Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adventures in Lunchtime

My original blog idea, before I went down the vegan route, was to document my sad work lunches, as they were both innovative and depressing and I thought that people might get a kick out of the offal I was eating. For instance, a favorite dish of mine was a package of Uncle Ben's microwave rice, pasta sauce or salsa, and a vegetable of some sort microwaved together with Hungarian smoked paprika and topped with cottage cheese. This is what happens when you have no control over what goes in the refrigerator and pantry. 

Anyways, these days are no more, or, you know, slightly marginally better as a direct result of my veganism switch! I've been bringing more things from home, which is good, but also my boss, having been informed of the change as I bashfully put my hempmilk in the fridge one morning, let me add things to the PeaPod delivery, thereby widening my options at least a bit.

Today, though, I was worried. Having been left to my own PeaPod devices, I gleefully checked item after item, removing it a minute later for fear that I was inflicting my preferences with a hostile refrigerator- and freezer-space takeover. I ended up purchasing some WestSoy seitan (pictured below) and a can of vegetarian chili with tofu as my sole protein choices. 

I made some brown rice early in the day, knowing that whatever I eventually made would need a starchy vehicle, but as lunch time closed in, I began to suspect that my "sad lunch foods" blog would briefly get a time to shine. And then a glowing beacon in the freezer meant that all was not lost! 

From then it was easy enough. Sauces and protein in tow, I settled on stir-fry.

Teriyaki Stir-Fry (for 1):
1 serving plain seitan
1 small onion, cut in rainbows (I've never known what else to call this)
5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 carrot
1 small head broccoli
Frozen Asian mixed veggies
Teriyaki Sauce
Ponzu dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Set your pan over medium-high heat with a mild-tasting oil (or sesame oil, if you like). Prepare the broccoli and place it in a steam-pan over medium heat, or be bad and cook it in the microwave, covered in water, for 3 minutes. Saute the onions and mushrooms until they begin to take on a bit of color around the edges. A bit of dark brown is good, as it will contribute greatly to the dish's flavor. 

My preferred method of adding carrots to a stir-fry is to use a peeler to just peel the carrot into the pan. Julienneing the carrots can take so long, and the texture of the carrots when peeled in is very light and is delicate enough to allow the carrots to cook through quickly. 

Add your other vegetables, the seitan (shred it with your hands into the frying pan), and a good amount of the sauces (but only as much Sriracha as you prefer) and cook until the frozen vegetables are cooked through. Add the broccoli last so that its color remains bright and cheerful and doesn't get overdone.

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