Here I am again: Cooking up a storm...for Vegans

...second day in a row and still blogging. I still have my week-end with the Vegans running around in my head. They stayed with me (in my bed and breakfast) for four days, along with several diabetics who were here for the Civil Air Patrol Conference. They were not all in the same room, of course. In fact they didn't know each other until they started eating breakfast together.

Anyhow, my problem was how to find a way to accommodate their dietary needs in an efficient manner. One obvious solution is to feed them at different times...which, as it turned out, worked for the first couple of days. The diabetics wanted an early (7:00 am) continental breakfast 'cause they had early morning meetings at the conference. The Vegans wanted to eat at 9:00 ...they were here for a little R&R.

And so, the diabetics were easy...just avoid real sugary things, they said. I could do that. Not the Vegans, that's another story. These people were not Vegetarians, which aren't too hard to cook for, they are Vegans and there is a big difference. Besides not eating meat or fish or fowl, they do not eat eggs, milk products (butter, cheese, and yogurt) or honey. But they do eat a lot of tofu. And vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains.

So, I hopped on the internet to review the Vegan diet and a few of their recipes. Then I decided to just make up my own. First thing to do was to run to the store and get a couple of essential Vegan items: a brick of firm Tofu, Almond milk (I could have also used Rice milk), Soy Yogurt, and Vegan butter spread made from I don't know what. It's on the package down in the kitchen. I don't think I even read the list of ingredients, but I trusted that it would be okay as it was a brand that my Vegan guests used themselves.

When I got home, I drained the brick of Tofu by pressing it in between two very heavy cutting boards for 20 minutes. Then, I cut the brick in half. I would use half the first day and half the third day. Vegan pancakes would be served on the second day and Vegan French Toast on the fourth day.

For their first breakfast, I sauteed sliced mushrooms in olive oil with fresh garlic the way Julia Childs suggests: "...very hot oil...flame high...spread mushrooms out flat in pan and saute both side until brown. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper while cooking." Done!  Next, I added chopped onion, green pepper, and ribbons of fresh Basel from my herb garden and continued to saute...loving every minute of it I might add. You have to love cooking to own a B&B. Or have a partner or employee who does.

The final step was to add the Tofu. I crumbled it into the pan and continued cooking. if you add Tumeric to the pan (a yellow spice) the Tofu would look just like scrambled eggs. I didn't have any and wasn't about to go out and buy some. It's expensive and I probably would have another Vegan guest for a year.

For their first  breakfast, I scrambled the Tofu, but for the one on the third day I cubed it and added Spinach, Tomatoes, and Curry.  I served it with rounds of sweet potato baked in brown sugar, Vegan butter, and cinnamon. For fruit, I sliced fresh peaches into footed dessert dishes and tossed in some dried cranberries. Then poured a warm clear simple syrup over the top to mingle the flavors. It was delicious and they loved it



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  • Nancy Hinchliff Writing

    Well, maybe a little tricky. But you get sort of used to it after a while. And being a teacher, like yourself I have great planning and organizational skills. I'm working on a memoir right now about the last 17 years I've been an Innkeeper titled Operatic Divas and Naked Irishmen: An Innkeeper's Tale. It will have lots of stories about my guests. How about you? Are you working on anything in particular or have any ideas for a major project?

  • Michael Ann Riley

    Oh! Yes, I misunderstood. I'm still impressed :-) You sound like a great cook. And cooking all those different things for all your guests who are on different schedules. Sounds tricky to me!

  • Nancy Hinchliff Writing

    Michael Ann, sorry to mislead you...I have cooked for vegans before...don't think I said I hadn't. In fact, I've been an Innkeeper for 17 years and have cooked for every kind of diet you can think of. Not only did they like it, but my assistant and I kept wishing we had made more,  so we could have was so good.

  • Michael Ann Riley

    I am VERY impressed. That you had no prior experience with Vegan cooking, and not only managed, but made something special and delicious. I hope they liked it, it looks good to me!