Vegan Baking Sucks

There are only 6 days left in vegan month.


Twenty-five, meatless, dairy-less days into this experiment, all I can say about veganism is: meh.

Meh, like whatever.

Meh, like I feel no significant physical change what-so-ever.

Do I feel lighter and more energetic? No.

I do feel slightly self-righteous around meat eaters and vegetarians. But really, I’m just jealous because they can eat cheese and I can’t.

All in all, the vegan diet is easy because it’s only marginally different than my normal diet, which is why I FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME. If you eat mostly hot wings, burgers, pizza, steaks, meatloaf, and the like, I’d suggest giving it a whirl, but if you’re already into healthy grains, leafy greens, and lean protein: don’t bother.

The scariest part of vegan month are the horrific desserts I’ve been whipping up on a weekly basis. Massive quantities of flour, soy milk, and canola oil do not make a yummy cookie. Last night I made these peanut-butter cookies that had the look—and what I imagine to be the texture—of little dog poos. (Pictured above)

To be clear, I did not buy the Better Butter, smelt flour, and maple syrup needed for some of the nicer looking recipes because I couldn’t commit. I did find one healthy, tasty, apple cake recipe that just happened to be vegan on You Know What you Ought to Do. My cake was the same as hers, minus all the nuts and fruit.

Ciao people, I’ll see you on the other side of sanity.

Yeah, I tell it like it is-sometimes. For more, click here to have Traveling Taste Buds delivered to your email for free.

A Cry for Help

Can I request something from you? I’m in a bit of a bind and maybe one (or all) of you could provide some assistance.

In about a month I will be dusting off my passport, braving the wilds of U.S. airport security, and heading to Ecuador. It’s all super lovely except that I’m supposed to be this Traveling Taste Bud food writer, and I know close to nothing about Ecuadorian food.

This is where you come in. Your sister-in-law is from Ecuador, or your chunky roommate from college, or your little cousin’s second grade teacher or something. You just found an Ecuadorian cookbook you love or you spent half a year in Quito in the late 90’s after a messy break-up. The point is-- some of you out there know a lot more about Ecuadorian food than I do and I want you to give up the goods.

I’m not picky; I’ll take links, cryptic messages, and hazy photos.

Whatever you got.

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Wonder Paste

Sounds like Shake n’ Bake, right? There has got to be some authentic name for the magic, flavor paste I’m about to introduce you to, but I’d prefer to liken it to that time saving, multi-meat covering, invention of the 1960’s.

Like Shake n’ Bake, Wonder Paste is a blunt culinary tool that can dramatically alter food stuffs with very little effort or skill. It also saves time, has multiple uses and tastes good with chicken or pork-- or tofu, or rice or veggies or whatever.

Here’s what you have to do: Put about 50 cloves of garlic in a blender (Do yourself a favor and buy the pre-peeled stuff), add 1 cilantro and 1 parsley bunch (with the bottom half of the stems removed), toss in a 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, add ½ cup of olive oil, and blend. If your blender is kinda crap like mine, you will have to jab at the mixture to keep it moving while the blender stutters and whirls. If you’re like me, you’re into mad scientist stuff and won’t mind the minute danger one bit.

The result should be a pesto-like paste that drags people to your kitchen by their noses. The closest culinary cousin to Wonder Paste is Puerto Rican sofrito. Their paste of garlic, peppers and onions is often used in soups, rice and bean dishes, and Wonder Paste can be used the same way.

Black Beans: Add 1 ½ tablespoons to a can of black beans with 1/3 cup of water and simmer.

Rice: Add 1 tablespoon for every cup of uncooked rice-- otherwise following cooking instructions listed on packaging.

Soup: Add ½ tablespoon for every cup of broth then add whatever meat or vegetables you like.

This is my first week with Wonder Paste, but I’m sure there is a infinite number of uses.

Keep in mind that the garlic in Wonder Paste needs to cook some before you can get an accurate flavor profile of your dish, so give it a few minutes before you begin to adjust seasons.

Wonder Paste freezes wonderfully.

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