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Monday, January 15, 2007

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And so Vegan Week continued today, and I'm happy to report that it's vastly improved from Day 1. Perhaps I was spurred on from the successful completion of my weightlifting DVD yesterday, or perhaps I just had better food today. Regardless, I think it can be considered a success.

Though it wasn't without its own soy-laced intrigue. For brekkie, I started with a whole wheat English muffin, and topped with my almost-vegan cheese and Yves Breakfast patties. I have to confess to being a little bit perplexed by the idea of almost-vegan cheese...I mean, the cheese is soy-based (i.e., not made with milk) but contains a hefty dose of various milk ingredients. I'm not sure who is supposed to eat this stuff!

I thought the main objectionable ingredient in regular cheese was rennet (i.e., many lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat cheese, but only if it doesn't contain rennet from animals - vegetarian cheese does exist). So why would anyone buy this soy plastic gritty slice of processed garbage? If it isn't suitable for vegans, and most vegetarians can eat non-soy-based cheese (depending, of course, on the availability of vegetarian cheese).....who would willingly subject themselves to that more than once?????

I now have 11 unopened slices. Anyone want them?

The breakfast patties were pretty good though - I didn't mind those at all and would probably stick them in a breakfast scramble with eggs (if it weren't vegan week!). Tasty stuff!

For my mid-morning snack, I experimented with soy again, this time in the form of So Nice Chocolate Soy Milk. I found this in drinking box format and thought it would make a good little treat....21 g of sugar though! Yikes. It was okay. The first sip was not nice, but as I sipped a little more, it got better. ..I just wish it had more of a chocolate flavour (being a sworn devotee of Lindt 70%, I found the chocolatude decidedly lacking).

Lunch was leftover tofu/sweet potato cakes (I know, I hated them yesterday, but I certainly didn't want to let food go to waste!!!!!). It was slightly more palatable today, but it's still not going to see a rerun.

Dinner, on the other hand, was awesome. It was free of processed wackiness, and it was a much more natural take on veganism. This kind of veganism, I can go for.

I made two separate curries and had them over basmati rice (was going to go for brown rice, but figured dinner was healthy enough on its own).

The first curry I made was a mixed vegetable was spicy, exotic, fragrant and just plain old yummy.

Mixed Vegetable Curry
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ginger, grated
1/4 c. curry paste (I used Rogan Josh)
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried coriander
1/2 t turmeric
1 t vanilla
1 cinnamon stick
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package frozen spinach, thawed
2 zucchinis, sliced
1.5 c mushrooms, quartered
2 stalks celery, sliced

Okay, okay, I know it looks like a lot of ingredients. But it doesn't take long!

1. In a large pan, heat a bit of olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger (aka "the aromatics). Sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. Add curry paste, cumin, dried coriander, turmeric and combine well.
3. Add zucchini, mushrooms and celery, and saute/combine for a few more minutes.
4. Add undrained can of tomatoes (you could sub 3 c chopped tomatoes and add a little liquid), as well as the spinach. Toss in vanilla, cinnamon stick and bouillon cube. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow flavours to meld.

To make this curry a full vegetarian meal on its own, you could add a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas or other bean to beef up the protein/fibre.

And voilà!
Vegetable Curry

The other curry I made was a perennial fave of both hubs and me. It is dead easy, really yummy - Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil Dal
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. curry paste (I used vindaloo - this dish is best spicy!!!!)
1 cup red lentils
4 cups broth
coriander and chopped tomato for garnish

Red lentils are great because they cook so fast!
Red Lentils

Anyway, the steps for this recipe are super simple:
1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add aromatics and sauté for about 5 minutes (careful they don't burn - scraping off the residue is a big biatch).
2. Stir in curry paste (I love Patak's) and really, as I said, the hotter the better. You want this baby to burn twice.
3. Stir in red lentils until well combined. Slowly pour in stock and bring to a boil. Simmer away for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft and turn yellow.

It's that easy. ANYONE can make and love this curry. It's fast and healthy and I would recommend it to anyone!!!!!

Plus, then you can garnish with tomato and coriander and it looks so cute. :)
Red lentil dal

Is that yum or what....and my friends, this one actually was as good as it looks. You should all make it. The added bonus of making all that food is that I know have five containers filled with leftovers. Woohoo!

So now, I'm absentmindedly watching the golden globes (holy self-congratulatory crapfest....though I'm glad Jennifer Hudson won!) and Little Mosque on the Prairie......but the elliptical is calling, so I should probably publish this post and hop my sore butt onto the elliptical.....

Thanks for reading! And feel free to comment.....I live for feedback and I know you're out there reading....what do you think?


Anonymous said...

Yum everything looks so good!
I will definitely try the red lentil dal!

Unknown said...

Both of those curries look delicious! I will certainly keep those recipes handy next time I've got a curry craving.

Anonymous said...

the curries look yummy! What kind of broth did you use for the red lentil dal? did you use a different kind for vegan week than you usually do? I'm going to try making this soon! :)

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

They were very yummy. :)

For the broth, normally I would use reduced sodium chicken broth (because it's what I generally have). To make it vegan, I just used veggie broth instead - you can get vegetarian/vegan broth at pretty much any grocery store and taste-wise, I don't notice a great difference in this recipe. As I said, it's great for weeknights - it's faster and MUCH cheaper than ordering in. And you can't knock the health benefits of lentils and spicy food. :)

Marlene said...

Yay for successful Day 2. As for that cheese, EW!!! and WTF!?!

Christie said...

Mmm.... curry.... Must give those recipes a try soon!

I too, echo an "ew" for most soy cheese. For non-vegan week, I highly recommend the Yves veggie ham slices with egg, cheese (your choice on soy or no) and a toasted English Muffin - a very very yummy "Egg McMuffin"


Anonymous said...

I don't understand. If you're an un-Goddess, how can your Mixed Vegetable Curry make me a god (with my wife, at least)?

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