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October 27, 2009

It must be very difficult being vegan in upstate New York.  Besides the fact that few restaurants even offer vegetarian options, there seem to be a lot of people who would eat you, if given a chance.

Me, I’m no vegan.  But I am watching my cholesterol, and I have a strange notion about what the word “moderation” means.

I love eggs.  Oh, how I love them.  I love them fried, poached, soft boiled, deviled, scrambled, as omelets and in French toast.  And one can’t forget about the egg-in-the-hole-in-the-bread.  One of the things I gave up in my self-imposed diet, to avoid medical intervention, was eggs.

And yes, I know that some people will claim that dietary cholesterol doesn’t translate to blood cholesterol.  Or some might argue that eggs are good for you in moderation, blah blah blah.  I am convinced nobody knows anything on the subject, and for now I am staying away.

Plus it’s not a very strict rule.  When I was in California staying with ADS, I tried an egg laid from each of his chickens.  And every now and again I’ll put one in a giant pan of fried rice.

Still, I miss them.  Terribly.  But when I indulge, I swear my abstinence has made the yolks taste even more luscious and divine than they might have otherwise.

As you might have guessed, I am not generally one for culinary experimentation.  Usually before starting a cooking project, I thoroughly research a dish, look at a few different ways of putting it together, and choose a recipe to make (or use a pastiche of the best parts from a few different recipes).

But when I was cooking the vegan baked ziti for my friends, I was struck by how crumbled tofu resembles scrambled egg curds.  And I got inspired.  I had a few odds and ends left over for flavoring crumbled tofu – agave syrup and nutritional yeast flakes.  So I decided to try my hand at a tofu scramble.

It wasn’t half bad.

Now for the sake of full disclosure, my evaluation likely has everything to do with not actually eating proper scrambled eggs for a year or more.  I’m just thinking about that right now.  It is so sad.  Real scrambled eggs, cooked in bacon drippings, are just so good.  I’ve always been a low-heat small-curd scrambled egg man myself.  Mrs. Fussy prefers the high-heat large-curd eggs.  Yet we still get along.

Anyway, my tofu scramble isn’t that.  Actually now I realize how much it pales in comparison.  But it’s still tasty dammit.  Plus I do happen to know of a few vegetarian readers who are lurking out in the darkness.  This could be useful to them.  And if you watch this video, you may reconsider mass-produced store-bought eggs entirely (please, please do not watch if you are even a touch squeamish, sentimental, within two hours of meal time, or at work).

Here’s the build:

Crumble up a brick of tofu.
Sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast.
Give a healthy squeeze of agave syrup.
Juice a half lemon (or some other acid – a splash of vinegar will do in a pinch).
Add a bit of turmeric for color – a little goes a long way.
Fry up a lot of sliced onions in olive or canola oil.
Fry up some veggie sausage and crumble.
Mix everything together, and cook in a skillet until hot.
A splash of Tabasco doesn’t hurt either.

It’s tasty on its own, served with home fries, or on toast.  Today, I just had some of this scramble wrapped in leftover flour tortillas for a late breakfast.

Don’t worry.  I’m not going vegan any time soon.  But I was genuinely surprised that now I have made two tasty vegan dishes on purpose.  Not to mention the international bean dishes that just happen to be vegan, which I make as a matter of course.

Vegans may get annoying and self-righteous at times.  Maybe I have more in common with them than I thought.

Gotta go.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    October 27, 2009 10:41 am

    Gag me with a spatula. I’m pretty certain, Daniel B., that the type of cholesterol in eggs is not nearly as bad for you as the one in , say, red meat. So eggs are no longer prohibited for those trying to bring down the cholesterol. That said, I am in the same boat as you so I’ve cut down from extra large to large, and from 2 to 1. Recently, I’ve also had it along side, er, vegan “bacon”!

  2. October 27, 2009 4:24 pm

    I had a feta cheese omelet the other day, and ordered it with a side of poached eggs. No lie, ask my wife. I have an almost unhealthy obsession with almost raw yolk.

  3. October 29, 2009 10:05 am

    I really love eggs. Breakfast foods are pretty much my favorite. I also love making Spanish tortillas and frittatas as a dinner/lunch. Real men do eat quiche, damn it! Thomas Keller does!

    I’ve been seriously considering getting in on some urban backyard chicken rearing someday. I loved it when my parents had hens. There’s nothing better than going to collect the eggs in the morning and then using them to make breakfast. The yolks were some of the richest and orange-est I’ve ever had….

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