June 28, 2010

Teeth and omelets

When I was a baby, the pediatrician told my mother to feed me an egg every day. She tried. She cooked me an egg each day for years, but I refused to eat it. I hated the look, the smell, the texture and the taste. She never tried to force me — I think she just believed that one day I'd eat the egg, and all her efforts would pay off.

As an adult I came to like eggs. There were so many things you could with them. They were handy in baked goods and puddings. They could be whipped into meringues and cool frostings, dyed and decorated, or stirred into soup or fried rice. Or, they could just be cooked and eaten. Eggs could be a simple dish or a complex omelet or soufflé. Whenever I couldn't think of something to cook, I could always make an egg in one form or another. After I became a vegan I found ways to cook and bake without eggs, and really didn't miss them too much.

When tofu omelets started appearing all over the place, I was mildly intrigued, but I never got around to actually trying one — until today. My motivation wasn't to find a great egg substitute, it was to find a different soft food from the ones I'd been consuming all week. Please, no more cannelini beans and overcooked rice. No more frozen peas and spinach. No more mashed cauliflower. No more yogurt and bananas. You see, I had a back molar removed and was directed to eat soft foods. I've been in dental hell the past week after having my bad molar pried from my jaw. The root was fused to the bone and it took about an hour to get it out — in three pieces. (I was contemplating murdering the oral surgeon but he had all the sharp tools.) The dentist said my jaw would be sore for a couple of weeks. Of course I didn't believe him but here it is a week later and my jaw still aches. This seemed as good a time as any to try the tofu omelet from Vegan Brunch.

As I prepared my omelet, I started to really hope it would taste like an egg. It cooked perfectly, and I couldn't believe how much it looked like an actual omelet. In fact, it looked pretty much exactly like an omelet, and I had used black salt in the batter so the kitchen smelled like someone had been frying eggs. I really wanted to be able to gush about how it tasted just like an omelet, but it didn't. I admit I'm a little cranky and all, and maybe my opinion is a little rough at the moment, and maybe my expectations were too high given the amazing appearance and smell, but I thought the taste was kind of bland. Though I didn't think it tasted like egg, maybe with a little cheese melted inside, more salt sprinkled on top and a flavorful sauce, I'll change my mind. I will try again! (And I didn't not like it. It just wasn't what I was expecting.)

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Odds and ends
Before the tooth extraction, while my husband was out of town, I threw together a few quick 'n dirty meals for my singular eating. Here are a couple that I photographed.

Potato, asparagus and soy curls

Grilled tofu on homemade sourdough toast with lettuce, tomato and avocado

This sandwich was so packed and unstable I had to hold it in order to take its picture.

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Testing recipes
I've been kind of slacking in my recipe testing but here are two I've managed to try.

Jalapeños and friends pickling in a bowl

The finished jalapeños packed into a jar.

Baked doughnut holes

I've got a stash of the doughnut holes in the freezer, and I think I'll excuse myself now and go get one.

20 comments:

  1. Oh, Andrea, I hope you are feeling better soon. Dental work is never fun:( I am surprised how much that looks like real egg!

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  2. If you hadn't said otherwise, I would have believed that that was the most amazing tasting vegan omelette to date. It does look fantastic - however the baked doughnut holes look like they for sure are awesome.

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  3. what a bummer about the omelette...it looks so, so tasty...i'm glad you're going to try again though, those modifications sound just right.

    yumm soy curls! i just bought my first bag of those a couple weeks ago and have been throwing them in all kinds of random things. they're delicious!

    i hope your jaw feels better soon. i went through a miserable ordeal a few years ago after having my wisdom teeth (and some jawbone) removed--for days i couldn't open my mouth farther than about half an inch, couldn't eat at all, my cheeks ballooned up, and all sorts of terrible stuff went on that i won't mention here because it's a happy yummy food blog and i'd ruin everyone's appetite. :)

    maybe some vegan ice cream or sorbet would ease the suffering?

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  4. I am sorry to hear about your tooth. I know how that feels :( Feel better soon!
    I think you are right. The vegan brunch omelette does not taste like omelette. The black salt flavour always gets lost during frying. But I still love the recipe and make the omelettes often. And yours looks so beautiful!

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  5. Janet,
    Thanks. And, yes, the "egg" was very realistic, at least in appearance.

    Amanda,
    I feel bad saying the omelet was disappointing especially knowing that so many other bloggers loved it. I just really wanted it to have the taste and texture of an egg. But it's tofu so what was I thinking?

    Emily,
    Soy curls are the one product of its kind that I actually like.

    The strange part about my tooth thing is my face never got swollen, and no one could tell there was anything wrong but me. This is much worse than when I had a wisdom tooth removed.

    Funny you should mention ice cream, but that was my thought exactly after I'd finished the omelet. It wasn't homemade but it did taste good!

    Mihl,
    Thanks for the sympathy. I'm feeling kind of sorry for myself. :(

    And thanks for the confirmation. I was beginning to think I'd done something wrong. It's amazing to me that something so strong-smelling and tasting as black salt would disappear in the pan. The solution might be to add some after cooking, as Isa suggests in the recipe. And I might cook the omelet in Earth Balance with a little salt sprinkled on the pan.

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  6. That omelette looks so realistic that I would have sooner thought you made it with real eggs than it was vegan, but didn't taste good.

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  7. I was a little disappointed with the tofu omelettes too. I think it was the chickpea flour in the recipe that ruined it for me. No matter what I use chickpea flour in, I don't like the taste of it.

    Sorry you're mouth is in so much pain right now. I recommend ice cream to make you feel better!

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  8. Hi Andrea,
    Another attempt to create a google account and leave a comment! The omelette looks amazing, wish I had one now. Hope you feel better soon!!

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  9. Abigail,
    The omelette didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste like an egg. :)

    Kiersten,
    The flavor almost tastes like it's got mustard in it. I've used chickpea flour a lot and I like it, but maybe you're right.

    Sally,
    I'm OK. I just have a near constant ache in my jaw.

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  10. So sorry to hear about your dental woes. Hope you're back to normal soon! :-) I have yet to try a tofu omelet. I'm not all that crazy about omelets to begin with but it sure does look good.

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  11. Andrea, I'm so sorry about your mouth! Good luck as you continue to recuperate! The omelet looks good although, like you, I'm probably not in the market for one normally. I never ate eggs for breakfast in the olden days, so it's not part of my morning expectations.

    I'll be thinking of you tomorrow when I'm eating soft foods after my trip to the periodontist..... and when I see you we can compare notes.

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  12. I am so sorry about your tooth ordeal! What a nightmare, dentist visits are no fun, but it's even worse having to be in pain for a couple of weeks after the torture. I hope you feel better soon! :)

    That omelette sure looks fantastic. I do wish someone would come up with a vegan egg white product that whips up as light and fluffy as meringue. *sigh*

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  13. Oh no--you poor thing! I hope your jaw/mouth starts to feel better soon. I know how hard it can be when you can't eat what you want...it makes me grumpy!

    Your pickled peppers turned out lovely! I made those from the tester site too, but yours look better than mine :-) I have been slacking on testing lately too...it has been way too hot and humid to cook. I feel bad--I need to step up my game and get back at it!

    Courtney

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  14. Chow vegan,
    You know, I almost think you're more likely to like the omelet if you don't like real eggs. Then you won't be disappointed. It's kind of like a weird pancake.

    Claire,
    Oh no, not the periodontist. Good luck and I hope you don't run into too many problems.

    River,
    Torture pretty much sums it up.

    I used to make a cake icing with egg whites and maple syrup that was too good to be believed. Oh well.

    Courtney,
    I can eat now but my jaw still aches, which kind of sucks. It's starting to feel permanent. :(

    I can only eat the carrots and radishes from the pickled peppers — the jalapeños are too hot! I can see this making a great gift for someone who really likes heat.

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  15. you said you are testing recipes... those, from what book?

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  16. I am a HUGE fan of the omelets from Vegan Brunch. Love doesn't even begin to cover it, I absolutely adore them and think they are delicious - and so easy to make, too! I never liked eggs in my pre-vegan days, in fact, I was repulsed by the taste. They always tasted like blood to me, echghg, even thinking about it grosses me out. So, I was more than happy to find a vegan alternative that I loved.

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  17. Andrea! I thought your mouth was OK! So we're both in dental hell just now! I know exactly how you feel and I also share your disappointment about vegan omelettes... But I love tofu scramble if it's got lots of mushrooms and onions in it. Maybe, as you say, some extra flavours added in would help...

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  18. Oh, Andrea, I just *love* that omelet recipe, maybe because it doesn't taste just like eggs, and I never did enjoy the taste of eggs fried in any way. It's like a food group in my house, all by itself. Once you consider how very versatile this recipe is you may give it a more positive review ;-)

    Your "extras" look awesome. When can you break out that pickled jalapeno stuff?

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  19. Oh, Andrea, so sorry to hear about your tooth! Dental surgery can be hell. But it does go away. . . evenutally (my crown took about a month to stop hurting). On another note, I'm with you on the omelets. I love them anyway, but they don't taste like (or have the texture of) eggs. Though I think I actually prefer them to eggs!

    Hope you advance to solid food soon. ;)

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  20. amymylove,
    These recipes are from Celine Steen (http://havecakewilltravel.com/) and Jonimarie Newman's (http://justthefood.blogspot.com) in-progress cookbook.

    Tasha,
    Whew. I'm really glad you shared your enthusiastic opinion of the omelets to counterbalance my rather lame one. You're absolutely right that they make a fine sub for actual eggs. They were easy to make and pleasant to eat. I'm going to try them again when my mouth and attitude are feeling better — maybe with a plate of hash browns and toast! I don't usually want my vegan substitutions to taste like the real thing, but for some reason I was expecting the omelet, which looked so "real," to taste like eggs. :D

    Penny,
    My mouth is starting to make me believe there may be an end in sight. I hope yours feels better, too. It's so wearying to have that constant ache.

    Zoa,
    I didn't mean to give the omelet a negative review, but it's true that I'm not as enthusiastic as some. I'll try it again — it's just so darn pretty. :D

    The veggies pickle overnight in the refrigerator and are then ready to eat.

    7/1/10 4:08 PM

    Ricki,
    A MONTH? Thanks for sharing. I've been having short periods of time (like right now) when it doesn't hurt at all, so I'm hopeful it will eventually stop. I can eat normally now, too. ...... I'm not sure I'll ever love the omelets, but I can see where others might, and they're growing on me. I'm going to try FFV's version for comparison.

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