Friday, July 13, 2007

A Story, a (mostly) Vegan Lunch, and Some Product Revies








STORY

I had such an extraordinarily pleasant trip to Wegman’s Supermarket this morning. Usually, my 2 year old son acts like a crazy maniac forcing me to frantically chuck only the items on my list into the basket a la Supermarket Sweep. Today, however, heaven smiled on me, and he was an absolute angel sitting there in the cart, eating from a box of cinnamon Earth’s Best Crunchin’ Blocks, his bare little legs dangling his bright green Crocs, just looking around, giving me high fives, and flirting with all of the old ladies. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

The unexpected respite afforded me the opportunity to (gasp!) browse. Now I realize that a lot of people might find it somewhat boring to peruse the organics and health food sections of the supermarket, but for the pescetarian, it is so much fun. I even got to poke around in international food! I scored a couple of previously untried products in the organics section and a favorite in international food that I hadn’t even realized Wegman’s carried until today.

When I came across Lite Life’s USDA Organic, Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips, with just 100 calories and3 grams of fat per serving along with 8 grams of protein, I just knew I’d have to try it. Next on my journey was, Kettle Brand Bakes Potato Chips. They’re not organic, but regular Kettle Brand Chips are sooooooooooo good and such a guilty pleasure of mine that I just had to know – could it be possible that the bastardized cousin of the original are just as good? Well, per serving, they’re 30 calories less, 6 grams of fat less, and have 1 more gram of protein than the regular ones, so I’d have to see for myself. The last of my adventures was in international foods. I love experimenting with Asian ingredients while cooking, and as I was looking through the Asian section today, I came across an old favorite that I heretofore did not realize was there - Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise! It comes in this soft plastic squeezy tube, and it is ever so dreadfully delicious. Being that the pescetarian refuses to count spreads as “real” calories, we won’t get into any nutrition facts about this one. (nevertheless, expect to see some recipes for sauces using this delectable mayo in the near future.) With my complete list (that’s an accomplishment these days) and my newly discovered booty in tow, I headed home to make myself and my lil' scupper a much deserved lunch.
I decided to make a bltaw which stands for a whole wheat wrap spread with mayonnaise and layered with 'bacon', lettuce, avocado and tomato served along with a healthy side chips.

When I got home, scupper decided to take a nap. It's these moments when I look upon him and say..."perfection." He is so cute, if he was any cuter, I'd have to eat him up like a pudding parfait. (a threat I use quite regularly, mind you.) Sweetie informed me that he'd be home for lunch, so I still got to cook up two.

RECIPE:
Fakin' Bacon, Avocado, Tomato and Lettuce Wraps
  • 6 strips fakin'
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 plum tomato
  • whole wheat wrap
  • kewpie mayo
  • romaine lettuce leaves washed and patted dry

To make two wraps, I pan fried 6 strips of the Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil, and drained them on a paper towel. I then sliced up half of a seeded plum tomato, half of an avocado, and washed some romaine lettuce. I spread the Kewpie Mayonnaise onto the wrap and on one end, vertically layered the 'bacon', tomato, avocado, and lettuce. (note – I had a vegan protein shake for breakfast and so used the real mayo – if vegan mayo had been used, the meal would be animal free) Then I rolled it up, cut it in half, plated it with some chips, and took a picture for you!



REVIEWS

Being that I grew up omnivorous, I sometimes think about what meat products I miss the most, and without a doubt, right at the top of the list is...BACON! While the wrap I made was definitely delicious, the Fakin’ Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips were not exactly like bacon. They are very good, though, with a smoky, barbecued, and nutty taste; pan frying them gave them an appetizing crispiness that complemented the crunchy freshness of the veggies and the creaminess of the avocado and the mayonnaise. Final Grade and analysis – B+. Not like real bacon, but at least Wilbur gets to see the snow.

The chips were also “nothin’ like the real thing”, but very tasty nonetheless. Crunchy, slightly salty with a nice roasted flavor that is not found in the original. Final grade and analysis – B. I don’t know if they’d satisfy an all out chip craving, but they are perfectly fine and paired very well with the wrap.

The mayonnaise – well, you know – A+! Get some...Today!








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