- Spinach, 5g
- Peas, 9g
- Quinoa, 9g
- Tofu, 11g
- Black beans, 15g
- Buckwheat, 24g
And there’s more, trust.
- It’s really easy to put together.
- It’s a unique, delicious way to get protein and consume one of my favorite kinds of beans.
- It’s easy to make a big batch to eat throughout the week. (Though I have been known to make a double batch only to eat most of it in one day.)
- The cutlets have a slightly chewy toothsome texture is really satisfying. (Yep, I just used the word toothsome. So what?)
- It’s versatile! You can dress these little cutlets anyway you want. They’re excellent with a vegetarian gravy or tossed in buffalo sauce.
Being a vegetarian in the summer is great. Aside from having to avoid most of the traditional grilled fare at barbecues, nature’s bounty blesses our plates with fresh foods from bursting farmer’s markets. Admittedly I haven’t been to the farmer’s market nearly as much as I would have liked this summer, but I did get the chance to go recently. For this particular trip, I decided to run down to the market, which isn’t too far, but the sun was hot and the run was tortuous. I picked up some berries, small super-sweet tomatoes, kale, and something called garlic scapes, and I paid with a very damp $20 bill that I pulled from my armband.
First of all, I don’t know why I persist in buying kale when I don’t even like it that much. Perhaps it’s because it seems uber trendy these days, but I do like that it lasts much longer in my fridge than any other greens, and I do like that it’s good for me. So I keep buying it and I keep making kale chips or tossing it into whatever I can, such as a vegan scrambler! (What a winning segue.)
Vegan scramblers, for those that don’t know, are scrambled “eggs” but it’s really scrambled tofu. I never buy eggs and I’m not a fan of milk, so I usually eat vegan at home and vegetarian when I’m out. Vegan in the sheets, vegetarian in the streets, if you will. (This is actually pretty accurate considering the number of times I’ve eaten meals in my bed.)
Vegan scramblers sound a little odd but they are easy to make and really delicious. It’s one of those “kitchen sink” dishes; whatever you got in your fridge, you can just chop it up and stick it in the scrambler.
This particular scrambler was tex-mex inspired. I happened to have some vegan “soyrizo” so I cooked that in a little oil. I chopped up the tomatoes, kale, and garlic scapes. Garlic scapes were new to me before this dish, but they are essentially the green onions of garlic; they have a grassy, subtle garlic taste. I added the garlic scapes and kale to the dish and sautéed with the soyrizo.
Then I added the crumbled tofu with a little water and some spices (turmeric for color, pepper, and this spicy mix from The Spice House called “Vulcan Fire Salt,” a mix of cayenne, salt, and various other fiery flavors.) Finally I added the tomatoes and sautéed a minute or so longer, and then I served it to myself on a bed of blue corn tortilla chips. I also happened to have some vegan cheese, which I don’t buy very often because it can be kind of weird, but sprinkled on top of this, it was amazing. (not shown)
The sweet tomatoes were an interesting contrast to the spicy soyrizo and tofu and the subtle undercurrent of garlic brought it together. It was so good I was compelled to make it again the very next day, and the pic below is of that scrambler. I “forgot” to add kale to it that time.
Unfortunately summer is almost at an end but with fall comes a new prospects for the plate and an urge to buy school supplies. Pumpkin butter and fresh notebooks, mmmm…can’t wait.
Sometimes in a small moment, I wonder if I am creating a lasting memory. I did this upon my first visit to Chicago almost two years ago, standing with my little brother in his first apartment kitchen eating slices of deep dish pizza from around the corner. I asked myself, will I remember this years from now?
Yesterday I sat at my brother’s table sharing a giant cinnamon bun we got from Whole Foods because the frigid day gave us a craving for one and Ann Sather’s was closed. We listened to a Nina Simone record and he taught me about Wong Kar Wai’s films and sure enough I turned inward at one point not only to remember that time in the kitchen, but also to wonder if my brain would randomly call upon this current moment sometime in the far future.
Because of this strange self-awareness, I inevitably make memories out of many small moments. These moments don’t really have much significance. There’s really no reason for me to remember that the post office clerk yesterday answered my question of “How are you doing today?” with the cool, smooth enthusiasm of an old jazz radio DJ. “I’m supercalifragilistic!” And how he bid me a farewell as if signing off his show. “Have a great day, a great weekend, and a Happy New Year. I’ll see you on the flip-side.”
There’s no reason for me to remember that on my personal brunch at 3rd Coast Cafe today, while enjoying my coffee and magazines, my thoughts were interrupted by the punching and ringing of an old-fashioned register I hadn’t noticed before.
These are small moments with little significance, but pausing to ask myself if I will remember them, while makes me an observer of my own life for a second, forces me to appreciate the present. And appreciation allows me to enjoy laid-back lovely weekends such as this one when I can just do whatever my whims call me to do without the pressure of what a fun weekend for a 20-something is supposed to be–whether that’s buying myself brunch and magazines, or making vegan chorizo and frying up the plantains that are finally ripe enough for maduros.
Because I’m trying to use up what’s in my fridge so I can start fresh for the new year, I had to get creative with dinner. I fried ripe plantains in a little vegetable oil to make plátanos maduros and afterwards the vegan chorizo I made a couple days ago using Terry Romero‘s recipe from Viva Vegan. Then I chopped it into smaller pieces and used them to stuff them into pupusas.
Pupusas, a traditional Salvadorean dish, are essentially fat corn tortillas stuffed with various fillings. They’re simple to make since you just add water to Maseca (which is a maize flour you can usually find in the Latin foods section of the grocery store) until it forms a damp dough that you can shape into patties, stuff with whatever you want, and pan fry. Shaping them is a little tricky, but this is a good step-by-step tutorial.
I haven’t made them in the traditional Salvadorean way quite yet; I have been opting to fill them with whatever I have on hand–in this case, chorizo and plantains! Since I didn’t have the customary tomato salsa or slaw (curtido), I opted to blend a couple chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with a little vegan mayonnaise, slather it on top, and garnish them with some extra chorizo and plátanos maduros.
It wasn’t the healthiest of meals, but it was pretty delicious for an iron-cheffed dinner. I also made some hot chocolate with a bar of Olive & Sinclair (a Nashville-based artisan chocolate company) for dessert, just to make extra damn certain that I would spend the rest of the night in food coma. Highly effective.