Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week the Fifth: "Tuna" Salad and a Changing Palette

Well, it kinda rhymes.

Week the Fifth is coming to a close, and I'm feeling swell. Really, really swell. Now, I'm not sure how much of this is in my head and how much is a genuine consequence of flirting with the kind lifestyle, but I feel light and springy and content and just really chill. Like this was just a logical, natural step into the next phase of my life.

And I had to buy new jeans. That part is not in my head. A subtle but pleasant side effect of avoiding nasty foods.

Some Kind Diet recipe highlights this week:

Monday 5.0: Tuna Salad Sandwich (Kinda) (p. 246) / Kim's Red Radish Tabbouleh (p. 226)

I am thrilled to have discovered this "Tuna" salad. It's made with tempeh and the veggies go really well with it, but if you're going to eat it on bread as a sandwich it's a good idea to chop up the veggies more thoroughly than I did. So delicious in spite of the plentiful onions (they're marinated like crazy in the ume plum vinegar, and I couldn't taste them at all...that's a good thing).

The tabbouleh was all right. Perhaps I would have been more impressed with it on its own, but pairing it with the "tuna" salad (which I totally loved) resulted in a recipe that was good, but didn't rock my sox. Rob put raisins in it a few days later to jazz it up, which helped, but I'm still impartial.

One of my students is trying out the vegan thing with her mom for the week, so she brought me a vegan chocolate cupcake.

This. Was. Amazing.

I guess my job does have its perks. I loved the icing because it didn't taste too sugary like the frosting I made for my mom's birthday cupcakes, and I've been hounding my student for the recipe ever since. Would threatening her with a day of cafeteria duty for every day she forgets the recipe be an abuse of my position? Screw it, let's just bring back the switch...much more effective.

Tuesday 5.0: Polenta Casserole with Seitan (p. 223) revisited!

And this time I made it right!! This dish takes me was the first Kind Diet recipe I officially tackled when we started this journey over a month ago, and it turned out pretty runny then because I used prepared polenta rather than cornmeal. But this time it came out great (even though I left out the asparagus because I didn't have any on hand).

It actually maintained its shape. Oh joy! I proceeded to do a Happy Dance and was about half way through my Happy Dance when Rob the husband informed me that the polenta tasted pretty boring to him. I love that he's honest like that and will tell me when the food is boring and when my ass looks big in those pants. It's incentive to find a way to jazz up the food and buy a new pair of pants. I actually thought it tasted pretty good, but my perspective could have been clouded by my elation over the consistency of the casserole.

Wednesday 5.0 was Leftover! Polenta Casserole and Caesar Salad (p. 175). I was just happy to see the casserole standing up, and I still really enjoyed it. Rob can just sprinkle some Mrs. Dash on it or douse it in barbeque sauce and he'll be fine. And once again, Caesar salad = love.

I spent Wednesday night baking baking baking, since I am on a secret mission to convert the world to the Kind Life and I figure there's no better way to start than with cookies. Our school had an Open House on Thursday 5.0 and I brought Oatmeal Cookies (p. 186) for the kids helping in my areas...drama and cheerleading. And I got this recipe down.

I like to undercook them to keep them chewy, I use almonds instead of walnuts, I use dates and raisins instead of dried plums, and I like to re-shape them right out of the oven by pushing the edges of each cookie together to make it more round so the edges don't get crispy. I also made a batch this time with vegan chocolate chips and they were inhaled by the kids as soon as I put them out . These cookies are definitely winners. The maple sugar gets a little pricey when you're making large batches to feed hungry high schoolers, but it is definitely worth it. So crazy delicious.

On Friday 5.0 Rob and I ate at our first vegetarian restaurant since starting the vegan experiment...The Foundation. Quirky and affordable and very delicious...and the chairs were straight from Babcia's kitchen in the 60's. I had a veggie curry dish and Rob had the Foundation Burger (with a side of the most amazing rice pudding) and a salad with this amazing mango drizzle. I told him to make sure his choices were vegan, as we were in a vegan-friendly restaurant so we could take advantage of more creative vegan options, but he didn't bother asking them to hold the cheese on the salad, so goat cheese it was. He couldn't finish it all and wanted to focus on his burger, so I ended up helping out with the salad in spite of the cheese.

Here's the weird thing. I love goat cheese. I should have been secretly happy that I was being "forced" to cheat and eat the goat cheese so we didn't waste Rob's salad, which would have been a greater tragedy than my dabbling in dairy. And I was secretly happy at first. I mean, I rolled my eyes and sighed when I "reluctantly" reached over to drag the salad my way, but inside I was like, "YESSSS!!! CHEESE!!!!" But my inner jubilation was shortlived. The cheese left this pasty, ferment-y, mlechy aftertaste in my mouth that I found was getting in the way of the salad itself. I used to LOVE that pasty ferment-y, mlechy aftertaste! But now it was just annoying and unnecessary, and I found myself picking around the cheese more and more. Was my palette evolving, moving away from considering dairy as something pleasant? Kind of like society's evolution away from mullets and America's sweetheart Lindsay Lohan?

So it would appear.

There were lots more things on the menu here I wanted to try, so we will be back to The Foundation. I think I would enjoy this place more during a summer afternoon though, as it was not particularly cozy inside...kinda chilly & drafty, actually, and it has a more casual summer lunch vibe to it.

Finished up Weekend 5.0 with veggie tacos at Me & Julio's for M's birthday, poutine at Karmavore (more to come on this AMAZING vegan so so happy it exists) and Whole Foods buffet dinner.

And I was thrilled to come home and see that the amazingly talented, beautiful Natalie Portman won Best Actress :)

Now if that's not incentive enough to go vegan, I don't know what is.

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