Category Archives: Fast Food

♥ Southwestern Pulled Soy Curl Sliders

I guess there was a game on today. Despite all the hype, I can’t even tell you which teams played today. What’s more, I just don’t care.

I’ve wanted to make a meatless version of the bar menu favorite–sliders–for a while now. And today seemed like the appropriate day to do it. Butler Soy Curls are the perfect stand-in for pulled pork or beef. After several hours in the slow cooker simmering in the traditional spices, the “meat” is melt-in-your-mouth tender. I think this recipe could easily fool any meat-eater in a blind taste test. Hey, wouldn’t that be fun?!

I served these sliders on our favorite homemade buns. J likes his sandwich with coleslaw; I like mine with a slice of Tofutti American cheese.

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Southwestern Pulled Brisket Soy Curl Sandwiches

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 package soy curls, re-hydrated (1-1/2 pounds)

2 Tablespoons canola or safflower oil

1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 Tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1-1/2 cups filtered water

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices

2 whole canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (that’s 2 chilies, not 2 cans), chopped

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup molasses

Hamburger or slider buns (try this wonderfully easy bread machine recipe)

Pickled jalapenos, optional

Tofutti American cheese slices, optional

Coleslaw, optional

Directions:

Place the soy curls in a large bowl and cover with filtered water; let sit about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large deep-sided cast iron skillet. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, sea salt and black pepper to the skillet and stir until fragrant, not more than a few minutes.

Add the vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat wooden spoon. Add the water, tomatoes with juices, chipotles, bay leaves, and molasses. Stir well and remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the soy curls to the slow cooker crock, tearing apart the longer curls. Pour the sauce over the soy curls and stir well. Cover the slow cooker and set the temperature to ‘low’. Cook 6 hours.

To serve, remove and discard bay leaves. Pile the meat on sandwich buns and serve with jalapenos, a slice of cheese or coleslaw.

♥ Chorizo Breakfast Scramble

Have you tried Julie Hasson’s method for making tofu scrambles yet? We LOVE it; it makes a wonderful tofu scramble with a fantastic sog-free (is that a word?!) texture. This scramble has become a weekend staple for us. It’s a hearty and filling breakfast that keeps us full for hours.

I don’t think that I ever tried “real” chorizo in my pregan days. After snapping this photo of a random package of beef chorizo in the grocery store, I can see why I was never brave enough to try it. The first three ingredients, in order, are: beef salivary glands, lymph nodes and fat. If that alone wouldn’t deter a person, how about 320 calories and 31 grams of fat (13 grams of which are saturated) and 1,170 milligrams of sodium per each 2.5 ounce serving? One package (usually one meal) contains five servings. Yikes!

The first three ingredients of our favorite chorizo (Trader Joe’s brand) are textured soy protein, soy oil and distilled vinegar. The same serving size as the beef chorizo has only 140 calories, 10 grams of fat (1.5 grams of which are saturated) and 700 milligrams of sodium. Personally, I like these numbers a lot better. And, according to the man who actually tried the nasty beef crap in his former life, the flavor is so much better.

J likes his scramble in a warmed tortilla. I like it rolled up in a cabbage leaf. And it’s pretty darn good simply served in a bowl, too. To make this an even heartier meal (say on breakfast-for-dinner night), add some black beans to the mix. Top with salsa or green pepper sauce. Muy bueno!

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Chorizo Breakfast Scramble

Ingredients:

1 container of firm or extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed and pressed

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 poblano (or bell) pepper, diced

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1 bunch green onions, sliced (or same amount of chopped red onion)

1 12-ounce package of soy chorizo

1 cup of frozen corn

1 cup cooked black beans, optional

1 cup diced tomato, optional

1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Directions:

Rinse and press the tofu while prepping the vegetables.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add a spray of extra-virgin olive oil so that the bottom of the skillet is very lightly coated.  Crumble the tofu into pieces and add to the hot skillet. Break up any large pieces of tofu with a flat-edged spatula.  Let the tofu cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu has released its extra water, and has turned golden brown.

Add the mushrooms, pepper, oregano and red onion (if using). Cook until the mushrooms are tender.

Add the chorizo and stir to combine. After that, add the green onions (if using) corn, black beans (if using), tomato (if using) and the pumpkin seeds. Continue to cook, stirring, until heated throughout and the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the skillet from the heat and serve the scramble warm.

♥ Taco Salad In A Baked Tortilla Bowl With Creamy Chipotle Dressing

The mild autumn here in Tahoe ended abruptly with snow storms and freezing temperatures. The sudden change in the weather meant a hasty farewell to salads and grilled dinners outdoors in tank tops and flip-flops. And a very reluctant hello to months of slow cooked meals while wearing flannel and thick socks. I don’t even like flannel.

It brings to mind Nicolas Cage’s opening narrative (as H.I. “Hi” McDunnough) in Raising Arizona: “These were the happy days; the salad days as they say….” To say I’m bummed is a serious understatement. Buh bye, pretty flowers.

Then, just as abruptly, the snow is melting off and the temperatures are climbing back into the 60s and 70s once more. And it is supposed to be sunny every day for the next week or so. Woo-hoo! Sadly, my tomatoes will not be revived as easily as my spirits.

I hate to tempt fate and pull out the flip-flops again, but it looks like I can prolong the fair weather foods another week or so. In fact, I plan to extend my salad days as long as I am able.

Oh, how I love me some taco salad. Made with the usual cast of characters: lettuce, shredded carrot, green onion, tomato, avocado, sweet corn, beans (black or pinto), black olives, taco meat (I like the taco nut meat from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials, but Yves taco meat is good in a pinch) and raw pumpkin seeds.

What’s better than a taco salad on a plate? A taco salad in a baked (not fried) tortilla shell, of course! I like to spray the tortilla shell with some coconut oil and sprinkle it with the seasoning mix from this recipe before baking the shell in the tortilla bowl maker.

But, what makes this taco salad really special is the creamy chipotle dressing. The original recipe calls for a cup of vegan mayonnaise (yikes). In my humble opinion, my version of the recipe, made with silken tofu, is better. And lower in fat, too. So you can really pile it on. 🙂

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Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1-1/4 cup prepared salsa (I like Costco’s organic salsa)

1 small lime, juiced

1 12.3-ounce package lite firm silken tofu (Mori Nu)

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Blend coriander seeds in blender until coarsely ground. Add the salsa, lime juice, silken tofu, chipotle chili and black pepper. Blend until smooth.

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As for the weather outside, I’ll be sure to enjoy every second of it while it lasts. But, “…I preminisced [sic] no return of the salad days.”

Thanks, H.I.

♥ Imitation And Flattery

There are two vegan-friendly restaurants in South Lake Tahoe. Now, when I say “vegan-friendly”, I mean that the wait staff are knowledgeable about their menu items and about veganism in general. Specifically, they don’t subject us to nonsense like “but you still eat fish, right?” Both restaurants offers a variety of tempeh and tofu alternatives in most of their entrees.

During the summer months, we love the rooftop dining at Freshies with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.  And Barbie’s wedding, Tahoe style, on the roof itself.

But, it’s hard to get a table at Freshies with less than an hour wait during the summer months when tourist traffic is the heaviest. And they refuse to take a dinner order to go. I guess being a local repeat customer amounts to nothing in their eyes. Hmph.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe so, but flattery was the furthest thing from my mind when I came up with this copycat of my favorite meal at Freshies. It felt more like necessity, actually. I needed my big salad fix; and I needed it in less than an hour.

First, the appetizer: My Tri Fries. Yams, sweet potatoes and Russet potatoes fried up crisp and served with Caribbean spices. These babies are simply addictive. And, luckily, they were easy to replicate. Better still, my version is oven-fried, not deep-fried. The method is simple: toss 3 pounds of the cut potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon of seasoning (I used Walkerswood Dried Jamaican Jerk Seasoning). Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 450F for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through the baking time.

My take on The Crunch, “the local’s favorite”: layered baby greens, red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, tomato, avocado and sunflower seeds. Freshies serves The Crunch with a creamy basil dressing, but it’s made with buttermilk so I always ordered a substitute vegan dressing. I liked the sound of a creamy basil dressing, so I played around and came up with my version, and it has fast become our favorite salad dressing.

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Creamy Basil Dressing

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup Vegenaise

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil

Directions:

Blend all ingredients with a handheld blender until smooth. I like to thin it with a bit of  water before serving.