Thursday, March 3, 2016

Vegan Week - Day 4

Squash soup with ciabatta toasts.

Well, it wasn't the most exciting start to the day's menu, but breakfast was a simple 'n' sweet pb&j (the "j" was raspberry jam) with a side of applesauce. Some protein, some fruit, something substantial to last the morning.

I had a lunch meeting today with my friend Carolyn, whom I've known practically since I arrived in town two years ago, and my new friend Whitney; we were discussing the upcoming Mobile Meals Chili Cook-Off, so I can write a preview story about the event. We'd originally picked a different place, but then I blundered into this little vegan adventure. So we switched to Grumpy's precisely so I could order a very specific menu item: the Homemade Sweet Potato Vegan Burger.

Homemade Sweet Potato Vegan Burger at Grumpy's in Toledo.

The burger was huge, and the avocado made it slippery, but it tasted good! And avocado, of course, contains the so-called "good" fats. This was fun food, rather than the sterile stereotype of vegan fare.

Personally, I'd have served regular ol' potato chips instead of the kale chips, since they'd be vegan if they only had potatoes, oil, and salt. (Or, even better, salt and freshly ground black pepper ... ooh!) Please note that this is not a criticism of Grumpy's, which I love; rather, it is an indictment of kale. I can eat it, though when it's made into chips it reminds me of little wisps of burnt paper floating away from a bonfire. Kale chips ... potato chips. Which would you choose???

Having had such a generous lunch (of course, I ate the garlicky dill pickle, too!), I only needed a light dinner. So I made a squash soup with a splash of hard apple cider, and I served it with a couple of lightly-toasted ciabatta toasts.

Dessert was one I'd anticipated all week, but had to wait for. Craig eats bananas when they've still got some green on them, when they're not even ripe. I eat them when they're just starting to speckle. I cook with them when they've got a few more spots, and I bake with them when they're close to mush.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Bananas with Toasted Coconut.

So, to get a better caramelization, I couldn't make this dish until the bananas had reached the perfect point of ripeness ... and today was the day! (This dessert was going to be my reward, last night, for filing Tuesday's feature story for the Food page; but it was better to wait 'til today, to make dinner seem less sparse.)

A pat of butter substitute, a splash of bourbon, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and some crispy toasted coconut - such simple ingredients, but such fabulous flavors to pair with the fruit! And don't forget the chocolate syrup which, believe it or not, is vegan. Not a speck of milk or whey or any other dairy product to be found!

So, the lesson for today is this: you don't need to eat anything elaborate, sophisticated, or complicated to enjoy good food. And you can still eat hearty food and sweet treats while eating as a vegan.

Squash Soup with Ciabatta Toasts

1 12-ounce package frozen squash
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup hard apple cider
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 slices ciabatta bread
Earth Balance butter substitute

Place the squash, stock, cider, applesauce, salt, and pepper into a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until squash is defrosted and soup is thoroughly heated.

Toast the bread, then spread with butter substitute.

Yield: 2 servings
Source: Mary Bilyeu

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Bananas with Toasted Coconut

2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance butter substitute
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large banana
Chocolate syrup

Toast the coconut over low heat in a small skillet until just golden; set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter substitute, bourbon, and brown sugar together over medium-low heat. Slice the banana in half cross-wise, then slice each piece in half vertically. Place the banana pieces into the skillet and cook briefly on each side, just until golden.

Place the banana onto a serving plate, being sure to pour the caramelized syrup from the skillet over the fruit. Drizzle with syrup, then top with coconut.

Yield: 1 serving
Source: Mary Bilyeu

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I had no idea you were doing all vegan this week!
I both laughed and drooled at your dessert. My husband eats them green too, ick!
Going to check out your previous entries now.

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