Junk: Mac & Cheese, with Bacos and Jalapenos

Come on people, we all occasionally eat junk. I’m just being honest about it. This is what I ate the other weekend, in bed, while watching Neflix. Annie’s organic Mac & Cheese (at least it wasn’t Kraft) topped with crunchy vegan bacos and a healthy number of pickled jalapenos. I probably dumped some hot sauce on it, too. Gross, right? But it was sooo good.

Pan-fried mung beans with Tempeh

Another winning recipe from Super Natural everyday, this quick dinner involves soaking the mung beans ahead of time (canned would be way to mushy). If you’re not familiar with mung beans, you can usually buy them at a co-op or whole foods, and they also make great sprouts! If you start soaking them in the morning and they are still too hard by evening, just bring them to boil and simmer them for about 10 minutes – but leave them al dente! Add broccoli, lemon zest, and friend tempeh and you have a nice one bowl dinner. If you can help it, don’t skip the greek yogurt – it bring a whole next level to texture and flavor of the dish.

Fu Wah Tofu Hoagie

How is it that I’ve never talked about the Fu Wah Tofu Hoagie? Famous through West Philadelphia, this is no bahn mi – it’s made on a soft, short hoagie roll, not a crispy french baguette. In between those soft buns nestles sweet soy marinated tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, dressed with siracha, fresh cilantro and jalapeno peppers, all for under $4. I like to pick one up and head to Clark Park and eat it in the sunshine.

Shirred Tofu at Local 44

Local 44 has a great beer selection, but in the past, I found their menu a lacking – a little too bar munchie. While they still sway towards comfort food, they’ve really upped their meal game, and like the other restaurants owned by this duo (Resurrection Ale House, Memphis Taproom) there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. AND a dedicated brunch menu – hurray!

As an avowed egg lover who usually follows my own golden brunch rule (eggy, spicy, fatty), I hesitate to order tofu for brunch. It’s not tofu’s fault – oh no – but too many restaurants throw together a poorly seasoned, dry and disappointing tofu scramble in a misguided effort to appease their vegan customers. No thanks. But the description for the shirred tofu sounded intriguing: Garlic tofu, sautéed spinach, mornay sauce, roasted potatoes and toast.

Would it be rich enough? Exciting enough? Worth the $9? Yep. This is one seriously delicious breakfast dish, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and served with a pile of greens. Local 44, I no longer doubt your tofubility.

Dilled Green Beans with Seitan

What a long, strange trip it’s been. In the last month I’ve traveled to Indiana, New Orleans, Berlin, Michigan and Ohio, and I’ve made good friends with the Detroit airport. Needless to say, I’m behind. But I promise to catch up fast, both with my travels and with some of the delicious spring lunches and dinners I’ve been enjoying.

A few weeks ago I received the new Heidi Swanson cookbook, “Super Natural Everyday.” I’m such a geek, I actually pre-ordered this cookbook and was SO excited when it finally arrived. Pictured above is her recipe for Dilled Green Beenw with Seitan. I used green beans that I froze last summer, leeks freshly harvested from my garden, and homemade seitan. It was quick, and it was delicious. I had my doubts about the dill (when its not eggs are potatoes I always wonder how the dill will compliment the dish), but like every Swanson recipe I’ve tried, this one was a winner!

Because it’s fairly time consuming, I always make a huge batch of seitan, chop most of it up, and freeze it in just a little broth. A quick defrost and a delicious, small – effort evening meal later, I’m always glad that I did.