Daiku and I returned from holiday traveling late on December 30th, so New Year's Eve day was the first full day we had at home. We were anxious to do some home-cooking after a bunch of road food and rich holiday food, and were both preparing to embark on a detox (based on Alex Jamieson's book "The Great American Detox Diet") in the new year. (Thanks again to Midwest Vegan for sending me this thought-provoking book!)
For breakfast, I decided to make the Mt. Washington Hot Bread that Emmy had written about on her Vegan Diva blog. She had veganized the original recipe found on Wait-and-See Pudding. There was only one problem: in anticipation of the detox, we had gotten rid of all the refined sugar in the house. However, this was an opportunity to test how well unrefined sweeteners can replace sugar in a recipe. The "Great American Detox" has a great conversion chart, so I replaced the 1/2 cup sugar called for in the recipe with 1/2 cup maple syrup (thanks for the huge jug of maple syrup, mom!) and eliminated most of the liquid called for in the recipe. (Instead of 1/2 cup of soymilk, I used a small splash).
The resulting hot bread made a warming, hearty breakfast:
As you can see the texture was not too greatly affected by the maple syrup substitution. However, the bread did dry out a bit after a couple of hours (I think white sugar helps keep baked goods nice and moist), which wasn't a problem, since Daiku and I polished these off pretty quickly. Thanks for the tip, Emmy!
On New Year's Eve, Daiku and I stay home and cook pretty elaborate dinners to celebrate. However, this year, having just gotten back home and with the detox soon to start, we toned things down a little.
A glass (or two) of our favorite cheapo wine from California, Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc.
Some breadsticks (made with leftover dough from our Thanksgiving dinner rolls) coated in Italian seasoning
...and eaten with white bean dip. (I blended a drained can of cannelini beans with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some veggie broth powder, water, oregano, sage, and a small pinch of coriander)
And one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, pad thai, courtesy of Daiku. We realized that we had bought soybean sprouts instead of mung bean sprouts, but they were crunchy and good. What else did he throw in there?... Some mock duck (from a can) marinated in barbeque sauce and baked, shallots, carrots, cilantro, peanut butter and roasted peanuts, shoyu, and lots of other things I'm sure I'm forgetting.
We indulged in our dinner with candlelight and a fire.
The next day, we knew we weren't fully detoxing, since we had some leftovers to get through. But we began implementing changes.
Breakfast was miso soup with tofu and wakame and dulse seaweeds, accompanied by organic orange juice and water with organic lime. I always have to convince myself that broth-based things can be satisfying, and indeed, this simple breakfast kept us going for most of the day, which included a hike.
Since Syracuse, like much of the rest of the country is unseasonably warm, we took advantage of the fact and went to our favorite close-by hiking trail, the Clark Reservation to welcome the new year and get some exercise. Here are some shots from the hike.
Finally, last night we tried a new thing. Daiku had read about Goma Dofu, a staple of zen vegetarian cuisine in Japan, and had been wanting to try it. It is basically a tofu made of sesame paste and kuzu (starch) instead of soybeans. Making it is considered zen practice, since it involves a lot of time-consuming, meditative work such as pounding sesame seeds by hand. Daiku wants to try making this at some point, but just to get a sense of what it's like, we decided to try a packaged version first.
Unfortunately, we couldn't understand the instructions on how to prepare the goma dofu! (Why, oh why, did I never learn Japanese?) We even tried going to the company website, but no luck finding English instructions. Going by the illustrations, we decided to place the packages in some hot water for a few minutes, and then immerse them in cold water.
This is how the goma dofu looked out of the package, with little packets of sauce to accompany it.
Here it is on our plate, ready to eat. The texture is like a firm silken, custardy tofu, and the taste is mildly sweet and reminiscent of sesame. The sauce, from what we could taste, had some plum, ume, shoyu...? It took a while to get used to the different flavor, but by the end, we both liked the faint, delicate sweetness and depth.
And that is ultimately our resolution for the new year: to continue to explore and try new things, to expand our knowledge and our repertoire. (Sure, there are more everyday resolutions too: work on dissertation more, become more environmentally aware, travel more, lose weight, stop procrastinating... but I like the first one the most.)
Happy new year to all my dear blogging friends!