Monday, June 24, 2013

Banh Mi, My Way.

So, I've been out for dinner a few times lately and had a vegan/vegetarian Banh Mi and thought "NAGAM" (Not as good as mine.) I make no claims to being anything but a decent home cook. I doubt that I could earn a living as a line cook at a decent restaurant, though, given enough reps, anything is possible.

But I do make a tasty Banh Mi at home and I thought I'd show my method. Here is the start, Central Soyfoods' Hickory Smoked Tofu, Portabello Mushrooms, Daikon Radish, Carrots and  Baguette from Farm to Market Bread
Mince a  good sized clove of garlic or a few small ones and  put into a shallow bowl or baking pan. Get a piece of lemongrass and beat it with the dull side of a cleaver or chef's knife. I once told a team member to use the back of a knife and found him holding the knife by the blade. Anyway, put the beaten lemongrass into the pan/bowl. Peel a knob of ginger and grate about the thickness of 3 nickels into the baking dish.

Slice the tofu as thin as you can, between a quarter and a half inch. Put the slices in the baking dish and sprinkle with tamari sauce. Stem and clean the mushrooms and sprinkle them with tamari too. You don't have to drown them. They'll manage to absorb the sauce and garlic and ginger and flavors. Grate a little extra ginger over the top of everything. Let it set at room temperature for the length of an album, go do something else for a while. If you want to let them go all day, put the dish in the refrigerator, covered, unless you want everything to smell like a

Chinese restaurant for a long time.

You should make the slaw or pickle at this time. I like the daikon and carrots grated on the large grater, not the one you used for the ginger. Add something green and cabbage-y, like cabbage or collards or kale. We had homegrown bok choy, so that went into mine. Chop it into small julienne strips, like you would for slaw. I also had some kohlrabi, so I grated that into the pickle. Sprinkle some plain rice vinegar or lime juice onto the mixed vegetables and let it chill for 
Split your baguette and spread on the top slice a mixture of Veganaise and Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice. Spread some Earth Balance on the bottom. Besides being tasty, they keep the bread from getting too soggy.
Grill the tofu and mushrooms over a hot grill until the mushrooms go soft. Slice them into thin slices as soon as you can handle them.

Put a layer of tofu and a layer of cooked mushrooms on the baguette. Top that with as much of the pickle as you like. A few sprigs of cilantro are nice, but not required, as are a few slices of jalapeno.

As you may observe, I couldn't wait to dig in before I took a picture. Enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My life without drinking lasted for 2 months, until I felt like I actually wanted a beer, rather than "this is the time I would usually have a beer, so I'll have one".  Fine distinction but one with which I am comfortable. I'm making some changes to my life gradually, shifting out of my comfort zone to make my self more comfortable.

Monday, September 12, 2011


So a couple of weeks ago, I gave up drinking. I don't know if its going to be for the rest of my life or a little while but I had gotten to the point where it just didn't appeal to me anymore. I was drinking some when we were in Estes Park, some good, very good beers, and it almost felt like a chore. I'm not sure what precipitated this feeling. I know it has been coming for awhile.

Part of it is my dietary switch to the Engine 2 diet awhile back that has helped me lose weight and makes me a lot more sensitive to the second and third beer I was drinking. Without all the carbs and grease in my system, the sauce just hit me a lot harder, leaving me feeling lousy and I don't want to do lousy anymore. I want to soar. I want to run and bike and ski and be at my best. So  like Dean Wormer said, "Fat, Drunk and Stupid is no way to go through life, son."

I talked to a co-worker who quit drinking and he is half my age. I didn't talk to him in depth about it. (Not that I'm capable of in-depth conversation about anything, with anybody, without squirming.) I did ask him if he attends AA meetings, though and he said, (I may misquote) "My problems are my own, I don't need to share them with anyone." Pretty much my sentiments, too. I've had more than 30 years of drinking and I may be done, now. I've really honestly never felt like it was doing me any good, though. 

Sometimes, it's brought me out of my shell. My shell is thick. On the other hand, things that I've done under the influence, have made me feel ashamed. There was a time I was driving the wrong side of the highway and the only thing that saved me from being banned from driving was the then lax enforcement and a murder not too far from there at Kansas University Medical Center. Countless stupid drunken escapades and scrapes mark my life. I don't want to be that guy anymore.

So, I'm taking it one day at a time, like the cliche' goes but I think those days are behind me. The mystery that concerns me is what's ahead.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Late to the party, I purchased an iPod last month. After much consideration, I determined that the Classic 160gb best met my needs. As much as I'd like the internet connectivity of the Touch, I need the capacity of the Classic because our long term goal is to decumulate, to coin a word, so much of our stuff that takes up space. The beauty of it is that I can upload CDs seemingly at random and the iTunes interface will organize it for me.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Getting close to another year's end.

Lord, is it cold! It always comes as a rude shock when winter starts to come around here. I've ridden to work twice in the last week but come into the store with my hands barely functioning. Laurie has taken a knife to a couple apple juice bottles to make fairings. She's also modified a worn pair of wool socks to make hand covers. I'll get the Bully Porteur going again and be on the road.

My new position at Whole Foods entails being there in the morning, often at 6AM which means getting my ass on the road before 5AM. I'm going to try to make that work because I actually do enjoy riding that early and very much enjoy the ride home at 2 PM.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have been a fan of Patagonia for a long time. I like their environmental stance and general integrity. I love their catalogs but all the good publicity and green work is pointless unless the merchandise is good. I purchased some Capilene shirts back in 1987 that I can still wear regularly and a fleece hat that remains in constant use about the same time. Patagonia gear is expensive but easily a good value in the cost per wearing and per use equation.

About 5 years ago, my in-laws gave me a Critical Mass bag for a Christmas gift. I used it daily on my commute, on trips. It held at least 2 grocery bags full of stuff, beer, books, dog food,  what have you. I liked it because it rested on my backside for bike rides, not on my shoulders or my back.

Tossing it in my car one day, I neglected to buckle the buckles on the thing. (Yet another reason to avoid driving.) The plastic buckles were slightly cracked but still worked. When they finally gave out, I contacted Patagonia via chat about getting replacement buckles. They offered to ship them to me but when I considered trying to restitch the straps and so forth, I decided to mail the bag back and have their repair department handle it. I emptied my bag and put my daily needs into my Lowe Alpine daypack, which I love for hiking but was too small for riding and uncomfortable when biking.

I printed and completed the repair form and packed it up at the UPS store.3 weeks later, I got a call from Patagonia that they had received my bag with only the UPS label on the package, no instructions, no idea what to with it. I called them and explained that I sent it in to have the buckles replaced.

A few days later, it occurred to me that, if they didn't have the form, they didn't have my payment method. So I made another call to them.

They told me that the record showed they were sending a new bag out Monday at no cost to me. It wasn't my old bag or a new old stock version of my bag, but a brand-new updated bag. My old bag had a small pocket in the back so that objects inserted in there would sit at my back. It didn't have pen slots so that pens floated around the bag. There was no place for my phone. It had a built-in laptop pouch.

The new bag has a phone pouch attached to the shoulder strap. It has slots for 3 pens. The small zipped pocket is in the front of the bag. The new bag has a detachable, padded laptop pouch.
Despite constant improvements in bags, I was committed, in my mind, to using the old bag until it wore out. I'm thrilled, though, to have a newer, nicer bag and where I'm making a choice, I'll buy Patagonia.