Yves Canadian Bacon: the Experiment

We tried that Yves Canadian Bacon yesterday and I tried to approach it with an open mind. I tried really hard to like it and I managed to gag a piece down with breakfast. I had to eat it really fast and in super big pieces and think happy thoughts while I did it. But because I was feeling so open minded and optimistic (read gullible), I figured there had to be a good way to use it.. and got an idea for today’s dinner.

Don’t ever be optimistic about Yves Canadian Bacon. Trust me. It smells like melting plastic. Don’t even try to pretend you haven’t melted plastic on the stove by accident before… when you leave a nonstick spoon in a cast iron pan. I can’t be the only one to have done that. You know the smell.

Not only does it smell, it feels a little slimy, like a slug. Then if you look at it, I imagine it looks like Spam. I really don’t know what Spam looks like, but it sounds about right to me. All compressed and disgusting. You can kind of see it in the layers up top, but it’s hiding. As it should. Yuck.

The big idea was a roasted portobello mushroom (V’con) stacked with a slice of that bad bacon, some chicken seitan (DEOTS) all nestled on a bed of sauted spinach and topped with cheese sauce (V’con). It was a really great dinner once I picked off the Canadian Bacon.

The verdict: never again.

Even if my husband did kinda like it. He’s out of luck.

If Iron Chef Were Vegan

Ok, so I’m totally dreaming here and I know it. So what? What if there really could be a Vegan Iron Chef show? Last time we watched the secret ingredient was swordfish. I use the word ‘watched’ very loosely. How much can you actually watch without feeling like you’re going to hurl. It’s too bad because sometimes those Food Channel techniques are totally adaptable.

Would they battle it out in a luxuriously equipped kitchen with every gadget imaginable (and some that look like weapons) or in a closet sized kitchen that doubles as a changing room? The kind where you can wash your hands, reach in the fridge and turn off the stove timer all at once? Who would the chefs be for the first episode?

If only the show really could be vegan.

It got me thinking.. about the chefs that could be on it..and the secret ingredients. Tomatillos? Persimmons? Yuba? Fennel root? How about some love/hate foods like cilantro? Olives? It could get really interesting. What would you pick for a secret ingredient?

Our dinner includes two of those potential secret ingredients which is obviously why they are on my mind. And probably still on my hands, too. It was my first time using fresh tomatillos, and I had no idea that they would be sticky under the paper. I’ve never cooked with pumpkin seeds either. Those went into the sauce for the Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu from V’con. It was crazy yummy!

Lunch was a bowl of leftover chili cin carne mole from VwaV. Breakfast up top (also from VwaV) is Fronch Toast with a side of Yves Canadian Bacon. I’m not big on meat analogs so this was a real risk. Well, not that big a risk, it’s not like I’m jumping out of a plane or anything, but still a risk. It was actually ok. I’ve got an idea how to use it in something tomorrow with the chicken seitan from Don’t Eat off the Sidewalk.

I’ll keep you posted.

Maybe if I got to pick the secret ingredient I’d pick asparagus. That would kick asparagus, right?

1 Bad, 3 Good (with Cookies)

Remember that survey? Where it asked about your biggest cooking failure? In spite of serious competition for failures, the Gluten Roast I made for Thanksgiving one year wins the award. I think it was a VT recipe back in the late 80’s and I’ve searched the net to find it for your entertainment pleasure, but it must have been such an embarrassment that they paid for it to disappear. For good reason. Trust me.

The “Roast” was made of raw gluten and stuffed with a traditional style stuffing before rolling it up and tying it in twine. Yeah, I bought kitchen twine for it because I desperately wanted it to be a success. First problem: the seitan (excuse me, “Gluten”) wouldn’t roll out. No matter how much I pulled, pushed and swore, it ended up about 6 X 8 and 2 inches thick. Sounding yummy, isn’t it? Easy to fill and roll, right? Wrong. So I wrassled it into shape, tied it with twine and popped it in a casserole pan. Dump broth over it, make a foil tent, bake a couple of hours and I should be good to go. If I remember right (and it’s so traumatic that I may not) it baked a couple of hours. When it came out of the oven, it looked pretty good. We pack up the car to head to my sister’s and it even smells pretty good. I thought that I had triumphed in the face of gluten danger.

If it ended here, Thanksgiving would have worked out. But no. We had to cut and try to eat it in front of the omni family. Cutting it was like cutting rubber, eating it was even worse. It resembled a basketball and probably would have bounced. My brother was relentless about it and mentions it every Thanksgiving, or even just whenever I see him. I knew that I was thinking ahead when I was about 2 and threw a toy into his chin, causing him to get stitches.

I wish I could find that recipe and see how bad it is or if it was something I did. Probably a combination. We’ll be having seitan this year, but I’m not sure how I’ll prepare it. I hope I don’t have to punch my brother out.

Just to prove I really can cook….sometimes….

Check out today’s breakfast: Blueberry Corn Pancakes from Veganomicon.

Last night’s dinner was this great tester dish from One Chubby Vegan called Pasta a la Things. Yummy and mushroomy, with fresh herbs and lemon. And she knows how to use garlic. No vampires coming near us. Or any people, for that matter. Good thing we’re reclusive.

Up top are cookies. I like to start with cookies. Everything is better with cookies. Those are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Autumn Vegan and Garrick. Have I mentioned how much I love them? Not a single one of their recipes has disappointed me yet. Check out the perfect ooohy gooeyness of those chips.

Tonight’s dinner is going to be my favorite chili ever, the Chili sin Carne Mole from VwaV. I can hardly wait. In the meantime, I’m off to have some cookies.

No Theme Thursday

Here’s our front porch, all dressed up to showcase the brussel sprouts on the stalk we got at the grocery store. So exciting! Watch for the brussel sprouts to reappear later in this post. But dessert first, right?

These are the Nanaimo Bars…. and the recipe calls for nuts. Any one how knows me, knows that I am a long time nut hater. But I’ve been trying and actually enjoying some of them lately. Like in the Caesar Salad dressing from Veganomion and in a few other recipes. I’m working on it. Well, in this recipe, the nuts are ground and completely disappear and you’re left with these incredibly rich, delicious and elegant bars. I made a batch to take to our nephew’s birthday yesterday and everyone enjoyed them. Their previous exposure to vegan cookies were the Bakery Style Chocolate Chip cookies which were also well-received.

Fun fact: Nanaimo Bars may have originated in Canada when a housewife in the 1950’s created and submitted a recipe for a magazine contest. Or maybe not. Supposedly something similar existed in NYC in the 30’s under a different name: “New York Slices”. Or maybe not. There are also references to something similar back in the 1800’s. But no matter what the origin, I wiki’ed that so you didn’t have to do it yourself.

My sister is rather unpleasant about the whole vegan thing and really pisses me off. She made Baked Alaska for his birthday cake and informed me that she only made a small one because we weren’t eating it. Guess she wasn’t counting the fact that she’d made TWO and put one in the freezer and the one that she served would have worked for 12 people. Geez, I’m so sorry to put her out. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving with them. Anyway….

This is a Weirdwich. No other possible name. It’s chickeny seitan, leftover reuben marinade (yesterday’s lunch) and portobellos all cooked and tossed with a bit of nayonnaise and some spices. It tasted better than it sounds, but was really weird.

And that Salt and Pepper Tofu that was inadvertently left out of Veganomicon. I’ve made it before, but my husband would like it if I made it every day. Not happening. It’s good enough to eat that often, with so many new recipes popping up all the time, who wants boundaries?

I resorted to another standby this week, too: BBQ seitan. One of my old favorites… here it is paired with a new favorite, the Mac Daddy in it’s unadulterated form. Yummy.

After rereading this post, it’s kinda a No Theme Thursday.

In Support of the Writers Guild…

I’m cutting back on the text.

Ok, not really. My allegiance is to VeganMoFo, not the Writers Guild. But the truth of the matter is that my last posts seem very wordy, so I’m cutting straight to the pictures.

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies


Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

These are all testers from Autumn Vegan and Garrick and you won’t believe how good they are!

I’m editing this to add that I’m actually posting this on Wednesday, the 14th, in spite of what my blog says. I’m having issues with the time zone and date stamping options. Obviously.