13 June 2011

Vegan Food Alphabet

Elisabeth of Czech Vegan (in America) recently posted her version of the "ABCs of food" on her blog. The questionnaire has apparently been bouncing around the food blogs, undoubtedly with many varied and interesting responses. I figured I may as well post some answers of my own, and have done so for you all here.

A is for Avocado: How do you like yours prepared?
I enjoy homemade guacamole as much as the next avocado-lover, but I actually grew up eating avocado as a dessert, the way my Hawaii-raised parents taught me: slightly mashed and blended with brown sugar and milk. I somewhat recently discovered that this assumed-to-be-unnamed concoction is actually a version of a Filipino dessert called avocado con hielo. I've become rather fond of whirling up a drinkable version of it, using avocado, frozen banana, spinach, unsweetened almond milk, a touch of brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?
A quick glance at this blog should make my love for bread immediately apparent to any onlooker. As a carb junkie for life, I have many favorites, white or whole grain, all yeast-raised--naan, pretzels, rustic loaves, and Hokkaido "milk" bread among them. I make bread from scratch regularly; in fact, I made a batch of crumpets this afternoon. See posts labeled "bread" for a comprehensive look at my bread-baking adventures.
C is for Chocolate: What is your favorite kind currently?
I rarely snack on chocolate bars or candies, but I do enjoy baking with Ghiradelli semi-sweet chips and Valrhona dark chocolate bars.

D is for Doughnuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?
Despite my general avoidance of fried food, I prefer deep-fried, raised doughnuts, like my vegan version of malasadas.
E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?
Eggs are definitely not vegan, so I don't eat them. I will, however, occasionally enjoy a tofu scramble or tofu-based quiche.

F is for Falafel: Yay or nay?
Falafel is a "yay!" Those chickpea fritters are so delicious. I most recently enjoyed them as "fawaffles," after following No Face Plate's example.
G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?
In terms of staple grocery items,  most of my purchases occur at Trader Joe's and various supermarkets in town. The nearest Whole Foods is nearly a half-hour drive away, so I don't make it there very often, except for certain items that are noticeably more expensive at the natural food store in town. For Asian ingredients, I go to a couple of the Japanese, Korean, and Filipino markets we have in the area. I try to buy fresh, seasonal, locally-grown produce at the farmers' markets whenever possible.

H is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?
I drink copious amounts of tea (roasted and smoked teas are my current favorites, althoughsencha is reliably satisfying) and black coffee daily.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
This is another difficult choice, because the flavor spectrum for ice cream is so broad. I do, however, adore Luna & Larry's Mint Galactica Coconut Bliss, and imagine it could be made even more amazing when topped with brownie chunks (which I have somehow neglected to try, silly me).

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?
My mother and I just made a triple batch of strawberry jam to close out the local strawberry season. I was never a huge fan of jams and jellies, but I've warmed to them over the last few years. Blackberry is my favorite, although strawberry, lingonberry, and guava jams are nice, too. I recently tried an all-fruit guava spread that is not too sweet--just to my liking.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?
The only Kashi product I eat these days is Autumn Wheat cereal, although I do like cinnamon variety as well.

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?
I enjoyed a Tex-Mex-inspired tofu bowl: a combination of marinated tofu, black beans, brown rice, and grilled veggies.

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
I rarely eat microwaved meals. When I am short on time or simply too lazy to cook, my preferred microwavable food is the non-dairy bean and rice burrito by Amy's Kitchen.

N is for nutrients: Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?
Carbs are my weakness. I could also get carried away snacking on nuts (healthy fats and protein). I try to avoid excessive fat, due to uncomfortable issues in the past that was in part due to consuming excessively fatty food.
O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?
In general, I use oil sparingly. I prefer coconut oil when baking and walnut or canola oil for stove-top cooking. Sesame and truffle oils are flavorful enhancements to dishes.

P is for protein: How do you get yours?
Most of my protein comes in the form of legumes and lentils. Soy products like tofu and tempeh are also major sources of protein in my diet, as are nuts and seeds. Protein can also be found in smaller amounts in various other whole food items I consume.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?
I've tried overnight oats a few times, but wasn't particularly enamored with the results. If I'm going to eat oatmeal, I'll take my oats steel-cut or cracked, prepared hot on the stove-top, thank you very much. I'm also rather fond of granola, like these nutty clusters I am obsessed with making.
R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?
I also love roasting Yukon gold potato wedges or discs with Cajun spices and sweet onion, then tossing them with minced garlic. Roasted satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato) is another delicious snack. (The photo below actually depicts grilled satsumaimo, which is also a wonderful way to enjoy the amplified sweetness of the tuber.)
S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?
Given my addiction to bread, I rarely eat sandwiches, so I can't quite pinpoint a favorite. My most salient recollection of sandwich enjoyment were courtesy of the banh mi from Out the Door and Urban Picnic, respectively.
T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?
Because most of my traveling involves my going to the Bay Area, it's not difficult for me to eat well when out and about--an observation made in my last post--or cook for myself using farmers' market goodies and items purchased from nearby grocery stores. Otherwise, it's typically not too difficult to adapt to whatever surroundings I find myself in, with a little effort; if restaurants aren't accommodating for a vegan diet, I simply refer to snacks I always carry with me and end up pulling together food items from local markets to make more substantial meals.
U is for unique: What are some of the unique foods that you like?
The avocado con hielo I mentioned earlier seems unusual to many people to whom I've mentioned it. (They're reaction is often something to the effect of, "Huh. I've never tried avocado in something sweet." It also looks a bit unappetizing.) Kelp noodles are also a somewhat-new-to-me food that I enjoy.
V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?
I currently don't take vitamin supplements; rather, I try to get my nutrients through well-rounded, healthy eating. I do know I could eat much more nutritiously than I currently do by incorporating more whole foods into my diet and minimizing refined carbohydrates and sugars. I'm working on that slowly.

W is for Wiener schnitzel: Do you ever recreate this traditional Czech food?
I did try to make a vegan version of Wiener schnitzel once, using homemade seitan. I think a couple years have passed since that attempt, so I don't remember much about the experience, except that I was inspired by nostalgia for a summer abroad in Vienna and a general urge to make schnitzel.

X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
If it hasn't digested already, you'd likely see a mushy blob consisting of grapes, honeydew melon, and kettle corn.

Y is for Youth: What foods remind you of your childhood?
Steamed rice was and remains a staple in my diet; it accompanied every home-cooked dinner during my childhood, and is still the go-to starch of choice. Various Hawaiian-style dishes remind me of childhood, too (and they always have rice to accompany them); I periodically attempt to veganize them so that I can enjoy versions of the food that defined my non-vegan upbringing.
Z is for Zucchini: How do you prepare it?
I didn't develop a taste for summer squash until after I became vegan. I like it grilled, shredded in zucchini pancakes, or made into zucchini bread.
It seems I still know my ABCs. Won't you sing them along with me?


  1. Scissors and Spice6/13/11, 7:16 PM

    Oh my goodness! You have a recipe for malasadas? I'm Portuguese and we'd get it every Sunday for brunch! I miss it! Is it posted on your blog?

  2. That was a fun ABC's, I actually haven't seen that before. :-)

  3. I love that you love bread, too. Carbs all the way, girl! Your avocado con hielo concoction sounds pretty perfect for the almost too-ripe avocados in my kitchen, but I'm too busy drooling over the pretzels and bread loaves.

  4. I have NEVER heard of avocado in a milkshake before.  I may have to try it once they come down in cost.

  5. Sorry, I haven't posted a recipe yet, but will try to get to doing so soon! Thanks for the reminder. :)


Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)