100? 

So I was talking with my wife the other day about being vegetarian and whether we should attempt being vegan.  I surprised myself.

I have been really pondering why I don’t eat meat.  At first, it was a health thing.  Not so much that a meat free diet is healthier (it is, by the way) but because part of my ability to lose weight depends on being able to control food. Vegetarianism = controlling food.  Hence I became vegetarian.

But the more I think about it, the more I find that I don’t really need to kill things to eat well.  I’m not sure if its the murdering that I am really finding distateful or the fact that commercial meat is full of fun things like mad cow and salmonella, not to mention cholesterol, triglycerides, and other things which cause a host of diseases.  But there is something about killing to eat that I find unnecessary.

Citizens of developed nations do not need meat to survive.  As a species, all humans once needed meat to have enough food to live.  Even after agriculture came along, we still needed meat.  The problem is industrialized countries (and non-industrial countries if the Developed Nations spent less time blowing up their neighbors and siding with dictators and more time building infrastructure and rooting out corruption) have enough technology and understanding of food science that if they so chose, they could live without meat. 

And frankly all we are doing by eating meat is killing ourselves.  People die of contaminated food (and yes, people died from bacteria in spinach, but that was traced to a pig farm next door…) and people die of the diseases that meat cause.  At the same time, the American Cancer Association is pushing people to eat vegetarian diets because they are healthy and they extend life.

Ultimately, I feel that not eating meat is the logical next step in cultural evolution.  I think it makes us more human and humane to stop killing the “lesser” creatures that live on it.  Yes, God made us dominion over all the land and all the animals on it.  However, the way we use that dominion is akin to me giving you dominion of my bank account and you losing it on slot machines or thousand dollar trinkets.  Yes, you had dominion over it, but wasted it.

So, to my mind: we don’t NEED meat.  We probably SHOULDN’T eat it and there are BETTER alternatives.  To me, it just makes sense that we find a new direction.

I expect a deluge of feedback for anyone who reads this.  I don’t consider myself a militaristic vegetarian, but I do wonder what would happen if we looked past our epicurean ways and tried to live a little healthier.