Saturday, April 30, 2011

Say Hi to Thai

Once I have this vegan thing down pat, I'm going to learn how to photograph food. I realize my pictures look nothing like those in a magazine or book or even those on television. Woe is me. Right now it's all I can do to cook the food, let alone make it look pretty.

My late husband's family invited me to their Easter gathering and I somehow managed to stay completely vegan. Is that a miracle or what? I had such a good time seeing all of them, most of whom I haven't had contact with since Jim's memorial service a year ago. I have a reason for mentioning this. Only Jim's brother and his wife have kept in touch, often coming over to fix things I can't handle. Like electrical problems or water-heater nightmares. So why am I telling you this in a vegan blog? Simply because I want you to to know what they said about me.

The first comment was, with shocked look on face, "Gosh, Aunt Sandy, you're looking really good." Nephew continues to stare at me. "You sure do," another pipes in and gives me a bear hug. "I'm glad to see you looking so great," says a niece.  "What have you been doing?" It was compliments all around, each one saying mostly the same thing as we greeted one another. Taking into consideraton  that last time we'd all been together was a sad occasion, I figured whichever way I looked, it had to be  better than the last time we'd all assembled. 

But then my sister-in-law, who had continued glancing over at me, and whom I'd seen many times over this past year, commented that I really DID look good. I'll tell you a secret. I knew I did. I'm not talking about the "you're beautiful" kind of way but a rosy-cheeked healthy way. I'd noticed the change myself during this past couple of weeks. I'd not only lost weight, but my skin was well-hydrated again. It had been so dry and pasty for so many years, I'd given up on it. No matter what creams or lotions I slathered on, my skin still looked like an old piece of parchment paper. So when they asked what I'd been doing, I just had to confess. "I'm a vegan now," I told them. "Doctor's orders." Then came the myriad questions and while I tried to hold out on too many boring details, I finally gave in and spilled my guts. I told them everything I knew about being vegan 24/7. I was shocked that they were even interested. All I can say is I'm living proof that eating healthy works. Now some of them want recipes. Who knew?

Meatless Pad Thai

8 oz. rice noodles (I used 4 oz. or the dish would be mostly noodles)
3 quarts water, brought to a boil. Turn off heat, drop noodles into the water and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water. Ignore them till later in the recipe.

2 Tbs. fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbs. ketchup or chili sauce
1 tsp. sricacha sauce (yum)
2 tsp. oil, I used canola
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, green and white parts, cut on diagonal
1/2 cup snow peas, cut into matchsticks
4 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup jicama, cut into matchsticks (I left this out because I hate to peel the ugly thing)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (I used roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, minced
1 Tbs. fresh basil, minched

Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, ketchup, sriracha, and 2 Tbs. water in small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat and saute the garlic and ginger for a few seconds.

Add the carrot and green onions. Saute another 2 minutes or until the carrots are barely crisp-tender.

Add the snow peas, tofu, and jicama and stir briefly.

Add the lime juice mixture and stir to coat the tofu and vegetables, being careful not to break up the tofu too much. (Mine didn't break at all as I used a wok with plenty of room to move everything around.

Add the noodles and stir until they are fully heated through, about 2 minutes.

Garnish the plate with chopped peanuts, sprouts, cilantro, and basil.

Makes 4 servings

This recipe is so good it's right up there in my personal vegan hall of fame--which makes it one of the recipes I'd pass on to my non-vegan family.

This recipe is from The Complete Vegan Kitchen by Jannequin Bennett. Every recipe I've tried from this book has been excellent. Some I just like better than others and so far, this is a favorite.

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