A couple of days ago my cousin, Kim, sent me an email in which she told me she’s lost 10 pounds since she started reading this blog. I’m pretty sure she means since I stopped posting cupcake recipes and started touting the virtues of a primarily plant-based diet. Either way, I’m bursting with pride over her accomplishment and feeling really good that my tiny little corner of the blogosphere may have had something to do with it. Kim told me that she and her son are eating better than ever, but that she’s got a meat-and-potatoes man who’s just not that into swapping burgers for bok choy. I’d say that in my own experience, next to the constant tug of war between my desire to enjoy great food and my desire to eat a sustainable diet (i.e. the torment of dining out someplace fantastic where the only vegan option is the garnish next to the steak), the hardest thing about going mostly-vegan is figuring out how to feed my family. I can’t take cheese away from my kids, but they’re totally fine with going meatless or eating faux meat. My daughter actually inhaled a plate of vegan chicken and broccoli the other night and proclaimed it, “the best dinner ever!” The husband, however, is a tougher sell. After torturing him for the first few months of my foray into veganism with more variations of beans and kale than either of us cares to remember, I started to compromise.
I don’t call myself a vegan, because I’m not one. I’m just a gal trying to eat a mostly vegan diet as much as I can in order to improve my health, decrease my carbon footprint, and eat as sustainably and humanely as I can. With that said, I do still occasionally eat cheese, eggs and butter, my kids still eat chicken nuggets and turkey bologna, and my big compromise with my husband is seafood. I now make a dinner that involves seafood at least once a week. I, of course, make sure I pay attention to where it comes from and that it was responsibly caught or harvested. And when was the last time you heard of someone’s arteries getting clogged by eating too much salmon? Never. ‘Cause it’s healthy. So, Kim, my suggestion for getting your guy to at least take baby steps toward a healthier diet is to try seafood. It also cooks hella fast (to borrow a phrase from my friends in the Bay Area), which makes it the working mom’s friend. Here’s what we had last night…
Mana Food Bar’s Sesame Noodles (Vegan) With Sesame Scallops (Not Vegan)
Mana Food Bar’s Sesame Noodles with Peanut Dressing
(I got this recipe in my inbox yesterday via Daily Candy)
For the peanut dressing
2 tbsp. sesame seed paste (a.k.a. tahini)
1 tsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. sugar 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. Sriracha or other hot sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar *
Salt to taste
For the sesame noodles and garnish
1 8-oz. bag Chinese yellow noodles, cooked according to instructions and chilled
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
12 pea pods, sliced
1. In a food processor or blender, add first six dressing ingredients and pulse until coarsely blended.
2. Slowly add oil and continue to pulse. Pour in soy sauce and rice vinegar and pulse until smooth and creamy.
3. In a large bowl, place noodles, carrot, and pea pods. Add dressing and toss until well combined..
*I didn’t have any rice vinegar so I substituted apple cider vinegar. It tasted fine.
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express
Toast a small handful of sesame seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden. Remove and set aside. Add some olive oil to the pan. Add the scallops, season with salt and pepper, and sear until browned on one side and opaque – just a few minutes depending on their size. Remove the scallops and set them aside. Add 1 tbsp of butter (or vegan margarine) to the pan along with about ¼ cup of white wine. Deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add a small handful of chopped scallions and a splash of soy sauce. Simmer for about 30 more seconds. Serve the scallops with the sauce spooned on top of them, topped with the toasted sesame seeds.