Friday, January 8, 2010


It's Friday! And you know what that means... actually, you don't know what that means since I just invented it. It is New Food Friday, the day that I plan to introduce a new food or vegan recipe to my kitchen table. Today the food of choice was Tempeh. It is virtually a staple in most of the vegan cookbooks I have perused, so I decided it was a good place to start.

Cooking is not one of my favorite things. I am by no means a foodie or chef. I do love to bake, but that is simply because you always know what to expect when you combine sugar and flour with butter. Baking is happiness. Cooking is stressful, to say the least. I am one who will fall in love with the beautiful pictures in a cookbook, buy it out of lust and shelf it two weeks later. I stick to my basic recipes and that has worked just fine for me.

So, when my four new vegan cookbooks (I impulsively bought on Amazon) arrived I was like a lovestruck school girl, giddy with excitement. And then I read the recipes. I wanted to lay down and cry. So many new ingredients, it was like reading a novel in Japanese. This is quite sad when you remember that I have been a vegetarian for 7 years now. All I could think about was the horrible shopping trip it would take to make all those recipes.

You see, I am an all or nothing sorta girl. The idea of slowing building a kitchen pantry that could hold the necessary ingredients for most of those recipes is pure craziness to me. If I can't have it all at once, then why bother. Insanity, I know. I wanted to throw the books out the back door.

However, being the all or nothing gal that I am, I have a problem. I have committed to this vegan thing and that is going to mean learning some new recipes. (Because there is NO way I am going a full year without chocolate cookies. So somewhere along the line I am going to have to figure out a way to make 'em and I just spent 40 bucks on new cookbooks.) So, I invented in my head New Food Friday.

I picked up Tempeh on Tuesday, found a recipe from the Vegan Table by Colleen Goudreau that required only one other additional purchase (Vegenaise... eggless Mayo), and used nap time today to make some killer 'Curried Better- Than- Chicken Salad' sandwiches.

Mayo without eggs is not as bad as it sounds, in fact if I hadn't told my husband, he wouldn't have know. It was also surprisingly affordable, not something I was expecting. Tempeh, also affordable ($2 for 8 ounces at Whole Foods), is incredibly easy to work with. I know why it is such a staple ingredient. In just 10 words: little effort required, meat like texture and virtually no identifiable taste.

My husband gave it a 5 on a scale from 1-10. That is only because he doesn't like curry. Apparently a bad experience with Curried Baby Back Ribs in Iraq ruined it for him. Too bad because I heart curry. I was excited about the recipe, sweet with a tangy kick. Definitely something my mom will enjoy when she visits, minus the cayenne powder. This is also the type of recipe that I already have memorized. It was a good place for my overwhelmed brain to start. Good confidence booster you might say. Hayden had a big bite and said "I don't like that." I didn't expect him to, which is why he ate soy yogurt, carrots and hummus. (Little man LOVES hummus- eats it with a spoon.)

First New Food Friday was a success. And who knows, maybe with practice I could become a slow and steady wins the race kind of girl. In time.
Cheers to Friday!

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