Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Vegan Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack

Jen was kind enough to prepare tonight's dinner on Sunday. My only instructions: put the enchiladas in the oven. As of late Jen has been wondering what it would be like to have something different for breakfast. Unlike me she does not possess an endless tolerance to eat the same exact thing for breakfast every day until the end of time.

How sad for her.

Based on her strong suggestion I took some inspiration from this recipe and made a spiced oatmeal for breakfast using steel cut oats, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla, brown sugar, currants, and raisins. I also drizzled a small amount of coconut milk over the top along with some sliced almonds and ground flax seed.

I used to make steel cut oats all the time. I generally don't make them at home because A) until I moved in with Jen I didn't even have breakfast at all and B) now that I do have breakfast I just use it as a vehicle to get something in my stomach in the morning. I certainly don't care to spend 30 minutes on cooking breakfast. Particularly when I need to leave the house by 6:00 A.M. most mornings to go to work.

Steel cut oats are remarkable in that you wonder how they are at all connected to the instant oatmeal flakes that we all grew up eating. I'm not knocking instant oatmeal, it's what I have for breakfast most mornings. It's good in its own right but it bears little to no resemblance to its original form, something that makes fans on both sides a little uneasy at tasting the other.

With all this free time, what as I to do with the rest of my day? Well, I had big plans. I downloaded Le Voyage dans la Lune and got ready for an incredible viewing experience. What I failed to realize is that this film is only 14 minutes long. With that over I decided it was time to make some lunch.

I made a sandwich with some day old whole wheat bread, red pepper hummus, spinach, avocado, tomato, and sliced almonds. I also tossed some more spinach in some remaining fig, sesame, and dijon dressing as a side salad.

Then I read this article on ConsumerReports.org about high bacteria levels being found in packaged greens and was saddened. Washing salad greens has, for unknown reasons, long been one of my least favorite culinary tasks. The prospect of having to start washing my pre-packaged salad greens from now on may be even more or a deal breaker than possibly getting salmonella every so often.

For a mid-day snack with my tea I decided to try this new cake-making technique I heard about (though I can't remember where). The idea goes something like this: take a cake mix and, instead of using the ingredients listed on the back of the box, just combine the dry mix with one can of canned pumpkin. Then bake it following the cake mix's instructions. This turns a 260 calorie slice of cake with oil, milk, and eggs into a vegan cake slice which is fat free and only 170 calories.

The result was not bad. Because of the lack of eggs you can't underbake this cake. In the future I would probably bake it a little less. I'd strongly recommend playing around with this technique for all you vegans out there.

I found some interesting discussions about this techniques on some recipe sites where people were suggesting alterations to this recipe. The most common alteration, suggested by multiple people, was to add some eggs to the recipe. I'm not quite sure what their goal was in trying this recipe int he first place.

However, this is a great suggestion if you are looking for a tastier cake. I'd also recommend slathering on a nice chocolate ganache over the top. My suggestion: 1 cup dark Belgian chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of high-fat European butter (e.g. Plugra).

Also, replace the canned pumpkin with 6 ounces of coconut oil and 6 ounces of 6 ounces of peanut butter.



Sandy said...

I've heard about that pumpkin and cake mix thing and have wondered how it was. I think your additions and replacements make it sound a lot better!

Lisa Marie said...

I have heard from several people of a similar thing with brownies: puree a can of black beans, stir it into a box of brownie mix and bake. Am planning to try it whenever I remember to buy both of those things. Or you could try it and let me know. Am starting to think I should just send you my vegan cookbooks and have you try out the recipes for me, as since I am cheap and lazy, I usually end up having raw kale salad for dinner insted of trying to cook all the good sounding recipes I have.

Lisa Marie said...

I have heard cooking steel cut oats in a crockpot overnight works well.

Adam and I also make "oatmeal milk", which is just soy/rice milk, cooked oatmeal and a banana all blended together. Suprisingly good.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I've heard of the crockpot method too. We don't have a crockpot so I just made a big batch and then you can microwave smaller portions in the morning. That tends to work pretty well.