Not Just Tofu

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

TVP needs TLC

In Cooking Tips, Recipe on May 27, 2010 at 2:28 am

So what is TVP?  TVP is texturized vegetable protein or dehydrated tofu sold in 3 form which are  granules, chunks or chips.  The easiest of the 3 to use is the granule version.  Why?  In carnivore world, ground meat is the best bang for you buck because you can morph into so many things.  One minute ground meat is a burger, the next a meatball and then taco meat.  TVP granules are like that except it doesn’t taste as good until you give it TLC.  When I started using TVP, it was in its’ chunk version.  Let’s be honest, the chunk version looks like dog food gone wrong.  Unfortunately dog food is what it resemble once I worked my”magic” on it.  Alvin told me on past occasions that it looks like dog food and that is when I knew that I had to conquer this substitute. 

Recipe: Meat Sauce

  • First you have to figure out the water to granule ratio, which 1:2 or 1 part granules to 2 parts water.  After rehydrating them in a boiling water soak, I drain them and really squeeze the water out.  
  • Saute my trinity of diced onions, garlic and peppers and add them to your granules.   I added a good quality tomatoe sauce and let it cook for thirty minutes. 
  • When done cooking the sauce, serve with your favorite pasta and top with Parmesan cheese. 

Recipe: Simple TVP Taco Filling

  • Soak  and squeeze the granules as described above   
  • Add sautee trinity of onions, peppers and garlic
  • Season mixture with 1/2 a packet of taco seasoning
  • Simmer according to taco seasoning packet
  • Serve as you would meat filling

These recipes are tried and true crowd pleasers among kids, adult meat eaters and vegetarians.

Qdoba vs Chipotle

In Restaurant Experience on May 25, 2010 at 4:13 am

I love Mexican food! Alvin, my husband, will tolerate it because I love it. My love of Mexican food has motivated me to try different Mexican food chains: Qdoba, Chipotle, On the Border, Baja Fresh and Blue Moon Cafe.  My favorite is Baja Fresh because they have the best tortilla soup and they also have fish tacos.  My husband eats fish so I he enjoys eating there too, but I know a lot of vegetarians that don’t eat fish.  If you want vegetarian options and the best bang for your buck, I suggest Qdoba.  Everything from the tortilla soup to the burritos have vegetarian options and because the portions or so big, you don’t miss the meat.  At Qdoba, I like to eat the naked burrito with rice, black beans, spicy salsa, tomatoes, guacamole, lettuce, corn and sour cream.  I also love their pick two which gives me smaller portions of two favorites which are the naked burrito and of course tortilla soup. I have to admit, I eat it with chicken but it is vegetarian before adding pieces of grilled chicken.  I told you, I am married to a vegetarian so I eat meat when the spirit moves me.  If you have a comment about Mexican food chains; let me know.

My Vegetarian Food Adventure

In Editorial on May 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

I am not a vegetarian but I am married to one.  In 2002, I married my vegetarian husband of 8 years.  In the beginning, my husband came home to experimental vegetarian cuisine.   Sometimes the meals would be a success and other times he said that “it looks like dog food.”  That’s when I had to focus on vegetarian cooking. 

For the last 5 years, I have researched the resources available to cooks who want to try vegetarian dishes and found that some seem more confusing then helpful. They required a lot of ingredients you could not find in a grocery store and sometimes could not pronounce.  How do you say quinoa? Besides tofu, what else was available for me to cook with that wouldn’t taste horrible? What is textured soy protein?  Lastly, when we wanted to go out to eat; I always had to do a quick scan of the menu to see if he could eat there.   Let’s just say that we don’t go to Fridays on date night.  This lifestyle had challenged me in every way.  Where could I get some help that I could use? Then the light bulb turned on.

Why not share what I have learned about living in veggie land? No more tasteless tofu and beans.  As full-time or part-time vegetarians, we can eat delicious pasta dishes and international cuisine. I want to inspire people to cook for themself or the vegetarians in their lives using the recipes found on this blog.  I may not be a vegetarian but  like most of you I want to be healthy. I like the fact that I can share a meal with my husband and enjoy it too.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the other pages full of helpful information that would have helped me as beginner.

Healthy Steps for the Family Cook

In Cooking Tips on May 24, 2010 at 10:53 pm

For most of my life, the vegetarian lifestyle has been familiar.  It was not until I met my husband, that vegetarian cooking became a focus in my life.  With the health risk haunting every generation, being a vegetarian has now become the last attempt to save our lives.  With hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes afflicting the young and the old, the cooks of the house are forced to re-examine their choices of ingredients. 

Unfortunately the economy does not allow us to purchase the high grade organic produce and cage free poultry that are recommended by the nutritional experts and physicians. In frustration, the cooks give up in their effort to provide healthy dishes and rely on the old reliable, unhealthy and convenient fare that isn’t helping.  So where can we go and what can we do?  We can just exchange a few ingredients in our classics that will allow the family to enjoy and the cook to successfully accomplish.

For example, macaroni n’ cheese does not need to be made with whole milk and full fat cheeses.  I know some of us are guilty of using Velveeta to create the creamy consistency in our baked macaroni and cheese.  It is so easy to make your own cheese sauce.  Don’t be intimidated by the words Béchamel Sauce, it simply means a white sauce which turns into cheese sauce with a cup or two of whatever cheese you love.  Try to buy block cheese instead of shredded and grate them on a fine plate which will reduce the amount needed by half.  Instead of basic white flour pasta, use whole grain pasta like Smart Taste by Ronzoni which is full of vitamins and protein.  These few steps can help you create a healthier macaroni and cheese and create a meat free entrée that you, your Dr. and your family will love.

Remember vegetarian does not mean tofu, it means trying to eliminate the dependency on meat as the center of your meal.  If meat is only supposed to be the size of a deck of cards, you are leaning toward a meat free diet anyway.  Cooks of today, let us focus on eating healthier without giving it a label.  Let’s find a way to cook healthy, delicious and simple dishes that help us fight the disease that make this generation the first generation to live a shorter life than the ones of their parents.

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