June 25, 2012

The Vegg | Cookbook love | Solstice parade part 2

When I was a baby, the doctor told my mother to feed me an egg each day — you know, so I'd be healthy. My mother faithfully cooked an egg for me every morning, then threw it away because I refused to eat it. Eventually, she gave up, because she couldn't afford to waste food, and it was clear that eggs and I didn't mesh. I continued my disdain for eggs though my childhood, but as I got older, I started occasionally eating hard boiled eggs, or scrambled ones if they were very, very dry. I wouldn't touch an egg that had any sort of "wet" spot. Eeeewww. At some point I became willing to eat a soft-cooked egg if the white were totally solid and dry — I wasn't an easy person to cook an egg for.

As an adult, I liked the sulphur-y flavor of eggs, but continued to want them dry, dry, dry. I could only eat a fried egg (we called them sunny-side-up eggs) if the white were thoroughly cooked and crisp at the edge, and the yolk only slightly runny. I liked dipping my toast into the yolk. In the late 70s, when I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I was buying my eggs from a friend who lived in the country and kept chickens. One day, not long after Thanksgiving, I took a bite of an omelet and it tasted exactly like turkey. I just about gagged, and couldn't eat it, the taste and smell were so strong. I thought something was wrong with the eggs. My friend later told me she gave her chickens table scraps, and there must have been some leftover turkey in the mix. She said the flavor of eggs can be affected by what chickens are fed. To be honest, when it comes to eggs, a slab of crisped tofu with a little kala namik (Indian black salt) is more appealing to me than an actual egg ever was. 


When I was offered a sample of The Vegg (rhymes with egg) to test and review, my first reaction was a confused "what will I do with it?" But as I thought it over, I was really curious to see how I could use it to recreate the taste of eggs, which I liked, without eating an actual egg, which I haven't done since 1981!

We were having a family dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday, and I planned to try the Vegg in one of the dishes. The Vegg comes in a 1.56 ounce package that can be blended with water to make one liter of "yolk." You can also choose to make 2 to 3 yolks by using 1 teaspoon of The Vegg and 1/4 cup of water. The package emphatically (in caps!) implores you not to mix the product by hand, so I used my VitaMix to mix three teaspoons with 3/4 of a cup of water in preparation for making a garbanzo flour quiche, a dish I've made before without The Vegg. Once blended, The Vegg looked like egg yolk, and kind of tasted like I remember egg yolk tasting, so I was expecting the quiche to be much more eggy than before.

In the recipe, I substituted the Vegg mixture for an equivalent part of the liquid. The final result seemed softer and creamier than the original, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I suppose it's a matter of personal taste. Everyone really liked it (they didn't know about The Vegg) but no one said anything about it tasting like egg.

The next thing I tried was a tofu omelet. I followed this recipe, subbing The Vegg mixture for the soymilk, yeast flakes, turmeric and tahini, and I used mushrooms and red onions for the filling. Rather than add the filling to the omelet as it cooked, I cooked the omelet until the surface was quite dry before putting the filling on, and I covered the pan (a cast iron griddle) so the omelet would thoroughly cook through. The final result was well-browned and crispy on the outside, but the inside was soft and creamy like an egg-omelet might be. It tasted delicious, though not exactly like egg, and the moist texture reminded me of what I didn't like about eggs. Still, I ate it because it was really delicious, and after all, it wasn't an egg! Egg lovers might find it wonderful.

I still have some Vegg mix in the refrigerator and I'd like to try making a tofu scramble with it. Other people have been using The Vegg to create egg yolks for fried "eggs," and I think that's probably where it really excels — or in traditionally egg-based sauces or for French toast. If you were an egg fan before becoming vegan, or if you are considering giving up eggs and egg products for ethical or health reasons, it's probably well worth experimenting with The Vegg.

I haven't tried using The Vegg in baking, nor does the company provide any information on what to expect, or if it was even intended for that use.

Full disclosure: I was sent a free sample of The Vegg. No money was exchanged, and no demands for a review were made, though it was suggested I might write one. No attempt was made to influence my opinion.

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Cookbook love
I mentioned above that we just celebrated my husband's birthday, and instead of just winging the food, I actually used recipes from cookbooks for our family fete.

I altered the Penne Arrabbiata recipe from The Vegan Table by Colleen Partick-Goudreau, by substituting raw spiralized zucchini for the pasta, and adding 3/4 of a cup of kalamata olives to the sauce, turning it into Puttanesca. (p.49, Penne Arrabbiatta. I sautéed the garlic in olive oil.) This is one of those recipes that tastes so amazing, you can't believe it was so simple to make and has so few ingredients. The zucchini was spiralized earlier in the day, then placed inside the refrigerator in a colander inside a bowl. It was covered with a plate and weighted with a couple of cans. There wasn't any moisture in the bowl when I removed it at dinnertime, which surprised me, but the zucchini was nice and crisp. The raw zucchini topped with a generous dollop of heated sauce, was my favorite dish of the night.

The next dish I made was Tempeh Piccata from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. It was attractive and tasty, but I probably won't make it again. I really liked the way the tempeh was prepared, but the sauce wasn't my favorite. In addition to the quiche, tempeh and zucchini, we had steamed quinoa to round out the meal.

For dessert there were raw chocolate morsels (photo; recipe) and Coconut Bliss ice cream in Mint Galactica, and Vanilla. Mint Galactica is my favorite flavor, but the Vanilla, with real vanilla beans, can hold its own! There's just so much darn fat in it. The Mint Galactica has 16 grams in 1/2 cup. Most of the time I make my own ice cream in the VitaMix, using just frozen fruit and a little almond milk. It tastes great, and I think it's a much healthier treat, but I was was craving a little bite of Coconut Bliss.

Full disclosure: Both cookbooks were personal purchases.

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Fremont Solstice Parade (part 2)
In my last post I shared some of the nude biker shenanigans from the solstice parade, and now I'm adding a few photos of the floats and groups that followed the bicyclists. None of the floats are allowed  to be motorized, so all are moved along by man/woman power. You can see people pulling the marriage equality float in the first photo.

 This was one of the crowd favorites — the beach chair drill team. In addition to their precise formations involving beach chair and body rhythms, the ladies wore flower-covered bathing caps!

The Veterans for peace always brings tears to my eyes as they remind me of the stupidity of war.


As the last band passed by, the crowd jumped to its feet and started dancing! Can't wait for next year's parade.

24 comments:

  1. The Solstice parade looks like a lot of fun. I love quirky local parades like that - this weekend was the mermaid parade at Coney Island and there are a ton of incredible costumes there.
    Anyway, interesting about the Vegg and the blending, thanks for pointing that out. I was never big on eggs either but the idea of an omelet is pretty appealing.
    Fantastic raw puttanesca. I'm a big fan of olives. And, ya know, whenever I make zuke noodles and try to drain em, they never leave any water for me either! maybe it just evaporates?

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    1. I heard something about the mermaid parade and am hoping someone will post photos.

      Oh right. I was going to point out that I changed the sauce to puttanesca but forgot. Thanks for catching that. You can't go wrong by adding olives. Weird about the noodles. Though I have seen some people add salt to draw out the water, I figured I didn't need any extra salt. And when you cook zukes, they get so watery!

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  2. how fun!!! and that "omelet" looks so delicious! yum!

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    1. The omelet WAS delicious — I ate way too much. :)

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  3. Beach chair drill team...great fun! When I was a toddler is two a toddler? I wouldn't eat eggs either, so my dad would take me to the luncheonette around the corner and get me a malted with an egg in it-I didn't know that he did that until I was 22 (is 22 a toddler?) I've got a veg in the frig just waiting to be utilized in a recipe like this. Happy b-day to your husband. What a lucky man- all that awesome food AND you :)

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    1. Would those be egg creams your dad was feeding you? We didn't have egg creams in Philly but people did like to put raw eggs in things back before salmonella was an issue. Ugh.

      I think people technically stop being toddlers somewhere around three, but it's very individual. I've seen some 22-year-olds act like toddlers on occasion. :)

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  4. Happy birthday to Mr. Z!

    I would NOT eat eggs as a child, either.

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    1. Egg is just one of those foods that people either love or hate, especially kids.

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  5. Forget about the vegg...can you direct me to the naked parade.

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    1. Sure. Just come to Seattle for the Solstice next June!

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  6. Really interesting review of the Vegg - from the people who I know that have tried it, it seems to have polarised opinions, and they either loved it or hated it.

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    1. It's an interesting product, and I wish the creators had given more information and ideas on how to use it. I neither loved nor hated it, but am somewhat neutral — still trying to understand exactly how to make the best use of it. As an egg yolk substitute for people who really miss egg yolks for dipping toast into, it seems to be a hit.

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  7. I never liked eggs, and now the smell of them cooking grosses me out. I am strange, though, in that I DO like the use of black salt with tofu to mimic "eggy" flavor. Weird since I never liked eggs. Your chickpea flour quiche looks fabulous! I will have to try it out, but probably without the Vegg since I haven't seen it anywhere except on line.

    Happy birthday to your husband! It looks like you had a delicious meal to celebrate. I love my spiralizer for zucchini pasta! I have never considered pressing it/draining it, though. Interesting!

    Courtney

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    1. I like black salt with tofu, too, but I feel as you do about eggs. The quiche recipe was from Diet Dessert and Dogs. It makes such a huge amount that I'm thinking I might cut the chickpea flour mix in half next time, but keep the veggies the same. And you don't need Vegg — you can add some yeast flakes and black salt if you like.

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  8. Such a great newsy post! It sounds like the Vegg experiment wasn't altogether successful, but it still can be entertaining trying something new. When my husband and I started dating, he was also very particular about his egg preparation. When we'd go to brunch, I'd tense up when he'd order poached eggs very hard. I knew they wouldn't be hard enough for him, and he couldn't eat them if they were gelatinous at all. It's so much easier now since we're both vegan!

    Happy birthday to your husband! Somehow I've never tried the Penne Arrabbiatta in Vegan Table. (I feel like I've cooked everything in that book!) I like your addition of olives (yes, please!) and putting it over spiralized zucchini. Must try that!

    How great that everyone started dancing at the end of the parade! That's the spirit!

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    1. I have mixed feelings about the Vegg trials but I tried to be (somewhat) objective so readers, after reading the results I described, would be interested in trying it if they were after similar results. People not that interested in reproducing eggs, or who already happily use nutritional yeast, probably wouldn't be impressed.

      I understand your restaurant tension perfectly as I experienced the same fears any time I tried to eat eggs in a restaurant. My scrambled eggs had to be almost rubbery — forget poached eggs or omelets. Bleh.

      The Arribbiata (changed to Puttanesca by the addition of olives) was excellent and super fast to make. You should try it!

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  9. Isn't it funny how many vegans have egg horror stories? Even though my mom grew up allergic to eggs, my grandmother must have gotten the same instruction because she would sneak a raw egg into milk shakes to get my mom to ingest it (and inevitably throw it up). I too would only eat the driest eggs until I asked, "What exactly IS an egg?" and then she didn't make me eat them anymore either.

    I don't know why it's never occurred to me to put warm sauce on the raw zucchini pasta; that sounds terrific and I love the addition of kalamata olives.

    3 cheers for the veterans for peace!

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    1. Yes, I was noticing a big dislike of eggs in the comments. I'm hoping someone who loved eggs will come forth! I remember asking my father, as we were eating cold cuts, "why do they call it tongue?" Guess who never ate tongue again. That could have been the root of my future lifestyle forming.

      This was the first time I put a hot sauce on zuke pasta, and it was great! I combine other raw and hot foods with happy results, but had always kept zucchini as a raw dish.

      The veterans are preceded by a drum and bugle corps, and the effect is very emotional for me. Just think what could be accomplished if the world's resources were used for peace and kindness instead of anger and war.

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  10. We were there on Cedar for a while and there was a lot of dancing. I cant stand the noise, so it was a quick peek at the parade. the gyrating school bus was fun:)

    i never liked egg growing up either. though we got used to eating some when i started working and couldnt think of any other breakfast. i dont really want to eat anything that tastes like an egg again. I am happy with my non eggy scrambles and omelettes.

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  11. I really enjoyed the parade but when we walked around where the booths were, it didn't take long for the crowds and noise to send me hurrying towards the bus stop. I think the parade is a lot of fun, though!

    I like tofu and socca better than eggs, too.

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  12. In this course I've been doing recently (French style culinary training, oh joy), I can't get over how much eggs are used in everything. We've had to cook eggs every which way, and I do admit that they're rather magical in the many alchemical properties they have, but the smell, texture, etc is just so unappealing to me.

    A friend of mine is eating more and more vegan foods, but loves eggs and has been desperately trying to replace them.. I'll definitely pass this post on to him, as he's bought some Vegg - but I'm a little spooked by the stuff! It needs different packaging!

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    1. I remember a magical cake frosting I used to make with beaten egg whites and boiled maple syrup, pre-vegan. It was the one thing I was loathe to give up. Ah well. I don't miss it any more, but it sure was good.

      There are lots of clever vegan ex-egg-lovers on the Internet making all sorts of interesting things with The Vegg — I'm sure your friend will find something exciting to concoct!

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  13. Oh, it's so weird to think about how much I loved fried egg sandwiches when I was about 6 and under. I brought them in my lunch for kindergarten. But I grew an aversion to them over the years after that. Like someone said above, my mom would sneak raw ones in my milkshakes to make sure I was getting enough protein.

    And as much as I think eggs are disgusting, it's weird how much I totally want to find a place to buy this product. Isn't that ironic? It all looks really delicious.

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    1. Well, I was really interested in trying Vegg, too, even though I've never been much of an egg lover. It really does seem a lot like egg yolk when you first mix it up. The omelet looks exactly like egg, but doesn't taste like it. That works for me.

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