Tuesday, January 03, 2006

now with resolve

Okay, hangovers are subsiding with each sip of herbal tea, right? Happy New Year, and welcome to 2006. I hope your celebration was a good one. As for me, I enjoyed good company and a comfortable couch in one of my favorite towns and got drunk while watching VH1's "I love the eighties." It was just what I needed.

But I got to thinking, maybe a New Year's resolution is in order. When I first became vegan, I was helped along by cookzines like Soy Not Oi! and Ahimsa (Spectacle 3.5), and I am still very grateful for both of them even if I no longer use them. To that end, please receive my promise that, in 2006, the Surly Vegan will contain many more recipes than previously. It seems that there are some in our audience who are trying to do their best to reconcile their diet to their ethics, and maybe some dinner ideas will help out in that difficult task. Maybe not, but at least you'll eat well.

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VEGAN WHITE SAUCE
(adapted from Edward Espe Brown's bizarro Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings, a cookbook I've had for a long time but never had occasion to use until now)

INGREDIENTS
3 1/2 cups soy milk
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
4 tablespoons flour
salt and black pepper
nutmeg

Start the soy milk heating. Melt the buttery sticks in a saucepan, and stir in the flour to make a "roux" (this is the first thing I was ever taught to do in the kitchen, by the way). Cook for several minutes over moderate heat, taking care not to let the flour brown. Remove from the heat and wait for the roux to stop bubbling, then pour in the hot soy milk and stir with a wire whisk.

Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper, and a few scrapings (or the tiniest dash ever) of nutmeg, without adding so much that all you can taste is nutmeg. A tiny amount of nutmeg will bring up the flavors of the sauce. Remove from heat.

Notes: I was thinking that maybe this would be best with an unsweetened soy milk; these can often be found at asian supermarkets. The soy milk I used was Soy Dream, and seemed a bit sweet. I was also thinking that some roasted garlic might be a nice addition along with the salt and pepper and nutmeg, and might do well to mask the sweetness. Let's face it, if you've got soy milk around, you're not going to make a special trip just for this recipe.

How I used the sauce: Gardenburger makes those great fake chicken patties. I fried two of them up in some olive oil along with a very small amount of sesame oil. I then cut them into one-inch chunks and set them aside. Reusing their oil, I sauteed some snap peas (which I de-stringed for once) and some Cascadian Farms Thai syle stir fry vegetables. As this was going on I was also cooking some spaghetti noodles, and I bet you know where this is going. I put the "chicken" and the veggies together on top of the noodles and topped the whole thing off with the white sauce. Kind of a strange little recipe, I know, but I thought it was great.

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