I find myself answering a lot of questions lately about my eating habits, especially from people who know that I live and work with an omnivorous partner. As I was making breakfast in bed (brunch, really; possibly even a late lunch, we don’t do a lot of moving on most Sundays) for Jesus and myself, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show how easy and casual it is for me to prepare inexpensive, home-cooked hybrid meals.
I love making a big, traditional breakfast any time I have guests, or a free morning to do it for myself. One of the first real dishes I committed to memory was my stepdad Todd’s scrambled eggs. I’ve always taken pride in making them almost as good as he does. I won’t reveal the recipe here, just on principle, but there’s really nothing to it. Then again, I’ve had so many truly, truly bad scrambled eggs, so maybe there IS something to it! When I decided (last summer) to start eliminating eggs and dairy from my already mostly meat-free diet, I didn’t think I’d ever make a vegan version that would live up to the original. I’ve eaten lots of Amy’s Tofu Scramble, and really love it, but it’s not the flavor that I remember, so last week I set about to recreate Todd’s version.
I’ve done this one more time since, and have made some minor adjustments, but you’ll have to forgive the fact that I don’t measure ANYTHING unless I’m following someone else’s recipe. Basically, I had some Nasoya Black Soybean Tofu Plus on hand that I had forgotten about at the bottom of a drawer, so I used that up. The consistency was nice and firm, with good texture – perfect for scrambled not-eggs! I put about half the container of tofu into a glass bowl and mashed it lightly with a fork. I didn’t want the chunks to be too tiny, or too big – you know what scrambled egg should look like, right? To this mashed tofu I added turmeric, black pepper, sea salt, nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of Daiya Cheddar-Style Shreds. I’d say maybe two teaspoons of turmeric, one tablespoon of nutritional yeast; salt, pepper and shreds to taste. I also added a tiny bit of silken tofu I happened to have left over from smoothies as a kind of binder. The first time around, I added WAY too much silken tofu, and had to let a lot of water cook off before the mixture resembled a fully cooked dish.
Before I put my egg mixtures onto the heat, I threw an about-to-be-stale half loaf of Cuban bread into the oven. And before you run to my comments section to inform me that most Cuban bread is most definitely not vegan, yes, I know. This is why I don’t like to label my eating habits. So why to go to such extremes to prepare a substitute for egg, which is arguably not even meat, and then stuff my face with Cuban bread? Well, convenience. It was in my house and was about to go bad. I’m not perfect, and I may never have a totally vegan kitchen. My boyfriend grew up with pretty typical, plant deficient Hispanic cuisine, and we’re working on that. By being flexible, I’m able to be a good influence on the people around me without completely isolating myself from communal meals, as well as giving myself the wiggle room that I need to make plant-based eating a long-term lifestyle change instead of a fad diet.
I should add that there are a plethora of breads that are free of animal ingredients, and they aren’t too hard to find. Serious Eats breaks it down:
All lean old-world European style breads, such as baguettes, ciabatta (not ciabatta al latte, which is made with milk), ficelle, pane genzano, pizza bianca, pane francese, etc, are dairy free. It’s only when you get into the realm of soft, enriched breads that you have to start worrying. Breads like brioche or challah, for instance, are made with eggs and/or butter.
Also safe are most bagels and kosher bread products.
I slathered my toast with a spoonful of homemade apple butter, and put some Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese on Jesus’ side – even though he doesn’t care a bit about eating fewer animals, he likes the taste better than the regular low-fat dairy version. Then some sliced apple and kiwi on both plates, and a tall glass of fresh squeezed orange, apple and lemon juice.
Finally ready for the taste test, and I was SO psyched about the result. In a side-by-side tasting, I actually preferred the taste of my tofu scramble over the traditional egg version. The texture and flavor of my version was better, and didn’t have the weird sweaty (hairy, even?) taste of the real egg. Little victories like this are what makes me so excited about a plant-based diet. Instead of making my friends feel guilty and gross that they don’t eat like I do, or sorry for me that I can’t enjoy “regular food”, I love finding ways to make eating better feel great for everyone.