I decided to start my vegan month of food by creating a recipe new to me from Chloe Coscarelli’s “Chloe’s Kitchen”. I believe this month is supposed to be about showcasing our vegan cooking and our creativity in the kitchen with vegan foods. However, I didn’t have much time to plan out a meal, and I wanted to start off the month by saluting the person who got me into vegan cooking to begin with.
If you are new to my blog then you don’t know this story yet (sorry if you’ve been around!). A few years ago I was sick. I had horrible stomach pains that NEVER went away. I was told I had “acid reflux” and was given a variety of pills to take. I’d feel better for a bit, then I’d get worse. This cycle went on for over a YEAR. Finally I decided that medication wasn’t going to work, and I needed to take matters into my own hands. I decided I wanted to learn how to cook.
I started with a few simple recipes from the “Moosewood Cookbook”. I discovered I was good at cooking! Cooking for myself made me feel a tiny bit better. My blood work though, showed I had problems with high cholesterol. It wasn’t high enough to take medication for, but it was something that needed to be watched. I once again decided to take control of the situation. Where do you get cholesterol in your diet? Animal products.
It was that moment after I got my results that I decided to remove animal products from my diet. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the help of one book:
Most of my favorite foods were in there, except as vegan versions. I had an open mind, so I bought the book and really the rest is history. (And yes, the stomach pains ended up being my gallbladder. I’ll talk more about that later.)
My vegan journey has been an interesting one. Throughout I’ve had people in my life who have been super supportive, people who haven’t, and people who are somewhere in the middle. Most of my friends were curious and open minded about my diet changes. They wanted to learn and try too. My family on the other hand, not so much. I cooked food around the holidays (nothing too weird!) and they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. And then there are those people somewhere in the middle. They don’t act overly interested, but they also don’t refuse it either. One of those people turned out to be my brother.
My brother is… well, my brother. It’s hard to describe him to someone who doesn’t know him. He comes across as quiet, but once you get him on a topic that he actually cares about, he will talk to you for hours. And that’s what we’ve been doing together every holiday this summer. I cook him vegan food and he talks to me about anything and everything. It’s our new tradition.
But before I moved out of the house and I was at home cooking, he would stand over me and look at what I was making, and ask “what is that?!” I would describe what it is, and his answer would always be “it looks like mush”. Eventually it became a running joke with us. He now asks me what I am cooking for him, and I always say “mushy mush”.
But even with all the faces and the pauses when I ask “do you want to try it?”, my brother has never once said “NO.” I tease him that it’s his own laziness to cook that keeps him coming back for more of my creations, but I think deep down he actually really enjoys my cooking.
And that is why I love cooking for him on the holidays. No matter how many jokes he makes about how it looks like mush, he completely clears his plate and sometimes goes for seconds. Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words, and his tell me my vegan cooking rocks!
So for September 1st, Labor Day and the first day of Vegan MoFo, I decided to try making “Straw and Hay Pasta” from “Chloe’s Kitchen”. I’m not going to share the recipe here because it isn’t mine to share, but I will however talk about the ingredients that went into making it.
Straw and Hay Pasta is a dish that supposedly looks like straw and hay once it is complete. I did not have the spinach linguine noodles to create the fun presentation of the dish though. I was a bit disappointed by this, but even though it doesn’t look quite as pretty, it tasted great! The dish combines a light vegan cream sauce with shiitake mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and peas with pasta to make an interesting and flavorful dish. I was surprised at how great the peas tasted in this! And I don’t think you can ever go wrong with shiitake mushrooms. If they weren’t so expensive I would add them to everything!
To go along with my theme for this month, I made this meal a lower fat version by sauteing the mushrooms in a layer of water instead of oil. I also bought sun dried tomatoes from an olive bar so they did have some oil, but I rinsed them off really well before adding them to the dish. There is a little bit of tahini in the sauce, so it has a bit of fat, but it wasn’t more than my digestive system could handle. I call that a win!
I’m currently working through ideas of fun dishes and topics I’ll discuss this month. I am also currently working on some fun experiments, and if they work out I’ll be posting about those later this week. See you again tomorrow where I will be writing more about how I eat now that I don’t have a gallbladder. Fascinating stuff!
Until next time..